Sunday, June 7, 2020

#BlackLivesMatter

Due to the current events (which, honestly, have been going on forever and feel like they will never stop), I wanted to make a little post.

I am a white woman and I benefit from the privileges of being a white person. This means that I will never really understand what Black people go through. It also means that I don't know enough and don't know how to help. I decided a while back that I needed to be a better Black ally. While I know that I still have so much to learn and so much more that I can do, we all have to start somewhere. I hope this post will help others begin the journey to being a better ally, too.

One thing we need to do as allies: educate ourselves.

I'm sure most of us have Black friends and/or family who we can talk to. Or other allies and activists. Some of them are very open to discussion and answering questions. Many of them know what kinds of things we can do to help. And if they are willing and able to do this, that's great. But we as white allies need to be able to find information ourselves. There are so many accounts in written and video formats that people have made to discuss the issues Black people face. Listen to what they have to say, listen to their stories and their needs. Mostly, they need us to use our white privilege to help.

A goal I have for myself is to read more books by Black authors and about the issues of race. I think that this will help me better understand and help me learn. As a book worm, this is something that is accessible to me and is a good starting point. I have seen many readers posting suggested reading lists and articles for this purpose. I will share some of the top books on my reading list in case you want to add them to your list, too.
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognize Your Privilege, Combat Racism, and Change the World by Layla F. Saad
  • White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
  • The Hate U Give and On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
  • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • How to be Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
  • You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
I know there are so many more. And if you have one that was really good or made a big impact on you, please share! I have read several, and here are a few that I personally recommend:
  • Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  • The Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  • We're Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union
  • Tristan Strong Punches a Hold in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

Image credit: @jane_mount

We also need to speak up when we hear hurtful things from our friends and family. And, while I am not a parent, I think that teaching children about racial issues is important. Things won't get better unless the future generations are also on board. There are articles and books available to parents and children to help. I have included a short list to get started:
Another thing we can do: donate.

There are organizations that are doing great work that are in need of monetary donations. Depending on your location, there may be places or organizations that need volunteers. I have seen people going to protests to add their voice or even people offering up services (water, first aid, etc.) to protestors or even offering their homes as safe havens. Some places might be in need of supplies. All of these things are helpful.

I have found a (short) list of organizations that you can donate to if you are interested. I have donated to a couple myself either in the past or recently.
This is far from all of the organizations out there. If you have other good, reputable organizations to add to this list, please let me know. And inform me of specific places that might be in need of volunteers or supplies.

Take action: participate, sign petitions, and call government officials.

If you can, participate in peaceful protests or help those participating. There are so many petitions out there to try to bring people to justice for killing innocent, unarmed Black people.

Here are just a few petitions to start with:
Call mayors and officials. Tell them you want justice for these innocent people.

And here is a big one: register to vote and then go vote! We can help policies change and vote in officials who will support these movements.

Support Black people.

Listen, stand with them, support them. Support Black-owned businesses. I for one have been seeking out bookstores owned by Black people to order books from. We can help elevate them and draw attention to them. Read books by Black authors, support Black artists, Black podcasts. Seek them out and broaden your horizons. Find stores that are donating proceeds to organizations that are seeking justice. There are people on instagram and twitter you can follow. (One of my favorites on instagram is @theconsciouskid)

And Love.

Let this help bring us together. Together we can change our world for the better. Together we can demand justice. Reach out to people, check on them. Ask your Black friends and family how they are doing. Take care of each other. We are stronger united than divided. Don't let the names of the victims fade away.


Thank you for reading. I hope this will help other white allies start their journey to being better allies.

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