The recent racist/terroristic attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, by a White Supremacist, when he drove a vehicle into a crowd of counter-protesters, resulted in three deaths (two of which were Law Enforcement Professionals), and one young woman, along with multiple injuries to other protesters.
Show Up For Racial Justice felt that some type of action was needed. They found out that the KKK had a march here in the early Twenties (the purpose of the march isn’t clear); their route for the march began at John Paul Jones Park in Downtown Kittery, headed down to Wallingford, then right, and a circle back to the park.
So SURJ decided to walk the same route they did, as an action in solidarity with other rallies planned by White Supremacist groups, and counter-protests by other groups and individuals. As we waited in the park for the March to start, many motorists honked their horns and people expressed positive sentiments for the March.
Kittery’s Chief of Police attended the March, as well as other Law Enforcement folks who acted as a presence of safety & protection. In this writer’s mind, this was another sign of the community’s support for Kittery being a No Hate Zone. No White Supremacy here!
SURJ is an organization that emerged, not too long ago, from a few folks’ passion, and its momentum is growing in Southern Maine. The Southern Maine Chapter is part of a nation-wide consortium of anti-racism organizations; this helps with consistency and resources for doing the anti-racism work of white people.
Racism, like any other kind of “ism,” flourishes in silence, fear, and intimidation. Most psychologists will tell you that breaking-the-chain-of-silence can be the start of a healing process in one’s life. “Being loud, and speakin’ proud” about the need for and the work of anti-racism is one way to shine the light on the dark silence, to expose it, shut it down, or reinforce the presence of sane methods to dismantle racism.
There were comments & thoughts shared by some SURJ members prior to the March-many thanks to those who assisted in organizing the March, and helping by providing safety, psychologically & physically.
One of the highlights for this writer, was the sixteen-year-old boy who spoke about the critical need to engage youth in anti-racism efforts; he pointed to a good-sized group of youth, and everyone clapped and expressed happiness that they were there.
In various local areas, SURJ has been sponsoring & hosting gatherings where videos around white anti-racism are shown, and discussion follows. Sometimes it can get very lonely as a white person who sees racism in a clear-eyed way, but often meets resistance from his or her white peers.
You can check out the SURJ Website at: http://www.showingupforracialjustice.org, or send emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org. By USPS: SURJ, 10428 Bluegrass Parkway, Ste. #544, Louisville, KY 40299; also check out SURJ on Facebook & Twitter.