What happened to George Floyd and what has continued to happen to countless others in the Black community is nothing less than terrible, horrifying, and unacceptable. Something has to change and simply posting on social media is not enough. The Black community needs support now more than ever, and this is not a time to stay silent. It is necessary to use your voice to lift them up so they can be heard.
Understand your privilege.
Start off by acknowledging the fact that you will never understand what it’s like to be Black or to be a person of color, and the hardships you’ve experienced in your life cannot be compared to theirs. It doesn’t mean you haven’t had struggles in your life, but the color of your skin has not been a reason for your struggles.
This is one of the most important things you can do as an ally. Your Black friends, peers, coworkers, and neighbors are tired of having to explain themselves. Take your own time to understand the issues marginalized groups are facing; read books and watch videos and movies that deal with racism in more ways than one.
Books to read
“So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo
“When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir” by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele
“Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower” by Brittany Cooper
“An African American and Latinx History of the United States” by Paul Oritz
“The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority” by Ellen D. Wu
“Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race” by Debby Irving
“This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror” by Moustafa Bayoumi
“The Hidden Rules of Race: Barriers to an Inclusive Economy” by Andrea Flynn, Susan R. Holmberg, Dorian T. Warren, and Felicia J Wong
“Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race” by Beverly Daniel Tatum
“Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism” by Safiya Umoja Noble
Series and documentaries to watch on Netflix
Other movies to watch:
It takes less than 30 seconds to sign your name on a petition and is by far one of the easiest ways to show your support.
Donate to organizations.
If you have the financial means, give what you can to support those who need it most and remember that every dollar counts.
Contact state and local leaders.
Calling, texting, and sending emails to local and state government officials may be one of the most effective and direct ways to demand legislative change. If you have no idea what to say, Black Lives Matter provides a list of resources such as phone numbers, scripts, and pre-written email templates to follow. The Action Pac also provides a walk-through of what to say when calling to demand justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.
Support Black-owned businesses.
Supporting Black-owned businesses helps support the owner(s), but it also helps support the community they’re a part of. Check out these Black-owned businesses around Columbus, Cleavland, Cincinnati and Toledo.
Keep learning, and keep listening.
Just because BLM may stop trending on social media, doesn’t mean the conversations and support should stop either. Continue to learn about these issues and stay active as an ally. It’s especially important to remember not to speak over the voices that need to be heard, but instead use your platforms, resources and privilege to amplify the voices of the Black community, because this fight is far from over.
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Shaelee Haaf | Editor-in-Chief Updated