I have talked many times about going ugly early… here I am again. It me.
I don’t think I have to give you much back story on the reasoning behind this post. I’m sure you’ve seen the most recent deaths of African Americans at the hands of whites… Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd.
You’ve seen the video of Amy Cooper threatening a bird watcher who asked her to put her dog on a leash by saying… “I’m calling the police and I’m telling them that an African American man is threatening my life.”
At this point, you’ve seen the demonstrations too.
I can’t not say anything. I can’t be the person I claim to be… and not say anything.
I know who I am… but I also know who you are. Remember when you took that reader survey? And you answered those questions about my book? As I read your answers… I found out then… we are the same.
Female. Majority white. Mid 40’s-ish. Like to bake and read and cook. We love our family and our friends. We are spiritual. And we UNANIMOUSLY want to help people.
The only question that everyone, over 300 people, answered the same… “Do you like helping others? Yes.”
Well, here we are. It us.
We can help the war on race. We can help promote racial reconciliation.
It will not be easy. It will not be quick. We will make mistakes and we will have to be a bit uncomfortable at times.
But what I know about you, is that you love people. You love smiles and joy and happiness and family and gatherings and entertaining.
And in order to ensure that our brothers and sisters of color can enjoy those things as freely as we do… we must put in some work.
I’ll be honest. I already screwed up. One of the first things I did this past week was reach out to two of my black girlfriends. I said… what resources can I give my readers, what can I tell them, what can they read or listen to, how can we help.
Those two friends were sweet and replied kindly. But, y’all… it is not their job to help white people figure out how to be anti-racist.
It is our job.
The best way to start… do some research. Part of having a blog or being a writer or recording a podcast or posting on social media… any of the things we do for our friends… is to give you thoughts, ideas and resources.
So here are mine to you… as this Sunday Offering.
Racial Reconciliation processes include public acknowledgement of racist events and crimes (such as apartheid or violence against groups of color). They may also examine and make public the current impact of such events, as well as their historical occurrence.
Acknowledge that these actions are not right. Speak up. Be a voice. Say something.
“It is not enough to be not racist, you must actively be anti-racist.” – Angela Davis
“The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And that’s the only way forward.” – Ijeoma Oludo
So let’s talk about that. Looking at ourselves. Looking at who we can influence. Who we can change by seeking change in ourselves.
My friend Rachel Wade of, “Olive Us”, talks about praying for your role. Knowing who you can influence directly in your lives. I watched an Instagram LIVE of her talking about this… and actually putting pen to paper and drawing out who you can influence.
Here is mine… and, y’all this isn’t everyone. This is just a small part of the people I could influence.
Influence them by starting the conversation. Buying them a book. Recommending they listen to a podcast. Starting that dialogue and also stopping… stopping the racist joke before it even ends. Stopping the excuse of “let’s wait to hear the facts” before they convince themselves that any fact could warrant someone being murdered in the street. Stopping them from explaining that they are from a different generation or a different time or had this one encounter or didn’t know or did know or heard someone else say.
Stopping them and letting them know that we must intentionally be Anti-Racists. In love. Always in love, let’s help the people we have influence over see that this takes work.
It starts in our heart.
I love this graphic I saw this week.
Start with your heart. And then your sphere of influence. Pray about it. Talk about it. Seek others. Seek scholars and writers and educators that have put the work in ahead of us.
By following black men and women who’s work is to further the racial reconciliation movement… your eyes are open to it daily. Your heart is in tune with the message. You will see daily reminders of what work we all need to do and not just sporadic memes when something tragic happens.
Essential Reading for Anti-Racism work: Me and White Supremacy, White Fragility, Be The Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation, Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria?, The Woke Church: An Urgent Call To Christians… just a handful of some reading resources… just a handful.
Google is your friend. Take some time to look up “Anti-Racism tools” “books about racism” “Organizations helping with racial reconciliation”
In the immediate, you can also donate. There are multiple opportunities here:
The Minnesota Freedom Fund: https://minnesotafreedomfund.org/donate
George Floyd Memorial Fund: https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd
Reclaim The Block: https://secure.everyaction.com/zae4prEeKESHBy0MKXTIcQ2
Go Fund Me for the family of Ahmaud Arbery: https://www.gofundme.com/f/i-run-with-maud
Information on Breonna Taylor: https://www.change.org/p/andy-beshear-justice-for-breonna-taylor
This is just the beginning.
BUT WE HAVE TO START SO WE CAN STOP.
Please feel free to reach out to me if you need help or want to talk or have questions… we can figure it out together.