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What role can you play in fighting racial injustice?

Action for Racial Justice

helps people collaborate in small groups to confront and overturn institutional racism

Action for Racial Justice –

A New Tool For Racial Equity

What is Action for Racial Justice?  

A non-profit organization, Action for Racial Justice helps justice-minded people learn about institutional racism and press for policies with racially equitable outcomes.  ARJ provides the tools to recruit, motivate, and support new voices in the movement to confront and dismantle systemic racism.

What is Systemic Racism? 

Systemic racism is poorer treatment of people based on the color of their skin that takes place within an organizational structure.  None of the people involved need to have discriminatory intent – or even discriminatory feelings – to follow policies or practices that have racially unjust results.

Systemic racism is the result of unjust policies and practices in government, institutions, and corporations.  Decision makers will only change those policies and practices if thoughtful people (like you) encourage them to act, so Action for Racial Justice helps you act.

We’ll have to worry about systemic racism until we don’t have to worry that race is a factor when a Black child is not called on in class, when a Black couple’s mortgage application is denied, or when a Black teenager is stopped by the police because something “looked wrong”.

Action for Racial Justice –

What Happens?

ARJ organizes people (like you) into small groups, called Action Pods, to:

  • review our racial history and current policies and practices,
  • plan together to prompt change,
  • act: send postcards, organize and attend online meetings, write letters to the editor, comment on websites, post on social media, and more.

What you’ll experience:

After registering online, we’ll match you with other people based on the racial-justice issues you find most urgent, your preference of working on local or national issues, and the times that are most convenient for you to meet.  If you can afford it, you’ll be asked for a $25 (tax-deductible) registration fee.

  • You’ll be introduced to materials so all participants share an understanding of racial history and current issues.
  • You’ll meet with these 4 to 6 other people each month to discuss relevant issues and to establish action plans.  (The first two meetings will be guided by thoughtful and talented facilitators.)
  • Following each meeting, in collaboration with your podmates, and using ARJ’s online toolkit, you press leaders and decision makers to change the policies and practices that lead to racial injustice.

With enough people (like you) pressing for racial equity, we will achieve it together, creating the just society you want.

ARJ exists to dismantle racially inequitable government, corporate and institutional policies and practices.  Among other areas, these are especially damaging in:

  • Criminal justice
  • Education
  • Police reform
  • Housing
  • Voting rights
  • Employment
  • Health care
  • Environmental justice
  • Reparations
  • Wealth gap

 

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

Desmond Tutu

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.

Edmund Burke

Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive, you haven’t done a thing. You are just talking.

Wangari Muta Maathai

A cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer…We can deliver racial justice.

President Joe Biden, January 20, 2021

Action for Racial Justice –

How does it correct unjust policies?

We give people the structure and tools to learn about and press for racially just policies.

Groups of 5 to 6 people work together in groups within a national community. Groups meet regularly to learn about racial history, discuss current issues, support one another, and implement practical action plans together. (For their first two meetings, they are guided in the conversation – both the historical background and current issues – by experienced and specially trained facilitators.) Participants identify practical solutions and press government, corporate, and institutional leaders to correct unjust policies.

These advocacy activities, carried out at both the local level and in conjunction with the national ARJ network, include civil activism, meetings with elected officials, communications with journalists, social media campaigning, and more. They address issues such as policing, voting rights, criminal justice, housing, education, and corporate employment practices.

Action for Racial Justice –

What does it add to the movement?

Activating New Voices

Many people with good intentions want to fight racism but don’t know how. By providing the tools and motivation, ARJ will engage large numbers of new advocates.

Building Commitment and Continuity

Volunteers in large groups often lack a sense of connection. ARJ will create more personal groups, which people enjoy most and in which they generally do their best work. Small groups bond more closely and create valuable accountability.

Acting Locally Within a National Campaign

A network of activists will focus on attacking racial injustice and disparities in their communities and states while also identifying and acting as part of a national movement.

Adding Channels Adapted to the Times

America’s current focus on racial injustice comes while people are unable to join together in public. Teleconferences will gather people; social media and online advocacy strategies will support 21st century democratic engagement.

Building on Experience and Success

ARJ is being developed by a team with compelling success in advancing social justice. The team includes the key architect of the highly influential Save Darfur movement, many lessons of which will serve racial justice actions.

Q&A

What is the role of Action for Racial Justice?

Action for Racial Justice helps individuals confront and overturn institutional racism and racially inequitable policies.  It motivates and supports new voices that insist on correcting government policies and corporate practices that have racially unjust outcomes.

What is our history?

ARJ was launched in the summer of 2020 during the national soul-searching sparked by George Floyd’s murder and other appalling events.  Recognizing that issues of racial inequity go far beyond excessive police force, talented and accomplished leaders came together to develop ARJ, creating a sophisticated social and technological response to institutional racism in its most injurious forms.

What is your theory of change?

1.      Learning about the project through trusted ambassadors and organizations, socially conscious individuals register online to participate in virtual meetings.

2.      Members discuss policy alternatives for enhancing racial justice; the wisdom of the crowd identifies and highlights the most useful approaches.

3.      Connecting with one another, members commit to taking specific and effective actions together.

4.      Participants use the social support from the events and the online tools to insist that decision-makers correct unjust policies and practices.

5.      Government, corporate, and institutional leaders replace inequitable policies and advance racial equity.

Who will participate and how will they be recruited?

All people with a sincere interest in promoting racial equality will be welcome.  We will recruit participants in partnership with respected and influential organizations, such as faith groups, social-justice organizations, and community programs.  We will employ up-to-date social media campaigns and highly visible and persuasive ambassadors.

This is a big and complicated project. How will you get it perfect from the start?

We probably won’t. Developing and launching a new project creates tension between cost, speed, and quality.  ARJ follows a “lean startup” strategy by which we will engage in careful observation and learning and continuously improve the experience we deliver to participants and the effectiveness of their advocacy.

How is ARJ structured?

ARJ is a component of the On The Table initiative of the Chicago Community Trust. ARJ’s Operations Council guides its operations under the direction of the Chicago Community Trust’s management and Board of Directors.

Why Action for Racial Justice?

·       ARJ creates a potent, innovative, and promising approach to a crucial social problem

·       ARJ confronts systemic racism – practices and policies that are “baked into” everyday life

·       ARJ recognizes that people enjoy and do their best work in small groups

·       ARJ will unleash the power of tens of thousands of voices to press decision makers to correct unfair policies

Men build too many “walls” and not enough “bridges”.

- Joseph Fort Newton

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