Say it out loud: Black Lives Matter!In this moment, there’s a convergence of a history of oppression, frequent killings of Black people with no consequences for their killers, political attempts to further disempower people who are already underrepresented, a pandemic that’s disproportionately affecting people of color… it feels like James Baldwin’s Fire Next Time is here. All of these injustices and more are why the Black Lives Matter movement is needed, and why the movement needs all hearts on deck!
Here in the United States, we must break down and rebuild to overcome the inequities of our brutal history. As we repair and nourish our relationships with the Earth, let us also work to better understand and repair our relationships with one another, and the internal and external structures that create and reinforce injustice. For many of us this can mean confronting difficult or uncomfortable truths.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, in Between the World and Me, helps us see that race is a social & political construct, devised to separate people into hierarchies. He writes (p.7):
Americans believe in the reality of “race” as a defined, indubitable feature of the natural world…But race is the child of racism…And the process of naming “the people” has never been a matter of genealogy and physiognomy so much as one of hierarchy.
As a single human racewith a rich array of ethnicities and cultures, we’re deeply dependent on one another as well as on the integrity of the natural world that we’re a part of. Our survival depends on us to respect all life, to make love and justice the foundation for our choices. That means taking action in the face of racism, inequality, violence. It means uncovering and working through unconscious biases. This will allow us to experience the richness of caring for all people and beings as part of the same interconnected Life.
The diversity of people, cultures, traditions and landscapes in this country are a phenomenal treasure that we each contribute to. Dominant social and political systems encourage us to fight one another instead of fighting systemic exploitation and inequity. But we can confront and dismantle these injustices and together build a better society that respects and honors all people and the social and ecological webs we live in. Healthy, sustainable communities depend on justice for all, heart-centered living that recognizes all people and beings as worthy of respect, equal rights and privileges.
Yes, Black Lives Matter!This chant rings out because Black lives have long been devalued and abused. Yes there are many other inequities in this country, and many other groups of people have been exploited and marginalized. The fact is that the Movement for Black Lives is a movement for all lives. When Black lives are valued and respected, all lives are enriched with increased value and respect. This is a movement to create a just society that honors all people and focuses on building empowered and supportive communities rather than perpetuating violence. The time for change is now. Here are some ways to get involved:
- Listen to Black voices, learn more about U.S. history, current segregation and new faces of Jim Crow
- Talk with friends and family (& maybe strangers too) about racial justice; listen to others’ perspectives and share yours
- Participate in demonstrations to raise awareness and demand justice
- Take action on petitions to change policing and inequitable institutions
- Donate to organizations working for social justice, such as the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Color of Change, Mijente, The Bail Project, Equal Justice Initiative
Thank youfor reading and being involved in important work to change the world for the better. Below are some resources we’ve found helpful relating to social justice, politics and U.S. history. Please leave a comment below and let us know how you’re engaging with these issues, and what you’re learning!
Resources for learning and action
- BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT
- LDF: The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund: “Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, LDF seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans.”
- PolicyLink: “Lifting up what works,” to “advance policies that enable everyone to participate in an equitable economy, live in a community of opportunity, and thrive in a just society.”
- How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi
- Center for Racial Justice
- Do317: Has links to many good resources
- The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, by Isabel Wilkerson
- White Awake: tools for dismantling biased socialization and working for “a just and life affirming society”
- Radical Imagination Podcast: Hosted by Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder-in-Residence at PolicyLink, focusing on radical solutions to our society’s most pressing problems.
- Intercepted Podcast: critical analysis of social and political realities
- Rest as Resistance: an interview with Tricia Hersey on For the Wild Podcast, with insights into white supremacy and the grind culture.