Heartfelt thanks for this piece. So precise and articulate.
There are lots of questions from white people about “well what do we do then?”
I am one of those white readers and I do see that you point to some concrete alternatives, like working against white supremacy in spaces we are in that are already white-dominated, instead of creating new white spaces.
The thing I liked about SURJ national branch was that I felt I had a place to “get the memo” about what black-led organizations would like to see from us, to the degree there is agreement on that. Because of the accountability council I hoped it was a credible resource for action guidelines. But after reading this, I will be more skeptical and double/triple/quadruple cross check across publications by POC led groups themselves.
Seems to me quite likely that a large and rapidly growing organization like SURJ would easily be too-unaccountable. To be properly accountable with so many chapters is an organizing task in itself and I expect this article will light a fire under our collective butts to get focused on that. I hope it is not too little too late. Unless, that is, the POC led racial justice organizations en masse want us to all just stop, in which case we should of course answer that call.
In the work I have been doing – independent, unpaid, and organization-unaffiliated fundraising work for POC-led organizations, I will be taking your instructive writing to heart and trying to apply it in practical ways.
I will continue trying to find the balance between being connected enough to be accountable, without being needy of handholding. That only seems appropriate, as does doing things for the purpose I say I am doing them for and not for my ego gratification. (Which, I think, are not radical concepts but just part of the basic definition of being an adult. Unless being an adult about things is a radical act and maybe it is.)
Anyway, Surj national branch “calls to action” (or whatever they are called, I forget exactly) felt to me a way to accomplish that balance, because I thought they were coming from MBL via SURJ national branch. Maybe this article will push them to clarify? I will look for clarification from MBL leadership too.
Thanks again for the wit and wisdom.