Why become a member of SURJ Sacramento?
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Sacramento works in community with Black, indigenous, and people of color-lead resistance, liberation, and abolition movements to dismantle white supremacy and its systems of oppression.
SURJ Sacramento currently maintains partnerships with The Liberation Collective for Black Sacramento (TLC), California Heritage: Indigenous Research Project (CHIRP), and NorCal Resist.
By becoming a member you play a crucial role in enabling SURJ to respond to the needs of our partner organizations in Sacramento and its surrounding counties. SURJ Sacramento is 100% volunteer-lead, and all funds raised go directly to our partner organizations.
One of SURJ's values is accountability through collective action, which means "we believe change happens when we build with millions of other people to change culture, policies and practices. We need a mass movement to make change." This accountability must happen across racial, class and ability lines. If everyone who can commits to giving up just a few hours or dollars (or both) every month, we can do so much! And when those hours and dollars align, we can have an even larger impact.
Ultimately, how you are willing to show up is a constant negotiation. Sometimes you may have more energy, time, and money to give than other times. We don’t want you to over commit and then burn out, but we do encourage you to push yourself outside your comfort zone and think about your priorities and activities.
What does it mean to show up and take action?
Tl;dr Action is consistently fulfilling a non-financial request of SURJ Sacramento or one of our partners.
The longer answer is that SURJ Sacramento has partnered with three racial justice organizations in the Sacramento area. We have chosen these organizations because they are people of color- and Black-led, and are fighting for the acceptance and liberation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). SURJ recognizes that many people, including White folks, want to participate in the work of liberation, but that it is up to these organizations and people of color to determine the best, most helpful, and most effective ways to achieve that goal. We are here to support them in the struggle for collective liberation.
While our goal is to show up for our partner organizations, SURJ Sacramento also needs volunteers to join our Core Group. Members of our Core Group plan campaigns, develop educational offerings, and build our membership base.
Our partners also have projects and ongoing programs that need actual people to show up and lend a hand in keeping them running. For example, NorCal Resist coordinates a group of people who help local asylum seekers get to a variety of appointments. The larger the list of folks who can do this, the more asylum seekers they can help. Our mission in SURJ is to support these efforts and they need our help with providing people power.
When doing this, consistency is key. It is hard to maintain these programs if folks only show up once in a blue moon or only when it’s convenient for them. It is not helpful if someone shows up a lot for three weeks then ghosts for six months. Committing to showing up once a month, once a week, or every other month makes it easier to keep on-going programs and protests running smoothly because you can be counted on to be there. Which is why we are asking for commitment.
To be clear, this is our definition for the context of our educational offerings and membership requirements. Other organizations and people may define action differently.
I'd like to be involved with SURJ Sacramento, as well as with your partners. How do I do that?
Great! We really want you to join us too! While our goals are to get people to show up for, physically and financially, we really need help actually doing that. We also offer a few educational opportunities and need help keeping those up and running. Plus we'd like to expand those offerings and we can't without more help. Jump over to our page about volunteering with the SURJ Sacramento chapter.
What if I am not able to show up because I have accessibility needs?
We recognize that people may have varying levels of physical strength, as well as other challenges such as social anxiety or other invisible disabilities. Depending on your accessibility needs, we would encourage you to look into the events and programs. Some are accessible and there maybe options for folks with disabilities. If you have questions or concerns about accessibility around specific events and programs, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, especially if you aren’t comfortable reaching out directly to a partner organization. We can find out about accessibility on your behalf. If it’s simply not possible for you to show up physically we have a financial-only level of membership.
I can’t give money and I can’t show up. Can I still be involved?
Again, we recognize this is sometimes the case and we can definitely find a way for you to be involved. Time is always at a premium and there is always behind the scenes work that needs to be done both for SURJ Sacramento and for our partners. Contact us and we can discuss other options.
Why the push to show up and not just give money?
Also a good question. The average White family has 16 times the wealth that the average Black family has. Which means White folks either have more discretionary income or access to others who do. Giving money to organizations doing racial justice work is very important and a crucial way to redistribute wealth. And if this is the only way you can currently show up, we would prefer you gave money instead of doing nothing.
However, part of ongoing, sustained action with an organization allows for relationships to be built between members. It is important to remember that this work should not be transactional, it’s relational. Giving money and walking away does not allow us to build friendships and partnerships with the people we are fighting alongside. Showing up also gives us contact with the people we are fighting for. Instead of giving anonymously, they become people with names and faces and stories that we are able to develop relationships with. The more invested you are in showing up and building relationships, the more you will care about the people and the harder you will fight for them.
Can you give me some examples of actions you have in mind?
You can become a part of NorCal Resist’s accompaniment teams.
You can volunteer with NorCal Resist’s Community Fix-It program.
You can become a part of SURJ Sacramento's Core Group.
Host a regular fundraiser, such a dinner or movie night, to raise money for one of our partners.
Show up for court support with The Liberation Collective.
Volunteer with CHIRP for their letter campaign to restore federal recognition.
Are there any perks?
Besides dismantling white supremacy and living in a more just and equitable world? Yes, we have a couple small perks for folks who sign up to be a member. If you donate between $10 and $20 a month we'll send you a SURJ sticker. If you donate $20 or more a month we have a pin-back button that we will send you. Folks who take the service pledge or the financial pledge will be given a link to our logo wear campaign with TeeSpring where you can purchase SURJ Sacramento t-shirts, stickers, and sweatshirts.