Over the past week the marches and protests demanding justice for George Floyd, Breona Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery continued across the nation and the world. While the media focuses on rioting and looting that occurred in some instances, they have mainly been peaceful and brought more awareness to the reality that racism and discrimination are as prevelent today as they were in the 1960s. They also bring hope that the systems and policies that have perpetuated the inequity, injustice and prejudices for hundreds of years will finally change.
Last week I wrote of my feelings of shame of being a white woman. I felt shame for my ignorance for not even being aware of the atrocitie that befell people of color in the past and continue to occur now. My shame stemmed from letting fear prevent me from speaking out more often and louder. I wrote of needing to do more. Sharing or retweeting a meme to show my support is not enough for me. Yet, I am not a politician or a lawyer or anyone with any power to affect change. What can I really do? Maybe you too are wondering what you can do. As it turns out, a lot. . .
Listen to and actually hear what others are saying without judgement or defensiveness. There are some really great podcasts and blogs out there. Here are links to a few really good ones I’ve listened to and read:
Educate yourselves on the issues and know what the candidates you are voting for stand for. Learn about the policies that need to be changed. Recognize what your biases are – everyone has them! Last year I read a really good book called, Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by . This book helped me to be more aware of my biases and question them. You can also take an implicit bias test to see where your biases fall -you may be suprised. I also check the bias of the news stories I consume. I make sure to check sources before I share. Ground News is a tool I use to ensure I’m not just reading article to confirm my bias.
Currently I am reading a book called Slavery by Another Name by Douglas A. Blackmon. I am finding out about many events that were left out of the history books I had in school. The next book on my reading list is How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi. Not only do I want to educate myself, but my children as well. My boyfriend ordered, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. We plan to read it together with my daughters.
Currently I am focusing my volunteer time on two main projects. First, I am working with Vote Forward to write letters encouraging people who might not otherwise to vote. Voting is an important way to make your voice heard and bring about change. I also volunteer with The Grassroots Law Project to help research issues for the projects they are working on and to email, write letters to call elected officials to make a pledge for changes.
These may be small steps to chip at the wall of hatred, intolerance and justic, but if we all take a step toward the goal of equity and justice for all, I know it can happen.
If you know of any other resources or ways to voluneer, comment below.