March 2019 Event Highlights

Thursday, March 7: Monthly Chapter Meeting: Interrogating Intersectionality

Traveling from academic papers to everyday tweets, intersectionality has evolved into quite the social justice buzzword. Many of us have heard the term used by friends, teachers, celebrities, or have used it ourselves. The term, though, was coined by Black feminist legal theorist Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 as a framework to describe the oppression experienced by Black women: Crenshaw defined intersectionality as “a lens through which you can see where power comes and collides, where it interlocks and intersects.” With the misuse of the term widespread–particularly among white people in social justice circles–we dedicated our monthly meeting to understanding the term in its origins as articulated by women of color in order to transparently and thoughtfully explore its meaning and how it applies to our work in SURJ.

Wednesday, March 13: Understanding and Organizing to End Racial Capitalism

SURJ works to undermine white support for racism, and broaden the base of white folks showing up for racial justice as part of a powerful multi racial movement for transformative change. But what about this unjust economic system? How does racism help keep capitalism in place? SURJ National and leading activist scholar Robin DG Kelley held a webinar on what racialized capitalism means for our work and how class impacts white people’s role in the fight to end oppression.

Thursday, March 14: #CLOSErikers Manhattan Community Forum, and Wednesday, March 20th: #CLOSErikers Brooklyn Community Forum

In the many months since announcing its plans to close Rikers, the City has not shown a commitment to decriminalize and decarcerate as fast as is actually possible, which is major marker of where New York City is on moving toward racial justice. JustLeadershipUSA and its partners demand further decarceration and a faster route to decarceration. In March there were two community forums to hear directly from the experiences of formerly incarcerated leaders and to understand why they feel approving borough based facilities that prioritize shrinking the citywide jail system is urgent while continuing to fight for decarceration, improving conditions for incarcerated people in New York City, and ensuring that every last individual is free from Rikers Island as fast as possible.

Monday, March 25: Anti-Mass Incarceration Working Group Meeting

SURJ’s Anti-Mass Incarceration working group met to learn about ways to plug in the campaign to end mass incarceration in NYC and across the state. This month, we discussed how to end cash bail and decarcerate jails while also ensuring that survivors of harm or violence are protected.

Ongoing: Call Your Electeds about Universal Rent Control

Help stop homelessness and gentrification by asking your legislator to sign onto bills for universal rent control in New York City! Read more about the platform here. You can find your New York state senator here and your assembly member here.