Standing Up for Racial Justice

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.

 

12 Responses to Standing Up for Racial Justice

  1. Avatar
    Warren Wed, June 3, 2020 at 12:03 pm #

    Hi Andrew,
    America has the ‘duty’ to elect officials that do indeed represent the direction toward equality and a real change in racial views.
    I totally agree with your stance and view that we all need to stand up for something right and just.
    We can indeed educate ourselves on what the real facts are not the convenient lies that are still being put in class rooms.
    As a Canadian I know that things here are not so much different than south of the 49th.
    Warren

  2. Andrew Morrison
    Andrew Morrison Wed, June 3, 2020 at 2:02 pm #

    Thank you Warren. I appreciate your comment very much.

  3. Avatar
    Tammy Westbrook Wed, June 3, 2020 at 5:43 pm #

    Andrew, your post today truly touched me. I am an African American woman and educator who shares your love for independence, care for the earth and dedication to responsible building practices. I grew up in the South (USA) but now live outside New York City in central New Jersey. I have often considered attending one of your workshops, but, frankly, wasn’t sure I wanted to pay to endure other people’s mis-judgement or ignorance. I simply want to learn how to build my strawbale forever home and, hopefully, enjoy the experience. Based on your post today, Andrew, as God allows, I will likely register. You did what you needed to do — own and take responsibility for your “stuff” — to make it safe for me and other Black, Indigenous, People of Color to know that we are welcomed and wanted. Sadly, in America, beyond our homes and neighborhoods, our experience is usually the opposite. But, the truth is that we really are more alike than different. Thank you for your heart. May God bless all that you put your hands to. I look forward to working with you one day.

  4. Avatar
    Terry Huebner Thu, June 4, 2020 at 8:48 am #

    I understand what your trying to promote, however the Southern Law and Poverty Center is a corrupt organization and should not be validated……

  5. Andrew Morrison
    Andrew Morrison Thu, June 4, 2020 at 11:55 am #

    Hi Tammy. Thank you for connecting. I hear your concerns and I apologize for not doing more to preemptively address them. I am glad that you now feel welcome at our workshops. You are indeed welcome. I look forward to meeting you as well and to spending the week enjoying each other’s company and moving you one step closer to building your forever home!

  6. Andrew Morrison
    Andrew Morrison Thu, June 4, 2020 at 11:56 am #

    I disagree Terry. What evidence of corruption can you site?

  7. Avatar
    Rayne Adoue Tue, June 16, 2020 at 5:05 pm #

    Andrew,

    I share your concerns for race. I live in New Orleans, and am about to build a house (not straw bale) adjacent to the 9th ward. The 9th ward is still devastated from Hurricane Katrina, and people moving in are gentrifying it out of value for the population that left or were historically here.
    I don’t know if straw bale would work in our climate, which is why I didn’t pursue it. But I am considering building a small building for mostly storage with my new home.
    My point is though, that an incentive needs to be available for people who are still operating on the lower part of Maslow’s hierarchy. Consider, instead of workshops for rich white for, who have not only the income, but the availability to take vacation, consider a project in which locals are recruited and paid. And, if they want to build a home, provide support and maybe even financing. If your desire is to in some way give back, that may be a way.
    I totally understand that our WASP values are to work hard to provide for our families, but maybe at some point we need to take a detour.
    Just thoughts, but if you are confounded by why you don’t have better racial involvement, I think you would also find that you have little low income involvement. And that excludes a significant proportion of the population.

    I totally think you are a good guy, and I am only offering thoughts because you may have a platform, which I do not.

    Take care,
    Rayne

  8. Andrew Morrison
    Andrew Morrison Wed, June 17, 2020 at 10:49 am #

    Hi Rayne. Thank you for your thoughtful comments and suggestions. I have been in conversation with BIPOC people in the past about offering free education, but those conversations never ended in action. I will start those conversation up again and see if I can create something with greater outreach. We do offer scholarships to people every year, and we are working on expanding those as well. I appreciate you connecting and sharing your ideas.

  9. Avatar
    Anne ONeill Sat, July 11, 2020 at 4:37 pm #

    Hi Andrew, Can you give any specifics about the scholarships that you are making available for POC that would make the workshops more accessible to all?

  10. Andrew Morrison
    Andrew Morrison Sun, July 12, 2020 at 1:36 pm #

    Hi Anne. I am not clear on what you are asking me. Sorry. Can you try asking it another way? What I can tell you (in hopes of it answering your question) is that we offer scholarships to participants every year and the new BIPOC scholarship is in addition to those other scholarships. The details of both scholarships are the same other than the BIPOC one is specific to BIPOC individuals. Let me know if that does not answer your question.

  11. Avatar
    Angela Fri, August 28, 2020 at 8:37 pm #

    Hi Andrew, I took a minute to see what’s happening at your Strawbale site. I am so glad I did! It is very heartening to see people I respect speaking up for the disinfranchised in this country. Your comments, and book and donation suggestions are on point. Thank you for using your platform to speak out so boldly!

  12. Andrew Morrison
    Andrew Morrison Fri, August 28, 2020 at 10:15 pm #

    Thank you for reaching out Angela. I appreciate your support.

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