I am unapologetically protesting during this time, because while a lot of things are complicated about the current situation, one thing is categorically simple: Black Lives Matter. Period.
Inaction is unacceptable.
To me, protesting is a deeply personal choice. With so much noise around it and opinions being hurled from every angle, I have to turn all that off, connect with myself, and ask what is the right action to take.
Not everyone has to protest. But everyone must ACT. DO something. If protesting isn’t right for you, here are some other actions:
- Donate. (Do the research, find what resonates with you. Just make sure they are Black-owned orgs)
- Contact representatives and demand action towards reform, accountability, transparency, training, and the implementation of programs and laws to ensure all of the above.
- Sign petitions.
- Call police departments and demand the people involved in the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, James Scurlock and David McAtee face justice.
- Vote (and educate yourself about candidates and the existing people in office – not just the president. Representatives, congressmen, justices, police chiefs, etc.)
A Note on Social
If the bulk of your “activism” is performed on social media…just think about that. Social media is performance. It can easily become a circle jerk of everyone sharing the same posts and feeling accomplished and pleased with themselves (I have completely been guilty of this before). It too often devolves into cookies and callouts and…noise. It can become a frenzy of draining energy that is not actually leading anywhere. Yes, use your platform to create awareness and share info if you feel that’s right, but don’t confuse that with or let it replace actually doing the work.
Take your action somewhere – or multiple places. To the streets, to emails, to phone calls, to taking care of someone, to educating yourself – just DO something.
While you are acting, keep in mind: we white people have colonization muscle memory. We want to sweep in and take over (even if it comes from the best intentions). When we fail to understand or acknowledge the people already there (black and POC activists), or that there are centuries of rich, complicated, intricate history within activism, resistance, and anti-raistst work, we run the risk of repeating the same violent patterns of white supremacy and colonialism we are trying to eradicate.
TLDR: Don’t co-opt black pain, grief and rage. Listen and follow. If you are protesting, your job is to protect black bodies with your white body. Period. Don’t try to lead – there are already leaders there. Don’t talk over POC. Be mindful that you are a guest in their house. Don’t fuck their shit up – it’s not your place.
A huge part of activism for white people is learning to shut the fuck up. IMO.