SURJ @ Sacred Heart held its first meeting in December 2016 and it is an affiliate of the larger national network of Showing Up for Racial Justice chapters. We are an affiliate (rather than a chapter) because of our relationship with Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose, which has invested organizational resources into the work of SURJ. Though white people 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. SURJ@SHCS is in relationships of accountability within Sacred Heart with the immigration committee, Sacred Heart’s own people of color-led racial justice initiative. SURJ@SHCS also has relationships of accountability with Silicon Valley De-Bug and the Rapid Response Network, two other people of color-led racial justice organizations in San Jose.
Our core ideas resonate with the core ideas of that national SURJ network: “Through community organizing, mobilizing and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability.” We believe that solidarity work is about grunt work rather than glory, and that it’s something you need to do for YOURSELF. We know that we will make mistakes, but believe that it is our responsibility to continue to SHOW UP for racial justice. We believe that white people have a stake in dismantling white supremacy. It is in our interest if we want to be whole human beings; it is in our interest if we want a robust and inclusive democracy; it is in our interest if we want loving and just communities in which our most vulnerable neighbors are cared for. Thus, we believe that it is white people’s responsibility to educate ourselves about systemic, institutional and interpersonal racism and it is white people’s responsibility to excavate our own personal legacy of racism. Following the lead of the national SURJ network, we try to "provide a space to build relationships, skills and political analysis to act for change.”
As an affiliate within Sacred Heart Community Service, our SURJ group draws from Sacred Heart's community organizing approach. If you are unfamiliar with community organizing, here is what organizers and leaders at Sacred Heart do:
Build meaningful relationships with neighbors and community allies through intentional conversations
Surface concerns in the community
Run disciplined meetings and invite new volunteer leaders into their Action Committees
Surface root causes of poverty and analyze their implications
Make decisions around focused initiatives that represent the needs of their communities
Conduct research with officials and issue experts
Participate in the democratic process
Hold public meetings and forums to advance concrete causes.