What We Believe/Points of Unity
We do our work from a set of seven shared values we call our Points of Unity. We believe these are essential to the movement to dismantle white supremacy. Everyone who agrees with our Points of Unity is welcome to participate in the SURJ KC Network. To learn more about our Points of Unity, keep an eye out for online trainings here or on our Facebook page.
- Enough for Everyone
One of the things that dominant white culture teaches us is to feel isolation, fear, and alienation in everything we do. We believe that there is enough for all of us, but it is unequally distributed and structurally contained to keep resources scarce. The United States was built on a history of genocide, slavery, land theft, exploitation and the scapegoating of immigrants. History demonstrates that capitalism and inequality are heavily dependant on racism. Therefore, we must attack the economic structures that maintain racial castes. We can fight the ideas and 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 work.
- Tap Into Mutual White Interest
We use the term mutual interest instead of self interest to help us move away from only thinking about what is good for us as individuals 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 and shared oppressions we face unless we work collectively for racial justice. In practice, this means moving people out of their narrow self-interest tied to immediate needs into an understanding of our mutual interest in dismantling racism and white supremacy.
- Be Accountable to People of Color
We maintain ongoing relationships, both individually and organizationally, with People of Color. We develop organizing strategies and tactics for engaging our white communities and seek feedback from leaders and organizations led by POC on our plans, direction, and actions. We recruit white people to show up in solidarity for POC-led actions and campaigns. At the same time we realize that we cannot wait to take leadership from black and brown activists, and must take initiative to dismantle racism in white communities and spaces of power whenever possible.
- Take Risks, Learn, and Keep Going
We commit ourselves to taking action for racial justice and making an impact from our own situatedness. Action for racial justice can come in a variety of forms; it can be more than taking to the streets and protesting. Most of all we encourage white people to take risks in their own networks of relationships to build an anti-racist culture.
- Growth is Good
Sometimes we fear that if we bring in new people who do not “talk our talk “or “do it right” it will interfere with 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 amass the numbers of white people needed to undermine white supremacy and join People of Color led efforts for fundamental social change.
No one will be excluded from our work based on their race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, personal ethics, if they share our values. All have something valuable to share and receive in this work. A variety of interests and styles is important and encouraged.
- Practice a Space of Love/Calling In
We welcome all who commit to work towards racial justice in their communities. We recognize that racism hurts all of us in different ways and commit to build relationships where we can challenge and agitate each other to our highest potential out of love and understanding.
We recognize that there is a time and place for white people to discuss how white supremacy negatively affects them mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. However, a space of love also means holding each other accountable and pushing one another to take risks and step outside of comfort zones by recognizing our privilege, implicit biases, unconscious attitudes, and challenging ourselves to do better.
- Act from an “Intersectional Analysis of Oppressions” (coined by Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw)
While white supremacy is at the center of our analysis, we are clear that people exist at an intersection of oppressions that have the potential to divide our movement and lessen our power. Racism is interconnected with classism, patriarchy, homophobia, imperialism, ageism, ableism. We are committed to using an intersectional analysis of these oppressions and promote behaviors (i.e group norms etc) that confront all of them.