Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Santa Cruz County


~Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter and Special Projects Director at the National Domestic Worker Alliance

For decades, Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) have been asking white people to organize our own. That’s how SURJ began 13 years ago. Now, more than ever, we need all hands on deck.

SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) Santa Cruz County, a chapter of the national SURJ organization, works to educate, organize and mobilize white folks to dismantle white supremacy, in ourselves and in the world around us, while engaging in the multi-racial, cross-class movement for racial and economic justice. As we learn and unlearn, we are committed to taking action in relationship with and being accountable to, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-led organizations in our efforts for collective liberation.

Our chapter includes all of Santa Cruz County: Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Aptos, Felton, Ben Lomond, and Boulder Creek.

What does accountability mean?

We accept the challenge that writer and activist Ijeoma Oluo lays out: It is white people’s responsibility to use our racial privilege to dismantle white supremacy.  We believe that it is also white people’s responsibility to educate ourselves about systemic, institutional and interpersonal racism and it is our responsibility to excavate our own personal legacy of racism. Though we have the responsibility to organize other white people to show up for racial justice, we do so in relationships of accountability with people of color led organizations.  

We work on the issues that matter most to our accountability partners.  When they ask us to show up, we show up.  This means that we don’t just come to general SURJ meetings and think that our work is done–we fight for racial and economic justice where we can, whenever we can.

Organize Out of Mutual Interest

  • Racial justice isn’t something we help people of color with. We must find our stake— our mutual interest— in joining these fights.
  • The system of white supremacy harms all of us — including white people, though in very different ways than people of color. If we are going to stay in the work for the long haul, we need to get clear with ourselves about what we have to gain through this fight.
  • Many white people, like poor and working class, disabled, and queer people, have also been harmed by systemic oppression and have much to gain materially from joining fights for racial and economic justice.
  • White supremacy has hurt white people by cutting us off from powerful traditions and cultures that we come from. Instead, we learn to celebrate money and power.  It also hurts poor and working-class white people in particular by keeping white folks from uniting with people of color to fight for fair wages, healthcare, and everything that all of us deserve.

Anti-racism organizations host special viewing of Hidden Figures | The  Rapidian