I know I’m not qualified to talk about this. Anything I can say feels as empty as politicians’ words when they say that their thoughts and prayers are with us. But I am going to try because a wise young person told me you gotta take the risk of making mistakes, saying stupid things, and being called out to become the ally you need to be.
I’ve had conversations with active protesters who throw themselves between cops and POC. They organize care for protesters getting released from jail, giving them water, snacks, portable phone chargers, and a safe ride home. They take care of each other by passing out nourishment and squeezing hand sanitizer on each other’s hands. They don’t fear for their safety around each other, whatever color they may be, and whatever neighborhood they come from. Because they know they have each other’s backs. That’s the positive. Allies are out there in large numbers who stand for each other. They could use more.
I’m beginning to understand how much black women throughout history have stood up to advocate for ALL minority. They deserve the same fierce love back. A thousand fold. If you’re not feeling intense discomfort as you work through this process for yourself, you might want to take a closer look at the strength behind your words of condemnation against injustice.
Here’s some things that I learned that we could do to become true allies. Because I had no clue.
- if you got the guts, physically place yourself between the cops and POC in a protest.
- donate to organizations like The Bail Project. Donate to Black Lives Matter.
- make protest kits and get them out there.
- instead of posting sentiment, demonstrate it instead. Disseminate information on social media, like phone numbers for protesters who get arrested to get bailed out. Or protester’s rights. Don’t assume they know them because many don’t.
- take the risk of saying the wrong thing out of privilege. Don’t let fear shut you up. It’s how we all learn.
- catch yourself condemning derivative crime (like looting) and just stop. Not talking about it doesn’t mean you condone it. But talking about it does put into question why one would be more horrified and unsettled to focus on the looting over its cause, which is police brutality against black people. What’s the message here, property over lives?
- educate yourself