A few days ago, I watched my friend and mentor Latham Thomas challenge her white community over Instagram live to show up in real life for our Black friends – not just in blacked out email newsletters and instagram squares, but in our daily actions. I’ve been sitting with her thoughts, her urges to action, and her wisdom this week (please follow her work, it’s a gift to the world).
The global rise of all women is my life’s work, which means this fight against injustice is the way forward. As Alicia Garza once told me in an interview, “Race, class and gender cannot be untied.” And in the words of Audre Lorde, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own. And I am not free as long as one person of Color remains chained. Nor is anyone of you.” This work is all of our work.
We cannot change the world on our own as individuals. But we can eventually change it by focusing on our individual worlds. Our choices. Our moments. Are they ones of anti-racism? Are they ones that give love to our friends and family in Black communities that are hurting on a cellular level right now, who have faced injustice in the country for the last 400 years? There is a lot of unlearning that needs to happen right now, and equally as much learning – about how to help dismantle institutionalized inequities, about how to engage in uncomfortable conversations, about how to see and undo our own internalized racism. Here’s where I’m starting… not only in showing up for Black lives, but in showing up for my Black friends. I hope you’ll join me to show up for yours (and please let me know other ways that have been helpful to you or for you).
With Care. This time has reminded me of times of grief, where I don’t want to “add to it” or “say something wrong”. But as any of us know when someone we love is hurting, the worst thing you can do is to say nothing. Watching Latham’s IGLive reminded me to go deeper on showing up with care. Say something. Call. Text. Write an email. Walk over to give a hug. Show I care by showing them I love and value their life. What we say won’t be perfect, and that is OK.
Show Up. “What can I do to support you today or this week” is a text I sent to my nearest and dearest. And you know what? Many of my friends let me help them because they needed something. You don’t have to send that text first, you can even just do…whether that’s delivering something that will brighten their day, mailing out a card, or showing up with food. The foundational pieces of being a good friend are so needed right now. Do Your Own Learning (and un-learning). It’s up to me to teach myself. My Black friends don’t need to take that on for me (even though so often they do). So delete that text that asks what should I do? and seek out your own resources instead. Not just this week, but every week thereafter. Here’s a really comprehensive list if you’re looking for a place to begin. Some helpful things I’ve read/watched/or consumed lately have been:
- Seeing White Podcast,
- 13th documentary by Ava DuVernay
- Just Mercy on Free Amazon
- White Fragility original article by Robin Diangelo.
Ultimately, the ongoing work of anti-racism is the greatest thing I can do for my Black friends. I’m not going to get this perfectly right, but it’s important we try. And keep trying. And keep trying.
Woman on xx