How to Fight Racism as a Group

Excerpted and adapted from a workshop handout from the Southeast
Uplift Neighborhood Program, Portland, Oregon
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Mitakuye Oyasin
We Are All Related!

1. Reject bigotry in all its disguises

2. Declare your group, whether it be family, classroom, business, or religious institution, to be a "Racism Free Zone."
Establish rules of conduct and language which do not allow bar jokes, innuendos, and cartoons demeaning to Gays and Lesbians, African Americans, Asians, Jews, Native Americans, Hispanics, and other "targeted groups".

3. Create an atmosphere where it is acceptable for individuals to interrupt racism, that is, to speak up immediately upon observing such behavior.
This may be reinforced by posters, slogans, discussion, and periodic review and reinforcement of your determination to eliminate racism in your area.

4. Authorize a "Quick Response Team"
... to act in the group's name to speak out publicly, to write letters, to make phone calls immediately in response to racist activity in the community. If the "Quick Response Team" has to check with all group members, valuable time may be lost. Expressions of outrage need to occur without delay.

5. Organize letter-writing campaigns to oppose bigotry.
Before your group meets, ask each person to bring personal stationery, envelope, and a stamp. After a presentation on the situation and a group discussion to ensure that everyone understands the issue, have each person write a brief letter in his or her own words. Provide the correct address, collect the letters, and mail them. Individuals left to their own devices to respond sometimes don't get around to it.

6. Commemorate holidays of other cultures in a way appropriate to your group.
This could include ethnic food, decorations, greeting cards, art and handicraft displays.

7. Reach out to persons of diverse cultural and racial heritage both socially and in the workplace.
Enrich your group by sharing ideas, histories and friendships. Be sensitive to creating barriers to participation. Be alert and patient with problems of language.

8. Invite "Unlearning Racism" programs to your workplace, school, or church.
Take responsibility for educating yourself and others as to the realities of discrimination and the roots of racism and homophobia in our society. Form a study and support group to pursue further education on the subject.

9. Spread the message
...to others on how you are taking steps to establish the climate where racism cannot occur.

10. Hold your elected officials and leaders of your group responsible.
Take the lead in establishing a racism-free climate.

11. Seek out and join in networking with other groups who are working towards the same goals.

12. Consider carefully whether racial descriptions are necessary.
Eliminate racial descriptions from casual conversations or else identify all races. Get away from the assumption that white is the norm.

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Be firm in your resolve.
Voice your outrage.
Silence is acceptance of the status quo.

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