Social Justice Leader on Anti-Racism in White Communities and Defeating the
Erin Heaney is the Executive Director of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Executive Director of largest white anti-racist organization in US History. SURJ organizes in majority-white communities to undermine the power of the Right and bring more white people into multi-racial, anti-racist movements for justice. She brings over a decade of experience running grassroots campaigns for economic, racial and environmental justice and building organizations to enable transformative organizing.
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 working on issues of policing, mass incarceration and immigration, the launch 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. In 2022, she was awarded the prestigious Atlantic Fellowship for Racial Equity for her work with SURJ.
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 huge 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.
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