Like many people, I have been struggling with the recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, but what has become clear is that silence is not an option.
As we grapple with the particular injustice of these recent murders, it is vitally important that we realize that these are not isolated events but rather the latest manifestation of the 400+ year systemic and structural scourge of oppression in our society.
As a white male, it is all too easy for me to look the other way and carry-on with my life because the system was designed to benefit me. As much as I might try, I certainly acknowledge that I will never truly understand how it feels to experience life as someone with a different skin color than my own. But this is not an excuse to do nothing.
Instead, I am committed to doing the ongoing work of listening, learning, and acting with intentionality when it comes to systematic racism in our society because #BlackLivesMatter and we can do better. We must do better.
Article to Explore
In recent days, there have been a number of articles published about how to be a better ally and ways white people like me can personally advocate for racial justice. This post on Medium is a good place to start. It’s incredibly comprehensive and offers both actionable tips for getting involved with your local government and community, as well as how you can help on a national level.
Where to Donate
To put our money where our mouth is, this last week, our family has donated to:
Where are you finding it meaningful to engage in this way? What can be learned from ongoing work that extends beyond the year, and not just at flashpoint moments like we find ourselves in today?
As a dad myself, I know the weight of responsibility that comes with raising a son to be anti-racist, inclusive, and vocal about supporting people who are, and have historically been, oppressed. Starting these conversations early in age appropriate ways, and having them often, is critical to raising a son that’s aware. It’s important to address not just the protests that are happening now, but systemic oppression and racism, the role of power in our society, and the history of racism in America. I’m also having conversations with Isaac about how he can make an impact in his own way, whether that’s standing up for his friends or learning more about other cultures.
Supporting Black Businesses
There are so many black-owned businesses across the nation. In the Bay Area, you can discover black-owned businesses on the Bay Area Black Market. It’s important to show your support through patronage and diversifying where you source your products and services from is an excellent way to show up as an ally and build a more inclusive lifestyle. It also pays to research the companies you regularly purchase from – do they have fair labor practices? How are they involving themselves in anti-racist movements? A little bit of digging can go a long way.
It is never comfortable to confront someone on their racist behavior or comment, but frankly, it’s a small price to pay for eliminating oppression and racism in this country. For those of us who are white people, our discomfort cannot stand in the way of doing the right thing and standing up as anti-racist allies. Start by calling out what you see and hear. Take it a step further by starting conversations about George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the many, many other people of color who have been killed, arrested, or discriminated against. Be unafraid to share where you stand, and encourage others to follow your lead.
Aligning Your Finances
There are many ways to align your finances with your values to support racial justice. From the places you shop to the products you buy to how you invest. Finding companies that align with your values can take some research, but it is a way of making an impact beyond donating.
Do you have questions about how to practice allyship in your finances, or other areas of your life? I’m always here to talk and always interested in learning more. The more conversations we can have around this topic, the more we can come together as a nation and a world, support one another, and fight against racism. Reach out to me today to continue the conversation.