Actions we can take from home:
As you begin to think about creating safe action spaces for families, caregivers and elders, keep in mind those within that group who have a hard time just getting out of the house. Are there ways that you can engage and move those people from their homes in effective ways? Posting articles and engaging family, friends and co-workers on social media is part of what the modern movement for racial justice looks like. It is a great way to spread the word about issues and events, it is a great way to engage lots of people at once, and it is a great way to connect with a like-minded community to work towards a greater goal. But there are many meaningful ways outside of just social media engagement that you can plug in from your computer and your home without getting stuck in the endless loop of social media activism. One of SURJ’s core values is accountability through action. This should also include any action we do that doesn’t require showing up - there should always remain a component of strategy connecting to the larger picture. These at home actions should fall in line with the local and national issues that your local SURJ chapter or affiliate group are working on, as well as falling in line with the work of local people of color led organizations that you support. Here are a few things that you can begin to incorporate into how you engage families, caregivers and elders and move into action in flexible but meaningful ways.
Home based rapid action response team:
Showing up for community meetings, demonstrations or council meetings can be difficult for many due to life’s limitations but there are ways you can uplift the voices of those spaces with intention and action. Create a network of parents, caregivers and elders that can communicate and support one another to find ways of showing up from home. You can connect in a Facebook group, an e-mail thread, a phone tree, a weekly conference call or any way that works best for those in your group. Focus on the local and national issues of SURJ and the Black Lives Matter movement that are already in movement but also use this as a space to help your organizations respond to arising local issues.
- Prepare statements or press releases for your local SURJ Chapter, affiliate group or local Black Lives Matter organization.
- Start letter and e-mail writing campaigns.
- Help with the communication infrastructure for your group (emails, setting up Facebook pages/events, etc)
- Phone-banking sessions
- Social media campaigns and amplification.
- Op-Ed and letters to the editor.
- Help develop materials needed like brochures, informational handouts, flyers for events, signature postcards, petitions and any other materials groups you support may need.
Research and data gathering:
One big difference between the civil rights movements of our elders and the Black Lives Matter movement of today is the Internet. That big wide world of knowledge, games and gossip. In modern parenting and caregiving the internet is a way to be part of a community and engage with the outside world when sometimes our lives keep us at home. You can use that technology connection as a way to collectively or individually contribute to the foundation work for how and what change happens. Encourage your group of parents and caregivers to give 15 minutes of movement work time for every 15 minutes spent engaging on social media. It is important to remember justice will not be won on social media and there is still work that must done. and one role parents and caregivers can play is finding that tricky balance. If you see a mutual interest in racial justice then the next step is moving that mutual interest into mutual work and taking on tasks and roles where needed which can very often be research and data collection. Here are some ways to begin plugging into that side of the work.
- Focus on finding ways to plug into already existing work to help take the pressure off building something new.
- Connect with your local SURJ Chapter to find out about the SURJ sponsored campaigns that will be starting in 2016 and the local issues they are tapped into to find out what research and data collection needs to be done and where families, caregivers and elders can fit into that.
- Build a relationship with your local activists who are organizing around Black Lives Matter and find out what research and data collection support they may need.
- Your SURJ chapter, affiliate group or local people of color led organizations may need some social media or website help also. SURJ Families views this type of social media engagement differently than working from our personal pages. Those that are following an organization's page or website are most likely already tapped into the work for racial justice and this is a way in which we can work towards calling people in that are already moving.
Here's the full Multi-Generational Organizing Spaces Toolkit.
We want to hear about your actions you are doing from home! Please join our Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) Families Facebook group to seek out advice and share any multi-generational actions you organized or participated in. Or e-mail us your stories and pictures at SURJFamilies@gmail.com