Ten years ago on February 1st - at the outset of Black History Month in 2012 - a group of formerly incarcerated Black workers officially launched the Workers Center for Racial Justice in Chicago.
These founding members were united in particular by the dearth of employment opportunities they faced due to their records. Like many others in their communities, they had been forced into the informal economy due to years of community disinvestment and criminalization, as well as discrimination towards Black workers.
They perceived a pressing need for an organization specifically devoted to addressing issues faced by Black workers. They founded WCRJ with a mission to pursue Black Liberation through the "4Ps" - political education, protest, policy advocacy, and politics*, with a focus on those challenges that originate at the intersection of over-criminalization and exclusion from economic opportunity.
In keeping with 501c3 compliance, the "Political" aspect of WCRJ's strategy is pursued through our sister 501c4 organization, the Center for Racial and Gender Equity (CRGE).
In the 10 years since WCRJ was founded, we have built a powerful base of grassroots Black leaders who have devoted their time and resources to making Black History through collective action. They have conceptualized and advanced transformational policies; taken to the streets to protest and disrupt state-sanctioned police violence against Black people and communities; and driven record-breaking Black voter turnout in local, state and national elections.
They have changed the narrative about Black workers, educating communities and policymakers about the true roots of community violence: concentrated poverty and disinvestment, mass incarceration, segregation, discrimination, and lack of economic opportunity.
All throughout 2022, we will be celebrating a decade of progress, and leveraging this milestone to build resources and support for our next 10 years of work. We will be asking each of our supporters to contribute to this effort: by hosting a birthday fundraiser to benefit WCRJ, becoming a 10th anniversary sponsor, attending WCRJ membership meetings and events, and helping to gather petition signatures.
We'll also be asking you to donate to our 10th anniversary campaign with a gift of $100 or more, or a monthly Sustainer gift of $10/month in honor of our 10 years.
For questions about how you can support our 10th Anniversary Campaign, please contact Sarah Wilson, Development Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to celebrating with you this year!
In solidarity and struggle,