Five Lessons From the Past and Present of Racial Justice Organizing

Julie Quiroz is a senior fellow at the Movement Strategy Center.

Years of fighting racism have taught us many lessons, perhaps the greatest of which is the recognition that we have to be clear about the type of racism we intend to confront. If we take a narrow view of racism as a set of stereotypes or personal beliefs, then educational efforts aimed at individuals have some impact. But taking on structural racism requires entirely different approaches. As scholar Eduardo Bonilla-Silva asserts, “Social systems and their supports must be ‘shaken’ if fundamental transformations are to take place.” In order to shake such systems and structures, we would do well to keep in mind some important lessons – past and present – from the work of racial justice organizing

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