Here are five things worth paying attention to this week. These are designed to expose you to a perspective you may not normally come across in your daily lives.
1. Support Black-owned businesses and businesses run by people of color
If you want to be a good ally, part of that is putting your money where your priorities are. Look up Black-owned businesses in your area. Visit often, and consider switching your loyalty from non-local stores. Part of being an ally is showing up in every way you can. This is one way.
2. Stop texting your friends of color out of the blue with no context
While I’m not Black, I have received several messages from well-meaning white folks that sound almost exactly like the examples given in this New York Times article. The message always comes out of nowhere, gives a vague sense that they value my well-being, some condescending phrase and then telling me, “No need to respond.” While I understand people wanting to let every person of color in their circle know they love them, this sort of outreach focuses on the sender rather than the person for which it was intended.
3. Don’t call it rioting
While the common discourse around recent events has tended to use the word “protesting,” Congresswoman Maxine Waters prefers the term “insurrection.” Waters was in Congress during the 1992 insurrection after the near-lynching of 25-year-old Rodney King at the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department. To hear more of her take on our current climate and its connection to her previous years in Congress, read here.
4. Read Black authors
To be anti-racist, it’s really crucial to have the voices of people of color in your life. If you don’t happen to have that, first, ask yourself why that is, and also commit to reading books by Black authors and other authors of color. I recently saw a tweet by a Black author reminding folks to read “happy” books by authors of color, not just ones about our sad present reality. Here are 50 books HuffPost promoted during Black History Month in February.
5. How white people can help
Many white folks are wanting to know how they can help during this time. This 5 things has mentioned several things to be aware of, but people might want to know practical ways they can involve themselves in being anti-racist. This Medium article has good examples.
Joanne Gallardo is pastor of faith formation at Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship in Goshen, Indiana.