Paul Kivel's Newsletter 
Resources for Racial Justice

A Note from Paul         Spring 2017
Dear People, 

We are in a period of intense turbulence as a new administration takes office based on the strategic development over the last 50 years of the ruling class neoliberal agenda.That agenda reflects the current attempt by the 1% to consolidate more wealth and power by asserting global and domestic military and economic dominance, and rolling back the economic, labor, and social welfare gains of the 1930s and 40s, and the civil rights, environmental and other gains of the 1950's through 70s.  
In the larger picture, we are in the middle of a declining U.S. empire during a period of global recession, environmental collapse and militarism. The U.S. ruling class is using traditional tactics of demonization, surveillance and violence against immigrants, Muslims, Native Americans, African Americans, people who are queer and trans, women, and those who are poor and working class to solidify their power, distract our attention, destroy our values, and undermine our communities. 
Racism is complex and attacks people of color and Native Americans differently, calling for allies for racial justice to show up in specific and concrete ways to support their ongoing efforts to survive and thrive. This newsletter offers ways to understand and be involved in current struggles for racial justice, first addressing global climate change and an update on the struggle at Standing Rock and then looking at the recent intense rise in Islamophobia and the current admistration's attempt to ban immigration from specific Muslim majority countries. 
We fight for social justice not just for ourselves but also for the coming generations so I've included a picture at the end of the newsletter of our 3 grandchildren to remind us that we must build a solid foundation so that our young people can step into leadership in the coming decades.
In This Issue

Environmental Justice
One of the most critical national and international issues we face is global warming including such visible effects as ice cap melting, rising temperatures and sea levels, species and habitat destruction, unsustainable levels of consumption and increasing numbers of extreme weather events. Neither the problems nor the solutions are race-neutral.

Environmental racism refers to any policy, practice or directive that differentially affects or disadvantages (whether intentionally or unintentionally) individuals, groups or communities based on race or ethnicity. It combines with public policies and industry practices to provide benefits for whites while shifting costs to people of color. Numerous studies have shown that heavily polluting industries in North America such as mining and manufacturing, garbage dumps, toxic waste sites, medical waste incinerators and congested freeways are located disproportionately in communities of color in rural, urban and suburban areas and on Native American land. Higher levels of air, water and land pollution lead directly to higher levels of asthma, cancer and other illnesses, i.e. increased mortality for children and adults. In addition, people of color are, in general, more likely to have jobs with higher exposure to contaminants such as pesticides, asbestos, lead, and other toxic chemicals. Finally, people of color are most likely to experience lack of access to clean air and water and uncontaminated, affordable and healthy food... 

To continue reading this article, click here.

Update on Standing Rock

"Indigenous leaders participate in a protest march and rally in opposition to the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines on Friday [March 10th, 2017] in Washington, D.C."
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque 

Wednesday, February 22 was the deadline issued by North Dakota state to clear out the camps established to resist the Dakota Access Pipeline. Most people voluntarily left and those remaining joined the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to set fire to the tents in accordance with their tradition. Donald Trump had already overridden the Army Corps of Engineers decision not to issue a final easement for the pipeline pending an environmental impact report. 
On March 7th, a federal judge denied a final motion to suspend construction. However, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe made it clear that this decision would not hinder their larger efforts at blocking construction of the pipeline and that they were standing their ground.
Several other tribes have joined in and started filing motions of their own throughout the month of February and the battle to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline has moved into the courts and onto the streets. The march from the headquarters of the US Army Corps of Engineers to the White House on March 10th concluded a week full of workshops, panels, and gatherings protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline construction project by indigenous participants from across the US, Mexico, and Canada. While realizing a setback at Standing Rock, the larger Native American-led movement for indigenous sovereignty and to stop the fossil fuel industry continues to gain momentum throughout the Americas and in countries such as Japan and Norway. Seattle and San Francisco and several smaller cities, universities and pension funds have already divested from the pipeline and specifically from Wells Fargo and other banks. Where do you bank? Check out a local credit union and think about moving your money. 
Quick Link

Muslims and Anti-Muslim Oppression
On February 10, 2015 three young Muslims, Yusor Abu-Salha, her husband, Deah Barakat, and her sister Razan Abu-Salha were murdered by their white neighbor in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. On February 13th a man started a fire at the Quba Islamic Institute in Houston, Texas. On the 14th the Islamic School of Rhode Island was vandalized. On the 15th the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center in Bothell, Washington was vandalized. On the same day, also in Bothell, Skyview Junior High School was vandalized. On the 28th of the month Mukhtar Ahmed, a Pakstani man was shot in the head and killed while driving on interstate I-71 in Kentucky. On March 5 Ahmed al-Jumaili, newly arrived in the US as an immigrant from Iraq, was shot and killed as he was taking pictures outside his apartment.
These kinds of attacks, while not always of this frequency are constant. Like all hate crimes and Islamophobic comments, they are a reminder to the Muslim community that they are under siege, seen by many white Americans as dangerous outsiders and therefore vulnerable to violence.

To continue reading this article, click here.

Suggestions for Confronting Islamophobia
This resource was adapted from the Catalyst Project and other sources.
1. Oppose all national and state anti-Muslim legislation

2. Engage with Your Local Mosques

3. Organize Faith Leaders to write a Joint Letter

4. Create Kits for Allies to Respond to Islamophobia

5. Host a Multi-Faith Weekend to Dispel Anti-Muslim Misconceptions

6. If You See a Muslim Person Being Harassed - Intervene

7. Be Friendly to Muslims you encounter

8. Support Your Muslim Friends, Colleagues and Neighbors

9. Talk to Your Kids 

10. Call out Hate Speech

11. Organize a "Learn About Islam" Forum 

12. Write Op-Eds

13. Challenge US military aggression and intervention aimed at predominantly Muslim countries

14.Challenge media misrepresentations, stereotypes, and lies about Islam and the scapegoating of Muslims in the media and by public figures

More resources are available at  Alternet  and Jewish Voice for Peace's  Network Against Islamophobia . Click  here  for downloadable posters and other resources.

Image: @roqchams, @imraansiddiqi. "Combat Anti-Muslim Bigotry". Alternet, Johnson, Adam, November 27, 2015. 

Immigrants and Immigration
Immigration is a racial issue. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials do not stop and interrogate white people or conduct raids to stem the flow of large numbers of illegal Canadian, British and eastern European immigrants. There are not hundreds of miles of barbed wire fencing between Canada and the US. And vigilante groups do not patrol that border.
Obviously, one of the great strengths of Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Australia as nations has been their ability to welcome the presence and contributions of new immigrants. But not all immigrants and not all the time. Recent immigrants have always been both feared and disdained by older residents. And immigrants of color, during the short periods when they were allowed to enter these countries, have always been treated differently than lighter skinned arrivals. 

To continue reading this article, click here
Quick Link

Immigrant Advocacy Organizations

Five crucial things we can do in the wake of Trump's Presidency

Image Source: Opal Tometi (n.d.). In Facebook [Public Figure]. Retrieved March 19, 2017, from 

Listen to human rights activist and co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Opal Tometi outline these five crucial things we can all do in the wake of Trump's presidency here

1. Nourish ourselves with words from our ancestors.
  • Ella Baker: "We who believe in freedom can not rest"
  • Sitting Bull. "Let us put our minds together to see what kind of future we can make for our children." 
  • Grace Lee Boggs. "Building community is to the collective as spiritual practice is to the individual" 
2. Let's remain explicit that we are fighting for racial justice with an inter-sectional lens. We will center and show up for Black, Brown, Native, Muslim, Immigrant, LGBTQ,  folks with records, folks with disabilities, and poor communities. And we will defend ourselves from fascism, violence, rhetoric and policies that harm us. 
3. We will resist corporate takeovers for Mother Earth and what is sacred.  And we'll work to make visible the sovereignty of native people,  like the water protectors and our kin in Flint. 

4. We must perfect the art of organizing people, in person and in public spaces. 

5. We must know our rights. Our organizations and our First Amendment right to assemble have been threatened. Organizers have been jailed and we are living under extreme surveillance in a national security state. We must ensure our security online and offline. 

Stepping up your work for racial justice
You have Resources to leverage for racial justice!

1. Money-direct donations, hosting house parties

2. Time-support work, administration, research, filing

3. Skills-fundraising, web-based, outreach, childcare, writing, music, art, carpentry

4. Connections-to journalists, politicians, decision-makers, funders

5. Space-providing space in your house, office bldg., religious or community organization for 
meetings, living room gatherings, workshops, or art builds

6. Organizational leverage-working for organizational change where you work, where you go to school, where your children go to school, at your religious or community center.

To download more ways that you can break white silence and step up your work for racial justice, click  here.

Our cynicism will not build a movement. Collaboration will. 

"A crowd packs Independence Avenue during the Women's March on Washington, Saturday, January 21, 2017 in Washington." Source: Alex Brandon/AP 

I've been grappling with how to challenge cynicism in a moment that requires all of us to show up differently.

On Saturday, I joined more than a million women in Washington, D.C., to register my opposition to the new regime. Participating in the Women's March - if you count satellite protests around the country, the  largest  one-day  mobilization in the history of the United States - was both symbolic and challenging.

Like many other black women, I was conflicted about participating. That a group of white women had drawn clear inspiration from the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, yet failed to acknowledge the historical precedent, rubbed me the wrong way. Here they go again, I thought, adopting the work of black people while erasing us...

To read more about this article, click here

Make History to Remember 
Watch a powerful 3 minute video that is an important reminder of the United State's history of exclusion and marginalization. 

Make History to Remember
Make History to Remember

Uprooting Racism updated edition

In 2016, the person elected president of the United States has openly called for segregation and deportation based on race and religion. Meanwhile, Segregation and inequalities in education, housing, health care and the job market continue to be the norm while increased insecurity and fear have led to an epidemic of violence and harassment of people of color. Yet recent polls have shown that only 31 percent of white people in the US believe that racism is a major societal problem. At the same time,  resistance is strong as highlighted by Indigenous struggles for land and sovereignty and the Movement for Black Lives.

Completely revised and updated, this 4 th  edition of Uprooting Racism offers a framework around neoliberalism and interpersonal, institutional, and cultural racism, along with stories of resistance and white solidarity. It provides practical tools and advice on how white people can work as allies for racial justice, directly engaging the reader through questions, exercises and suggestions for action.  

Previous editions of Uprooting Racism  have sold more than 50,000 copies because it is accessible, personal, supportive and practical--ideal for students, community activists, teachers, youth workers and anyone interested in issues of diversity, multiculturalism and social justice.

SURJ - Showing up for Racial Justice
SURJ is a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice with over 200 chapters and affiliates nationwide. 
At SURJ, we envision a society where we struggle together with love, for justice, human dignity and a sustainable world.
Through community organizing, mobilizing and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability.
We work to connect people across the country while supporting and collaborating with local and national racial justice organizing efforts. SURJ provides a space to build relationships, skills and political analysis to act for change. 

To find your local SURJ chapter and to access an abundance of tools for racial justice organizing go to

Niko and Mateo visiting their new cousin Anahi in December, 2016 in Florianopolis, Brasil December, 2016. These three provide me with much love, inspiration and joy.