I am positioned as a heterosexual, cisgender, white woman and student. I grew up in an upper-middle class neighborhood. While I was raised by family and teachers to treat others with respect, fairness, and love–values which I believe to my very core–I am also indeed a direct beneficiary of white privilege.
In the words of Juliette Martinez,“I have had the disgusting privilege to be silent.”
For a very long time, I have avoided conversations about race and oppression. I didn’t feel qualified to speak because I never thought that I knew enough. I felt that if I did speak, my actions would simply be seen as “performative,” or “inauthentic.” I didn’t say anything because I didn’t know what the perfectly right thing to say was, and the fear of being perceived as a poor, misinformed ally prevented me from being one at all.
But, this conversation is neither about me nor the fear I feel. Because my feelings are incomparable to those who live in fear of losing their lives while moving through the day-to-day.
In my research over these last few days, I’ve come to understand that I won’t ever understand what the Black community is and has been continuously experiencing for centuries. Being an ally is about using my privilege to amplify and speak in solidarity with “the voices of those without [my] privilege” and “taking on the struggle as [my] own.”
I still have a lot of work to do. And I’m going to get things wrong. But I’m committing to listening. To educating myself. To fighting alongside you. And I am imploring others to do the same, because real changes need to happen.
The systemic racism plaguing our society and country doesn’t go away once #blacklivesmatter isn’t “trending.” It will remain until the systems perpetuating it are dismantled. And it’s our duty to fight like hell until they are.
An Instagram story is only the start of activism. Alongside this, sign petitions, donate to organizations if you are financially able to—read, watch, educate yourself and your peers, have uncomfortable conversations, VOTE. Don’t remain silent.
Here is a compilation of a list of readings, viewings, petition/donation sites that I have seen roaming the internet, as well as individual links to resources I have looked at and partaken in. I invite my readers to do the same.
What I have been reading/looking at/thinking about/doing:
Texting “FLOYD” to 55156 to demand that the officers who killed George Floyd are charged with murder.
Texting “JUSTICE” to 55156 to demand that district attorneys George Barnhill and Jackie Johnson be removed from office due to their actions in the shooting case and death of Ahmaud Arbery.
Texting “ENOUGH” to 55156 to sign the petition demanding that the police officers who killed Breonna Taylor be fired and held responsible for their actions; however, it appears the link to the Color of Change Petition was no longer working at the time of this post. This Change petition is also in support of Breonna Taylor.
Comprehensive lists of resources:
Other resources that have been sent to me:
When They See Us on Netflix
If I have made any errors in this post, you would like to chat with me more, you know of any other resources I can add, or I have this all wrong, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
To the Black community, I am fighting with and for you. I see you, I hear you, I am listening to you, and will continue to do so.
PS: Credit for the featured image on this post goes to @zaynscandycane on Twitter. Thank you for your work!