I believe that we (white America) are generationally responsible for this. We wouldn’t be here if we hadn’t enforced slavery to begin with. Personally, I should have taken more time to listen, changed my priorities, and not looked away when things were said in my proximity. It starts with me.
In order to do this effectively and create positive change, we must try to come from a place of centeredness.
According to the Tao, the middle is the way toward universal harmony. There are extremes in all circumstance and it is our purpose to constantly strive toward the center of our being to connect with this harmony. This doesn't mean sit on the fence, this means go inward to seek truth; let yourself be disrupted and seek the space between. This is where the truth of our being lives.
We must choose to be on the side of mercy, love, and grace, but in order to do this honestly we have to have a difficult confrontation to our contribution.
I have so much to learn and am committing myself to doing that. I’d like to share what one of my coaches, Jacque Saltsman, has gathered as resources to better understand.
She also suggests signing up for the Whiteness at Work class taking place next week. I’m registered.
I believe that love will prevail through courageous acts of turning within and moving that understanding to action. I hope you join me.
Jacque Saltsman Post from May 29
EDITED 6/2/20 * After several people asked to share this post publicly outside of Facebook, I wanted to make sure it is centered around and gives credit to the Black Women from which I have learned. Many are listed below, but especially Demetria Miles McDonald at Decide Diversity, Lettie Johnson at Gifted By Design Leadership & Consulting Firm, Desiree Adaway, Austin Channing Brown, and Roxane Gay.
"But what can I do?" I can't tell you how many times I've asked myself that question or heard other people ask it. Well, the answer is: A LOT. There is a lot we can do. And WE (white America) are responsible for changing this. So, to my white friends, here are some ideas of what we can do. These are things I've learned from teachers and activists of color I've been following and learning from over the past few years. It's not comprehensive. It's a start. Please add more resources in the comments and I'll update the list.
Make the calls. Send the emails. Write the letters. Sign the petitions. March at the protests. It helps. Follow trustworthy sources who tend to have calls-to-actions in their posts (Shaun King, Black Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter Louisville, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Louisville SURJ - (Showing Up for Racial Justice), Grassroots Law Project.
EDUCATE YOURSELF on systemic racism.
Read books like WHITE FRAGILITY (I can't recommend this one enough) by Robin DiAngelo, BIASED by Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt, ME & WHITE SUPREMACY by Layla F. Saad, I'M STILL HERE by Austin Channing Brown, STAMPED and HOW TO BE ANTIRACIST by Ibram X. Kendi.
HIRE PEOPLE OF COLOR to help you and your organization change.
My local favorites are Decide Diversity and Lettie Johnson & SteVon Edwards-Mph with Gifted By Design Leadership & Consulting Firm.
LEARN ON SOCIAL MEDIA (AND PAY THEM FOR THEIR PROGRAMS).
Fill your feeds (FB, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn) with activists and teachers who are doing this work. Some of my favorites are Layla F. Saad (IG @laylafsaad), Hannah Drake (IG @hannahdrake628), Desiree Adaway (IG @desireeadaway), Jessica Fish (IG @j.essicafish), Ericka Hart (IG @ihartericka), Roxane Gay (IG @roxanegay74), Ericka Hines (IG @divahines), Rachel Elizabeth Cargle (IG @rachel.cargel) Shaun King (IG @shaunking), Black Lives Matter (IG @blklivesmatter).
*There will be times when you will not like what they are saying. It will sting but stick with it. This isn't about your feelings. It's about dismantling racism. Sit with the hard questions and ask yourself how it's true for you.
CONSUME MEDIA (movies, tv, books, podcasts, music, art) written, directed, starring and featuring people who don't look like you. And not just about racial issues. And NOT movies made by white people about black people. If you like comedies, watch funny movies created by people of color. Same with books, podcasts and shows.
SAME WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
Make sure at least 1/4 of your feeds are from people who don't look like you. If you're into design, follow black designers. Same with cars, food, literally anything you are interested in.
SUPPORT BUSINESSES OWNED BY PEOPLE OF COLOR.
Be intentional about where you spend your money. Think about where you eat, shop and who you do business with. If there aren't black people on that list, change it. (btw, If you haven't eaten at Lucretia's Kitchen, you are seriously missing out.)
Reach out. Lean on each other. Engage your white friends who are also learning. (Check on your Black friends, but DO NOT go to them with your feelings of guilt, shame, fear or uncertainty).
This is hard work, but not nearly as hard as fearing for your life just because of the color of your skin.
Lives depend on it.
If we don't have an intentional anti-racist plan for ourselves, our families and our businesses, then we are unintentionally perpetuating racism.
And THAT MUST STOP. NOW.
(I am still a toddler on this journey, but if I can help you in any way, please let me know.)