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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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)
By Micki Luckey
“And O my people, out yonder, hear me, they do not love your neck unnoosed and straight. So love your neck; put a hand on it, grace it, stroke it and hold it up…. hear me now, love your heart. For this is the prize.” From a passage in Toni Morrison’s Beloved that is engraved on the wall of the National Lynching Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama.
By Micki Luckey
While visiting the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, Christina Sharpe, a Black Professor from York University, was deep in contemplation of the trauma represented by the names of lynching victims on 805 hanging steel columns and similar coffin-like columns laid in the ground. She was approached by a white woman who said, “I’m so sorry.” Sharpe said she did not reply; full of her own sorrow, she did not want to take on the unknown white woman’s distress.
By Sandy Bredt
“Our founding ideals of liberty and equality were false when they were written.” With that salvo, Nikole Hannah-Jones opens the introduction to her latest gem, the New York Times’ “1619 Project,” a comprehensive exploration of slavery and racism, produced with the Smithsonian and the Pulitzer Center in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the first African slave ship landing on our shores.
By Christina Robinson and Elizabeth Humphries
In just one week three communities across this country faced terror and the loss of loved ones at the hands of white men armed with guns. Our hearts are heavy with sadness for those who are grieving and those who have been touched in other ways — like those who will never be able to attend the Gilroy Garlic Festival without remembering the terror that happened there. And because it can feel like any town, city, church, or festival could be next, we share the fear and trepidation of people throughout our country.