Erin Heaney is the National Executive Director of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), the largest organization in the United States that organizes in majority-white communities to undermine the power of the Right and bring millions of white people into multi-racial movement. In her time at SURJ, Erin has shepherded significant growth and strategic shifts including the growth of the SURJ Chapter Network to over 175 local groups, the launch and growth of SURJ’s electoral organizing programs and the robust centering of and expansion of SURJ’s organizing in poor and working class, rural and Southern communities. Erin is currently a Fellow in the Atlantic Fellowship Racial Equity and a board member of the Action Center on Race and the Economy and a board member of the National Committee of the Working Families Party. Prior to her work at SURJ, Erin was the founding director at the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York, a multiracial, grassroots, member-led organization that supported front-line communities to win victories over corporations that harmed their communities including shutting down notorious polluter Tonawanda Coke and winning millions of dollars for the community, winning green infrastructure investments at major port, and winning a just transition at the Huntley coal plant. Erin is a queer woman from a white Irish-Italian union family from Buffalo, NY where she lives with her wife Emma.
Presentations from Facing Race 2022
Building a Bigger We: The Multiracial Alliances Needed to Win
The ability to defeat racist policies and candidates at the ballot box in most states requires building broad multiracial electoral coalitions. This is no easy task. What does it take to build a “Bigger We” than we currently have in our organizations and movements? What kind of demands are required? How do we change the way we work to build lasting alliances to build power and challenge the racist threat and challenges to democracy? What can be learned from the Race-Class Narrative (RCN) and other approaches to speaking beyond the choir? Join us for a panel discussion of grassroots organizers doing the hard work on the ground and national leaders reflecting on the challenge we face.
Moderator(s): LeeAnn Hall
Speakers: Erin Heaney, Fernando Mejia, Carrie Santoro, Anika Fassia