5 Ways White People Can Take Action in Response to White and State-Sanctioned Violence

Showing Up for Racial Justice
4 min readMay 27, 2020

On Monday evening, George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police. Video surfaced of a white police officer holding his knee to Floyd’s neck for eight minutes while Floyd pleaded with police saying “I can’t breathe.” Floyd became unresponsive and died shortly after at Hennepin County Medical Center. This brutal killing follows the death of Breonna Taylor in her bed at the hands of police in Louisville, Kentucky, the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in a Georgia suburb and centuries of police abuse and violence.

In this moment, we know there are thousands of white people who are looking for direction and a way to show up alongside Black communities and communities of color. Welcome. You are needed. Here are a few ways to start showing up — not just in words but in action.

1. Come out as anti-racist and invite others to join you. Be public and vocal about which side you are on, share details of the actions you are taking to make this commitment real, and invite others to join you. Join SURJ to build a mass base of people breaking white silence by signing up here and share this graphic on your Facebook and social media pages to invite others to sign up as well.

2. Join fights to defund the police. It’s local budget season and right now across the country towns and cities are deciding how your community will spend its resources. Join your local group already doing this work or plan an action to tell decision makers what your community really needs — like mental health services and affordable housing — instead of more funding for police. In Los Angeles, when the Mayor proposed giving 54% of the budget to the police, SURJ’s affiliate White People for Black Lives showed up alongside Black Lives Matter to push back and they’ve won the first round of the fight. Many local SURJ chapters are already engaged in these fights alongside their partners — click here to see if there is a chapter in your community.

Minneapolis based Black Visions is asking folks to call Minneapolis Mayor Frey and the City Council to “stop making statements on social media and start holding MPD accountable in the only language they speak: money. Call Mayor Frey and tell him: ‘Cut MPD’s budget. We need money to keep our communities healthy during…

Showing Up for Racial Justice

SURJ is a national network that organizes white communities to join fights for racial and economic justice.