The Black Lives Matter movement is not a trend. It's not something we can just turn our phones off and ignore. Racism exists and will continue to exist unless we unite to dismantle the systemic inequalities in our country. In order for there to be actual progress, we must dedicate ourselves to making changes that amplify marginalized voices. Below are seven tangible practices I plan to incorporate into my life. I hope you are inspired to do the same.
1. Support Black-owned businesses
When purchasing gifts, beauty products, clothing, or literally anything! choose Black-owned businesses! Over the past few weeks, I've discovered so many amazing businesses (in my own city!) that I never knew about. Shoutout to The Orange Noir where I got this cool shirt from!
Next time you're looking for a new restaurant to try, I highly recommend using the app 'EatOkra'. By entering your location, it allows you to find Black-owned restaurants in your city!
2. Educate yourself
There are so many resources available!! Books, movies, articles, infographics, podcasts, videos etc. about anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion. I recently listened to this episode of author and activist Jessica Honegger's podcast 'Going Scared' and it is SO GOOD!! Podcasts are such an easy way to stay informed because you can listen to them anywhere! (in the car, kitchen, etc) Next on my list is called '1619'. If you're in the mood for a movie, there are so many to choose from. I highly recommend Just Mercy and The Hate U Give is on my watchlist! I plan to read at least one book every month about diversity/inclusion. I'm currently reading The Color Purple by Alice Walker. You can borrow books from your local library for FREE! If you want to buy one, try ordering it from a Black-owned bookstore! Cultivate your mind and expand your worldview but don't get overwhelmed. For me, it helps to keep a journal to write down things I learn from books and podcasts so I can look back and remind myself :)
3. Have intentional conversations with friends and family
Help your loved ones understand the events happening in the world right now. If they have different opinions than you, listen to them and remain patient. Lead by example and hopefully they will come around. Don't shy away from discussing important issues with friends and learn from each other.
4. Donate regularly to anti-racist organizations
Even just $5 a month can help keep orgs like 'Black Lives Matter' running so they can lift Black communities. They need a constant flow of support, not just huge waves once a year.
5. Volunteer in your community; be an Advocate!
If you don't have the funds to donate, volunteering is a great way each of us can help this cause. There are most likely opportunities to get involved in your local community, whether that be making calls to government officials or donating to the food bank. Even protesting is volunteering your time to speak out for justice!
6. Understand and unravel biases
Personally, this is something I need to work on and pray about. It is difficult but so important! How do I approach Black people compared to how I approach white people? How do I perceive Black people in the media? Ask yourself WHY you hold these biases and assumptions. Remember, this is supposed to be an uncomfortable and ongoing process! We can't control the conditions we grew up in, but we have the opportunity to dispel the biases we have! Recognize where you have been wrong, forgive yourself and move forward.
Period. If nothing else, do this!! We each have the power to enact change with one simple action. For Texans, Early voting in the primaries starts June 29th and Election Day for the presidential is November 3rd!
**This is by no means an extensive list because I know I will be adding to it for years to come. But it's a good place to start. Hope you're having a beautiful day, wherever you are.