By Micki Luckey
“We at the Movement For Black Lives believe that it is our mandate, in a moment where the police and vigilantes have increased their terror, that we make a clear and proud commitment to be in Defense of Black Lives.” M4BL
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) has joined the call from the Movement For Black Lives for a National Week of Action in Defense of Black Life in response to the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and so many Black people lost to ongoing police violence.
Across the country Black people are rising up in rage and resistance as the brutality of the Minneapolis police exemplified their systematic abuse and oppression in a modern-day lynching. While the media focuses on looting and burning, the protestors see the sanctioned state violence allowed by white supremacy through centuries of repression and injustice that continues to make living with Black skin a liability in this country.
“White Silence = Violence” is only a slogan unless we, white people, take action to support the protests. Here in Oakland, CA, SURJ members have joined car caravans, human billboards, and street protests. See photos below.
For those who don’t feel safe joining a protest in view of the militarized police present and/or the Covid-19 pandemic, there is much we can do from home. We can contribute immediately to support those arrested by contributing to bail funds via a national, local or other city’s organization. We can continue to campaign to defund the police in our towns and to support Black-led organizations by social media, phone calls and petitions. For more go to:
5 Ways White People Can Take Action in Response to White and State-Sanctioned Violence
What You Can Do to Support the Protests Right Now: A Guide
WEEK OF ACTION — M4BL
George Floyd’s Murder: Hitting the Streets of Oakland and Wanting a World Worth Fighting For
As we practice physical distancing and continue the fight against the structural inequities of our society, we must persevere through the leadership and guidance of our local Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities. Now more than ever, we must rely on mutual aid, mutual dependence, and solidarity.
SURJ Bay Area is taking a critical step forward by creating a Racial Justice Emergency Relief Fund. 100% of donations will be passed on to local organizations providing critical immediate aid to our most vulnerable communities while continuing to fight the structural inequities that turned a novel virus into a global emergency.
By Davey D Cook
Over the past few days, I’ve been noticing a number of folks understandably upset because of the vicious, callous unempathetic comments they’ve been seeing in their feeds bashing the #Moms4Housing
Many are wondering how and why so many people who are seemingly on or close to the societal, economic and political margins, came out riding hard for a multi-million corporation with a sordid, distasteful reputation? Why were so many people protecting a company that for the most part has not been friendly and altruistic to Black folks, especially those facing gentrification?
By Liz Jacobs
In this unseasonably cold winter and as we bundle up, think what it must be like in the homeless encampments in Oakland with no heat, no water, and a leaky roof if there is even one.
Since this blog post was published, there has been a vocal and growing outcry about the book American Dirt. Many Latinx writers and artists have raised criticisms of the book and its author’s treatment of Mexican people, and this has sparked a critical conversation about the extremely white publishing industry, the exploitation of Black and brown people and their traumas by outsiders, and who gets to tell whose stories. We join presente.org in the call to action to lift up #dignidadliteraria and amplify the voices of brilliant Latinx writers who have been largely shut out of the publishing industry.
There is additional information available from Vox, Huffington Post, Tropics of Meta, and The LA Times,
This is an ongoing conversation, and the situation continues to develop. Did you read American Dirt? Did you read the criticism of it? Share your opinions with us by email at email@example.com
By Micki Luckey
In my blog about the book, The Faraway Brothers by Lauren Markham, I described the 2013 true story of two teenagers who fled gang threats in El Salvador and eventually made it to Oakland, California. Markham, a journalist who knew the boys at the high school they attended here, was able to expand on their story with her reporting on detention centers, migrant shelters, and border crossings. As we know, all of these have only gotten worse in the years since.
Today is the first day of SURJ Bay Area’s end of the year fundraising campaign, #12DaysToShowUp! Each December, SURJ Bay Area celebrates the amazing work of our local Black, Indigenous, and people of color-led partner organizations and invites you to deepen your commitment to racial justice! On 12 days of this month, we’ll be highlighting the work of some of our partner organizations fighting white supremacy and working towards a just and equitable future.
SURJ Bay Area committees support TGI Justice Project, Ella Baker Center, Essie Justice Group, Californians United for a Responsible Budget, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children/All of Us or None, Initiate Justice, Anti Police-Terror Project, Community Ready Corps, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Abundant Beginnings, Sogorea Te, and Cause Justa:: Just Cause.
To support the incredible work that these organizations are doing, 100% of funds raised this December will go to our partner organizations! Any donation is helpful, whether it’s $5 or $500.
To learn more, sign up for our weekly newsletter or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter! @surjbayarea
On Sunday, November 24th, a coalition called Housing Justice Village set up a housing community in Oscar Grant Plaza. The City of Oakland decided that at 10:00pm the community became in violation of an overnight camping regulation. Police tore down the tents and arrested 22 coalition members on charges of overnight camping and suspicion of resisting arrest. All were taken to Santa Rita with bail set at $5,000.
We are excited to share that seven (7) bills that we supported this year were signed into law!
“We” are SURJ Bay Area’s Policy Committee (formerly the Policy Working Group). We are working in service to and in collaboration with our POC-led partner organizations that work on legislative advocacy: Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC) / All of Us or None (AOUON), Essie Justice Group, and Initiate Justice. We listed our work-in-progress in a couple of earlier blogs (SURJ Bay Area Policy Priorities For 2019, Updated SURJ Bay Area Policy Priorities for 2019, Cross-Over Edition) and now that this year’s legislative cycle is over, we’d like to celebrate some successes, as well as get ready for next year!
By Sophia Friesen
“To celebrate the cultures and diversity of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community in Oakland and the East Bay”: this is the stated goal of Oakland Pride, celebrated on September 8th of this year. This is an admirable mission indeed, but was it achieved? Celebration of diversity is a vague goal: what it gains in breadth it loses in measurability. Who is truly included and celebrated as part of the East Bay LGBTQ community, and who is overlooked or left out?
By Micki Luckey
This summer nearly thirty members of SURJ BA — Showing Up for Racial Justice Bay Area — voted on books for white people about racial justice, indicating those they recommend, as well as those they want to read. This blog is about nonfiction books recommended by our members. (See the Fiction list here)