Being an Ally: Black Lives Matter

Due to the events of the last week, people are beginning to speak out about the inequality that still exists in our country. George Floyd was killed by a police officer while pleading for his life, and while the officer was just arrested, it took waaaaay too long to make that happen. The three other police officers who were on the scene have not been charged with anything. This happens often, and unfortunately often goes unchecked. But people are finally starting to take notice of the issue. As a white female, I recognize that I am privileged and that I don’t know what it is like to be black in America today. I recognize that I haven’t been the ally I should have been in the past. I also know that I can no longer stay silent. I will strive to be a better ally in the fight for equality. I will listen to those who are closely affected by the systemic racism that pervades our nation. I will spread their stories, support their ideas, and celebrate their victories that I believe will come one day. Black lives matter.

Before I continue to talk about ways that we can all become better allies in this fight, I need to own up to my past. I have not always been the best ally. I have sat back and said nothing when someone said something racist. Sadly, growing up with family in the south, there is still a lot of racism present. I’ve listened to people say derogatory or judgmental comments towards the black community, and even though I was extremely uncomfortable, I said nothing to them. I didn’t call them out or explain to them why those comments are offensive. I know for a fact that subconsciously we all have acted differently towards people due to race. We avoid certain neighborhoods, laugh at stereotypes in the media, and have been unbothered by the preferential treatment we as white people inherently get. I own that. I also know that I can change that. Silence is easy, but it’s time to get uncomfortable.

There are a lot of things that we can do to be better allies in this fight. This is an article that I saw circulating on Twitter telling us the things we can do to aid this movement. https://medium.com/equality-includes-you/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-justice-f2d18b0e0234 It is important not only to get involved politically but also to educate yourself. All of the books and movies on this list have gone on my list of things to read and watch next. I am not as informed as I should be. I want to better understand all of the injustices that exist in order to be a better ally. We can’t properly support black individuals without knowing the history and really seeing the despicable way they have been treated. I promise that I will do my part in learning about this movement and supporting it in any way I can.

No one should be seen as being below someone else. That is simply not true. As a Christian, I believe that we are all made in the image of God. That includes everybody. No matter who you are, you were created in His image. Everyone is equal. Everyone is a person. Everyone should be treated equally. There are a lot of people in the south in particular that are blindly following in the footsteps of their ancestors from the time of slavery. The biases have been passed down through each generation. But we do not have to be what our ancestry was. We have the ability to educate ourselves and understand that we are not better than black people simply because we are white. This fight is also not about us at all. Saying “All lives matter” in the midst of this fight is not helpful. Here’s the thing: society has already proven they believe that white lives matter. This fight is about saying “Black lives matter.” Until equality between races is achieved, that is all that we should be saying. We are not fighting for our rights. We already have them. Being an ally means pushing the voices in the black community to the top, not trying to insert ourselves.

So what do we do going forward? We educate ourselves, we speak up when we see injustice, we let our political leaders know that this is a problem that needs to be addressed, and we support those in the black community who are actively affected by the inequality that currently plagues our world. Listening is the most important. Hear their stories and let them sink in. Understand that this is a real problem and one that we should all be angry about. As a new generation grows up and starts to have kids, let’s teach them from the beginning that everyone is equal and should be treated as such. Racism is learned. Babies don’t come into the world seeing the world unequally. They pick up on the biases that are passed down to them. So let’s be the generation that abolishes those biases as we raise a new generation. Let’s use love and not fight hate with hate. Let’s educate and not condemn. Let’s continue to speak out even after the news coverage goes away. Let’s be an ally. #BlackLivesMatter

I think it is incredibly important to remember the names of those who have been killed because of discrimination. We can’t forget the names. I’m sure this is not a complete list, so if you know of someone else please feel free to put their names in the comments. We are fighting to not have more names make the list.

Here are some links where you can support the movement by signing petitions, donating, or educating yourself.

https://blacklivesmatter.com/news/ Black Lives Matter Website

https://t.co/vspdnJrDDi Ways to Help

https://www.change.org/p/mayor-jacob-frey-justice-for-george-floyd?recruiter=1096617288&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_initial&utm_term=psf_combo_share_abi&recruited_by_id=2943f820-a174-11ea-b563-a538d17ee3bd George Floyd Petition

https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd George Floyd Memorial Donation

https://org2.salsalabs.com/o/6857/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=15780&_ga=2.209233111.496632409.1590767838-1184367471.1590767838 NAACP Donation

https://blavity.com/how-to-be-a-white-ally/how-to-be-a-white-ally?category1=opinion How to Be an Ally

https://www.theroot.com/12-ways-to-be-a-white-ally-to-black-people-1790876784 How to Be an Ally

These are just a few resources so please feel free to add links in the comments below to other ways we can educate and help! I know I can definitely be more informed than I am now, so I would love to have suggestions from you. If we all work together, I believe we can help make a change.

Rachel (:

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