You’ve seen Black Lives Matter and you know you want to get involved. That’s great!
These quick links Carrd and Linktr.ee are good places to start. Please also read ‘So You want to be an Ally…’ from Hey! Dip Your Toes In. This post will have with even more resources below if you want to keep scrolling.
BLM began here in the USA many years ago and was brought back into a larger spotlight because of the recent horrific murders of Ahmaud Arbery by private citizens and then George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police. Their names quickly became a rallying cry that has been echoing around the world.
It’s a response to the underlying rot in the roots of our society in the USA which is a false belief in the supremacy of white people. And effects of past, and current, colonial practices. These have helped to bring about a culture of police brutality that does not lead to safe, healthy communities for anyone. But in particular, not for Black people.
Systemic racism disproportionately affects Black people in the United States of America. It didn’t end when slavery was abolished. Nor did slavery end when it was abolished as it has become a core of our for-profit prison system. Pretty much in every society that was at one time largely white and/or participated in colonialism, you now find targeted racism affecting Black and Indigenous people or those looked at as unwanted immigrants. And this has got to stop.
“In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be antiracist.” ~ Angela Davis
This post looks at 7 Ways We Know Systemic Racism Is Real so you don’t just take my word for it. They didn’t capitalize the word Black, which is very important. And this is just one article on systemic racism of thousands available online. But look at it as one tool you can use to begin educating yourself. On the whole, I try to listen more to Black voices when I am learning.
Now to the longer list of Black Lives Matter, and advocacy, resources which I will continually update as I read and learn more:
Let’s Talk Language
Is it ever appropriate to reply with ‘All Lives Matter’ to someone who is saying Black Lives Matter? In short, NO! This is a great article that helps unpack that loaded phrase.
Here’s a wonderful IGTV from Sophia Roe that goes even deeper into appropriate language.
Learn to recognize obvious and subtle racism. Call it out when it occurs.
Google to learn!
Here are some search terms to get you started with learning: dismantling white supremacy, decolonize, systemic racism, 13th amendment loophole, anti-colonialism, anti-racism, black trans rights, environmental racism, indigenous sovereignty, prison industrial complex, school to prison pipeline, defund the police and white supremacy in law enforcement. Remember in your googling to prioritize learning from Black voices.
Call and Write
elected officials, police offices, AGs and leaders to demand justice when murders occur. Phone numbers are part of the public record and easily found online as well as in social posts from activists. You can find some phone numbers in my own Instagram Stories under the BLM Resources highlight on my profile.
Just like phone numbers, email and mailing addresses are almost always a matter of public record. Take the time to look these up and then get to writing an original letter. Any length is fine. Please avoid defaulting to only adding your name to petitions. They’re not BAD but they’re also not all great, nor as helpful as we like to believe.
In the case of Breonna Taylor — as of June 18, 2020 — the cops who murdered her still had not been brought to justice. The Louisville Metro Council voted unanimously to ban no-knock warrants and even called it Breonna’s Law. But think about that for a moment. They passed a law named for a person whose killers were still at large. If that was your mother, daughter or sister, would that feel like justice to you?
Attend a protest
like I did the Women’s March in New York. These are important, but not the only, tools that help us publicly show our elected leaders what we want. And express our frustration when they do not work for the good of the people. There is strength in numbers!
that will explain what it is to be Black in the USA. That explain racism, white supremacy, colonialism and privilege. Find and read books that will help illuminate paths to change.
I read ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama and was moved by how she unpacked what it is like to be Black in the USA with what felt like a compassion that I as a white person don’t deserve. On some level if you’re coming at this completely in the dark feeling like you have only woken up recently, her book might be a good way to start on a path of understanding before you work up to more personally challenging books.
Next, I will be reading Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad and The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee.
This is a list of Black-owned bookstores you can purchase from as re-stocks begin to occur.
to podcasts and IGTV videos that do the above as well, if you’re not into reading. Podcasts and IGTV episodes — that can be listened to — are so easy to incorporate into a morning workout routine, a commute to work, a drive to/from running errands and more.
I’ve been trying to catch every single IGTV from Check Your Privilege. I’m listening to episodes of these podcasts: Code Switch from NPR, 1619 from the NYTimes, Seeing White and About Race.
Watch movies and TV shows
that educate you on all of the above. You start by opening your mind and expanding what you know as you’re on your own couch in the comfort of your own home. What could be easier! This will lead to changing your thinking. Eventually to changing your actions. And then you can begin helping others do the same.
I’ve watched Loving from director Jeff Nichols, 13th and Selma from director Ava Duvernay and The Hate You Give on Hulu. I also like the ‘Black Lives Matter’ category on Netflix. Next I plan to watch LA 92 from National Geographic.
Support and buy from Black-owned businesses
Download the Eat Okra app to order from, and dine at, Black-owned restaurants.
Follow the 15 Percent Pledge to purchase from retailers that devote 15% or more of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses.
to organizations making a difference in ways you can’t all on your own.
When the Minneapolis protests over the death of George Floyd were occurring, I sent money to Minnesota Freedom Fund. There’s also The Bail Project, Color of Change, The Loveland Foundation, NAACP Legal Defense Fund and ACLU Nationwide.
Work to Acknowledge your Privilege and Blind Spots
This is going to be a life-long process. This isn’t something you can check off a list tomorrow. If and when you do something wrong and if you get called out — especially if it’s a Black person that calls you out — apologize, accept it graciously as a learning experience and do better next time.
Vote for candidates who stand for equality for all, who support equality and justice movements and who are in favor of defunding the police and re-directing those funds to programs which actually make our communities safer for all.
Include Black Trans rights in your ballot issues. Include Black women’s issues. It was Trans activists that began the Stonewall Riots which eventually led to progress for our LGBTQ+ communities. It is their activism that continues to lead important movements within the larger landscape of Black Lives Matter. They are also being targeted just as much as Black men are and often their names fail to become rallying cries on the same level of George Floyd and Eric Garner et al, as illustrated by Breonna Taylor who I already mentioned above.
So… why write this post about Black Lives Matter and why share it here on my blog?
Because while I’ve been on a journey of attempting to use my influence for good for a long time now, I’ve been doing this mostly more quietly. For reasons I lay out in this post. But now through listening, reading and learning — I’ve come to understand that I was raised in systems of religious and white supremacy and remnant colonialism. Together with the lottery of my birth as a white person, these gave me privilege that I didn’t ask for, nor choose. But now I know I can choose to help dismantle these systems in order to help build a world where equality is a reality, not a concept preached only when hashtags trend.
Will you join me? What resources would you add to this post? Please let me know so we can learn together.