Say Their Names.
As my partner and I went to bed at 3am on Monday, June 1, we saw the black squares rolling in on social media. The hashtag, #blackouttuesday, had seemed like a really good idea, showing solidarity while giving Black voices a platform. We posted a black square. As we awoke this morning we were met with critical thinking and honest voices. Black activists and organizers are reminding us it’s not the time to stay silent. Not about National Guards move into cities; our “President” threatening and hiding; police still using excessive force; Black people still being blamed, targeted, harassed, and murdered; not as our local leaders stay silent and don’t have anything to say about real, systematic, positive change. The list goes on and silence isn’t helping. We need to get the word out. We need to make sure everyone knows this is not okay. We demand better. Being an ally is being open to criticism, listening to Black voices, and responding with productive action. So, here is our action.
If you, like us, posted a #blackouttuesday square, think about these other Actions:
• Show up every day. Speak up when you see injustice, big or small.
• Vote in November. Make your voice heard at the polls.
• Donate to bailout funds. The Bailout Project is where you can direct your donation.
• Donate to Black organizations leading the movement
• Listen, amplify and take cues from Black organizers
• Take time to read and educate yourself. This doesn't mean asking your Black friends. White allies, we need to take responsibility and put in the hard work.
• Buy books from Black owned booksellers. Check out African American Literature Book Club for a list of Black-owned booksellers, publishers, authors, websites, newspapers, and magazines.
• Challenge your family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc. around racism while maintaining a space for dialogue and building a trusting enough space to support willingness to be moved toward a more racially just understanding of the world. Here's a great resource for preparing for these conversations.
• Contact your elected officials - local, state, federal. Put intense pressure on them. Don’t forget, their job is to listen to the people.
• Follow Black organizers, local and countrywide.
• There is always more you can do; this is by no means a complete list.
There is work to be done, there is listening to do, there is education and learning to process. This uprising needs us on all fronts. No time for apologies, time for action.
We'd love for this list to be a useful tool for folks. Please let us know about organizations, businesses, books, authors, or whatever we can add.
BUT, WAIT! THERE'S MORE!
This Black-owned bookstore in Chicago looks amazing Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery