For me to not write anything about the discussions happening here in the United States would be to ignore something that has weighed heavily on not only my mind, but those of many others. Called to attention have been beliefs ingrained into many of the systems we hold dear that allow continued repression. The senseless murder of George Floyd by a law enforcement officer while other officers stood by and watched is unfortunately only the latest in a long list of members of the black community victimized by police violence and brutality. Sadly, there is a deep-rooted history of authoritarian violence against them, and it is not something that has gone away and resurfaced in the decades since the passage of the Civil Rights Act. It’s always been there, perhaps just not captured by photos or a video. And it has to stop.
I could reiterate all that’s been written, but that’s likely redundant and perhaps even your cue to click off this post. Instead, I will simply say that all of us must do better. It is no longer enough to sit back and simply not spout hateful things about anyone based on the color of their skin, their gender, their sexual orientation, or any number of features that a person has no control over. The need for change is imminent, and it starts with each one of us using our voices to champion a tidal shift. Below are just a few ideas of ways that you can be part of the metamorphosis so this transference in attitudes and social norms is not simply part of a news cycle until something new makes a headline splash.
- Attend protests or demonstrations– This option is admittedly not for everyone, and perhaps it seems daunting given the media portrayals. However, it is the most visible way for your voice to be heard. Create your own sign, grab a friend or two, and congregate with like-minded community members to march or even stand in front of a governmental complex so that officials take notice.
- Donate to organizations advocating for social change– Personally, this was the first step I took when I gathered my thoughts and after doing some research. There are countless organizations in need of support for a variety of causes within the Black Lives Matter movement. It is a very personal decision where a person chooses to contribute funds, and it is far more difficult to know the legitimacy of pages that are posted online. Some include: Black Visions Collective, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and Campaign Zero. This is only a limited list, so please check out Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau’s page on legitimate organizations to donate to that are currently accepting donations.
- Don’t brush off prejudicial comments from relatives, family members, etc. Is this an uncomfortable idea? Absolutely. However, calling out those around you who make comments that allow systematic racism and all other types of injurious, unjust belief systems to continue to circulate is where those tough conversations and educational opportunities begin. Simply talking around the dining room table, while possibly being confrontation, at least calls attention to these flawed belief systems and if nothing else will hopefully encourage others to question their ideologies.
- Support black owned businesses– There are many black-owned businesses, both online and brick-and-mortar, ranging in a variety of types of retail from beauty and clothing to bookstores and any number of others. Social media such as Twitter and Instagram are excellent resources to locate black owned businesses. Also, shout them out on social media and be sure to let others know about the products and the business behind them.
As mentioned above, these are only a small fraction of ways to maintain the momentum of the past several weeks and allow change to take shape in ourselves, our community, and ultimately our world.
Comment other ways below for your voice to be heard or any organizations that you are aware of that are taking donations!