Veronica Oberholzer and Micki Luckey
This blog addresses those of us who have put SURJ aside or who have minimized our participation, whether we’re feeling over-taxed, not sure how to re-engage, or unsure how to manage a level of engagement that maintains a satisfying level of participation. After the white supremacist murders in Buffalo, SURJ National Director Erin Heaney wrote, “Today, like so many days in America — a country plagued by racist violence — we are all asking ourselves what to do in response.” Are you satisfied with your response, or are you looking to deepen your engagement with racial justice work?
When asked why participating in SURJ Bay Area is important to us, most of us cite doing concrete, meaningful work, and forming relationships with other members. “Join for the cause, stay for the people,” one colleague said. Working collectively allows us to get to know each other and form a community. It is satisfying to take steps toward changing our society to be more just and safe for all. We know the small victories we achieve are part of a bigger movement for change. And the work provides opportunities for personal growth and learning that make us whole and support our moral integrity. So what gets in the way of our doing the work?
As members of an all-volunteer organization, many of us have a full-time job and only a finite number of hours for volunteer work. Our time is further split with family responsibilities and other activities — exercise, pets, clubs — that keep us going. And the global pandemic has been difficult beyond what we ever imagined. This situation can easily limit one’s desire to attend more meetings and do more work, whether on the streets, in the community or at our computers. But taking meaningful action with SURJ can be a steady, sustainable way to contribute to building the world we want to live in and fighting against the attacks on our communities.
The suggestions below are meant to give you scalable options for staying engaged and finding meaning and community. Try taking a small step (or two) to reinvigorate your involvement. We invite you to stay connected with us in continuing the essential work of educating and mobilizing white people to participate in multi-racial alliances for justice. And we trust that you will make the best decisions you can about how to do this while balancing the various other aspects of your life.
Stay engaged and find meaning in SURJ by:
If you are already on a SURJ Bay Area committee, increase your involvement by:
We hope one or two of these ideas will speak to you and help you renew your connection with racial justice work and your comrades. Working with SURJ Bay Area is as meaningful as it is important, and we know that increasing your involvement will be rewarding.
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