While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented job loss and deaths across the country, the violence against Black and Brown bodies in America is unfortunately not unprecedented. It is our nation's history. And while I've been vocal on my social media accounts and donating when and where I can, I have wrestled with whether my posts, my outrage, do any good. Last night I had a discussion with a white person I went to high school with about the discomfort of seeing these posts, of being called on and asked to use our voices as white people when a lot of people feel that they don't have the words, or the right words, to be helpful. They were asking how to be a useful part of this revolution. Being vocal is the beginning of change.
And white people, make no mistake: we are the ones that need to do the work. We need to confront our biases and help other white people do the same. I do not have all the answers--I too am on this journey. What I have are starting points.
Start with self-reflection: Are you uncomfortable? Good. Ask yourself what is making you uncomfortable, why is it making you uncomfortable, where did you learn this discomfort? These questions need to be answered in order to breakdown our own prejudice and biases. Trevor Noah just released a video that addresses some of these questions and might provoke new ones. It's 18 minutes but I encourage you to watch it if you haven't already.
Start by listening: hear what Black and POC communities are asking for be that time, money, or skills and contribute those things within our means. Here are some of the organizations I've been donating to. Please consider doing the same. Every little bit helps.
Start with research: It's hard to fix something if we don't know and understand how it's broken. Racism is woven into every piece of infrastructure in the US. It's time to tear down and rebuild. There are a few different resource hubs that I recommend checking out and using:
It is not enough to be "not racist." We need to be anti-racists. This means actively talking to other white folks and supporting Black and POC communities. In some ways, this fight is both a sprint and a marathon. We need to help Black and POC communities RIGHT NOW. They need our money and our voices. But this is a long-term journey. Things cannot change overnight. We need to continue doing this work long after George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor's names are no longer mentioned in the media. We need to do this work when there aren't horrific videos filling up everyone's news feeds. We need to do this work every damn day. When Black Lives Matter, then all lives will matter.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like to continue this discussion or have questions.