On Saturday I went to a Peace Rally in my city. The #MyBlackHasAPurpose event was the first of its kind that I had ever attended. I was restless leading up to it. I couldn’t sleep the night before. I knew how I hoped and prayed it would go, but what if? What if? What if??…
My husband and I decided to attend as a family, which only led to another layer of uncertainty.
Nonetheless, I stepped out of my comfort zone, and out of my usual “lane” to do something I felt like I needed to. There was no way to predict the outcome, or to know how it would impact my children. There was no way to know who would be joining us as we marched through the street. Would it be safe? Would it remain “peaceful”? What was our plan in case of an emergency?
I was unsure about a lot of things.
Yet, I knew none of my questions would be answered if I didn’t do the one thing that would lead to all the rest:
I needed to show up and take that first step.
In our present circumstances many people are asking this very question:
How do I show up? What is my first step?
There seems to be a shift, an awakening for many, who want to be active participants on this anti-racism journey. Is it out of sincerity or because saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ is currently sexy? Only time will tell and I’m not here to discern your individual motives. What I do know, is that this question seems to be plaguing many, even to the point of overshadowing the actual topic at hand.
Don’t get me wrong. I get it. There are so many voices, so many options, and so many branches flowing out of the very same tree.
So what do you do? Start somewhere.
Last Friday night I posed a question to my Instagram community, asking them to share one thing they did that day to further their anti-racism journey.
The responses were overwhelming.
I’ve decided to share them with you here today, in hopes that you will see that there are numerous ways to get started, and that there is a role for all of us. Rather than focusing on whether or not you’re doing it the right way, you’ll be encouraged to do it in a way that’s fruitful and sustainable for you. And if you are a follower of Christ, ask the Lord to give you clarity and wisdom. Listen and respond to Holy Spirit’s lead.
*You’ll notice some are repeated but I wanted to honor everyone who took the time to respond.* :
- I’m listening. I’m learning. I’m educating myself and others. I’m voting. I’m using my voice.
- I talked with my wife about how I feel bad for not joining in support of BLM sooner.
- Talked to my kids about the different colored skin of all the news anchors and found similarities.
- This AM watched Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely’s talk on Author Village (from 5/31).
- Watched Jim Crow of the North (PBS doc about Minneapolis’ racial covenants in housing.
- Emailed mayor, attorney general and prosecutor [Re:Breonna Taylor].
- Read my son the names of Black children who were killed in racial violence.
- Attended a BLM rally, stood shoulder to shoulder with people who want to change!
- Tweeted officials on behalf of Breonna [Taylor], BLM rally, supported Black-owned restaurant.
- I’ve started reading “I’m Still Here” by Austin Channing Brown.
- Devoting time each day to listen to people of color.
- Watched two episodes from The Next Question and discussed with my husband. So much needed info.
- Educating myself about the cash bail system.
- Read powerful words of #AudreLorde: “Your silence will not protect you.”
- Talked about race with my parents. Growing up we never really did “hard” conversations.
- Working w/colleagues to hold my employer accountable (even though they try to silence us!).
- Set up a monthly recurring donation to an anti-racism educator. Purchased A-R book.
- Educating myself.
- I learned about redlining.
- Sharing boldly w/our church. Talking & marching w/our kids. Uniting w/others in the city.
- Repented for years of silence to my friends and to God.
- Held a meeting for our team to just let our Black team members talk. Then we prayed.
- Signed petitions. Donated money. Most importantly, talked and read to my kiddos about equality.
- I signed up for an online class with Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis.
- Signed petitions re: Miss Taylor. Followed the protests in WPG. Upfront convos with siblings.
- Started reading White Awake and How to Be an Anti-racist. Taking so many notes!
- Finished watching 13th and listened to anti-racism podcast.
- Listening: Be the Bridge (audiobook) & The Daily (podcast) Why They’re Protesting.
- I started watching 13th on Netflix. My mind is totally blown and my heart is broken.
- Listening to Stamped from the Beginning on Spotify, from your earlier post! Thanks!!
- Hubs and I are also finishing When They See Us tonight and doing Just Mercy tomorrow.
- Venmo’d three Black women who have been educating me in my anti-racism journey.
- Watch videos of Black voices. To listen and learn.
- Starting convos about race w/my family, signing petitions, praying, new podcast.
- Listened to the Melanated Faith podcast.
- Signed petitions, getting to know the new BIPOC women I’m following on social.
- Read about spiritual bypassing & racial gaslighting (and pledged to NEVER do it).
- Challenging the “it was a joke” comment.
- Talked w/a friend about current events in light of her biracial brown kids and Black husband.
- Today I spoke up (in a comment section on Facebook) to people I’ve respected all my life.
- Listened to Danielle Coke’s IGTV Series.
- Watched Clint Smith’s poem on How to Raise a Black Son in America (then watched it again).
- I’m listening to Ibram Kendi’s new book.
- Started listening to Stamped f/the Beginning on Spotify today.
- Sent an email demanding justice for Breonna Taylor.
- Had a(nother) talk with me kids about history and racial differences.
- Researched epigenetics & reparations. Learning. It’s long past due.
- Donated to Bre’s Family Go Fund Me; read some articles.
- Made calls to demand justice on behalf of Breonna Taylor.
- Sat with friends to share what we’re learning, trade resources, pray and brainstorm next steps.
- Doing more reading to research how systemic it is and ways I can help in dismantling the systems.
- Started reading “So You Want to Talk About Race” together with a couple friends.
- Pushing through difficult conversations with family and studying up/reading.
- Reading “Me and White Supremacy” and really digging deep on the reflection questions.
- Attended my first protest. Called out a friend about something racist she posted.
- Donated to Color of Change.
- Shared Be the Bridge with my family.
- Texted all my people the # for AG Cameron’s office and a script to read for Breonna.
- Working through educational units from Be the Bridge so I can join the movement.
- Downloaded “Me and White Supremacy” to listen to on my drive to Denver tomorrow.
Listen, friends. The truth is, I want you to get this. I need you to get this. I want you, so badly to see and comprehend the things that I see.
But what’s also true is that we’re growing together and I’m journeying with you, and in all the ways I’ve been angry, sad and struggling, reading this list was encouraging. The big, scary thing for me was marching, maybe for you it begins with repentance and falling on your knees.
Fear is not an excuse. Pride needs to be laid down. Expect to make mistakes. But keep going, keep going, keep going.
Additional Resources for the Journey:
*Note* this is far from an exhaustive list but it’s one heck of a start. Also, whether they’ve been listed here or not, financially support the Black Women and Men you are learning from!!
- Subscribe to Andre Henry’s Hope and Hard Pills. This Smithsonian article with 158 resources for understanding system racism was included in the latest newsletter:
- Connections for Your Anti-Racism Work, compiled by the ladies of Upside Down Podcast.
- Be the Bridge Resources and Guides
- IV Press – Free E-books for Faithful Justice
- 19 Anti-Racist Movies and Shows You Can Currently Stream (NOT THE HELP)