Action for Charleston


seattle_vigil_2.jpgIn the wake of the massacre of nine Black Members of the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, SURJ held a conference call on Friday, June 19th to offer share information and context from Charleston, share key feedback and messages for engaging and talking to other white people and steps for action.

Below is the audio recording, notes, and links to each of the next steps.

We apologize to anyone who was unable to get on the call, we only had 500 lines, and it filled up immediately.

We greatly appreciate how many people signed up and look forward to working with you more.

Please join us on FacebookTwitter and join SURJ to stay up-to-date.

You can find notes from the call here.

The audio recording from last nights call is here.  


  1. Take Action: There is a national call for action, Sunday night at 6pm in solidarity with Charleston. To find out about actions in your area. Share your action on the SURJ website here. Need help planning your action? Check out our DOJ Action Kit or email us at

  2. Donate: The Mother Emmanuel AME Church, where 9 members were murdered needs funds to cover the funeral costs and other expenses. Please give here.

  3. Outreach: Over and over, people of color have said that the work of white people is to reach out and bring in other white people. SURJ chapters across the country are engaging white people in their communities. On the call last night over 65% of participants committed to do outreach in their town. Two options:

    SURJ members from across the country are door-knocking in primarily white neighborhoods with Black Lives Matter yard signs. Check out our script, how to order Black Lives Matter yard signs and answers to frequently asked questions here.  

    There have been specific requests from people of color and black organizers in our community to use Pride as a platform to continue to focus on the killing of black and brown people in this country. Take your outreach to pride. Bring a contingent with signs, demand the organizers be explicit about their support for black lives matter, and engage other white people. For examples, check out the SURJ Pride Action kit.  


Other actions:

  • Southerners on New Ground was on our call last night and shared their work. You see their statement and some of the ways to take action here.

  • SURJ is holding a call for how to engage other white people based on their mutual interest in ending white supremacy. Register for the call here.

  • Want to start or connect to a local SURJ group - check out our affiliate list or start a group.

  • We appreciate that there were so many people who signed up for the SURJ call last night. Can you chip in $3 to add another line on our next call?


Talking Points/ Messaging:

A couple of key points to keep in mind while talking about the massacre at the AME Church, Dylan Stone Roof and this moment:

  • This attack had everything to do with race. The far-right and the republican party aren’t coordinated, but they share the same beliefs. The language he was using was the language of the white power movement and right wing talk radio. He wanted to start a race war.

  • Dylann Roof is not just one extremist, he was created and shaped by the same racist society that teaches all white people to hate and fear black people. Roof was taught his beliefs. Black people are being killed and violently mistreated by the police everyday. The connection between his actions and the actions of the police undergird our society.

  • Emphasize the importance of lifting up lives and humanity of black people, black women and girls. It is not our job to police black people and the black response to this hateful action. There is a lot of fear and anger and trauma that is coming out right now and we need to let that happen.

  • Now is the time to take action, to take collective responsibility for organizing white communities and calling white people in. Undoing institutional racism is our job. We need to figure out how to take this racist system down. What do we want our legacy to be?


For social media, please use the follow hashtags:

#AMEMassacre #StandwithCharleston #EndWhiteSupremacy


Photo from Seattle Vigil for Charleston 6/18/15