This is not the post I thought I’d be sharing with you coming off a week at the beach and on my 36th birthday. If nothing else what happened in Charlottesville last weekend reminded me of what luxuries I am afforded and of course I am grateful for the life I have, I also see where I’ve managed to keep myself safe, hidden behind privilege, by being quiet or turning away from the discomfort of what’s going on around me. I’ve mistakenly assumed we are all equal in order to make myself feel better.
Trying to stay comfortable by ignoring what’s happening outside of our bubble (or even inside of it) is helpful to nobody. Thinking we are not powerful enough on our own to be helpful or effect change is a cleverly disguised excuse to do nothing. I have found myself ducking into these places, hiding and avoiding, hoping the people out there, other than myself, will make it all better so I can avoid being uncomfortable with hate, oppression and racism (which isn’t even directed at me). That’s the unsettling luxury I’ve been afforded in this life, I see that and I know many of my friends are realizing the same thing. My hope is that what we are realizing is that it’s on us to DO something.
It is not enough to merely shout our outrage and sadness on the internet and social media, but to actually act, without the need to be recognized or rewarded for it. Act because it’s the right thing to do. If you are at all feeling the powerful turning point we are at - I am right there with you, ready to face the discomfort that lies in change and face the fear of people not agreeing, judging or understanding.
I’ve rounded up some resources of things you can do to stand up and take care of the humans around us and fight against those who think anyone is less than worthy of their freedom and rights.
1. Put your money where your values are. Here are some places you can donate.
- Here are lots of non-profits serving Charlottesville, VA that could use donations.
- More Charlottesville donation options, also some HERE.
2. Ask questions, learn from and LISTEN to the experiences of people of color and other oppressed groups. Working with the homeless I quickly changed my perspective about people living on the street in our city and saw how much harder it was to get out of the cycle of poverty and addiction than to simply “get a job.” Basically, we can’t pretend or assume to know what it’s like to be someone else, we must practice empathy.
- Talking to your friends about racism, do’s and don’t’s…talk less, listen more.
- White friends, read this.
- How I confronted my racism - "I wanted to speak out, but I was afraid I’d say the wrong thing, and so I stayed silent.”
3. Learn more or relearn what you’ve forgotten since you were in school. The history of the civil rights movement, the way oppression and slavery are deeply rooted in the history of our country. Learn about how to talk to kids about diversity.
- Talking to your kids about racism (yes we need to)
- Resource for teachers can be found HERE. (Thanks to Melissa for this)
- Civics 101 podcast - learning that stuff about government you forgot (Thanks to Tami for this one)
4. Make phone calls. Pay attention to what’s happening. Read, know who your local, state and national government representatives are. They work for you and if you think they’re doing a good job, you can vote for them, if not they lose your vote.
- Find your elected officials HERE
- I receive a text everyday to help make necessary phone calls via Daily Action
- Run for office!
5. Stay grounded + ask for guidance. Meditate, pray or get out in nature and ask to be guided by some force bigger than you to show you where and how you can be of service.
- Some tips for handling all of the info and staying the course.
- And remembering self-care and taking breaks is VITAL.
- Of course, don’t forget to feed yourself and get some sleep, we are going to need our energy. (Free cookbook for ya)
This is a very short list and there is plenty more to do, but I wanted to share where I'm starting for anyone looking for ways to get informed and be of service when it all seems overwhelming.