We are excited to be exploring a new campaign to redistribute white wealth in Tompkins County, and we would love your feedback! Click here to go straight to the survey, and read on for more background.

Why redistribute white wealth?

One of SURJ’s core values as a national organization is “there is enough for all”. While we know that there are enough resources to go around and take care of everyone’s basic needs, wealth is distributed unfairly and is deeply impacted by white supremacy, including the historical realities of slavery, land theft, housing discrimination, food apartheid, environmental racism and more. Although certainly not all white people have access to excess wealth, due to systemic racism, the typical white family has eight times the wealth of the typical Black family and five times the wealth of the typical Latinx family. The median white worker in 2021 made 26% more income than the median Black worker. In other words, white people hold a vastly disproportionate amount of wealth in this country and have a large role to play in working towards economic justice for all.

Here in Tompkins County, there are many BIPOC-led organizations working to address systemic racism and its impacts. Because of the racial wealth and income gaps, their work is often impacted by limited resources, including time and money. Even grant funding can cause challenges by restricting uses of the money, requiring staff time to complete applications and reporting, and at times failing to acknowledge racism within review and decision-making processes. 

The goal of SURJ’s Redistributing White Wealth Campaign is to move some of the money that white folks in Tompkins County have access to into BIPOC-led anti-racist organizing work on an ongoing basis, with no strings attached. 

We understand that this proposed campaign is only one small step towards the redistribution of white wealth; however, we believe it’s an important step. Initiatives like this one are being launched in many other communities. It is our hope and vision that this campaign and others like it will eventually lead to broader actions at the local, state and national levels (such as taxing the rich, the land back movement, and the passage of national reparations legislation like H.R. 40). 

Will you join us in redistributing wealth in Tompkins County?

It’s easy! All you will have to do is set up a recurring contribution of any amount to our Redistributing White Wealth fund (link coming when the campaign launches). You don’t have to be wealthy to contribute. Social science research shows that those with lower incomes actually give a greater percentage of their money than those with higher incomes. Maybe you can contribute $8/month, in recognition of the fact that white families have, on average, 8 times the wealth of Black families. Or maybe you are a higher income earner, and are able to contribute $26/month, or even 26% of your monthly income, in recognition of the 26% more income that white workers earn on average compared to Black workers. Maybe you can contribute $100, or even $1000, per month. Choose an amount that feels meaningful to you. You can always adjust your contribution if your circumstances change. When you think about how much you can contribute, consider that this is not a charity project, but a redistribution of wealth in response to systemic racism. 

TC SURJ has partnered with BIPOC-led anti-racist organizations in Tompkins County since our founding – this accountability is core to all the work we do. This new project is intended to increase available resources for our partners, not to replace all the other ways that we strive to support racial justice work in our community. We have been in conversation with some of our partners as we begin to plan for this initiative, and will continue checking in with these and other partners to adapt the project as needed. 

Partner organizations who SURJ has been in communication with about this project include:

  • Ithaca Multicultural Resource Center
  • Southside Community Center
  • Black Lives Matter Ithaca
  • Alliance of Families for Justice
  • Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ (Cayuga) Nation

While the campaign is still taking shape, we have created a survey to gauge the community’s interest and feedback in the proposal. Filling out the survey isn’t a firm commitment, but we hope to follow up when the campaign launches to get you signed up to move money. Thank you for helping the campaign move ahead by filling out the survey! It may take 2–10 minutes.

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