“You do have a choice. You don’t have to be a part of the world of the lynchers. You can join the other America. There is another America!”
- Anne Braden, white Civil Rights activist
I’m sure by now you’ve heard the news that Kyle Rittenhouse- who shot three people, killing two, last summer in Kenosha, WI at an event protesting the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake- has been found not guilty on all charges by a nearly-all white jury.
My fellow white people: I need you to recommit to organizing in your own communities today.
Kyle Rittenhouse- and the nearly-all white jury who acquitted him- come from our communities.
We must be working to build a different way of being white. We must build a movement that brings white people towards a real vision of justice. As the Right doubles down on radicalizing our people, we’ve got to fight just as hard to organize them away from white supremacy and towards liberation.
We must be organizing in white communities targeted by white nationalist and other far-Right movements. We have to step into our responsibility to organize our own people towards something better. We need to build political homes where people can come as they are — and where we can transform them. Where we can help our people build multiracial solidarity, not organize ourselves around the solidarity of whiteness.
This moment is another example of how the criminal legal system does not build safety and it cannot save us from white supremacist violence.
Policing and the court system have once again failed Black people and enabled white supremacist violence. From the beginning in this case, the police refused to make initial arrests, allowing a murderer to walk free after actively pursuing unarmed victims. Police remain allegiant to white supremacist violence, allowing white men to act as vigilantes, shooting unarmed innocent people, while Black people are locked up for petty crimes. They defend a system that creates many people like Rittenhouse and the jury that acquitted him. These are not isolated incidents or a few bad apples, and the sooner we can accept that we have to change the whole system, the better.
Without organizing in majority white communities, we should expect this kind of behavior and violence to continue and increase in light of this verdict. Join me in the work ahead of building a better future for us all.
SURJ National Director
Here are some ways you can take action with SURJ this week:
- Sign up for our email list to get action and education opportunities
- Attend SURJ’s new member orientation on December 9 at 5 PT / 8 ET to learn more about joining our organizing work in white communities
- Find a SURJ chapter near you