About SURJ Las Vegas

Thank you for your interest in the Las Vegas, NV chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice. Our chapter formed in July of 2015 and is committed to racial justice. Most of our work is done through a private Facebook group. Please visit this page to find out more information about joining us in our work.

We’d love to give you a quick overview of our beliefs and how we work together. We’ve linked some excellent articles to explain terms and ideas that some people may be unfamiliar with.

The LV chapter of SURJ is racially diverse. We are committed to the idea that it is a white person’s responsibility to educate oneself and do the work without creating additional physical or emotional burden for people of color. We are co-conspirators.

This group involves itself openly and boldly with what it means to have white privilege, white fragility (more about white fragility), systemic racismwhite supremacy, modern color-blind racism, and rejecting claims of “reverse racism”.

We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. Members of SURJ, LV do not support “All Lives Matter” or any other term that co-opts Black Lives Matter.

Our group embraces the shared values of our national organization.

Calling people in, not calling people out: Our focus is on working with White people who are already in motion. While in many activist circles, there can be a culture of shame and blame, we want to bring as many White people into taking action for racial justice as possible.

Take risks, make mistakes, learn and keep going: We know that we will have to take risks. Everyday, People of Color take risks in living their lives with full dignity and right now we are in a moment where young Black people are taking risks everyday. We challenge ourselves and other White people to take risks as well, to stand up against a racist system, actions and structures everyday. We know that in that process, we will make mistakes. Our goal is to learn from those mistakes and keep showing up again and again for what is right and for racial justice.

Tap into mutual interest: We use the term mutual interest to help us move from the idea of helping others, or just thinking about what is good for us, to understanding that our own liberation as white people, our own humanity, is inextricably linked to racial justice. Mutual interest means we cannot overcome the challenges we face unless we work for racial justice. It means our own freedom is bound up in the freedom of people of color.

Accountability through collective action: There can be an impulse for White people to try to get it right- to have the right analysis, language, friends, etc. What SURJ was called upon to do at our founding in 2009 was to take action- to show up when there are racist attacks, when the police attack and murder People of Color in the street, their homes, our communities, in challenging structural racism, immigrant oppression and indigenous struggles. We maintain ongoing relationships, individually and organizationally with leaders and organizations led by People of Color. We also know it is our work to organize other White people and we are committed to moving more White people for collective action. We can’t re-build the world we want alone- we must build powerful, loving movements of millions taking action for racial justice.

Enough for Everyone: One of the things that dominant white culture teaches us is to feel isolation and scarcity in everything we do. SURJ believes that there is enough for all of us,  but it is unequally distributed and structurally contained to keep resources scarce. We can fight the idea and the structures that limit and control global capital by creating a different world together. We believe that part of our role as white people is to raise resources to support people of color-led efforts AND to engage more white people in racial justice. Together we can make the world we want and need.

Growing is good: Sometimes we get afraid that if we bring in new people who do not talk our talk or “do it right” it will mess up what we are building.  However, if we do not bring in new people, our work cannot grow.  And if our work does not grow, we cannot bring the numbers of white people needed to undermine white supremacy and join People of Color led efforts for fundamental change. Longtime white southern civil rights activist Anne Braden once said that we have to stop believing that we are the only special ones who can be part of the work for racial justice.  We must grow our groups and our movement, understanding that welcoming people in, even at the risk of it being messy, is deeply part of what we are being called to do.