Tompkins County Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) is a chapter of National SURJ, a network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice and against white supremacy. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multiracial majority for justice with accountability to people of color-led organizations locally and nationally.
In alignment with the values of National SURJ, TC SURJ provides a space to build relationships, skills, and political understanding from which to act for change. We use a variety of strategies and tactics in pursuit of our mission, including education, direct action, support for people of color-led organizations, and support for local and national campaigns.
The election of Barack Obama in 2008 launched a new wave of white supremacist action, which has profoundly shaped the current climate of ever-increasing danger to people and communities of color. We view this situation as an important context for our vital work of breaking white silence. We also recognize the centuries-long, unrelenting struggle for racial justice in this country by people of color and white people whose legacy we honor and learn from.
We believe that racism is integrally connected to economic injustice, patriarchy, colonization (especially our status as settlers on stolen Cayuga land) and other forms of oppression that harm and divide the many for the benefit of the few. We work in solidarity with local LGBTQ, immigrant rights, worker’s rights and other social movements that advance collective liberation.
How Our Chapter Works
We meet monthly as the TC SURJ chapter to do political education together, build our skill sets, learn about and support each other’s racial justice efforts, and commit to action steps. Chapter meetings are held on the 3rd Monday of each month at the Quaker Meeting House, located at 120 3rd Street in Ithaca, from 6:00-8:00 pm, with orientation for new members at 5:30 pm. While our focus is on white anti-racist organizing, all are welcome. Facilitators rotate, so each meeting has a different feeling and focus. We provide some light food/snacks, and it’s great if you can bring some food or drink to share as well!
We currently have several working groups and action groups which together keep our work for racial justice moving forward. These groups meet from once per week to once per month. There are lots of ways to get involved and we encourage you to read about the possibilities via the link above. As our chapter grows & the work continues over the long haul, we may be called to shift focus or move in new, different directions.
How to Connect With Us
To join our general mailing list, or to participate in one of the working/action groups, please email us at tcsurj at gmail.com or follow the instructions on our Get Involved page. If you have questions about times and locations for upcoming events, check the calendar on this site or contact tcsurj at gmail.com.
Everyone is welcome. No matter your experience level with racial justice activism, we look forward to working together.
SURJ’s Theory of Change: https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/theory-of-change.html
What We Mean by “Accountability”: http://www.racialequitytools.org/plan/change-process/accountability
Tompkins County Structural Racism: