This has been an extremely long week. No matter where you turn, you will see updates on the Black Lives Matter movement, and protests. I originally intended to make this the core of my newsletter, and still intend to, but felt it only right to make this post a part of my blog as well.
I am not black. I do not feel the same fear that millions of black Americans face on a daily basis. I will not pretend to know what that feels like. I have spent a large portion of the last three days glued to my twitter account reading and watching updates, as well as trying to understand the best way I can help and support the movements since I am not in USA or Canada at the moment, but instead back home in Kenya. This post is a culmination of what I’ve found, and I will do my best to update it as I find more good advice and ways to support.
Participating in a March or Protest
You are extremely brave. Don’t show up to a protest unless you know the organizers. Be safe. Listen to organizers. Keep an eye out for each other. Watch out for cars, trucks and semis that may run into protestors. Carry water. Be prepared.
Practice Social Distancing
We are still in the middle of a Pandemic. This pandemic has very real consequences and has already killed over 370,000 people so far (officially). Stay as far apart as you can from other people, wear your masks and use hand sanitizer. The next 2 weeks will see massive spikes in COVID-19 cases. Yes - this is still important. If you participate in a protest, you need to self isolate after.
Are you an Immigrant or on a Visa of some sort?
If you are an immigrant, Sarah Harvey shared a great thread on what it means to be arrested as a foreigner and how it affects your legal status. Read it and make the right decision for yourself.
Don’t share footage with faces
Don’t share footage of protestors without permission. There are cops specifically tracking people in videos and many black folks will get arrested after the fact even if they were peacefully protesting.
Do Not Loot
It is not the purpose of this protest and seriously damages what this entire movement is about.
There are many options. Minnesota Freedom Fund is now asking you to divert your donations elsewhere as they have raised $20m:
- George Floyd’s Go Fund Me
- Ahmaud Arbery’s Go Fund Me
- National Bail Fund Network]
- The Bail Project
There are more out there.
If you haven’t posted or shared anything that amplifies the many Black voices and experiences, do it now. Don’t share how sad the news makes you feel. Share the voices of the people that experience this everyday, and the stories of what is happening - good and bad. Have conversation with your family and friends about what is happening, and ask them to also amplify the voices of black folks everywhere. We need to amplify voices, stories and experiences in order to exact real changes.
Check in with your black friends, but do so with intention. Ask your friend how they’re doing. How they’re coping. This is an opportunity for you to learn. Let them know you are here to support them. Something to keep in mind: only reach out if it’s someone you know. Do not start messaging random people of color to share your own stories or asking how you can help there are enough resources out there for you to figure this out.
There are many great books that talk about race. I’ve personally read the first and highly recommend it. If you can’t find a copy of the book online for any reason, try libraries. Most libraries have a digital borrowing option which will allow you to borrow these books and read them on your laptop/phone/e-reader.
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
- It’s About Damn Time by Arlan Hamilton
- White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
- How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- Stemped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
- American Lynching by Ashraf H. A. Rushdy
- Fatal Invention by Dorothy Roberts
- Biased by Jennifer L. Eberhardt
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper
- This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell
- Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall
- Diversity in the Workplace by Bari Williams
- Data Feminism by Catherine D’Ignazio
- Algorithms of Opression by Safiya Umoja Noble
- Biased by Jennifer Eberhardt
There are plenty more. Read them. Discuss them. Learn from them.
Keep an eye on what companies, brands, celebrities and politicians are doing. The people in the limelight, the people with power. I have seen numerous friends offer to match donations, but I haven’t seen the same from people with larger audiences and louder voices.
Hold Your Leaders Accountable
There are many voices missing from media. Contact leaders at every level and ask for answers. Hold them accountable.
Great People to Follow On Twitter:
I mostly follow Women of Color and people in tech. I am constantly amplifying the voices of black people on twitter. My twitter is @aashnisshah