5 Ways To Support Equality Initiatives For Black Folks
5 Ways To Support Equality Initiatives For Black Folks
As our country tries to figure out what’s next in the aftermath of the brutal murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, systemic racism has been pushed to the forefront of many of our conversations. We have seen nationwide protests, monuments being removed, viral videos where racists acts are exposed and so much more in such a short period of time.
Large corporations like Netflix, Ben & Jerry’s, and NIKE have stepped up to speak out about the importance of equality. I can’t even begin to explain to you how shocked I was when I heard that the NFL decided to play the song ‘Lift Every Voice And Sing” AKA The Black National Anthem at the beginning of every game during week 1 of the upcoming football season. I don’t know about you, but it seems to me like things have been moving at an accelerated pace over these last month or so. There have been some days where I literally felt like my head was spinning.
RACISM IS NOT NEW
Even though we are watching the world change before our eyes, it’s important to understand something…RACISM IS NOT NEW. Police brutality didn’t begin on the day that George Floyd died. Racism didn’t originate when Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down for simply taking a jog in a neighborhood. Systemic racism is something that the majority of people who look like me have had to endure for many generations, because discrimination and bigotry have been etched into the fabric of our country for well over 400 years. So, it’s important to understand that the protests and uprisings that we have seen aren’t just because of what happened in Minneapolis, MN on May 25, 2020. What we are seeing is the result of 400 years of oppression, frustration and pain. People are tired of waiting for change, so they are going out and creating it.
As we prepare ourselves for what’s next, and figure out what a world that is covered in equality should and will look like, I think it is important for those who aren’t African American to have some tangible action items that they can use right now to assist in this movement. You can no longer stand by idly while police officers kill innocent Black people. You can’t twiddle your thumbs and look away every time you see a confederate flag flying in the air any more. If you’re really about seeing change, and you truly want to make a difference, you’re going to have to get into the ring beside us and help us fight this fight. It will take time and effort, but trust me it will be worth it!
So, here are 5 ways that anyone can support equality initiatives for Black Folks.
Support Black Businesses and Organizations
– One of the best ways to be an ally to the black community is to put your money where your mouth is. Black owned businesses and organizations were already having a hard time surviving prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the biggest obstacles is that Black business owners simply do not have the same access to capital as their white counterparts. Taking the time to find a local black owned business and supporting them financially could mean a world of difference. Especially, right now as they try to navigate through these unprecedented times that we are all experiencing. One of the things that I have done is to begin moving my banking relationships from one of the larger and more well known banks to a smaller Black owned bank in my area.
– There are a number of really great causes that are dedicated to fighting the good fight against inequality and injustice. Take some time, and research what you feel would be a good cause to put your money behind. You could donate to some of the funds dedicated to providing bail for protesters, or you could donate to an online crowdfunding campaign for the families of someone who was unjustly killed. Find something that speaks to you, do the research and give what you can.
Educate Yourself And Don’t Be Afraid To Have Tough Conversations
– If you aren’t African American it’s impossible for you to totally understand what the African American experience in this country is like. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t do your best to learn about what that experience means and feels like to others. If you’re a reader, I suggest that you find out what books are available to offer perspectives and help you get a better understanding of what it is like to be a person of color in our country. Or, if you’re like me and you prefer to listen to your books you can grab a few audiobooks and just listen while you’re driving or working out. The key word is LISTEN… Not just to the audiobooks, but to the people around you who have been marginalized for so long. Also, listen to what your circle of friends are saying about these issues. Where do they stand in comparison to what you believe? Some of these conversations might be tough for you to have, but they are important. If the conversation makes you uncomfortable, that just means that you are growing and being stretched in a way that is unfamiliar. Tough conversations are good for you!
Speak Out On Social Media
– Social media platforms are now much more than just a place to share funny videos and family vacation pictures. For many of us our social media pages are now a complete extension of our everyday lives. If there is something going on in our lives that we want those who we are connected with to know about, we post it on social media. Am I right or wrong? The same thing applies when it comes to speaking out about social justice. If you want to be a true ally, you have to use the tools that you have. Believe it or not, social media is just that…a tool that can be used to influence change if done properly. It’s your voice, so use it wisely in ways that will benefit others for the greater good.
– We all have time, talent, and treasure of some sort that can be donated to help others. Volunteering is a great way to be a part of this movement. My daughter and I were out protesting a few weeks ago, and there were people out there who weren’t participating in the protest in the traditional sense, but they were doing things like offering water and hand sanitizer to those of us who were in the streets marching. This fight for change is going to require some outside the box thinkers who are willing to step up and make a difference in ways that some of us would have never thought of. Take some time to think about what you have to offer that could be used to help Black folks who need assistance. Maybe you could offer virtual tutoring sessions to less fortunate students who are out of school for the summer. That’s just one example of a way to volunteer. Maybe your skills are in another area. Again, simply thinking outside of the box will go a long way in this fight because many of us are in this thing for the long run and we need people like you to help.
These are just a few small things that I think could be done by individuals who truly want to help make change happen.
If you want to learn how the media and popular culture influence racism and bias you can sign up for the Cultural Competence Basics virtual workshop that I am facilitating. I’ll be sharing strategies to help understand how music, social media, and TV help shape our collective realities and impact young people. Tickets are on sale now, and the best part is that you can save 10% on your ticket price simply by using the promo code BLACKLIVESMATTER at checkout.
There are three learning objectives for this virtual workshop
Deconstructing Media Stereotypes
Understanding How Pop Culture Shapes Reality
Creating Spaces for Cultural Representation In The Classroom
There will be lots of important information given during this virtual workshop, so I hope you can join us. Click HERE to get more information. You’ll be directed to a page with the next steps.