I am not an expert, nor do I feel I really even have a shred of an idea of how to proceed in the face of what feels like an overwhelmingly broken, suffering world. And I'm becoming (slowly and fumblingly) more aware of the life my white privilege affords me. I can only speak from my own experience, and I'd never presume to know what is best for anyone else, so I'll only share what has been a fit for me so far as I find my way through this heartbreaking time in my home town of Louisville, where the police officers who murdered an innocent young black woman in her own home have yet to be held accountable nearly three months later, and in this country, where systemic racism and inequality for hundreds of years have led us to horrific realities.
I deeply believe in the idea that we each have an inner guidance system that calls us toward our purpose, our highest self, and our ultimate good. I have been listening to the song "Hammer and a Nail" by the Indigo Girls on repeat lately, and while several lines speak so clearly to me about taking action, one especially is inclusively encouraging: "If I have a care in the world, I have a gift to bring." If I care, there is a place for me to contribute my particular abilities, knowledge, experience, hope, love, and light. If you care, too, perhaps some of these resources resonate for you and inspire your own gifts as well:
Brittany Packnett Cunningham and this article by her helped me to better understand my unearned privilege and gave beautiful words to the feeling (often uncomfortable, but so be it) I have deep in my soul about my responsibility, my obligation, and my genuine desire to live differently.
I watched Rachel Cargle's public address on Revolution on Saturday, and I suspect that is just the teensiest beginning of what she will teach me. She has created learning resources available by monthly subscription (PAY PEOPLE FOR THEIR WORK!) called The Great Unlearn, and I look forward to expanding my awareness that way.
There are many reading lists circulating now to help educate us all on issues of racism, anti-racism, white privilege, untaught American history, oppression, mass incarceration, police brutality, activism, about and by BIPOC. (Layla F. Saad not only wrote one of these books herself, but also shares her own bookshelves full of her favorite titles.) Many of these publications are currently sold out on Amazon and vendors are engaging in price-gauging. (I will not support that kind of manipulative, opportunistic behavior.) I'm anxious to get started on a few, but I'm willing to place an order with my local bookstore, and I'll wait to receive the books as soon as the publisher can distribute them.
I have been following or have begun following lots of Instagram accounts for resources and information, including Black Coffee with White Friends, Chani Nicholas, Ibram X. Kendi, Ray Emmanuel, Be The Bridge, The Conscious Kid, Until Freedom, NAACP, Check Your Privilege, and Campaign Zero.
Here locally, I am especially interested in the voices of Jecorey Arthur, Charles Booker, Louisville's Black Lives Matter chapter, Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice (LSURJ), and Louisville's nonprofit news station 89.3 WFPL. (Many of the organizations listed will have chapters in your own community, too!)
I have made or will make donations to the Louisville Community Bail Fund, the NAACP, and the Loveland Foundation, and I pledge to continue my support of BIPOC vendors and BIPOC-owned businesses in my personal and in my professional life. (Elva Fields has historically sourced materials from vendors and businesses owned by people of color, and I will continue to make that a priority.)
I'll be voting on June 23rd in Kentucky's primary elections. (Kentucky peeps, go to GoVoteKY.com or call 502.574.5700 to request a ballot if you'd rather not visit the polls in person.) To determine the State Senatorial candidate that best aligns with my values, I'll watch on KET as host Renee Shaw discusses the 2020 Democratic primary election for the US Senate with candidates Charles Booker, Mike Broihier, and Amy McGrath. The conversation will air at the following times on the stations listed:
Monday June 1, 2020 8:00 pm ET on KET
Tuesday June 2, 2020 6:00 am ET on KETKY
Wednesday June 3, 2020 6:00 pm ET on KETKY
There are lots of petitions circulating on behalf of victims of police brutality and violence, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, (this one, too!) and signing those brings powerful numbers that can hopefully sway those in power to take more swift legal action against those who committed these disgusting and awful crimes.
And, if I'm feeling I can add my voice to my written word and name, I can call the Louisville Mayor's Office at 502.574.2003 or I enlist the help of an organization working on behalf of Breonna Taylor to make calls to the appropriate offices handling her case. Grassroots Law Project also posts helpful action checklists for calls, emails, and petitions.
Mostly, I'm going to listen to learn, pray for guidance on how best to take inspired action, and take those steps with humility, courage, and a sense of the gifts I hope I have to bring to this world.
Be well, friends.
(quote above by Brittany Packnett)