Continued: How can we do these things?
6. This is not an individual battle.
This about more than standing up to relatives at family gatherings in order to change their hearts (although you should do that too), this is more than denouncing the president, and this is more than protesting white supremacy. This is about actively and persistently challenging the arms of white supremacy in your home and community, and contributing to efforts that challenge institutionalized white supremacy: the police, ICE, CBP, Homeland Security, local governance, and universities. Remember, there are already groups doing this work, link up with them.
7. Raise race-conscious children.
Too often, the aftermath of violence that breaks on the news, is immediately felt on the playground. After 9/11, how many days it take for a classmate to call you a terrorist? It has long been documented that racism amongst children negatively affects them throughout their lifecourse. Hiding or isolating your children from harmful realities neither protects them from this harm, nor does it raise them with the vocabulary or resiliency to confront hate when it is being targeted at them Raising Race Conscious Children and Teaching Tolerance are great tools for dismantling colorblindness and structural injustice with children in the classroom, and at home.
Too often, particularly in religious contexts, forgiveness is used as a bandage to hide injustices that should otherwise go challenged.
8. Do not centralize the feelings of the oppressor.
Do not shift the conversation towards forgiveness. Not now, at least. In peacemaking, forgiveness is a tool that is necessary and best utilized after dismantling structures of mass violence, for example apartheid in South Africa with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Too often, particularly in religious contexts, forgiveness is used as a bandage to hide injustices that should otherwise go challenged – from predatory sexual assault in our communities to physical and mental abuse in our homes.
9. This is not charity.
Donating to organizations, while helpful and necessary, does not mean that you are engaged in anti-oppressive work. If you are financially privileged, writing a check does not mean that you are deeply challenging normalized white supremacy.
10. Reach out to leaders.
Whether you have the privilege of casting a ballot or not, or whether you voted for the individuals in power or not, it is your responsibility to hold elected officials and others with power accountable. Leaders must name and confront the problem, and be challenged when they fail to do so. To hold them accountable, reach out to your elected representatives here.