Since we learned about allegations of sexual assault by NOC staff last month, SURJ MN has been listening and having conversations, wrestling with how to support Black-led organizing (by many different groups) and also reject sexual violence. We've sat with the history of white people inserting themselves in conversations that should be resolved among Black people and Black organizations and causing damage along the way. But we believe that continuing to be silent will just reinforce harm against survivors, and that Black women and femmes will bear the weight of this harm, so we're speaking up now.
As an organization that has partnered with NOC, and that's a part of this community, we support the survivors who have spoken up about sexual assault by NOC staff. We support the young Black organizers, who risked a lot when they spoke up about NOC staff calling the police on them. We support members of the Black Liberation Project who have been courageous in telling the truth about their experiences with NOC. And we support NOC staff who have gone on strike, calling for greater transparency and public accountability from NOC leadership.
We encourage our members to read and amplify the statement from NOC staff who have gone on strike: facebook.com/NOCStaff/posts/660646094128478.
And from the Black Liberation Project: https://medium.com/@BaconTribe/response-to-noc-dd7f43237ffb.
We are invested in creating a safe and accountable community within our movement. For that to happen, we believe that NOC needs to take problems of sexual assault very seriously and tackle them transparently, in a process that centers survivors.
We recognize that for many, this response comes too late. We recognize that for some, it's not helpful for an organization led by white people to weigh in. We will continue to wrestle with whether to speak, and what, how & when to speak. And we welcome feedback.