I was going to start this post with, “this past week has been___” but I don’t have the words to adequately describe it. Black, people of color, black lives matter, George Floyd, police, protests, murder, riots, neck, and knee have been spoken in my home and on my social media feeds more than I can count. I’ve felt every feeling and cried happy and horrified tears. Some people will say this isn’t about me. Others will say it’s about all of us.
What I’m Learning
I could honestly write paragraph upon paragraph about what I’ve learned since the death of George Floyd. Most of it you’ve probably already heard and in the age of 15 second Instastories and 30 second tik-toks, I know you are not going to read through a 5,000 word blog post. So, here is what I’ve learned and am continuing to learn. Please read this with the understanding that my learning does not stop just because the list does.
- We need massive, nation-wide police reform and better accountability.
- When I say we need police reform, some will hear, “I hate police.”
- It is possible to have positive personal experiences with law enforcement, be grateful and thankful for their service, and still think our country has more than a “few bad apples.”
- My children only have 4 books with people of color in them. Four. Out of 100+. I have to do better.
- Complicity is rampant. In our law enforcement, in our neighborhoods, and in the human race.
- It’s okay to be uncomfortable. It’s okay to admit that being white means that I’m ignorant about certain aspects of black culture. It’s okay to change my words, my thoughts, or my feelings when I learn something new. Know better, do better.
- People who continue to say/post, “All Lives Matter,” are missing or unwilling to learn about the importance of “Black Lives Matter.” Unfortunately this includes a few of my friends. I will continue to challenge them on this in an upfront but loving way.
- With the existence of 24 hour news, Facebook, iPhones, Instagram, and Google, there is no justification for staying ignorant.
- Saying I hear you, I understand you, and I will stand with you goes a long way when you don’t know what else to say or do.
What I’m Doing + Resources
Just to be clear, this is section is not a humble brag. It’s not a subtle (or not so subtle) way for me to say, look at me being the perfect white ally. I’ve come across literally thousands of resources this week and while that’s amazing, it can also be overwhelming. From my experience, when people feel overwhelmed or don’t know where to start, they often don’t. Here is what I’m focusing on and hopefully it can be a helpful starting point for you as well.
Let’s start with one of the easiest things, books. I’m ordering my kids (or will when they’re back in stock) Resist: 35 Profiles of Ordinary People, New Kid, Teach Your Dragon About Diversity, and The World Needs More Purple People. I started listening to How to Be an Antiracist about month ago and still need to finish it. I also plan to read White Fragility and I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness.
As if the lack of diversity in my kids’ books wasn’t embarrassing enough, I’m ashamed to admit how few black influencers” and instagram accounts I followed. Now when I scroll through my feed I see a variety of faces who aren’t white. Some of my new favorites are Fatima, Adrianna, Chevonne, & Carmen. As much as I love all these new to me accounts, obviously you shouldn’t follow someone just because they’re black. There are way too many women of color doing awesome things in the instagram space to follow ones just because. While your at it, unfollow anyone, regardless of color, who you can’t remember why you’re following them.
Vote. As important as petitions and marches are, real change happens when we elect people who represent our voices. Black Lives Matter is a human issue not a political one. For those who support All Lives Matter, I hope you vote for someone who genuinely cares about all lives, including black ones. If you’re not registered to vote, you can sign up here.
While a signed petition in and of itself isn’t magical, it does signal to the community and officials that a large amount of people want change. It also raises awareness and draws in more people to the cause. These are the petitions I’ve signed. Stand with Breonna, Justice for Ahmuad Arbery, NAACP We Are Done Dying, & National Action Against Police Brutality. As with anything you sign your name too, make sure you actually read the petition.
Donate. Your money, your time, support black owned businesses or businesses that give back to the black community. I’m also trying to be more conscious of how large-scale businesses are speaking out. This NBC News article lists corporate donations for the BLM movement.