Stories We Tell Ourselves: Changing the White Narrative of Policing

The curfew has ended, the National Guard has left the streets, and the officers who murdered George Floyd have been charged — but the rebellion continues, and our work remains.  

Much of the mainstream rhetoric about the Minneapolis uprising initially focused on looting, destruction of property, and financial costs to the state. In recent days, we have seen a shift as reactionary media sow fear about a future without policing and minimize coverage of ongoing protests. Most of us as white folks have been taught, over and over, that police are here to protect our bodies and our property, and that this is what safety looks like. For many white folks, our first reaction is defensiveness and condemnation of the looting and burning of property.

Here at SURJ-TC, we are working hard to reject this rhetoric we have grown up with. We unequivocally support the uprising, and we believe the best way to end violence against Black people is by abolishing the police. We invite you to work with us on reframing the narrative, for yourself and those in your circles. We offer some reminders and questions for reflection:

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Show Up for Anti-racist Actions around the Super Bowl


How does white supremacy manifest in Minneapolis? Selling out our city to the Super Bowl, an event that will disrupt and threaten the lives and livelihoods of our local communities for the benefit of the rich and corporate class.

As Minnesota steps into the national spotlight, we have a unique opportunity to turn attention to the racial injustices and oppression that make our state one of the worst places to live for people of color.

Whatever your interests, abilities or level of risk, there's a role for you! Please fill out this short survey to indicate how you'd like to support, participate and take action!

Read more about the different coalitions and actions below... 


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SURJ MN response to Charlottesville

This weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, white supremacists and Neo-nazis protested the planned removal of a monument to a racist leader — and thousands of anti-racists rallied to shut down the display of hate, racism and bigotry in their community. In an act of white terror, a 20-year-old white man from Ohio accelerated his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one and starkly reminding us of the deadly threat of white supremacy, not only in Virginia but across the nation.

Make no mistake, these white nationalists, Nazis, and alt-right fascists are here in Minnesota, too. They are beside us at work, in our neighborhoods, and at our family gatherings.

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New round of Beyond Policing Circles

Last month, Officer Jeronimo Yanez walked free after killing a beloved community member. And just this weekend, Justine Damond was shot at pointblank range after she called for assistance. To end the cycle of fear and death, white people must rescind their support for our system of policing.

Piloted this winter, SURJ MN Beyond Policing Circles are an opportunity to explore our own relationships to the concepts of safety, authority and compliance. Directed by a pair of facilitators, small groups of five to nine participants meet for four sessions, following a curriculum designed to:

  • Facilitate a deeper understanding of the history and harm of current policing models;
  • Build connection between individuals who are committed to shrinking the power of police in our community
  • Empower members to take action together, and offer opportunities to line up with local BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) leadership in development of community safety alternatives to policing.

There are a number of way to participate in this upcoming round of circles from mid-August through mid-September. Please fill out this form if you're interested — and we'll be in touch in coming weeks!

In gratitude to DiDi Delgado: SURJ MN and accountability

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.


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SURJ MN response to allegations at NOC

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.

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