Movement to End Jim Crow: A Conversation

Hundreds of people came out to hear a SURJ-sponsored panel discussion on Feb 23, 2017 "Movement to End Jim Crow: A Conversation on Ending Mass Criminalization and Mass Incarceration" with, pictured below left to right, Aya De Leon, moderator, author, poet; Fania Davis, Executive Director, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth; Dorsey Nunn, Co-Founder, All of Us or None and Executive Director, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children; and Zachary Norris, Executive Director, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.


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#ReclaimMLK - 120 Hours of Direct Action

SURJ organized a contingent of over 50 people at the recent marches in Oakland on MLK Day, and the actions continue this week... check out our photos.

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Which Side Are You On?

Come all you good workers
Good news to you I'll tell
Of how the good old union
Has come in here to dwell

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On White Wealth and Reparations

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I don’t remember when I first learned that talking about money was distasteful and classless, but it’s been so integral to my development that my heart still pounds as I write this. I feel like a child, again—born of the working class with a built-in calculator to count every cup of coffee paid for which I could not reciprocate, every assumption about my family’s ability to experience or provide. Growing up, I surrendered to the myth that our access to resources was a fair consequence of the efforts of our families and histories. That there was nothing different between us so long as I not speak about the material differences which make everyone so uncomfortable. I invested in this myth. But now that I know differently, I won’t do it anymore.

For white people to show up in a fight for racial justice, we have to grapple with our collective access to resources. All of us. And it’s not going to be easy or particularly fun.

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Blackface in the Netherlands: Black Pete and Saint Nicholas

Last week, I attended my first SURJ meeting in Oakland. I introduced myself as a white guy from a xenophobic and racist country in north-western Europe. I'd say that most Oaklanders would associate the Netherlands with Amsterdam, tulips, Van Gogh, and smoking weed. Some might even recall the legalization of gay marriage in 2001 and euthanasia in 2002. So why does this seemingly liberal country have white people put on blackface to play “Black Pete,” the foolish servant of Saint Nicholas (Sinterklaas), as part of a national tradition?

Image: Joris Leermakers (license)

Perhaps the simplest explanation is that many Dutch people do not consider “Black Pete” to be racist. In 2013, the UN High Commission for Human Rights received an official complaint about Black Pete. The Dutch government’s response did not acknowledge that the blackface tradition was racist, stating that “people’s opinions about this festival differ.” 

 

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Support Standing Rock! #NoDAPL #WaterIsLife


NoDAPL.jpgThe Indigenous struggle to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline needs your support! Given the recent violence by law enforcement against the water protectors, the move by the Army Corps of Engineers to evict the Oceti Sakowin camp (from Treaty lands), and DAPL's announcement that it plans to drill under the Missouri River soon, it is urgent that we act now and that we act quickly.

Here are 10 things you can do right now to support this critical struggle (NOTE: we are continually updating this list):

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Fight for Trans Lives: Sponsor a Passport

TGNC.jpgSURJ Bay Area knows fighting for trans and queer liberation is intrinsically linked to the Movement for Black Lives and the dismantling of white supremacy. It is important to center those who experience intersecting identities which make them particularly vulnerable to various forms of violence and oppression. Trans people of color are disproportionately affected by sexual assault, police violence and murder. When we say we stand for Black lives, that means we also stand for the many trans and queer people who face state violence due to their identities.

With the election of Donald Trump and the Republican majority in Congress, the ability for trans people to obtain identification that fits their gender expression, such as passports, will likely become difficult, expensive or straight up impossible. When trans people don’t have access to identification that matches their gender expression they are at risk: mentally, emotionally and physically.

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Stand Against Racism In Your Neighborhood

It's time, now more than ever, to make solidarity visible in the struggle for racial justice. This Saturday (Nov. 19), SURJ Bay Area will stage its first "Human Billboard" to protest the police killings of unarmed Black men and women across the country—violence for which almost no officers have been charged or held accountable.

Communities in the East Bay and nationally have held weekly gatherings on prominent street corners and freeway overpasses for months. One Dimond-based group, Neighbors for Racial Justice, holds Black Lives Matter vigils on the corner of Fruitvale and MacArthur every Saturday from 12 to 1 pm. They began about two years ago in the wake of Michael Brown's shooting.
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SURJ Stands With Standing Rock

This morning, hundreds gathered outside San Francisco's City Hall for a sunrise ceremony of prayer, song and solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota as part of a national day of massive action against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The group then marched to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to demand permit denial and the completion of a full environmental impact statement. Here are some images from the day. Accompanying the photos are additional suggestions for action, many previously outlined here.

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Oakland Rallies Against Trump

An emergency protest against Donald Trump began at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland on Wednesday then took to the streets, growing to over 7,000 people, according to the Oakland Police Department. Here are some images from the evening, taken by SURJ member Sam Breach.

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