Smile Politely

What is your role in racial justice? Hint: You have one

Some folks are confused and think that if they do nothing to engage racial justice, they are,  well, just doing nothing. But because white supremacy is such a fundamental dynamic in U.S. culture, we often can’t help pushing its agenda in some way because it’s built into the social fabric (until we tear it out). To be frank: If you do nothing to actively address racial bias, you are most likely still perpetuating it, even while being assaulted by it.

But, the pervasiveness of white supremacy writ large or small means there are literally hundreds of accessible opportunities to take action in your very own life. Today. For folks targeted by white supremacy that might be celebrating your culture or getting some much needed rest.

So, what’s up with the nothing doing? There are many reasons (including many mechanisms built into white supremacy that seek to assure its continuance) but primary among them is that folks can get paralyzed by not knowing the “best” thing to do, fear of not doing things well, feeling isolated, not wanting to risk connections, etc. One antidote is to have a peer group who will be along with you for the ups and downs, and hold your feet to the fire of collective liberation. 

Good news! Whether to remove your blocks to action, or to provide good company while you keep on keeping on, this week (and every week) you’re invited to a friendly but fierce racial justice check-in, where you can make a commitment, draw on collective wisdom to avoid obstacles, and then reflect on what happened the following week. We look forward to you joining us!

Show Up this Week

See more events on the Racial Justice Calendar

#endwhitesilence Demonstration

Wednesday, August 26th, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Champaign City Building

Racial Justice Check In Circle

Thursday, August 27th, 4:30 p.m.

Please register ahead of time.

Call to Action 

See more calls to action HERE

Say “No School Resource Officers in Urbana Schools!”

Cultural Work

Champaign Underground celebrates BLM by Kristen Johns

Art Now with Cynthia Oliver


“Afro-Latina” by Elizabeth Acevedo


Local Perspectives

  • “Real Talk: Kamala Harris and Those who Came Before” by Sundiata Cha-Jua

  • Excerpt of 8/12/20 Urbana City Council: Members and residents ask the Mayor and Chief of Police about youth arrest data and large racial disparities. Community members demand accountability and measurable action.


This article was written by members of CU-SURJ and submitted by Elizabeth Simpson.
Photo by Kelley Wegeng.

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