Amid the multi-day protests over the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd and other high-profile murders of black Americans, a racial justice group has recommended that its members assess their own motivations for participating and take on specific responsibilities during the demonstrations.
“If confrontation does happen,” wrote Showing Up for Racial Justice in its guidance, “be prepared to physically put your body between antagonizers and BIPOC in order to minimize the risk to BIPOC.” The acronym refers to those who are black, indigenous or persons of color.
SURJ, a primarily white-led anti-racism group, also asked protest attendees to “hold other white protesters accountable,” after widespread reports that looting and vandalism appeared to implicate white individuals, rather than the organizers of the protests.
Black Lives Matter 5280 has demanded three policy changes to address longstanding concerns, which include investment in the health and economies of black communities, acknowledgement of historical pain and injustice, and disinvestment in police departments.
“Today we prepare for the week ahead by intentionally grounding ourselves and fortifying our spirits for the protracted struggle,” the group wrote on Sunday night. “Mobilize in solidarity with activists and organizers across the country and world saying enough is enough.”
SURJ emphasized that its membership should take cues from event organizers like Black Lives Matter and avoid deviating from planned activities, even if others do.
“As a local chapter, we at SURJ Denver also want to prioritize the work being done by local organizers and we do not want to distract from the important on-the-ground work that is currently being led by the Black community in Denver and its surrounding areas,” SURJ Denver wrote on Facebook. “We encourage white people in our community to prioritize asks and actions directed by Black organizers.”