Whites in Antiracist Solidarity

Danni West

While Philadelphia has a long and dirty history of white supremacist violence, Philly also has a long, strong and beautiful history of racial justice organizing and victories. Diverse participation, people of color leadership, and white antiracist solidarity have always strengthened this racial justice work, although that language has not always been there. In the last few years, we have seen a dramatic conversation about race evolving around us: from the victory of President Obama to the racist, hate-mongering Tea Parties; from the struggle to keep libraries open and operating to the escalation of xenophobia and ethnic cleansing in Arizona, we see race being talked about from a lot of different angles.

Now, another player has stepped into the ring by working to engage white people across the country in publicly standing against the heightened and ongoing racism that is taking place. Let’s Build a U.S. for All of Us: No Room for Racism is a national call to action and a growing network of white people working to counter the racism of the right wing as part of a larger vision of broad-based change. This initiative seeks to build towards an inclusive and just democracy and takes a strong stand that there is no room for racism in a U.S. for All of US! To sign the call to action go to: www.usforallofus.org

Locally, if anyone picked up the April 22 City Paper, the cover story was on the presence of the Tea Parties in PA and specifically in the cradle of liberty, our Illadelph. Whites In Antiracist Solidarity (WIARS) is one local organization that is connected with the U.S. for All of Us network in voicing locally and nationally that white supremacy was not in the best interest of our ancestors and it is not in our best interest now- we, white folks, need racial and economic justice that meets all of the basic needs of all people. Our local work includes ongoing support and solidarity with different organizations that build power in communities of color around the city, hosting a monthly potluck for antiracist dialogue and leadership development, as well as being a visible presence that can counter the misguided actions of the Tea Party and other racist white-led movements. We are proud to be a presence in the local fight for Immigrant Rights, especially pushing for an end to Philadelphia Police Department and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement collaboration, by vocalizing our position as European descendants for immigrant rights.

For us in WIARS, taking on this U.S. for All of Us initiative has pushed us to think much more broadly in an effort to reach white families, communities, and individuals in our lives, who are not yet involved in social justice work, who are being targeted by the Right’s messaging and who could be moved to take an active stand against racism and for social justice. In this moment when the Right is once again mobilizing white people through fear, race-baiting, and white supremacy we see the creation and implementation of a locally-based national strategy to provide a positive alternative grounded in a vision for a better world, racial and economic justice, and solidarity with people of color led movements as a critical contribution.

Please take a minute to check out and sign onto the call to action at www.usforallofus.org For more information locally, email wiars.philly@gmail.com