#12DaystoShowUp Day 2: Stopping Police Terror

As a part of SURJ Bay Area’s #12DaysToShowUp Fundraising Campaign — and our ongoing commitment to racial justice and reparations — 50% of all donations raised for SURJ are passed on to local POC-led organizations. The other 50% will be used to fund under-resourced rural SURJ chapters and to support our own work mobilizing white people in the Bay Area.

Donate to SURJ Bay Area before December 31 to help us reach our year-end fundraising goal of $20,000.

In addition to your donation to SURJ, we encourage you to match donations directly to POC-led organizations like those we’ve featured each of the 12 Days of this campaign.

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Our partner Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP) is a Black-led, multiracial, and multigenerational coalition dedicated to ending state-sanctioned murder and violence perpetrated against Black, Brown, and Poor people. The organization uses multiple tactics to combat police terror. They work directly with families directly impacted to provide financial, legal, and mental health support. They conduct investigations of police violence independent of police department influence, surveying witnesses and collecting video evidence. They push to reduce the local budgets of police forces and reinvest in community-led alternatives. And throughout their efforts, they continue to remind folks that officers continue to murder Black, Brown, and Poor people with impunity.

SURJ partners with APTP across a variety of tactics throughout the year. SURJ works with APTP to host trainings for community members to become first responders to police terror, from witness testimonies to family support. We mobilize white folks to APTP’s vigils for victims, court support for families, press conferences, and local council and supervisor meetings to eradicate police terror. And finally, SURJ aims to redistribute available resources from white folks to APTP’s critical community work.

Each year, APTP calls for multiple days of direct action leading up to MLK Day to reclaim Martin Luther King Jr.’s radical legacy. This past year with the inauguration of Donald Trump, they called for additional efforts around J-20. SURJ showed up with both resources and people power during the MLK Day March through areas of high displacement and gentrification within Oakland, and hosted direct actions during the week leading up to the inauguration.

Police violence is not unique to this current administration -- it has existed throughout our country’s history, and has only become more of a threat with the Bay Area’s rapid displacement of Black, Brown, and Poor community members. SURJ Bay Area is committed to eliminating state-sponsored terror and looks to APTP’s leadership as a critical player in making this happen.

 

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#12DaystoShowUp Day 1: Indigenous Resistance

As a part of SURJ Bay Area’s #12DaysToShowUp Fundraising Campaign — and our ongoing commitment to racial justice and reparations — 50% of all donations raised for SURJ are passed on to local POC-led organizations. The other 50% will be used to fund under-resourced rural SURJ chapters and to support our own work mobilizing white people in the Bay Area.

Donate to SURJ Bay Area before December 31 to help us reach our year-end fundraising goal of $20,000.

In addition to your donation to SURJ, we encourage you to match donations directly to POC-led organizations like those we’ve featured each of the 12 Days of this campaign.

 

You probably grew up learning the refrain of Woody Guthrie’s famous song: “This land is your land, this land is my land.”

But for those of us who are white, this land is not our land.

Contrary to the sanitized, white-washed version of history so many of us are taught in school, in this country, we all live on land originally inhabited, honored, and cared for by Indigenous peoples. This land is their land, stolen by state-sanctioned warfare, disease, and trickery.

Indigenous survivors of this massive, continent-wide theft and genocide were forced to live on land — often outside their traditional ancestral homeland — that was considered uninhabitable and worthless, discarded by invaders who found that land suitable only for people they considered similarly worthless…and dangerous. Communities were intentionally destroyed and children stolen from families to be raised “properly” by white people.

Learning this history of racial injustice is a critical part of the work we do in SURJ Bay Area. We’re committed to shining a spotlight on this truth — and showing up for indigenous communities by supporting their efforts to reclaim their land and culture.

The Ohlone people lived in the East Bay, surviving off of the bounty of the land and the Bay, raising their children, building their communities, and honoring the earth, sky, and sea.

Today, the descendants of the Ohlone people are leading the struggle to restore this land to people from whom it was stolen.The Sogorea Te’ Land Trust is an urban Indigenous women-led community organization that facilitates the return of Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone lands in the San Francisco Bay Area to Indigenous stewardship. Sogorea Te’ creates opportunities for all people living in Ohlone territory to work together to understand what it means to live on Ohlone land and reenvision the Bay Area community.

If you are a non-Indigenous person living in traditional Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone territory, here’s one way you can join SURJ Bay Area in showing up as part of the Indigenous resistance movement and help Sogorea Te’ acquire and preserve land:

Commit to paying theSogorea Te’ Shuumi Land Tax by making a voluntary, annual financial contribution based on your type of housing. For details on how to calculate and pay your annual contribution, visit: http://sogoreate-landtrust.com/shuumi-land-tax/

Together we can educate ourselves and our Bay Area neighbors about the history of where we live, and work alongside Indigenous leaders toward a more equitable future for the people who have long called this land their land.

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SURJ Holiday Resources for Difficult Conversations

As this holiday season, you may be anticipating those difficult conversations around the dining room table. Check out these SURJ tools and resources to help you with some of the topics that may come up.

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I Went Behind The Scenes At “Urban Shield.” It Was More Racist Than I Could Have Imagined.


Berkeley Police Department’s Special Response Unit re-enacts the Garland, TX shooting at Urban Shield 2016. Credit: Mary Noble.

In 2016 I bluffed my way into Urban Shield, the massive police weapons fair in Pleasanton, California, that is also one of the world’s largest police training exercises. What happens here shapes policing all over the US. What I saw shocked me. The training exercises were far more racist than I could ever have imagined.

Urban Shield is really two different events: A weapons trade show in Pleasanton, and a 48-hour SWAT training exercise at locations all over the Bay. When I arrived at the weapons expo in Pleasanton, security was tight. Only one gate was open to cars. Police checked credentials through car windows. I hadn’t pre-arranged a press pass. But I showed my press pass to a cop and asked whether they’d accept me, a blogger for the Huffington Post. To my surprise, the answer was yes.

The exhibition hall was surrounded by hundreds of cops clustered in small groups, each group wearing different matching camo and tactical gear. I learned later that these teams would compete in Urban Shield’s 48-hour training exercise, which involved role-playing 36 mass casualty attacks on zero hours of sleep.

Then I went into the exhibition hall, which was full of tables loaded with weapons: AR-15s, body armor, rifle scopes.

One of the first things I saw was a medical mannequin of a bomb victim with its leg ripped off, blood spurting, for police to practice tourniquets on (pictured). I was told that the dummy, body armor, and guns would be used in the 48-hour training, so that police could try them before buying for their departments.

 

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I Was There in Berkeley Too — What the Media Got Wrong

Many at the August 27 mobilization have been surprised by the media’s portrayal of events. Articles like  What the Media Got Wrong About Last Weekend’s Protests in Berkeley gives a more nuanced perspective. As one of the organizers, this is mine.

I Was There in Berkeley Too — What the Media Got Wrong

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Victory Against White Supremacy in the Bay!

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Victory Against White Supremacy in the Bay!
Statement from the organizers - a coalition of Black and immigrant interfaith, anti-racist, anti-fascist, LBGTQ and civil rights groups.

Today in Berkeley we won a victory against white supremacy. We turned out united communities and congregations to directly confront hate speech and hate action, and to keep our streets free of fascists. This is part of a growing national trend of people saying no to hate. We were clear, visible and uncompromising in our demand that they not bring this hate to our neighborhoods, places of worship, public parks, universities and streets. Their Berkeley rally, like their SF rally, was canceled. Fascists were not able to come into a public space and engage in the kind of violence they have too many times before. People worked across lines to keep each other safe. The police, armed with special ordinances from SF and Berkeley City Hall, attempted to stop us from expressing our commitment to defend ourselves and each other against racist, Islamophobic, anti-semitic, sexist, homophobic and transphobic violence. They even arrested anti-racist and anti-fascist protesters on charges as illegitimate as wearing a mask to protect themselves from being targeted by violent supremacists and fascists. Despite this, people stayed united, firm and took care of each other.

Please contribute to the bail fund of the Anti-Repression Committee of the National Lawyers Guild.

 

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#NoHateNoWall Campaign Claims Its First Victory

IMG_0630.JPGHere in the Bay Area, a region we like to think is imbued with liberal and progressive values, there are reportedly some two dozen companies that are bidding on Trump’s border wall. This morning at 7:00 am, local activists kicked off a campaign to call out those companies who hope to tap into the billions of dollars earmarked for the Department of Homeland Security’s construction of the wall.

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#SayHerName: Charleena Lyles. Nabra Hassanen. Josie Berrios.

Left to right: Charleena Lyles, Nabra Hassanen & Josie Berrios. 

We as SURJ Bay Area are deeply saddened, horrified, and outraged by the recent murders of three women of color across the U.S. We honor and uplift their names: 

Charleena Lyles.

Nabra Hassanen.

Josie Berrios.

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Inspiration for Courage and Change - Part II

by Micki Luckey

Book cover for A Wall Between by Anne BradenIn The Wall Between we are extremely fortunate to have Anne Braden’s own account of how she left behind a traditional upbringing in Alabama and Mississippi to actively work against segregation in Louisville, Kentucky. She details her insight into the steps of her changes in consciousness, followed by an act with consequences she hadn’t foreseen. As Julian Bond wrote in his foreword to a second printing of the book (1999), “Anne and [her husband] Carl Braden belong to a small band of modern abolitionists willing to brave danger in pursuit of the unfinished American racial revolution.” (p.xiii) What brought Anne to that point?

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Inspiration for Courage and Change - Part I

By Micki Luckey

heffners.jpgIn current times of continued police violence against Blacks and renewed attacks on immigrants and Muslims as well as LGBTQ and Jewish people, what is the role of white people who are concerned about racial justice? Today I take inspiration for courage and change from two books about how individual white people confronted segregation and racism in the Deep South: So the Heffners Left McComb by Hodding Carter, 1965, reprinted 1999, and The Wall Between by Anne Braden, 1958, reprinted 1999. Part I will discuss the first and Part II will discuss the second.

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