The morning that we learned that there would be no charges for the officer responsiblefor taking Tamir Rice’s life, I woke up like any other morning. As the sun broke and I snuggled into my sleeping child lost to a world of dreams a mere 350 miles away a mother most likely laid awake lost in grief for her stolen son. A life taken decades too early, murdered by a system that protects its killers and blames its victims. On December 28, 2015 Prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced that on his suggestion a grand jury has decided not to bring charges on Officer Timothy Lohemann, the officer responsible for taking the life of Tamir Rice. Thinking about these mothers and the coming of the new year made me realize it’s time that we, as white families, resolve to #RaiseUpLove, #RaiseUpJustice, and #Resolve2Resist Racism. - Rebecca
Zoë and their family (pictured) resolve to host racial justice story time in 2016. What's your racial justice resolution?
This is an invitation for you to consider your racial justice resolutions for this year, and to share them confidently and call in your friends to do the same. Stay tuned for a pledge you can sign and share!Read more
SURJ Families #RaiseUpJustice Diverse Books Starter Kit
Here’s a book list that will help you #RaiseUpJustice & #RaiseUpLove with your children and in your community. This list has been crowdsourced with the input of rad SURJ Families, Raising Race Conscious Children and friends from many of the communities featured in these books. We are are raising our children while talking about race and racism and teaching and modeling for them how we can stand up for and include all of our friends. Diverse books provide "mirrors and windows" that help kids see reflections of themselves in the world, and also to see and get to know the lives of people who are different from them.
Check these books out from your library, or, when you buy a book off this list from Powell's (by clicking on the cover or book name), you support indy book stores and also contribute to the important work that SURJ does. Consider donating some of these books to your schools, libraries, congregations, daycares and anywhere where you want to help #RaiseUpJustice & #RaiseUpLove.
SURJ Families: Who We Are
How we got started: In August 2015, SURJ leaders from around the country gathered to build work groups and a regional resource structure to help us reach 7 million White people needed to make sustainable change. A few leaders took this time to focus on building what SURJ Families would look like as we begin to focus on calling in white families, caregivers, and elders, striving to build a movement that reflects the full picture of humanity’s ages and stages.
Mission and Purpose: SURJ Families is a working group within SURJ, a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice that grew out of a need to create space to engage families, caregivers and elders into our work for racial justice. As a team, we focus on organizing multi-generational spaces that are inclusive and accommodating for people of all ages, from kids to elders. We believe there is power in parents, caregivers and our youth showing up to break white silence as we strive to create a just and inclusive society for our future generations. The purpose of SURJ Families is to help SURJ chapters and affiliates to move towards multi-generational spaces and actions to help broaden our membership. We are available to help coach groups, develop toolkits and action kits that are focused on multi-generational spaces, uplift resources that are geared towards families and caregivers, and help find space in the already flowing movement for Black Lives Matter for families and caregivers.
SURJ Families aligns with the SURJ core values.
- Tap into mutual interest.
- Calling people in, not calling people out
- Accountability through collective action
- Taking risks, learning and keeping going
- Enough for everyone
- Growing is good
Tips and tricks for creating multigenerational spaces within your SURJ Chapter or affiliate group:
Why is this important and helpful?
Multigenerational spaces are a key component to the sustainability of movement change. When children and youth are engaged in the building and learning of movement spaces for racial justice they become part of the building of what the future looks like for themselves, and this can help to keep them engaged as that future plays out. It's also so much more fun for everyone, and more effective to the overall picture, too. Talking with children in the room makes us simplify our words and ideas and ground us in our basic values. Talking with our elders makes us wiser and connects us to the history we are building upon. We learn with our children and from our elders, even when those children and elders don't technically belong to us! One of the most important things to remember about multigenerational spaces is that we are educating a future generation about how movements work. You are showing them the good moments and the tense moments of movement building so they can gain an understanding of how to continue this work when they are older to build sustainable change.
SURJ Families Guide to Fostering Multi-Generationally Inclusive Movement Spaces
Other resources for Fostering multigenerational spaces:
- 7 Ways to Create Family-Friendly Movement Spaces
- Towards a Multi-Generational Ideal
- If There Aren’t Babies and Grandmas It’s Not My Revolution
- Don't Leave Your Friends Behind: Concrete Ways to Support Families in Social Justice Movements and Communities
Moving into Action and creating safe multi-generational action spaces:
One of SURJ’s core values is accountability through action. As families, caregivers and elders we face a few extra hurdles to overcome in order to physically be able to show in meaningful ways. It is also important that we respect the space of people of color organizers and understand it is not their place to make space for white families to show up at actions. but rather, it is part of our collective role as SURJ Families to find ways to open up space for white families to move into action with our children, youth and elders in order to educate through modeling activism in our lives.
Sometimes life’s limitations can keep us from being able to attend a rally, protest, march or direct action and that is ok! That doesn't mean we can't contribute to the action from afar! There are plenty of ways we can plug in from home and some tricks to creating space at those rallies and marches. A few things to keep in mind as you build these spaces is that it is important to always engage the children and youth in why we are moving into action, don’t just use them as bodies or props, help them to learn the what and the why of racial justice. When possible make these spaces fun, incorporate art and activities that can help educate and make this a place families, caregivers and elders want to be. Below are 3 documents that help outline ways you can plug families, caregivers and elders into different areas of action based on their individual needs. You should be creating an atmosphere of meeting people where they are at in life and helping to make action possible for everyone.
We want to hear about the actions and meeting spaces you create for SURJ Families in your local work. Please join our Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) Families Facebook group and e-mail us your stories at SURJFamilies@gmail.com. We are also available for support and coaching if you have any questions, comments or concerns please reach out.
Thank you to all who contributed resources to this toolkit. In particular Coleen Murphy, Zoë Williams, Julie Roberts-Phung and Rebecca Frederick. Photo credit Amy Rock.
We all want to sit down to a feast with our extended families and celebrate what is good and beautiful in our lives, right? The mashed potatoes taste great, but the next thing you know, white supremacy’s dehumanizing, oppressive narratives come to life at your holiday table and nothing is sitting quite right.Read more
SURJ Families know that there is work we can do even with very young children to support the fact that #BlackTransLivesMatter. We celebrate families of all configurations and wish to instill within our children a more nuanced understanding of gender and an active engagement with social justice.
SURJ families who participate in the movement for Black Trans Lives can support and facilitate transgender people expressing themselves freely no matter what role they play in our families or communities. There is a lot here, don’t let it overwhelm you. The goal is that you start somewhere, and keep coming back to this work over time and deepen your understanding and work.
Questions about the webinar? Reach Raising Race Conscious Children directly at: http://www.raceconscious.org/contact/ Want to talk to a coach who can help you use a webinar to start of continue racial justice work in your community? Email: SURJfamilies@gmail.com
What is it?
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) is a national network of organizers working to bring White people together to work for racial justice. ‘SURJ Families’ is encouraging our members to host an evening with an interactive workshop/webinar on “How to talk with kids about race” produced by Raising Race Conscious Children. The webinar is designed with White families in mind, but other families who want to start with the basics of naming race may find it helpful too.
The Raising Race Conscious Children interactive workshop/webinar presents and models ways to name race with very young children, from infants through elementary school. It will share basic information on bias and racism, but will spend the majority of the workshop focusing on strategies for naming race. The format involves modeling strategies and giving participants practice time so that we can feel confident getting started or deepening our personal work on naming race in everyday life.Read more
Below you will find an action toolkit created by SURJ (and friends) to help you plan your action on Mother’s Day. The action toolkit is also available for download as a PDF.
As we watch the protests in Baltimore, we are reminded of that so many Black mothers mourn the deaths of their children to police brutality. Please share the Mother’s Day Action Toolkit with other families and parents.
Thanks for being brave, bold and supportive. Let us know if you have any feedback, comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.Read more