We have some great local victories to celebrate that SURJ chapters have participated in! We also have an update from our support of the miners blockade in Harlan County demanding justice from Blackjewel coal company. September 11th marked our 10 year anniversary. Continuing with our celebrations, we have a fabulous call coming up in a few weeks!
SURJ 10 years of Racial Justice
SURJ 10 Year Anniversary webinar:
10 Years of Racial Justice
September 25th 8 ET / 7 CT / 6 MT / 5 PT
Register here: bit.ly/SURJ10YEARS
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/2433893166718653/
Join us for a webinar with Patrisse Cullors, Makani Themba, Carla Walllace and Pam McMichael to discuss the past, present and future of SURJ as it relates to the broader movement for racial, economic, social, and environmental justice. Pam McMichael and Carla Wallace are long time movement organizers and co-founders of SURJ. They have played leadership roles throughout the past 10 years and will share some history and future priorities. Patrisse Cullors and Makani Themba are revered movement leaders who will share their perspective of how SURJs work fits in a broader context and what is needed moving forward. Patrisse Cullors is an artist, organizer, and freedom fighter from Los Angeles, CA. Co-founder of Black Lives Matter and founder of Dignity and Power Now, she is also a performance artist, popular public speaker, and a New York Times bestselling author. Makani Themba is Chief Strategist at Higher Ground Change Strategies based in Jackson, MS. A social justice innovator and pioneer in the field of change communications and narrative strategy, she has spent more than 20 years supporting organizations, coalitions and philanthropic institutions in developing high impact change initiatives. This is a public call, open to all, please share!
Host a local 10 year event
We are asking local chapters affiliates and members to host local events to honor the 10 year history of SURJ as it relates to local work. Here is a toolkit with suggestions for hosting events, fundraising, and spreading the word about the 10 year anniversary.
If you are hosting your own local event for the 10 year anniversary please put the details here! and feel free to share with the local leads list to give others ideas.
Three Local Victories
LOS ANGELES STOPPED THE JAIL PLAN
It is with excitement that I share with you that today we had a historic vote to stop jail construction in LA county. Our chapter has been involved in the Justice LA and Reform LA campaign and I am excited that we are able to claim victory! More info below. August 13th, 2019, Dahlia Ferlito, White People for Black Lives and SURJ Leadership Team
Today, Justice LA and many other organizations and community members accomplished what we were told was an impossible feat. For nearly a decade, the specter of a massive $3.5 billion jail plan loomed over the people of Los Angeles. We resisted the creation of more cages, we reclaimed the calls for public safety, we reimagined our county with community-based care, and we won. In February of this year, we successfully defeated the women’s jail plan, and today, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 in favor of cancelling the contract with McCarthy to build a mental health jail! READ MORE
A WIN IN LOUISVILLE CAMPAIGN TO GET POLICE OUT OF OUR SCHOOLS
After a two year campaign, the Jefferson County School Board, representing one of the largest school districts in the country, voted to end contracts with outside police forces.
BLM Louisville, our strategic partner, set the political vision for the demands, calling for No Police, and a shift of funding to mental health counseling, conflict resolution, restorative justice and other programmatic focuses that actually support children and youth in our schools. LSURJ helped build the coalition of over 10 community groups (including LGBTQ, teachers, Latinx and immigrant groups including Mijente Louisville, the statewide Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, peace groups, the ACLU of Kentucky and others. READ MORE. August 14th, 2019, Carla Wallace, SURJ Leadership Team and LSURJ Co-founder and organizer.
NYC PARTIAL JUSTICE FOR ERIC GARNER
As we celebrate recent wins in LA and Louisville, SURJ NYC wanted to share an update on the firing of Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD cop who killed Eric Garner in Staten Island in July 2014. Though this fight for justice is far from over, firing Pantaleo is an important win for the police accountability movement in NYC. Action asks to support the ongoing fight are at the end. READ MORE September 4th, 2019 Yours in struggle, SURJ-NYC
Solidarity with Harlan county miners blockade
Since our last e-mail sent to our membership asking for folks to support with financial and in person resources we have raised $3000 and have had 10 people visit the camp to offer support. Here is an article from Sonja de Vries of LSURJ (Louisville KY).
Sonja de Vries, September 10th, 2019
The Black Jewel coal miners had already been blocking a train full of coal for over a month when our small group made up of State Representative Attica Scott, Climate Justice activist Deanna Rushing, and SURJ members Pam McMichael and Sonja de Vries from Louisville came to offer material and moral support. The miners and their families greeted us warmly, tired but full of determination and strength that they attributed in large part to the solidarity of the community around them and people from all over the US and the world.
They scoffed at the fact that CEO Jeff Hoops had announced that it was hard on everyone and that he himself had to pay for his own jet fuel now.
Felicia, one of the organizers and wife of Curtis, a coal miner, said " People have come from all over and some of them don't like coal, but they support us in our struggle."
James, also a coal miner told us that some people had been on vacation when their checks bounced and they found themselves stranded with no money. Others had been hauled off to jail because their child support checks had bounced. The consequences were having a devastating ripple effect. All of the folks there were clear, until Black Jewel paid them what they were owed, they would stay and the coal train would not move.
In remembering the moment one coal miner decided to step onto the tracks they said "When you've had a mountain on your back, it's not that much to stop a train."
SURJ LEadership team meeting reportback
Hey, I'm Carla from Louisville, Kentucky and this is Kari and Erin and we're here at the Highlander Center, which, as many, many of you know is deeply part of the change that’s happened in this country and in the South— 87 years of a commitment to an intersectional approach, to undermining racism, to working for economic Justice, to bringing us a different way of doing this work— popular education and a deep root in all who have gone before us. What all the South brings is Highlander! We’re wanting to bring you greetings from our retreat, from our SURJ Leadership retreat. In Tennessee! And we spent some of our time over the last few days talking about our electoral work and how excited we are about the opportunity to do some intense and amazing work the over the country that different people can participate in. We also talked about the importance of centering the South as a part of that work, and more broadly as a part of the work that we do, we always want to think about the ways that the South is central to what we do. And also centering poor and working-class folks as central to what we do as part of our strategies. This year we brought on five new leadership team members who joined us here at Highlander for the first time. So a lot of what we did was getting to know each other, building with each other, so we have a strong foundation for the year to come. We know that the SURJ base is amazing, is doing incredible things and we are really excited about continuing the partnership that lifts up, supports, and makes visible and stronger that work. So excited about what's coming next! And we gave a big send-off Pam McMichael, who has been with SURJ and a part of SURJ since the very beginning, so we said some kind of goodbye to her during our retreat here at Highlander to thank her for all her many years of brilliant service, vision, action. We appreciate you! We love you! Mad love from Highlander!
SURJ Faith The Word is resistance podcast
"What Jeremiah sees here in the 4th chapter is climate devastation."
Check out our latest episode, in which Rev. Anne Dunlap shares about how her recent trip to Santa Fe and the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts helped deepen her understanding of what's necessary for true reconciliation to occur, what white folks have lost that's necessary to find. https://soundcloud.com/thewordisresistance/seek-until-we-find-it