In my last post I shared one way I’m putting my money where my mouth is, and my feelings on the importance of both anti-racist education, action, and personal accountability. But I want to again stress the importance of white people addressing racism in our own families and social circles, and both showing up for justice and amplifying voices within our own communities.
In my own community, I have been dismayed to see many share the popular belief that because they have not been personally affected by COVID or racism it somehow doesn’t exist. There is clearly a long way for us to go, and it is long past time for us to lend our support. In this pursuit we may call upon the archetype of the witch, long-associated with both social transgression and activism.
Last weekend I was lucky to attend a gathering organized by local activist Gené Robinson. I was deeply moved by her speech on her fears as a woman of color, and as a mother. After the success of a peaceful and well-attended gathering, Ms. Robinson has organized a March for Unity on Saturday June 13 (details in image), and I hope to see friends in attendance as you are able (recognizing that these spaces are not physically accessible to all, especially during a pandemic).
Another way we can show up is by contacting our congressional representatives to demand action. (Unfortunately, I’m currently represented by Elise Stefanik, who has shown again and again that she’s one of Trump’s premier sycophants, but that’s why I’m all in for Tedra Cobb for congress in 2020!) If you don’t know who your rep is, you can look them up here. You can either contact them directly, or call the US House switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Explain that you’re a constituent calling to find out what they are going to do to prevent police brutality, and call on them to support the newly released Justice in Policing Act of 2020.
Additionally, you can contact your own local police department to discuss what policies they currently have in place, and what they plant to do to improve. You can also encourage them to adopt a Use of Force policy with clear guidelines “to prevent unnecessary force, ensure accountability and transparency, and ensure the community’s trust and confidence in …[their] ability to protect and serve,” following the template available here.
I want to close with a note specifically to my white friends and family who may have shared a #BLM post last week but quickly reverted to “normal life” the moment the social media challenge ended: Folks are complaining of being “burnt out,” and I understand, we’re all having a lot of feelings right now, but as Candace Reels reminds us, “It’s a privilege to be able to have a few uncomfortable conversations about racial inequality with your friends and family, instead of being the ones who have to deal with racial inequality in their daily life.” Ask yourself, what are you going to do for this little queen this week? Next week? And beyond?