SURJ Columbus Call to Action: Join the fight for collective liberation in Central Ohio

Call to action 2017 SURJ Columbus

“In every age, no matter how cruel the oppression carried on by those in power, there have been those who struggled for a different world. I believe this is the genius of humankind, the thing that makes us half divine: the fact that some human beings can envision a world that has never existed.” — Anne Braden, civil rights organizer

Many of us were shocked after hearing the results of the presidential election, with Donald Trump being declared the winner. Many of us are scared of what’s to come once Trump and his cabinet take office. Yet, the systems of oppression that helped elect Trump are not new, and what’s to come is simply the continuation of centuries of injustice. What’s at stake is bigger than Trump and these next four years, and we need all hands on deck. Let’s allow our collective and personal grief, rage, and fear move us into action. We must fight for our vision of a society where we struggle together with love, for justice, human dignity and a sustainable world. We certainly don’t have all the answers, but we’re asking you to join us as we move forward together. Please join us on January 5th, 6–8pm at Barack Recreation Center, 580 E Woodrow Ave, Columbus, Ohio 43207.

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Columbus is part of a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice. While most SURJ chapters around the country are comprised only of white members, the Columbus chapter is moving towards being multiracial, while continuing to primarily focus on bringing white people (often on the sidelines) into action.

Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. We work to connect people across Central Ohio while supporting and collaborating with local and national racial justice organizing efforts. SURJ provides a space to build relationships, skills, political analysis, and to act for change. We are action oriented and work to build leadership to continue moving people, regardless of where they are when they enter this work. The fight for justice is a long fight, and there is a role for everyone — We need a diversity of tactics, whether you’re an artist, parent, social worker, lawyer, educator, student, or a general rabble-rouser — you are needed, in the fight for racial justice.

SURJ believes in collective liberation — and that none of us can be free until we end white supremacy. We believe that we must ground our organizing in a framework of “mutual interest” — white supremacy is integral to economic injustice, to maintaining patriarchy and other forms of oppression. Racism and white supremacy keep the many divided for the benefit of the few. We must have an inclusive, open-hearted approach to organizing, calling people into this work.

SURJ’s role as part of a multi-racial movement is to undermine white support for white supremacy and to help build a racially just society. That work cannot be done without the powerful leadership of communities of color. SURJ is is one part of a multi-racial, cross-class movement centering people of color leadership.

Together, we can force the system of white supremacy to crumble. In order to activate this theory of change, we employ three core strategies: (1) delegitimize racist institutions; (2) fight for a fair economy that refuses to pit communities against each other; (3) shift culture (meaning the underlying beliefs folks have about people and the world) in a way that undermines support for white supremacy. These strategies are dependent on multiracial organizing and a specific focus on deepening, amplifying, and centering the leadership and organizing of poor and working-class folks.

We know that nobody is perfect. We know that we are going to make mistakes along the way, and we’re confident our thinking will shift and grow over time by being in the work.

We know that if we remain silent in the times of oppression, we have chosen the side of the oppressor. To this end, we are calling on all those who are choosing the side of justice, the side of freedom, and who believe that another world is possible, to take bold action and join the struggle for collective liberation. We are strongest when we organize collectively and build power together.

Showing Up for Racial Justice Columbus is hosting a mass meeting to bring together as many people as possible and mobilize for the year(s) ahead. This will focus on learning about SURJ and the work we are doing, gaining skills for leading house meetings to get more folks onboard, and talking about the Vision for Black Lives Policy Platform. We will also be discussing a Day of Action coming up on January 20th, inauguration day. Columbus needs as many folks onboard to fight racial injustice as we possibly can get. So whether you’re brand new to the fight or are a seasoned veteran, there is a role for everyone, so join us and bring a friend! Please join SURJ January 5th, 6–8pm at Barack Recreation Center, 580 E Woodrow Ave, Columbus, Ohio 43207.

Another short term way to get involved is join the call for a day of action on January 20th, Inauguration. Email SURJ for more information.

If you are unable to attend our meeting on January 5th, another way to get involved is to join a SURJ working group. Working groups (WGs) are our coordinated committees, split into different areas of work and are how we move work forward. There is no experience needed and joining a WG is a great way to learn new skills and help share your own assets. The current WGs are: Action, Art, Coordination & Strategy, Base-building, Childcare, Trainings, and Education & Research. Additional WGs are being developed. A signup form is on our website.

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