I am using my platform of white privilege to stand against white supremacy and police brutality and to raise awareness about racism and LGBTQ+ discrimination. In the wake of the senseless murders of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Auhmad Arbery, Belly Mujinga, David McAtee, and countless others, white people need to meet this moment with a willingness to see the truth and take action. It is OUR responsibility to do the work here of ending systemic racism, brutality and discrimination against People of Color and the LGBTQ+ Community. It is now time to take action and actively BE AN ANTIRACIST AND AN ALLY EVERY DAY.
The sad truth is that people of color are far more likely to be the victims of police violence. "In 2019, 54% of those who died as a result of harm from police and whose race was identified were people of color," as stated in U.S. News on June 3, 2020, according to data from Mapping Police Violence. Additionally, transgender people are also more likely to be killed. So far in 2020, 14 transgender and gender non-conforming people were fatally shot or violently killed.
I am listening and educating myself and what stands out more than anything else is that people of color have been denied their unalienable rights since the Declaration of Independence in 1776, time and time again, and many are being killed in broad daylight. This is not new, it has been happening for centuries in America, and through millennium around the world. At some point in time, white people believed they were superior to people of color. But what makes me, a white person, any different from a person of color? Or a gender non-conforming person? NOTHING.
Enough is enough. We can change this by changing our beliefs and asking others to do the same. We need to start seeing and treating each other as EQUALS who hold the same unalienable rights.
In the words of James Baldwin, author and poet, from the documentary "I Am Not Your Negro", in response to the central challenge facing the nation during the civil rights movement in 1963, Baldwin says "at the risk of sounding mystical, the first step probably has to be somewhere in the American conscience. The American white republic has to ask itself why it was necessary for them to invent ‘the nigger.’ I am not a nigger. I have never called myself one. But one comes into the world and the world decides you are this for its own reasons. And it’s very important for the American, in terms of the future, in terms of its health, in terms of THE TRANSFORMATION WE ARE ALL SEEKING, that he face this question — that he needed the nigger for something.... What white people have to do is try to find out in their hearts why it was necessary for them to have a nigger in the first place. Because I am not a nigger. I'm a man. If I'm not the nigger here, and if you invented him, you the white people invented him, then you have to find out why. And the future of the country depends on that. Whether or not it is able to ask that question."
So why do some white people today still hold this 400-year old American belief? It is a choice. We have to be willing to QUESTION OUR BELIEFS AND FACE THEM - with kindness and curiosity. In the words of James Baldwin, "Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced."
Change is not an easy or enjoyable task as it requires destruction and dismantling of old beliefs, but that is how transformation occurs. We have tried along the way to uphold unalienable rights by marching, protesting and changing laws but we didn't effectively INTEGRATE THIS NEW BELIEF into the fabric of our society. This requires every single person in society taking a long hard look at their beliefs and raising their awareness to the truth of our reality, and then taking action and becoming an ally, again and again, continually, with kindness and curiosity.
This is an ongoing movement for cultural transformation that will require an ongoing effort on your part – a lifetime commitment. It's going to be uncomfortable but it is necessary for us to evolve to this higher state of consciousness, one that is more inclusive and loving, and to begin the healing process.
There are many resources out there to support you in raising your awareness and becoming an ally, from books to documentaries to podcasts. I implore you to STEP INTO THIS MOMENT OF TRUTH and speak out against white supremacy and systemic discrimination in every circle of your community. By doing so, you are SAVING A LIFE and creating a new future that is filled with compassion and loving-kindness for all People of Color and the LGBTQ+ Community.
What does it mean to be an ally? Here's a list from the Guide to Allyship:
Take on the struggle as your own.
Stand up, even when you feel scared.
Transfer the benefits of your privilege to those who lack it.
Acknowledge that even though you feel pain, the conversation is not about you.
Be willing to own your mistakes and de-center yourself.
Understand that your education is up to you and no one else.
Here are a just a few resources to get you started in joining this Movement for Black Lives, and then continue to educate yourself and BE LOVE IN ACTION for People of Color and the LGBTQ+ Community.
Pod Save The People
One From the Vaults
Black Lives Matter (BLM)
Movement for Black Lives
Black Visions Collective
Color of Change
Say Her Name
The Bail Project
Human Rights Campaign (HRC)
The Guide to Allyship
The Trevor Project
SF LGBT Center
Oakland LGBT Community Center
USE YOUR PRIVILEGE to #AmplifyMelanatedVoices and defend People of Color and the LGBTQ+ Community and their unalienable rights to life and liberty, and then go to the polls and VOTE in support of liberty and justice for all people of color, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Contact your local officials to support communities of color and the LGBTQ+ Community, and hold people accountable for long-term action. Support Black-owned businesses and DO NOT support businesses that support white supremacy and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ Community. Pledge a lifetime commitment to this intention of fully integrating anti-discrimination and racial justice laws into daily practice. Vote for #WhatMatters2020 and #VoteEquity.
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." The time is NOW for the evolution of humanity and consciousness. I believe we can do this and I am aligned with HOPE and LOVE for our new future knowing that it is filled with limitless possibilities.
I honor the light in you, that is also in me, and together we are ONE PEOPLE. Namaste...
Updated on June 15, 2020 to include resources on Allyship and the LGBTQ+ Community.