What I'm doing to learn how to become an Ally for change.
An ALLY unites and stands in solidarity.
An ALLY is one love for all.
An ALLY has your back.
An ALLY never backs down.
To become an ALLY is to be part of the change.
My heart and soul hurts from all this pain we are experiencing right now in our country and I know that is nothing compared to what people of color have had to endure for centuries. Racism has always been around, we are just being exposed to more of it these days due to technology and I am grateful for that because without it I’m not sure that our country would have the awakening it is currently experiencing. I am not black and cannot give you experiences of racism but I can admit that I have witnessed far more conversations than I care to count where a racist comment has been made, or a decision was made based on race, which is only a small part of a much bigger issue. People are experts at turning a blind eye and pretending it doesn't exist. I have been guilty of this at times myself. It is easier to not speak up and think that if I am silent they will know I don’t agree but that is not enough, we can’t be silent anymore and expect anything to ever change. Being silent is taking the side of the oppressor. It can make people think you agree because you didn’t speak up. Indecision is a decision and choosing to do nothing is a decision that can speak louder than words. As soon as we make black lives matter then and only then will all lives matter. And I know this is a much bigger issue than just racist comments, this goes deep into the roots of our country. In the resources below the top of your list should be watching 13th on Netflix. This shows exactly what people mean when they talk about systemic racism that has been built into our systems since slavery. This will truly open your eyes to not only focus on the riots but to learn more about why people could be so angry that they feel there is only one way to be heard. I'm not saying I agree with looting but take the time to learn why racism still very much exists in 2020 and we have all seen it. My goal is to keep educating myself to be a good ally and learn ways to approach my white friends and family without anger and come from a place of patience realizing that people are trying to do their best with what they have. And unfortunately what they have may be being raised from a family of extremely racist people. Change is hard and I want to help educate them. I don’t want to condemn them, or hate them. I want to help move them forward. I don’t want to defriend them on social media (as hard as it is right now with some of the comments being said) because I may be the only voice speaking to this topic on their newsfeed and if I can make just ONE person think twice by digging into their own beliefs then I have done my part. I am standing in unity with our Black community alongside all the other businesses that are using their audiences and platforms to make a stand and further educate people. We all won’t get it right every time but that is ok, keep trying. Strive for progress, not perfection. That is how you make change. You can’t wait until you have your response perfect and trust me I am preaching that to myself as well every day that I see something that makes me want to speak up. I’m working on it and I ask for you to work on it with me. We can do this together. We can help each other learn and grow. As uncomfortable as this post was to write and trying to figure out the right words to say I am willing to sit in this uncomfortable space to figure it out and grow from this. Every little action you can take creates ripples in your family, in your community, and in the world. We can create change if we just choose to act in whatever ways we can, big or small. I so badly wanted to do something more to help, and being a creator I used the only way I know how, to create something to bring awareness and contribute to a cause. So this Black Lives Matter Ally shirt was born. I have poured all of my peaceful vibes, prayers, hope, and heart into this design hoping to create a ripple of people willing to stand up and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. This shirt means you are an ally to people of color, you stand with them, you support them, you listen to their experiences, you actively speak out against injustice, you acknowledge white privilege, you challenge family/friends about their racist comments and beliefs, dig into your own beliefs, amplify melinated voices, use your voice to say BLACK LIVES MATTER and in turn make change in the world. This shirt will be for sale on our website and 50% of the proceeds will go to the Equal Justice Initiative. EJI challenges poverty and racial injustice, advocates for equal treatment in the criminal justice system, and creates hope for marginalized communities. They are located here in Montgomery, AL and are doing incredible work. I highly recommend you watch Just Mercy (also on the list below) to get a glimpse of what this organization is fighting for. You do not have to buy a shirt to give to some of these impactful causes. I encourage you to find one that speaks to your heart and give back.
I am going to be posting more resources as I learn but here are some that have spoken to my heart so far.
- 13th on Netflix should be a mandatory thing for everyone to watch. I only thought I knew how deep racism goes until I watched this and had the most eye opening experience. Everything I thought I knew was turned upside down. And a light was shown on just how much both parties, Republicans and Democrats have been a part of the problem. I highly encourage you to put this at the top of your list of education. Also if you don’t have a Netflix you can sign up for a free trial to watch it. And if you don’t have a way to watch Netflix on a TV or computer then you can even download the app on your phone and watch it that way. Don’t let anything stand in your way of watching this, message me if you need help.
- Just Mercy on Amazon Prime. This was very difficult to watch knowing this happens all the time and even more heart wrenching that it happened here in Alabama. It is free for the month of June. If you don’t have an Amazon Prime account sign up for a free trial and you can cancel it after you watch it.
- I have started reading “How to Be an Anitracist” by Ibram X. Kendi. First take away “Like the famous question about the chicken and the egg, the answer is less important than the cycle it describes. Racist ideas make people of color think less of themselves which makes them more vulnerable to racist ideas. Racist ideas make white people think more of themselves which further attracts them to racist ideas.” This is a very educational book, highly recommended. I know a lot of places are sold out of this book and beware of people price gouging. But you can always sign up for a free trial of Audible and listen to it instead of read it. This is also good for my non reader friends. Even better if you purchase from a black owned bookstore.
- Other books to add to your list to read you will see in the graphic above. I have not read them yet but they are on my list.
- People to follow:
NAACP LDF (Legal Defense and Education Fund) @naacp_ldf
Equal Justice Initiative @eji_org
Brittany Packnett @mspackyetti
Build Power @bldpwr
Ava DuVernay @ava
Kendrick Sampson @kendrick38
Melina Abdullah @docmellymel
National Urban League @naturbanleague
Revolt TV @revolttv
I have many other people I have started following as well that I will highlight as I learn more from those people. My goal is to keep sharing as many resources as I can and amplifying melanated voices. I will not share anything that I have not listened to, watched, or read myself without stating so first. I want to make sure that I am giving you the most accurate resources to further our efforts to be the best allies to black lives matter! What resources are you learning from? Share in the comments below so we can learn together. Let’s do this!