“I hope this finds you well!”
Are you struggling to come up with a different greeting, too? It makes sense, though — “I hope this finds you happy and healthy despite a deadly global pandemic and the ongoing fight against systemic white supremacy” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.
In the last few weeks I’ve been challenged. How can I be a better human, working towards the dignity and equity of others? How can I more clearly recognize my white privilege, working to dismantle the system that upholds it at the expense of BIPOC? How can I educate myself and use my platform, however small, for a cause that actually matters and creates a better world for those that live within it?
Black Lives Matter. I’m done with my white silence for the sake of my ego, my anxiety, my fears — it never served me much, anyway.
So today I share with you the commitments I’m making to anti-racism, both personal and company-wide. If you’re a white person, I sincerely hope (plead? pray?) that you will join me.
Anti-racism action I’m currently taking
- Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad — a 28-day workbook. HIGHLY recommend, as I find reading in combination with self-reflection and journaling is one of the most effective ways to learn and grow. Even better with an accountability partner!
- The Great Unlearn by Rachel Cargle on Patreon. One massive wake-up call for me? That no matter how much of a “good person” I consider myself, as a white person having grown up in a society built on white supremacy, it is impossible to not have those problematic messages sink in on some level. This is not my fault, but it IS my responsibility. And that’s where the concept of Unlearning comes in. What messages do I need to dismantle to become a better human?
- Donated to Minnesota Freedom Fund (though as of now, they are no longer asking for donations), Kennedy Prints for Pile of Bricks, and Detroit Hives
- Listening, learning, and un-learning from Black women including @Austin Channing Brown, @Rachel Cargle, @Blair Imani, @Danielle Coke, and @Monique Melton
Anti-racism action I’m also committed to working through…
- Creating a Paper & Honey Commitment to Inclusivity Pledge, expressing our sincere and long-term commitment to becoming an anti-racist company. This will be a permanent statement publicly linked on external-facing documents (our website, contracts, etc.) and outline, realistically, where we are trying to go. (Thanks to Rachel Rodgers for providing this pledge outline through her Reimagining Small Business town hall.)
- Quarterly donations to Black-owned organizations like Detroit Hives
- Continuing to be an educated, progressive voter in both local and national elections
- Continuing to engage in anti-racist work by signing petitions, writing to my representatives, and educating myself and others
- How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
- White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
>> Not sure where to start when it comes to anti-racist work? This Google Doc is a fantastic resource.
In my personal and professional life, I’ve prided myself on being a progressive person. I am a feminist who believes in social justice, and for too long I sat comfortably, believing that was “enough.” That voting, paying attention, being an informed citizen, and generally having confidence that I’m on the right side of history was enough.
Acknowledgment of white supremacy is not enough. It is the bare minimum.
To avoid centering this conversation on myself and my feelings, I will leave out the bits about tears, anguish, and white guilt. There’s more than enough of that. Black folks have been begging us to listen forever — 400 years, just about — and we are extraordinarily overdue.
Leaving you with and co-signing this statement from my friend Julie Tobi:
If my words are making you uncomfortable, I encourage you to follow that feeling rather than push it down. Dig deep. And if me openly standing in line with anti-racism makes you want to unsubscribe, explore that, too.
To unlearning, growing, supporting, and dismantling.