Last week, I joined a movement that asked white voices to mute their social media posting from June 1st through June 7th so that voices in the black community could be elevated. I will admit that it was extremely hard to just listen and not post or share content. But I was committed and I understood the purpose.
One theme I saw frequently expressed from the black community is the frustration with the white community members who are reaching out to them for a quick fix or a plan for education. It is not the black communities responsibility to hold our hands and make this easy for us. It is not the black communities duty to guide us in our conversations to make us feel comfortable. If you want to make changes in your generation it is your responsibility to become informed. It is your turn to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
With that being said, there are an infinite number of resources that black activists and authors have already created, but most of us have not been listening. I created a personal plan of next steps that I will share in hopes that it motivates someone else to formulate their own. Reading books is not the solution, but listening and getting educated is a logical first step.
1) Create a list of books to read and start with one. The links below are the books I have chosen to start with. I choose a couple of these books because they have questions and journaling prompts and I learn best by writing my thoughts.
2.) Get books for my children to continue our conversations on racial injustice.
We currently own The Fierce 44 and my girls request it almost every night. Books are great conversation starters and will prompt many questions. No age is too young. The sooner you start and the more you speak to them about hard stuff the more comfortable you will become.
3.) Start following more activists, authors, and speakers in the black community.
While it may seem more effective to learn from a plethora of people, I start to spin when I have too much information at once. I will start with a few new accounts at a time and grow from there.
Austin Channing Brown
4) Share helpful resources I find with my community as I am learning.
In addition to the books above, I narrowed down to one article and one website to share right now. This article, "Action Items For New Allies", will encourage you on actions that can be taken now. And the website, "White Ally in Training", addresses a number of topics that are critical in correcting some of the mistakes the white community is making.
Is my plan perfect? No. Will my plan receive criticism? Yes. Will I feel awkward and uncomfortable at times? You bet. Will I learn from my mistakes and keep going? Always.
Do not feel alone in your journey. Right now, there are people starting or continuing to listen and educate themselves from all different backgrounds, families of origin and education. Grab a friend or acquaintance and do it together. Do not underestimate the power of change in one (or two). What you learn and put into place now will trickle down and affect your family and generations to come. The most important part is that you start now.