SURJ MN would like to thank DiDi Delgado for her essay Whites Only: SURJ and The Caucasian Invasion of Racial Justice Spaces
DiDi Delgado was extremely generous to write this article. SURJ-MN members had various emotional reactions, and we recognized what a gift this thoughtful, funny, sharp and clear essay is. We have discussed it in two general meetings and often as a Core Team. “If history has taught me anything, it’s that there’s nothing more disappointing or dangerous than a room full of white people” – that line really got our attention.
SURJ MN has been around for almost two years now, and DiDi’s article pushed us to re-evaluate our structure, goals, logistics and finances. Who are we accountable to, and what does that look like? We, because of the cumbersomeness of our email response strategy, were one of the SURJ chapters that did not reply to DiDi’s accountability inquiry. That ball got dropped, which was a mistake on our part. We’re prepared to handle public critique. We welcome it. Thanks for the accountability push.
We have put two actions in motion since discussing the article: 1) A round of conversations with POC-led groups that we partner with, and 2) A commitment to making our financial records and process as transparent as possible, starting now with our new website.
Another way we’d like to be accountable is by financially supporting the work of writers and activists like DiDi. You could call it reparations or you could call it paying for an important service that we have used extensively. You could call it paying for art, or paying for instruction and education. For us at SURJ MN, it is all of those things. We will be collecting funds from two General Meetings and other fundraising by the Core Team, and sending it to DiDi to support her writing by September 1, 2017.
For any of our members or supporters who would like to personally support her work, she has a Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/thedididelgado.
Thank you, DiDi, for writing. Your article put some of us on the defensive. We are chewing on it, working around the defensiveness and going someplace deeper. Thanks for the push to question what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, and what’s a better way to go. We will continue to publicly hold ourselves accountable. We hope you keep leading.
In solidarity, SURJ MN core team: