Most of my blog posts are how-to's where I walk you through how and why to do something related to grant writing, marketing, or web development. But this blog post, and this month, are going to be a little different.
As most of you surely know, on May 25th George Floyd was murdered by a policeman in Minneapolis, MN. His death has sparked protests across the globe calling for justice and charges against his murderer, an end to police brutality, better community policing policies, and tangible work towards better race relations. Sadly, Floyd is just the most recent in a long line of people of color who've been murdered or wronged in recent years directly due to racism, racial profiling, and other imbalances in equality and authority.
I am a white woman from a privileged background. I am very aware of this. I am aware that I cannot understand what people of color are going through right now or what they have endured in the past on any kind of personal level. And that has led to an inward struggle. I find myself asking “how do we change this?”, “what can I personally do to change?”, and “what can I do to be better and to influence those around me to be better?”.
These are hard questions but as I've spent the past few weeks thinking about them I've realized that one of the most important things I can do right now is LISTEN.
White people have had the mic for a good long time in this country and it's arguable that we wouldn't be where we're at right now if we had just listened to people of color when they've tried to talk, educate, and peacefully protest around these issues in the past.
To that end, my blog and social media will remain mostly “dark” in June. I may post things here and there if I think they are very valuable to my nonprofit audience or if they directly deal with issues of racial inequality and/or how that affects the nonprofit world. But for the most part, I want to take my voice out of the picture this month. I want to allow space for other voices, voices of color, to speak about what is happening, how it's affecting them, and what we can do to change things.
I am just one voice and I know that my absence will not make a huge dent, but I know that many others are similarly silencing themselves and I hope that more will follow so that we can cut through all the social “noise” out there and focus on this important issue so that we can learn from it and move forward in a constructive way instead of repeating past mistakes and patterns.
Throughout June I will still be working with my private clients and if you have a question or issue, you can of course always email me directly. The time that I would normally spend crafting blog posts, freebies, newsletters, and social media posts will instead be spent listening, learning, and participating in conversations around this issue that can help me grow and learn how to be a true ally to people of color in my personal life and in my work.
I am hoping that you will join me.
Below are a few ways that you can learn, engage, and participate in this work. Even if you are physically unable to attend a protest or march, there's still plenty that you can do. This month, I challenge you to choose at least 1 or 2 and commit to the internal work of examining your own bias as well as the impact you want to make in the world. Have a good June everyone, and I will see you in July.
“Guidelines for Being Strong White Allies”, by Paul Kivel (Adapted from Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Social Justice)
“White Anti-Racism: Living the Legacy” (from the Teaching Tolerance website, this is a transcript of a discussion around anti-racism with several discussion questions for you to examine yourself)
“How to be an Ally if you are a Person with Privilege” by Frances E. Kendall, PHD
A Conversation with Black Women on Race (from the NY Times Op-Doc Series)
White Lies We Tell Our Children (from TEDxBeaconStreet)
How to Have a Voice and Lean Into Conversations on Race (Amanda Kemp)
New York Times' “Still Processing”
How to be an Anti-Racist, by Ibram X. Kendi
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin J. DiAngelo and Michael Eric Dyson
So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo
Stamped from the Beginning, by Ibram X. Kendi
Ways to Participate & Engage:
Rally List – A list of upcoming protests, marches, and rallies for equality