I have to start by saying that I feel uncomfortable. I feel uncomfortable that I will say the wrong thing. I feel uncomfortable that I haven’t said something already. I feel uncomfortable…nay outraged… that a Black Man was murdered by a Minneapolis Police Officer (with the silent compliancy of several others) in cold blood. I feel uncomfortable that despite this not being the first case of police brutality in this country that it took me this long to say something. I feel uncomfortable that despite not engaging in racist activities I have benefitted from a system based on a foundation of racial inequality at the expense of Black lives. I feel uncomfortable. I feel sad. I feel angry. And I recognize that my emotions pale in comparison to those of Black Americans who face injustice every single day. I may be uncomfortable but I will show up in spite of this discomfort because it’s a privilege to feel uncomfortable. This is not about me or my discomfort.
If you’re a white person, you may have heard the phrase “do the work”. If you were like me you don’t fully understand what that means or where to start… until you actually step in and do the work. Then it starts to make sense. Doing your own work means diving into some tough questions and reflections. It means uncovering that you may be compliant with racism without overtly engaging in it. It means listening to Black voices and reflecting and understanding. It means accepting criticism when you mess up. Because you will.
Tanya and I wanted to share with you some resources we’ve found helpful as White women in learning about the racial injustices in our country, including the work we are doing right now and in the long term. Black Lives Matter is not a passing fad or a trending hashtag. It’s also not new. It is something we must all commit to right now and until we live in a country that allows for equal access for Black Americans.
This list is not exhaustive. We will update as we continue our work but know that there are SO many resources out there. It’s up to you to seek them out and learn. One step at a time.
What We’re Doing Right Now
We are continually challenging ourselves and evolving but as of now we have couple main focuses:
1. Doing our own personal work. We are looking into our white privilege, white fragility, white supremacy, what it means to be white and how our simply being white has played into years of oppression. WE are in charge of our own education in this issue. It’s not about turning to your Black friend and asking them to educate you.
Books & articles we’re currently reading:
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- The Case for Reparations (written by the same above author)
- 75 Things White People Can do For Racial Justice
2. Listening. This is so so important. WHILE doing our own work, we’re also listening to Black voices. What are they saying, how are they feeling? Don’t respond, just listen. Thoughts and feelings may stir up inside of you but we challenge you to sit with those, acknowledge them and reflect on what those feelings are.
Who we’re listening to right now:
- Rachel Cargle – public academic, writer, and lecturer. Her activism and academic work are rooted in providing intellectual discourse, tools, and resources that explore the intersection of race and womanhood. Start by watching this video. Take her course here.
- Layla F Saad – an author, speaker & teacher on the topics of race, identity, leadership, personal transformation & social change. Listen to her podcast, Good Ancestor.
- The Conscious Kid – an education, research and policy organization dedicated to reducing bias and promoting positive identity development in youth. Follow them on Instagram.
- 1619 Podcast – An audio series on how slavery has transformed America, connecting past and present through the oldest form of storytelling from the New York Times.
3. Donating. We’re putting our money where our mouths are and donating to organizations doing really important work right now. Here are the ones we’ve currently donated to:
- Black Visions Collective – Committed to creating safe + autonomous home for black communities in Minnesota.
- Lake Street Council – Donating 100% of funds to small businesses and nonprofits in the Lake Street Community to help them rebuild their storefronts + neighborhood.
- The Loveland Foundation – providing mental health services to black women and girls
- Minnesota Freedom Fund – Pays bail and immigration bonds for protestors + those who cannot afford to in order to end discriminatory, coercive, and oppressive jailing.
- Minnesota ACLU – promotes, protects, and extends the civil liberties and civil rights of people in Minnesota through litigation, lobbying, and community engagement.
- Northside Funders – Works with local Community Based Organizations in North Minneapolis to help distribute funds and resources to those who need it most.
4. Protesting. We’re attending local protests. A reminder, you are there as a guest and to help protect Black people and amplify their voices. You’re a foot soldier in their war.
- Suggestions for finding a local protest: Google it! Check Next Door for smaller, local ones.
- Here are some tips for how to protest safely
- Reminder: wear a mask and keep 6 feet distance. We’re still in a pandemic.
5. Evaluating. We’re looking at our content calendar and the work we’re creating and evaluating if the message is inclusive. I’ve discussed this before, but the wellness industry is inherently racist and privileged. We’ll be checking ourselves before creating and sharing our work but also looking at the industry as a whole and what we can do to change it.
What YOU Can Do Today
Like we said earlier, it can feel overwhelming to jump in. Where do you start? How do you start? From our experience, you have to just start. This will be a lifelong journey and we’re inviting you to start today. Here’s what you can do today:
Set aside time to reflect on your own privilege and ways in which you’ve benefitted from our unjust cultural, financial and governmental system. Make sure you have time to really think and reflect.
After thinking through these questions on your own, invite someone into the conversation. Talk to a White partner, a family member, a friend. Invite someone in to reflect on these questions for themselves and with you. Start having these conversations! Please don’t go to your Black friend and express all that you’ve learned. They’re dealing with enough right now. Your emotions are valid and deserve to be acknowledge but please seek out support from a trusted friend or family member or speak to a mental health professional (we encourage it!)
What YOU Can Do For the Long Haul
This work is not done in a week, let alone a month. This is just the start of the conversation. Start by answering those questions and then dive into more work. Remember this is your job. It is not Black people’s job to educate you and share how much hurt they’ve experienced over the years. It’s your job to understand how you have caused this hurt.
Read, Listen and Watch
Here is a great LIST OF RESOURCES for white people looking to take action. Know that this is just a starting point. There are so many ways to dig deep and learn. Once you start, you won’t be able to stop. It includes books to read, podcasts to listen to, shows and movies to watch + organizations to follow on social media.
Consider where you’re spending your time and money:
- Where do you live, shop, socialize?
- Are you interacting and taking information in from people that look differently from yourself?
- Are you supporting Black-owned businesses? Discover some today.
- Are you donating to grassroots organizations supporting Black causes? Your success has been built on the shoulder’s of Black Americans. It’s time to give back.
Are you employing, sharing and amplifying Black People + Voices?
- As an employer, are all your employees white?
- As a business owner, content creator and/or influencer are you only sharing white stories and perspectives?
- On social media are you sharing Black stories, artwork and written works?
- Find your local chapter of Black Lives Matter
- Donate to your local ACLU
- Donate to your local bail out fund to help support protestors needing support with bail
- NAACP is a civil rights organization, founded in 1909, which is committed to political, educational, social and economic equality
- You vote with your actions and your dollars but show up in November and VOTE.
- Make sure you are registered to vote here. Select vote by mail if you’re worried about voting during the pandemic.
I acknowledge that I have a long way to go in unravelling my own white privilege but I hope this can be a start. Please know that I am open to hearing from you and receiving your feedback and criticism. Expect to hear more from us soon but in the meantime all content will be paused here for the next several days to help redirect attention to Black voices and stories.
To my Black readers – I see you and I am so sorry for your pain. I stand with you today and every day moving forward. Your lives matter.
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