SURJ BOSTON is a local chapter of Showing Up For Racial Justice, a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice. 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 the country while supporting and collaborating with local and national racial justice organizing efforts. SURJ provides a space to build relationships, skills and political analysis to act for change.
SURJ Boston is also a program of Community Change, Inc., a Boston organization that has been engaging white people in racial justice work since 1968.
Our focus is on working with white people who are already in motion. While in many activist circles there can be a culture of shame and blame, we want to bring as many white people into taking action for racial justice as possible. We envision a society where we struggle together with love, for justice, human dignity and a sustainable world.
SURJ Boston now holds a general meeting and several Working Group meetings every month. The chapter hosts actions, workshops, community gatherings, and weekly event alerts that help members get connected to local opportunities to show up for racial justice. The group has supported people of color-led organizing efforts in Boston, including raising $1400 for the 2016 Mother’s Day Walk for Peace, pushing for the Primary Caretakers legislation, and mobilizing its base to show up for a Just Cause Eviction hearing and BLM Boston's Martin Luther King Day march.
Update March 2017: At an active members meeting SURJ Boston decided to suspend recruitment activities for 4-6 months. Instead, we are going through a period of reflection and reorientation. During this period, we are still responding to requests from partner organizations. We encourage people who want to take action to dismantle racism to use our monthly commitment form and weekly email updates. Sign up to be added to our list. The chapter’s reflection and reorientation period is expected to last at least until the end of September 2017 and we are not hosting any mass meetings during this time.
We acknowledge that white supremacy is a reality in the United States and that racism happens on the internal, interpersonal, institutional, and ideological level. We recognize that anti-Blackness is a central component of racism, and that state violence against Black people is a crisis. We accept that it is our role and responsibility as white people to organize ourselves to dismantle white supremacy. We will do anti-racist work within an intersectional framework that also challenges patriarchy, capitalism, and other systems of oppression. We are grateful for the love, wisdom, and sacrifices of freedom fighters that have come before us and shown us the way.
We will work together to find ways to take action without waiting to be told to step up, without speaking for or taking space away from People of Color (POC).
We will stay committed to navigating through complexity knowing that if we wait until things are perfect we will never do anything. We will seek guidance before we take action and feedback after we take action and we will learn by doing.
Our goal is to challenge white supremacy so that means that we have to directly confront white people, white cultural institutions, and sites of white power.
We want to be good to each other. We seek to build reciprocal relationships and share resources, knowledge, time, and energy. We want to build with white people and white organizations so we can be more effective in challenging white supremacy. We want to respond to calls from POC and support POC led organizing in Boston.
We acknowledge the need for white leaders to provide mentorship, support, guidance to other white people and sometimes call-in and collect each other. We want to increase the number of white people equipped to take principled action against white supremacy. We will celebrate and follow the leadership of Black people and non-Black People of Color (NBPOCs) seeking liberation and self-determination.
We value a wide range of strategies toward the goal of dismantling white supremacy and we prioritize direct action. We will not demonize or stigmatize organizers taking principled actions against white supremacy using tactics that we may not chose for ourselves. We strive to be strategic which means that we target sites of white power (without speaking for or taking space away from people of color) and we aim to have our actions benefit people of color.
We will name our own needs and be real about our commitments/limitations. We will try to recognize the learning, healing, and work we need to do on our own so that we can sustain ourselves, engage in healthy relationships with comrades, and contribute positively to movement work.
We will do what we say we’re going to do. We will follow through. If we are not able to follow through with a commitment we made, we will be communicate as soon as possible and ask for help. We recognize the need for discretion and security and will not let that make our group unwelcoming or exclusive or hierarchical.
We will keep these values in mind in all spaces we’re in whether it’s in monthly meetings or affinity group meetings or in actions, and live them all the time in our lives.
Accountability is a value and a goal and a process. We aim to be accountable to:
People and groups of color: People in SURJ Boston have and are creating relationships with people/groups of color to discuss SURJ Boston activity, and bring that back for reflection and constructive shifts in our work.
CCI's leadership, mission, values
SURJ National's leadership, mission, values