December 2017 included many anti-mass incarceration events, workshops on “calling in” to help folks have productive conversations about race with family members who they may only see during the winter holidays, and, most excitingly, a fundraiser for our accountability partner, Project Reach! Below are a few highlights of events that SURJ promoted or hosted this past month. For information on current or future events, sign up for our mailing list!
Tuesday, December 5: Anti Mass-Incarceration Teach-In
This was an evening with VOCAL-NY to learn about mass incarceration, how you can be part of dismantling this racist system, and a new court monitoring program to hold the criminal justice system accountable to the needs of vulnerable New Yorkers.
Thursday, December 14: Very Merry Happy Everything Party & Fundraiser to Save Project Reach
Project Reach is a multi-racial, multi-gender youth center and organizing space that has been a home to young people and community organizations across NYC for over 30 years. They opened their doors to SURJ for our very first meeting. Rising rent and government budget cuts mean that Project Reach needs emergency funds to keep its doors open and its programs running in the new year. This event was a wonderful fundraiser that included food, drinks, a silent auction, music, and performances in celebration of Project Reach’s work and in solidarity to keep it going.
Saturday, December 16: Calling In 101 Workshop
Our Calling In 101 workshop is a regular event that is designed to increase participants' ability to engage in conversations around race and racism. We identify opportunities for "calling in" versus "calling out,” define white fragility and discuss how to navigate it, and learn tactics to address common microaggressions and racist statements. Participants should leave the workshop with tools for calling more white people into the movement for racial justice.
Sunday, December 17: Deep Canvassing in Sunnyside, Queens
Deep Canvassing is another regular activity that SURJ puts on in various neighborhoods in the city. It is a Base Building project that trains folks to use empathetic communication skills in order to call white people into racial justice work from their own doorsteps. We use personal stories in this work—think about a time when you wanted accountability for harm. It doesn’t have to explicitly be about race.