People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond

The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB), is a national and international collective of anti-racist, multicultural community organizers and educators dedicated to building an effective movement for social transformation. The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, affectionately known in the community as The People’s Institute, considers racism the primary barrier preventing communities from building effective coalitions and overcoming institutionalized oppression and inequities. Through Undoing Racism™/Community Organizing Workshops, technical assistance and consultations, PISAB helps individuals, communities, organizations and institutions move beyond addressing the symptoms of racism to undoing the causes of racism so as to create a more just and equitable society.

Founded in 1980 by long-time community organizers Ron Chisom of New Orleans, and Dr. Jim Dunn of Yellow Springs, Ohio, The People’s Institute has impacted the lives of nearly 130,000 people both nationally and internationally. Through this process, it supports a cadre of anti-racist organizers who build leadership in and account to the constituencies where they are organizing.


Anti-Racist Principles for Effective Organizing & Social Transformation

“People are not poor because they lack programs and services;
people are poor because they lack power.”

The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond believes that an effective, broad-based movement for social transformation must be rooted in the following Anti-Racist Principles:

Undoing Racism™
Racism is the single most critical barrier to building effective coalitions for social change. Racism has been consciously and systematically erected, and it can be undone only if people understand what it is, where it comes from, how it functions, and why it is perpetuated.

Learning from History
History is a tool for effective organizing. Understanding the lessons of history fress us to create a more humane future.

Sharing Culture
Culture is the life support system of a community. If a community’s culture is respected and nurtured, the community’s power will grow.

Developing Leadership
Anti-racist leadership needs to be developed intentionally and systematically within local communities and organizations.

Maintaining Accountability
To organize with integrity requires that we be accountable to the communities struggling with racist oppression.

The growth of an effective broad-based movement for social transformation requires networking or “building a net that works”. As the movement develops a strong net, people are less likely to fall through.

Analyzing Power
As a society, we often believe that individuals and/or their communities are solely responsible for their conditions. Through the analysis of institutional power, we identify and unpack the systems external to the community that create the internal realities that many people experience daily.


Persons who work in institutions often function as gatekeepers to ensure that the institution perpetuates itself. By operating with anti-racist values and networking with those who share those values and maintaining an accountable relationship with the community, the gatekeeper becomes an agent of institutional transformation.

Undoing Internalized Racial Oppression
Internalized Racial Oppression manifests itself in two forms:

  • Internalized Racial Inferiority
    The acceptance of and acting out of an inferior definition of self, given by the oppressor, is rooted in the historical designation of one’s race. Over many generations, this process of disempowerment and disenfrachisement expresses itself in self-defeating behaviors.
  • Internalized Racial Superiority
    The acceptance of and acting out of an superior definition of self given is rooted in the historical designation of one’s race. Over many generations, this process of empowerment and access expresses itself as unearned privileges, access to institutional power and invisible advantages based upon race.

Identifying and Analyzing the Manifestations of Racism
Individual acts of racism are supported by institutions and are nurtured by the societal practices such as militarism and cultural racism which enforce and perpetuate racism.