SURJ Holiday Placemat for Racial Justice

A placemat guide for holiday discussions on race and justice with loved ones.


Tips for talking to families:

-- Breathe.

-- Listen mindfully before formulating a thoughtful response

-- Ask questions when people express strong opinions

-- Affirm. Clarify the difference between good intentions and the impact

-- Speak from a place of mutual interest, sharing personal experiences, vulnerability & emotions


View placemat as a PDF.

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#Mizzou/ student uprisings:

Why are the Black students complaining? Shouldn’t they be happy to be in college?  

Response: When I hear students expressing their experiences of racism on campus I don’t hear complaining. Instead I hear young people uplifting a situation that  I, as a white person, do not experience. If white kids get the privilege of that safe environment I believe that same privilege should be given to all students.  



We shouldn’t let anyone into the US from Syria. we can’t guarantee that terrorists won’t infiltrate the ranks of the refugees. They’ve already done it in France. They’re the ones who are causing all these problems.  


The US has been accepting refugees from war-torn areas around the world for decades. Remember the wars in Central America? They were extremely violent, and the US accepted refugees from all sides of the wars with very strict vetting and not one incident of violence. Racial justice includes welcoming Syrian refugees.


Black murders by the Police (Tamir Rice, Jamar Clark, Sandra Bland etc.):

Idea #1: Why didn't they just listen to the officer? If they had just obeyed the law this wouldn’t have happened. 

Response:  Do you think the response would have been the same if it was a white person being pulled over? In many of the incidents that result in the death of a black body in the street these victims are not breaking the law and are unarmed. With Tamir Rice, he was a 12 year-old boy playing in the park near his house. When the officers pulled up they gave no verbal commands and shot within two seconds of arriving on the scene. He was not breaking any laws, he was given no orders to obey.  


Talking to kids about colonization:

Idea: Kids shouldn’t talk/ hear about this kind of stuff; they’re too young.


History is often written by the powerful.There’s more than one side to any story and it’s good for children to hear alternative perspectives from Native people. It builds critical thinking, a better understanding of the world, and it’s the right thing to do.  Now is a moment to teach our children the necessity of acting on our deepest values.



Set a chair and a place setting to honor the 1024 people killed by the police in 2015. According to the Guardian, about 400 of those killed were Black. Many of them were unarmed.

Please join us in supporting the Black Lives Matter Minneapolis General Fund.

Please join us in support Sandra Blands’ family as they pursue justice. #JusticeForSandra