Because he had a name. George Floyd. And she had a name. Breonna Taylor. And he had a name. Ahmaud Arbery. Black lives matter. Full stop.
This post has simmered in my mind for the last three weeks. My first instinct was to publish something quickly, offering actionable steps right away. But then I realized I needed to be an active listener, too, especially to the Black voices in our communities who are telling us what we need to hear and what we need to know. Virtual signaling isn’t enough.
So to start, I participated in the #AmplifyMelanatedVoices movement on Instagram, created by @Jessicawilson.msrd and @blackandembodied. It was incredible. I learned more about race, racial disparities, and White privilege during that weeklong challenge than I ever had before. As a result, I was introduced to new-to-me Black thought leaders on issues of race, business development, food blogging, personal finance, and faith-based advocacy, to name a few.
These individuals, their perspectives, and their resources are just too good not to share. You’ll find many of them below. And if your experience is similar to mind, you’ll likely find that as you diversify your reading materials, social follows, and more, you’ll find unlimited ways to create social change.
To our Black readers, K-Hubs and I, along with our children, want you to know that we see you. We hear you, we are with you, and we will continue to do the work necessary to dismantle racism. This includes doing the work within ourselves and with those we love dearly. That, we know, will include difficult conversations, and you can count on us to see those through. As we do the work, we will center your voices and experiences.
K-Hubs and I have three main goals:
- Center Black voices. So much of what K-Hubs and I have learned has been through our own White optics. And we don’t know everything. Black voices and perspectives matter. As I mentioned, we have learned so much in just a few short weeks. This diversification of perspectives and experiences has been a breath of fresh air. And it’s something we will continue.
- Hold ourselves accountable to do the work of dismantling racism, recognizing our own White privilege and fragility, and understanding implicit bias. We will also address these with our children and raise them to be antiracist.
- Provide resources to facilitate action that supports goals 1 and 2. This includes not only for ourselves but also for others who want to do the same in their homes and communities.
For us, this is a multi-pronged approach that encourages simultaneous learning AND action.
A critical point K-Hubs and I firmly believe: WE MUST DO OUR OWN HOMEWORK. It is not the responsibility of the Black community to educate us. There are countless resources already in circulation to answer our questions. Reading, getting involved with local efforts, and following a variety of people and thought leaders on social media platforms are great places to start.
WHAT TO READ:
We are reading about racism, Black experiences, White fragility, White privilege, and forms of systemic oppression within our country and around the world.
Additionally, we are reading books with our daughters. We realized throughout the last few weeks that while we’ve raised inclusive children, we have not raised them to be intentionally antiracist. Furthermore, our conversations centered on race have been weak, in large part because we are uninformed. We’ve had good intentions. But those intentions are not enough.
So we have ordered several books for what we call our family library. We have also seen, however, that libraries are expanding their reach, too. So if you want to expand your knowledge base within a tight budget, check your local libraries for these and other resources.
If you find your library doesn’t have these books, inquire about request forms. Sometimes the request form connects you with other libraries that DO have the desired resource. Other times, the request form is closer to home in that it is a direct request for your library to use funds to purchase the book.
For the adults:
- The Very Good Gospel by Lisa Sharon Harper
- How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
- Becoming by Michelle Obama
- Raising White Kids by Jennifer Harvey
My dad is reading White Identity Politics by Ashley Jardina and says it is a must-read.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah has also been recommenced to me by more than one person. A friend said the audiobook is fabulous because Noah himself reads the book. Both are in my next book order.
I also read a powerful article, Why We Need to Stop Saying ‘People of Color’ When We Mean ‘Black People’ by Joshua Adams.
For parents, caregivers, and educators to read with children:
- Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by LeUyen Pham
- Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale by John Steptoe
- One Love (Based on the song by Bob Marley) adapted by Cedella Marley
- The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds
- Teach Your Dragon About Diversity by Steve Herman
- Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman and illustrated by Caroline Binch
- The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael Lopez
We have also ordered the book Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, PhD, Marietta Collins PhD, and Ann Hazzard, PhD, and illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin.
Upper Elementary/Middle School:
- Girls Who Code series (various authors)
- Sugar Plum Ballerinas series by Whoopi Goldberg with Deborah Underwood, and illustrated by Maryn Roos
- Clubhouse Mysteries by Sharon M. Draper and illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson
NOTE: We found the early elementary books were as relevant for our older daughter as they were for our younger daughter. Each girl had age-appropriate take-aways.
WHO TO FOLLOW:
Below are links to Instagram profiles for Black leaders whose perspectives are eye-opening, powerful, and life-changing. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to have their perspectives in my life.
- Lisa Sharon Harper
- Osheta Moore
- Carlos Whittaker
- Rachel Cargle
- Black Coffee with White Friends
- Luvvie Ajayi Jones
- Angela Rye
- Latasha Morrison
- From Privilege to Progress
- Ibram X. Kendi
- Tiffany Aliche (The Budgetnista)
- The Conscious Kid
- Brittany Packnett Cunningham
- Danielle Coke
Trevor Noah discussed a new-to-me concept called “the social contract” in a viral video titled “George Floyd, Minneapolis Protests, Ahmaud Arbery & Amy Cooper.” Just a little over 18 minutes in length, it is more than worth every second.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED:
K-Hubs and I joined the Black Coffee with White Friends book club. We are currently reading Ghost Boys by Jewel Parker Rhodes.
As a side note: Jewel Parker Rhodes has written several other juvenile literature novels, and we plan to read them with our daughter who is entering fifth grade.
We are also getting more actively involved with policy decisions. In addition to voting in federal general, mid-term, and special elections, we are paying attention to upcoming state and local elections. These elections include, but are not limited to, who is on the ballot for:
- State Representatives and State Senators
- State Secretary of State
- State Attorney General
- City Council
- County Sheriff
- School Board
If you’d like to donate to charities advocating antiracism, learn more at NAACP.
ADDRESSING RACISM CLOSER TO HOME:
And last, but absolutely not least, is the need to call out racism when we see it within ourselves, each other, our friends, our neighbors, and our family. I have done this with myself. And I did this with a friend recently. It was not easy, but it was necessary. My being uncomfortable was not a valid excuse for looking the other way.
If you are uncertain of how to address racism with those you know and love, the article How to talk to your non-Black family members about race, according to therapists by Julia Naftulin is a place to start.
Friends, some of this might come easily and naturally. Other components may not. The key is to get started somewhere. It could be within your own heart, inside the pages of a new book, or during a conversation with a neighbor. However you start, it counts.
K-Hubs, the girls, and I are glad you’re here. The work is not done. Thank you for going on this journey with us. All our love. ❤️