Strong accountability structures are essential to any healthy and successful movement—especially when it comes to white folks organizing around racial justice. In 2017, after receiving feedback about a lack of clarity around SURJ-TC’s informal accountability structures, we made our accountability partnerships with local BIPOC-led organizations more formal.
SURJ-TC’s accountability partners help us organize with integrity, and approach conflict with care and nuance, rather than reactivity. Our partnerships help us be responsible and productive white accomplices in racial justice organizing. They guide our focus, strategy, and tactics for organizing our members. Our partners also remind us to anchor ourselves in relationship and in the work, rather than retreating in moments of uncertainty, call-outs, or conflict.
Currently, we have three main accountability partners: Black Visions, Voices for Racial Justice, and the Association for Black Economic Power. Our relationship is a little different with each of these BIPOC-led groups; in general though:
- When we take an initiative on our own, we consult them as we develop our plans, and incorporate their advice and requests
- When they ask us for assistance with something (fund-raising, help with an action, turning out white people for a hearing, etc.), we make an earnest effort to provide that for them
- We stay up to date with their strategies for change and political stances, and back them up publicly
- We avoid endorsing things which we think are not aligned with their strategies and political stances
We are grateful to have the leadership and wisdom of our community partners. Our accountability structure will likely continue to evolve based on community feedback and changes in local organizing. We value, follow, and lift up racial justice organizing beyond just our formal partnerships, and we seek to build additional, mutual relationships with BIPOC-led groups. We hope that our accountability processes will help keep SURJ-TC on course and relevant in the Twin Cities organizing landscape.