“The objective reality is that no one who is white understands the challenge of being black in America.” Newt Gingrich, from the documentary 13th by Ava DuVernay
Here we are: Pride Month just started, we are in the middle of a massive reckoning to the hundreds of years of racial injustice and there is still a global pandemic happening. I'm a day late in posting this because I couldn't find my words on my predetermined timeline.
The words in the graphic "Hope will never be silent." were spoken by Harvey Milk, LGBT activist and this sign is in the Castro district of San Francisco. I remind myself that those who speak have hope for a better world and if you also share that hope, you must speak. Most of my readers got into non-profit to make the world we live in a better, more just place. We must make that work real in our jobs and outside it.
I wondered all week what to do. So, I listened to people of color and kept learning. I read and watched and researched. Has it been emotionally exhausting? Yes. But not nearly as emotionally exhausting as what black people in the United States live with every day and what they have dealt with for centuries.
So, the only way I felt I could effectively use my platforms was to highlight resources for those who want to speak up, to do something, to help but who are new(ish) to this work. Before you can effectively do any of those things, you must pause and learn. Here are some resources that can help you change what you can control first: yourself.
This list should not be interpreted and is not intended to be exhaustive in any sense of the word. I am only putting out there things that I have found helpful to me so far in my journey of learning. I have so many other things to read, grapple with, and absorb. I am white and was raised Mobile, Alabama. And even though from an early age, I always felt disgusted with racism and knew it was wrong, I still didn't know what I didn't know. I earned an undergraduate degree in American Studies, taking courses in American history and Sociology of Race and STILL never managed to learn about Juneteenth or the destruction of Black Wall Street until recently. The point is that this list is merely a starting point, for me and anyone reading it.
One thing I've been seeing online is folks asking questions about what certain terms mean and certain acronyms. That's fantastic that you want to learn. But, please don't ask people of color to explain these things to you. Google them.
Here's a helpful guide to look over to get you started from Lewis and Clark University: ABC’s of Social Justice A Glossary of Working Language for Socially Conscious Conversation*
Scaffolded Anti-Racist Resources: Helpfully divides resources by level of awareness in anti-racist work
WHAT TO WATCH
If you're busy right now (and who isn't), it can be helpful to watch or listen to anti-racist resources. I watch Netflix and other streaming services (usually documentaries) during my meals. Here are some wonderful, eye-opening resources you watch:
WHAT TO READ
A great problem to have: so many folks are interested in learning about anti-racism that books are selling out. Think about audiobooks as an alternative. Currently, I am listening to an audiobook version of So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo through a free service my public library provides Hoopla Digital. Check and see if your local library subscribes to similar audiobook and e-book app services.
In the mean time here are a few articles to keep you busy:
RAISING ANTI-RACIST CHILDREN
As a white woman, I realize that one of the most important things I can do to change the future is to address race issues with my white children. Here are some resources for starting those conversations:
READY TO ACT?
8 Can't Wait - This organization is advocating for 8 practical changes mayors can make at the level of local police departments to reduce police violence. Find your community on this website to see what their policies are in this area currently. My community wasn't listed, so I sent the website and recommendations to my mayor and urged him to take a look and report our policies to this website.
Innocence Project - "The Innocence Project, founded in 1992 by Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck at Cardozo School of Law, exonerates the wrongly convicted through DNA testing and reforms the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice." Sign up to be an advocate and if you can, make a gift to support their important work.
Jessica Cloud, CFRE
I've been called the Tasmanian Devil of fundraising and I'm here to talk shop with you.