I have watched in horror this past week as another Black person was murdered by police.
This country needs change that is centuries overdue.
I have written this post about three times. I wanted to put out something to help educate, but I kept finding myself so angry and exasperated by the idea that people still have to be guided in humanizing other human beings.
However, it is important to make your voice known, no matter how small it may be, because silence is compliance.
So, here is a mish-mash of some of my feelings and some resources.
None of what is happening in this country right now is about you or how you feel.
Just because your experience in this world is different than someone else’s experience, it does not negate their experience.
The fact that anyone in this country continues to believe that systemic racism, racism, and anti-blackness does not exist because it does not happen to them baffles me. I will never understand how people decide to actively ignore what an entire population of people experience every, single day. It does not harm you to realize that not everyone is experiencing the same world you are.
Stop asking members of the Black and Brown community to educate you.
You are capable of finding resources on your own. You are capable of utilizing the library, Google, etc., on your own. It is exhausting that I continually see POC be forced to educate others about their own oppression. Educating yourself is your work and your job, and you need to stop expecting someone else to do it for you. In the U.S., there is wealth of information at your fingertips. Find it.
Amplify Black voices.
We do not need to hear more white people or cops trying to speak at protests, rallies, town hall meetings, etc. It is time to stop talking and listen. Just listen. This is NOT about you.
Performative activism needs to stop.
This means that Karens can’t get together with a bottle of wine and decide they’re going to put on a “solidarity march” in their affluent, white neighborhood and not invite any Black activists to speak, nor engage their local Black community, just so they can show their friends on social media how “woke” they are and how much they “care.” That is not activism, that is showmanship.
Here are a few ways that you can actually be an active participant for change:
You can go to a protest where Black activists are speaking and just listen
You can keep protesters safe
You can donate supplies to protesters
You can continue to educate yourself and have serious conversations with your family, friends, co-workers, and call out racism
You can donate to bail funds and civil rights organizations
You can follow black activists on their social media channels (However, I encourage you to just read and listen, and not to work out your own white guilt in their comments sections or dms)
You can pay for any education you are receiving from the Black community
You can support Black-owned businesses
You can figure out what your strengths are and lend them to the Black community
You can video tape police interactions
You can step in and speak up during police interactions
Find something to do. There is always something to do.
Support legislation and politicians who support the Black community.
If you live in Colorado right now, you need to contact your legislators and demand that they pass Senate Bill 217 Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity that will stop cops from being able to use choke holds and end Qualified Immunity. If your representative is already supporting the bill, send them a thank you.
This is not a time for complacency, this is a time to actively engage yourself.
Your vote and advocacy for legislation matters.
Stop being offended by the term “white privilege.”
It’s really not a good look when you get defensive. White privilege does not mean that you are not a hard working person or that there aren’t white people who struggle in this country, what it does mean is that you do not have to worry for your life if/when you are ever pulled over by the cops, it means that you have advantages when applying for jobs or housing, it means that people are less likely to call the cops when you are walking down the street, sleeping in your own bed, going to the store, wearing a hoodie, and the list goes on. It means that you do not have to have conversations with your children about what to do and say when a cop approaches them. It means that you do not have to question if you did or did not get the job because of how you look. It means that your skin color affords you to benefit from a system that was built for you. You most likely do not see your privilege because it looks like “normal” life to you. It is not normal for everyone.
Black Lives Matter.
Stop saying things like “All Lives Matter” in response to Black Lives Matter. It misses the entire point. Saying all lives matter discounts the reality that Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by police violence. White lives have always mattered to the government that was built for white lives, but, again, that is not true for POC. Also, if you really believed that all lives mattered to you, you would not be infuriated by people saying that Black lives matter, and you would be more outraged by cops getting away with murder on a regular basis in this country.
We need to urge elected officials to quit accepting money from police unions and organizations. Why? Well, if you have an elected District Attorney taking campaign contributions from police unions, when a cop murders a citizen, the DA may be more likely to be inclined to side with the police officer, despite evidence that proves the cop was in the wrong.
Policing in this country has its roots in slavery. Policing evolved from slave patrols in the 17th century, who were in charge of chasing down runaway slaves and quelling slave revolts. This is why police, to this day, continue to disproportionately target Blacks and minorities.
Policing has become militarized. My husband is in the Army, and the police posses the same type of tactical gear that my husband does when he goes to war. Did you know that we have a law in the United States that prohibits the use of our own military force on US soil? However, we freely allow the police force to have SWAT teams, don military-grade tactical gear, assault rifles, flashbang grenades, sniper rifles, grenade launchers, bayonets, night-vision goggles, armored vehicles, ect. There is something called the Department of Defense’s 1033 program, which Trump has recently expanded, which allows local law enforcement agencies to receive excess Department of Defense equipment that is no longer useful to the military. If they do not use the equipment they receive from the 1033 program within a year, they must return it, or if the gear is not routinely used, the local agency is responsible for the transportation, maintenance, and conversion costs of the equipment. These provisions continue to incentivize local law enforcement agencies to use military gear. Police using military tactics and gear, is no different than deploying our own military on US soil.
(The criminal justice system is a complete shitshow in general, but that’s a post for another day. In the meantime, I encourage you to read The Appeal.)
This is a marathon.
Unfortunately, change doesn’t happen overnight. At some point, protests will stop, and everyone will go back to their everyday lives, and that is when you need to continue to do everything you should be doing right now. Change happens when you commit to being different in your everyday life, every day of your life. Keep putting pressure on legislators, keep calling out racism, keep donating to bail funds and civil rights organizations, keep supporting Black-owned businesses, keep educating yourself. You have to maintain the same intensity until long-term, systemic changes take place.
Here is a short list of places to put your dollar immediately
Colorado Freedom Fund – https://fundly.com/coloradofreedom
National Bail Fund Network – https://www.communityjusticeexchange.org/nbfn-directory
Black Lives Matter – https://blacklivesmatter.com/
American Civil Liberties Union – https://www.aclu.org/
NAACP – https://www.naacp.org/
How to Find Black Owned Business
We Buy Black – https://webuyblack.com/
Official Black Wall Street – https://officialblackwallstreet.com/app/
I Am Black Business – https://iamblackbusiness.com/
Support Black Owned – https://www.supportblackowned.com/
These are not exhaustive lists, nor are these all my thoughts and feelings. You need to do your own research and use your own time to change how you view the world for yourself. This isn’t something that can be done for you.