In the summer of 2013, the Black Lives Matter movement began. Whether you’ve been following the movement for years or have only recently heard about it on the news, it’s not too late to educate yourself or get involved. Some say the first step can be the hardest, especially when a movement is packed full of emotion. You may not want to say or do the wrong thing for fear of making things worse, but in the case of BLM, any step forward is the right one, and it doesn’t have to be difficult. Taking time to educate yourself is a great first step, whether that be through self-reflection, a book, documentary, conversation, or through the myriad of resources available online. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said in a commencement speech at Oberlin College, “The time is always right to do what is right.”
Below are some of the first steps Fishies have taken over the last month to become educated, educate others and/or become involved in the Black Lives Matter movement. We hope these small steps inspire you to take your own first step.
“My wife and I attended a fundraiser for BLM that aired the movie “Selma” over the weekend. Also, we’ve been in constant discussion with our two daughters about the issue and the importance of voting (especially because one of them is now 18) to ensure people that are not racist and understand the importance of truly treating people equally get elected.”
“Andy Cohen did a really good “Watch What Happens Live” special where he had W. Kamau Bell and Porsha Williams (a Real Housewife of Atlanta) on the show to talk about the Black Lives Matter movement. I thought it was a really smart way to connect with Bravo viewers and get the message out to them coming from someone like Porsha who they already know and are invested in personally from watching her for years on the show. There’s no doubt a lot of white, privileged women watch Bravo, and I was happy to see Andy Cohen give Porsha his platform and talk about systematic racism, her experiences at the protests in Atlanta, actionable change, etc. It’s also a GREAT example of how people can educate themselves and learn, considering Porsha once said on an episode of Real Housewives she thought the underground railroad was an actual underground train, and now she’s an anti-racism activist. Here’s a link to see a clip from the segment: https://www.bravotv.com/the-daily-dish/porsha-williams-discusses-systemic-racism-on-wwhl“
“Over the weekend, I helped organize a solidarity walk against systemic racism in my hometown and then was also a volunteer at the event. Through volunteering, I was exposed to conversations on racial inequality in my own neighborhood that I may not have had otherwise. By creating a safe place to facilitate those conversations, we are able to shed light on injustices that we are living among in our silos of privilege and can then work together to actionably solve those issues through local voter turnout. Realizing COVID-19 is still a very real threat, not everyone will feel comfortable making it out to events such as this. There are still plenty of ways to expose yourself to those conversations taking place, such as by tuning into an action that may be “going live” on Instagram or visiting sites that allow you to trace injustice in your own neighborhood, such as mappingpoliceviolence.org.”’
“I ordered and started reading a book called “Hood Feminism” to learn how my own intentions for advancing women’s rights may have been excluding or silencing women of color in the past, and how to expand my advocacy to include gender issues that don’t directly affect me. It has been really enlightening to see how things I may think are unrelated, such as gun control laws, are still tied into race and gender. It informs me better as a voter too!”
“I’ve been active in signing petitions and emailing the Minneapolis police. One of the things I’ve been doing (and enjoying) is helping family and friends who participated or plan to participate in a protest to make sure they know their rights. As you know, there’s a lot of controversy going on and protestors are being treated in many different ways, so it’s extremely essential to be educated when you’re a part of a protest to make sure the police and the public are obeying laws in the same manner protesters should be. I’ve also been helping advocate advice like when/where it’s ok to take pictures and videos, what to do if you’re arrested and who to call, what rights you need to know if that does happen, things you can and can’t do during a protest, things cops can and can’t do during a protest, etc. The comprehensive list is here: https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/protesters-rights/“
“Over the last few weeks, I’ve made time to educate myself on our country’s history of racism to better understand how deeply rooted and systemic it truly is. There is so much to read and watch, but I started with Just Mercy and the Netflix documentary 13th, which explains the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom. My fiancé and I also watched Harriet, The Uncomfortable Truth, Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special, and this episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on the police, which does an excellent job of explaining what “defund the police” means. I also purchased the audiobook version of White Fragility. But of it all, I felt it was most important to get out and show my support, so I joined a Black Lives Matter march where I live in Alexandria, Virginia.”
“As children we’ve been so conditioned to focus on other HUMAN beings’ skin color versus their heart that recently I’ve found myself having talks with my step-daughter who happens to be Black about her referencing kids in her class by their skin color. As a white woman talking to a young Afro-Latina girl, I will never know what she will have to face as she grows up but I can prepare her and teach her that what truly matters at the end of the day is a person’s intention and heart. I’m constantly educating myself on the severe injustices going on across the world and looking inwards as to how I can make a difference and prepare myself to be a mother of biracial children in the future.”
“My first step has been education and reflection. I had never heard of systematic racism or realized it even still existed, and to that end, realized the extent of my own white privilege. I don’t want my children to grow up as naïve, so by educating myself (through books, articles, podcasts and documentaries thus far), I will educate them as they grow up. I’ve already added several books to my two-year old’s bookshelf that include People of Color, discuss racism and kindness.”
“Below is a TEDTalk I watched and an author/poet I follow on Instagram that really explains whiteness and what we can do to change.
- TEDTalk with Dr. Tara Swart that discusses how systemic racism is embedded in neuroscience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVLFcImY410
- Sonya Renee Taylor: https://www.instagram.com/sonyareneetaylor/?hl=en
- I’ve also made it a point to support black businesses more. Here’s one of my favorite ones – her linen/room spray is divine 🙂 https://www.instagram.com/realrichnaturals/?hl=en”