SURJ Atlanta works to dismantle systemic white supremacy by moving people from compassion to action. We prepare our members to advocate for racial justice in their everyday lives and show up for direct actions led by people of color (PoC). Guided by our accountability to PoC-led organizations, we are building a multiracial majority for racial justice by addressing our relative positions of privilege, processing bias, and challenging manifestations of white supremacy – both explicit and implicit – within our own communities.
We affirm that compassion without action is futile. As such, we show up for PoC-led direct actions that expose, interrupt, or resist white supremacy. We also work to name and challenge the structures, policies, and norms that maintain systems of oppression within our own communities.
We affirm that the struggles of oppressed persons are inextricably linked, and that liberation can only be achieved once all interlocking systems of oppression have been abolished. As such, we pledge to use our time and resources to not only disrupt racism, but also sexism, classism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia.
We affirm the resilience and self-determination of oppressed persons. At the same time, we acknowledge the unique positioning of privileged persons to expose, interrupt, and resist the oppressive structures and institutions to which society has granted them access. While we are responsible for organizing ourselves, we take guidance from the people directly impacted by racial injustice, who know best what they need. We practice accountability as a constant reflective process, in which we regularly check in with local PoC leaders to learn about their values and priorities; we work to center their voices and amplify their efforts with our labor; and we aim to conduct ourselves appropriately as anti-racist allies, utilizing an internal accountability policy when needed to “call in” SURJ members.
We acknowledge the risk persons with privilege accept when working to disrupt a system that inherently benefits them. Despite our best intentions, we are blinded by our privilege and will make mistakes. The risk of error does not prevent us from taking action; instead, we celebrate and encourage risk-taking. Sitting with uncomfortable moments, reaching outside our comfort zones, challenging assumptions, making mistakes, taking responsibility, and learning from each other are all essential to individual and collective growth. It’s ok to articulate ideas that are still in progress in SURJ meeting spaces. We assume best intentions while also acknowledging impact.
We affirm that anti-racist work is never complete, so long as racial injustice persists. We believe that our role in dismantling white supremacy requires a long-term, comprehensive commitment to interrupting the aspects of one’s life that continue to uphold white supremacy. This work includes both public and personal action, in activist spaces as well as in our everyday lives. Our commitment to racial justice impacts the way we spend our time and money, the way we interact with friends and family, the way we vote. We have begun a lifelong process of listening, questioning, unlearning, relearning, and recentering, and are invested in continuing to educate ourselves and other persons with privilege for the rest of our lives.