Understanding Gentrification


Gentrification is a topic impacting neighborhoods across the metro. It often feels like an inevitable story that we feel powerless to stop. At SURJ-KC we are committed to understanding gentrification as a system and process that can be confronted–if we understand how it operates. We hope you’re motivated by our meeting to dig deeper and take action! We have tons of resources for you to learn more and take leadership.

Learn More

  • Our presentation was compiled from articles, podcasts, data sets, and even poetry, and we want to share it all with you: the Gentrification Syllabus is a living document that we’ll continue updating. You can add to it too!
  • Want to re-create our presentation for your own group? Here’s a pdf of the presentation and the handout.

Take Action

Confronting gentrification will take leadership from neighborhoods across the metro, are you ready to step up?

“How to Kill a City” Book Groups
Want to learn more about the 6 phases of gentrification? That portion of our presentation was pulled from “How to Kill a City” by Peter Moskowitz. He explores gentrification in 4 major US cities and offers some ideas for solutions. Join one of our 3 book groups, hosted by SURJ Political Education core members.

And finally, join us again next month, Dec. 18th at St. Mark’s, to learn how to organize a neighborhood meeting.

Recognizing Implicit and Covert Racism

Political Education

As Charlottesville made clear: white people are organizing for white supremacy across this country. Their efforts are supported and strengthened every time we, as white folks, remain silent in the face of racism, or when we only call out the most explicit forms of white supremacy.

As white folks working for racial justice we must sharpen our ability to recognize the implicit and covert forms of racism happening everyday across our communities. And we must confront these comments, behaviors, and institutional policies in a way that “calls in” our white friends and families members towards racial justice. We hope our August mass meeting gave you some tools and some confidence to do exactly that. See handout linked below.

Today, you have the opportunity to stand up to a very strong implicit form of racism: strategic racism. Strategic racism is what J.C. Nichols was all about. JC Nichols exploited prejudiced attitudes toward black people and applied those prejudices to housing and neighborhoods in order to make money.  It’s not just whether he as an individual was a racist; it was his concentrated and successful effort to use other white people’s racism to build a system that has disadvantaged black people for generations. That is strategic racism. And you have the opportunity to challenge it today. Join us in demanding that the name of the J.C. Nichols fountain be changed so that we are no longer be memorializing a man who used racism for his material benefit. Sign on

We “show up for racial justice” when we take action in our everyday lives to confront explicit and implicit racist comments and actions. We “show up for racial justice” when we we take risks in our workplaces, neighborhoods and our networks of relationships. Let us know how you are willing to take action this month. Sign-up to SHOW UP here.


Political Education Team



Engaging with Educational Systems


Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the SURJ KC mass meeting Monday night as we examined institutional racism within our local, state, and national educational policy.

In a tumultuous political climate, it is imperative we engage with the educational systems around us in some facet in order to understand and combat policy that continues and increases characteristics of institutional racism.

We hope the inquiry into assessment culture, the history of public schools in KC, and the expansion of charter schools has illuminated the political and racist structure of our past, present, and future education systems.  We hope you continue to pursue some of the questions presented during the meeting in order to take future action in transforming some of the educational structures analyzed.

Our new SURJ-KC Education Core is launching on Thursday, May 25th at 7pm. If you’re interested in that group or other ways of connecting and organizing, ask to join our SURJ-KC Education Facebook Group. In addition, we will follow-up with individuals who agreed to host or attend small-group meetings within the next week with materials and support.

There are several opportunities listed below to SHOW UP for racial justice in the coming weeks. Please check those out below.

Sign up to host an Education Event 
(book study, podcast party, or documentary-watch party)

Analysis Framework 

KCPS By The Numbers Slides

Recommended Resources 



• Get Money Out of Politics (Jobs with Justice): Saturday, May 20th, 10am-2pm, 4526 Paseo

• Get On the Bus (StandUp KC to Chicago): May 22nd – May 25th

• SURJ Education Core Launch: Thursday, May 25th, 7-8:30pm

• SURJ Core-Building Workshop: Saturday, June 3rd, 12:30-5pm

• SURJ Families: Unpacking White Saviorism: Sunday, June 25th, 3:30-5pm<

Criminal Justice Issues

Political Education

Thanks to everyone who was able to attend the SURJ KC mass meeting Monday night as we sharpened our anti-racist analysis of the institutions and systems that structure our lives.

As we continue to witness dangerous policies and narratives that deem some people dangerous to our public safety for simply existing, it is critical that we develop our skills to breakdown where these come from and why. That’s how we can effectively engage other white folks to challenge and disrupt these policies.

We hope the tool and presentation from Monday night’s meeting below will help you in these conversations. We encourage you to use our analysis framework and questions with issues going on in your own community or workplace.

We will follow-up with individuals who agreed to host or attend small-group meetings within the next week with materials and support.

There are lots more opportunities listed below to SHOW UP for racial justice this week. Please check those out.

Political Education Team


Analysis Framework

Powerpoint Presentation on Criminal Justice Issues


Bring an Anti-Racist Lens to Direct Action Work


Thank you for showing up again this month to stand for racial justice in Kansas City!  Our meeting this month focused on solidarity action.  As the country embraces for a Trump presidency, we know that we will be entering a time of increasing mass protest.  Now, more than ever, we need to be prepared to bring analysis and strategy that centers racial justice to action spaces of which we are a part.  Now is the time to push ourselves, embrace our growing edge, and take risks we have been hesitant to take in the past.

We referenced a number of tools and resources for how we can show up powerfully and bring a strong anti-racist lens to our direct action work.  We wanted to make sure to make these available to you.

Here you can find the Enid Lee essay “Looking Through an Anti-Racist Lens.”

Here you can find the Catalyst Project’s “Tools for White Anti-Racist Organizing.”

Here is the link to the website for the Midwest Academy and their book “Organizing for Social Change: Midwest Academy Manuel for Activists.”

Lastly, we welcome your feedback on what we are doing well and what we can do better with our monthly mass meetings.  Please take a few minutes and fill our our mass meeting evaluation by clicking on the link below.

We will continue to let you know about opportunities to show up for racial justice in 2017.  Onward!

“Calling In” in Conversation with Our Families


Thanks to everyone who was able to attend the SURJ KC mass meeting last night as we begin learning what it means to “call in” other white folks in our lives.  We are at a critical time in our nation as we prepare for a new president who has promised violence, mass deportation, racial profiling, and religious persecution.  It is vitally important over this holiday weekend that we don’t slip into the familiar and comfortable routine of avoiding difficult conversations about race. To effectively grow a vast multi-cultural movement to end white supremacy, we must engage and mobilize a significant number of white people to embrace and act upon an anti-racist agenda. And we must continue to love each other. We want them to join our efforts to disrupt white supremacy in ourselves and the community at large.

As you prepare to sit at the table this week and over the next month with folks in your lives that don’t share your views, we have included the presentation and handouts from last night’s discussion to support you in engaging in courageous conversations, moving your friends and family into action, and taking the first steps in building the movement that we need.

Also, we are including a google form that we ask you to use to share stories from your conversations.  This will allow us to be encouraged by each other and gain insight into what works in these challenging conversations.  Thanks again for joining us last night and please stay tuned for numerous opportunities to participate in trainings and solidarity actions in the coming week!

Share stories here:

Mass Meeting Presentation:

Mass Meeting Handout:

House Meeting Training

Healing from Toxic Whiteness


As a white person committed to racial justice, this situation may sound familiar.

You’re sitting in a room with people of color talking about racism and social justice.

You know enough about white supremacy to not to take up all the space in the room.

Too often, you’ve seen white people focus on how upsetting noticing racism is for them personally – as opposed to focusing on the daily trauma and actual impact on people of color and what needs to be done to stop it.

And you definitely don’t want to do that!

But you’re also not quite sure when or how you can process your feelings around white supremacy or if it’s even ok to. And all of that keeps getting in the way of you knowing how to take action.

This in-between space of no longer wanting to be part of the problem, but still fumbling with understanding how to be a part of the solution, can lead you to feeling:

  • Guilty about how you benefit from white privilege but not knowing how to give it up
  • Confused about what to do but not wanting to ask and show your ignorance
  • Afraid of accidentally perpetuating white privilege so you remain quiet
  • Defensive when people call you out for racism since you’re trying your best
  • Wanting to distance yourself from those “bad” obviously racist white people

This happens a lot but you don’t have to stay stuck there!

To help with this situation, Everyday Feminism is offering a free online workshop, “Healing from Toxic Whiteness to Better Fight for Racial Justice.”

You’ll learn how to free yourself from toxic whiteness to develop an anti-racist white identity, by getting:

  • The four core pains that drive all of the outrage, denial, guilt, and fear preventing white people from taking action for racial justice – including and especially for yourself.
  • A completely new way of looking at white supremacy – as something that has caused pain, suffering, and trauma across generations of white people in addition to people of color.
  • A powerful mindfulness practice that will help you get in touch with that pain and suffering, and how to take care of and release it with compassion.
  • How to transform your interactions with other white people by connecting your ability to work with your own pain with ability to work with other white people’s resistance to taking action.

>> Click Here To Save Your Spot In Everyday Feminism’s Free Online Workshop <<

(Even if you can’t make it, register here anyway. You’ll get the video recording later!)
Date: Thursday, September 15, 2016

Time: 8 pm Eastern / 5 pm Pacific

Duration: 90 minutes
Hope to see you there!


Donation form

Personal Info

Donation Total: $5

SURJ KC is a 100% volunteer led organization committed to organizing white people for racial justice in accountability with People of Color.  We appreciate your financial support!

We must also commit to supporting the work of People of Color led groups that are organizing for racial justice. We are committed to giving 1/2 of our donations to local POC led groups and ask that you also make a matching donation to a POC led group fighting for racial justice. Here is a list of suggestions compiled with the help of the POC Power Team: Anytown KC • KS/MODA • One Struggle KC

Thank you for being a part of the movement for racial justice and our collective liberation!