By now you have all likely seen the horrific footage of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis. Gabriella and I are filled with grief and anger, as I imagine you are too. Adding to this pain is the fact that his murder is one of far too many similar deaths that continue to take place in America; disproportionally impacting Black people, Indigenous people, and all People of Color; sometimes referred to collectively as “BIPOC.”
The true levels of racial injustice in this country are far beyond the measures we can see; however, some light is beginning to shine on those dark places.
We stand in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and all People of Color who are oppressed by systemic racism in our country and have been for generations. We stand in solidarity with those whose voices have been silenced by a system that is designed to benefit those in power. We are committed to being a part of the solution to this injustice. It is clear that this system has been in place for far too long and the need to create lasting change for true equality, true opportunity, and true expression of human rights must be realized in this moment.
We also want to acknowledge our own shortcomings. Over the years, we have worked to understand why our workshops are predominantly attended by White, middle class people. We have endeavored to learn what barriers are in place to Black, Indigenous, and all People of Color from attending our classes. I believe that we have not done enough to that end and we commit to working harder to make our workshops reflect the broad racial makeup of our communities.
Our hope is that you are already standing in solidarity with the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities. If you want to be part of the solution, but are not sure how to get involved, please consider the following calls to action as a starting place. I am in no way an expert. I continue to learn and to make mistakes along the way.
Calls to Action
- Educate yourself. It’s too easy to stand on the sidelines and simply wish things to get better. Consider reading “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo, “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo, or any of a large number of powerful books on the subject of race, inequality, and/or the systems that are in place to maintain the status quo.
- Stand up in the face of racism. I often see or hear people make comments that are “slightly racist”, as if such a thing exists. A “slightly racist” comment is racist. Period. Call it out for what it is and don’t stand by in silence.
- Have conversations about race; both with people of your own ethnicity and with those of other ethnicities, IF they are willing to engage with you on the topic. As a White person, I recognize that it is not the responsibility of anyone else to educate me nor is it the responsibility of a Person of Color to listen to me as I learn. It is MY job to listen to others and MY job to educate myself. If a Person of Color is open to having a conversation with me about race, I am in, but that is not something I should expect or require.
- Support those who are fighting for change and racial justice. Consider donating to places like the Southern Poverty Law Center, Color of Change, The Bail Project, or any other organization that supports social justice.
- Register to vote. Participate in local, state, and national elections. The importance of exercising your right to vote at every level of government cannot be overstated. Vote for local representatives like sheriffs, and court officials. Lift up state officials that represent your beliefs and the type of leadership you believe in. State officials also influence the way votes are counted via gerrymandering (something I personally think should be illegal, but that’s another topic), so voting for people you believe in is vital. Recognize that a vote at the national level is more than a vote for president or congress. The choices you make in national elections will be reflected in the Supreme Court for decades to come.