RE: Dear White People ~ Johnny Mathias, Color Of Change


My name is Johnny Mathias. I’ve worked at Color Of Change since 2012. And I’m white.

Dear Friends,

I wrote the email below, specifically addressing white Color Of Change members, almost exactly 2 years ago. I’ve been thinking about how a message to the same audience might need to be different today in a world where the majority of people who look like me voted for Donald Trump. And I arrived at a simple conclusion: the most important thing white people can do in this moment is still to use our financial resources, whatever the may be, to support independent Black political leadership.

For over 5 years, I’ve had the honor and privilege to support and learn from some of the most brilliant Black strategists in the country. Just in this past year your support has helped fund strategic campaigning of Black leaders like:

  • Brandi Collins-Dexter who led our strategic direction to dismantle white supremacists’ financial resources through our #BloodMoney campaign which successfully targeted credit card companies that were processing donations for hate groups.
  • And Jade Magnus Ogunnaike who had the early insight to demand that corporate leaders stop enabling Donald Trump by joining his business council and launched the #QuitTheCouncil campaign. 

These campaigns have a few things in common. They were powerful interventions that relied on strategic research which laid the campaigning groundwork to strike when the moment arrived. 

In August 2017, that moment was in Charlottesville. Both the #BloodMoney and #QuitTheCouncil had been active for months with the corporate enablers dragging their feet. Now with the violent hatred of white nationalism on full display in the Virginia college town, we had the leverage we needed to attack corporate support of the white supremacist in the White House and the network of hate organizations across the country.

Now as we at Color Of Change prepare to rise to meet the challenge that 2018 demands of us, we’re reorganizing internally to become and even stronger force for racial justice. I have joined the internal team that worked on the #BloodMoney and #QuitTheCouncil in a new role focused on building out the research to win strategic campaigns.

But we need your help to develop this internal research department to its fullest potential and be ready for the moments that will arise in 2018. As a white member of our Black-led and multi-racial staff, I will be supporting the strategic vision of Color Of Change’s Black leaders to shine a light where white-controlled corporate and governmental structures are enabling attacks on Black lives. Making a contribution to Color Of Change is one of the many ways, as a white member, you can deepen your support for racial justice and your commitment to dismantling white supremacy.

In 2018, I’m supporting independent Black political power at Color Of Change by contributing $3

Until Justice is Real,

Johnny


White people, if you ever wondered what you would have done during the Civil Rights Movement, now is the time to decide.Is his life worth more than mine?

Support an independent Black political voice by contributing to Color Of Change .

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My name is Johnny Mathias. I’ve worked at Color Of Change since 2012. And I’m white.

I came to Color Of Change after years working to elect Democrats because I knew that party politics alone would not bring about the transformational racial justice changes that we all need. And I bet many of the white members* of Color Of Change feel the same way. You share an article, you sign Color Of Change petitions, make a call to an elected official when asked, donate to support campaigns and even engage fellow white people about the persistent anti-Black racism in our world. But deep down you know it’s not enough, that the scale of your contribution to the cause does not meet the urgency of the moment.

The movement cannot be sustained solely on the efforts and energy of Black organizers, for whom this fight is a matter of life and death. All too often we think of racial justice as the sole responsibility of Black people. As white people, we have an obligation to dismantle racism and to do so by supporting Black leadership.

As the movement for Black lives stands on the precipice of tremendous cultural power, Black organizers across the country have issued a call to white people to take action. As white people, it’s time for us to put our money where our values lie. We need to commit to sustained financial support of independent Black organizations and help Color Of Change raise $200,000 by the end of the year. 

YES! I’ll support dynamic Black-led campaigns at Color Of Change and contribute $3!

While this email centers whiteness, the movement cannot, should not and will not. As white people committed to racial justice, we have a responsibility to consult with Black leaders and support their strategic needs in this fight. That means we need to leverage our privilege and resources to meet gaps where white-controlled corporate and governmental structures have refused to value Black lives. We must fund a private investigator when Sandra Bland is murdered in Waller County with no substantial inquiry. We must support the legal work behind Freedom of Information Act requests when it becomes clear that the FBI is surveilling Black activists. And we must marshal every resource we can to demand accountability from prosecutors — like Timothy McGinty in Cleveland who refused to secure justice for 12-year-old Tamir Rice — that allow police to murder Black people without facing justice or consequences.

I work with some of the most strategically brilliant Black organizers in the movement: Rashad Robinson, Arisha Michelle Hatch, Brandi Collins, Scott Roberts and the Color Of Change campaigns team. As a white person at a Black organization, it is my role to use my skills and resources to help our team make an impact for Black people. As a white Color Of Change member, you can do the same by contributing to make the creative and strategic interventions of Black leaders at Color Of Change a reality.

I’m putting my money where my values are and supporting Color Of Change .

None of the campaigns above would’ve been possible without the financial support of Color Of Change members because we don’t take money from big corporations that don’t share our values. You’ve already taken the first step by being an active member of the Color Of Change community. Making a contribution to Color Of Change is one of the many ways, as a white member, you can deepen your support of the movement for Black lives.

Thanks and Peace,

–Johnny Mathias and the Color Of Change team

*As an organization, we are committed to centering Black people in this movement. Most of our members are Black, but we felt it important to take this opportunity to speak directly to the thousands of white members of Color Of Change . Please consider sharing this with the white people in your life. 

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