Ways to Listen. Learn. Take Action. #BLM

Chicago, IL @maxwbender | Unsplash

All lives can’t matter until Black Lives Matter.

To borrow Billie Eilish’s example, “if your friend got a cut on their arm, are you gonna wait to give all your friends a Band-Aid because all arms matter?” No, because you’d help your bleeding friend first because they’re in pain. And they’re in need.

We’re not saying your life doesn’t matter. It’s just not about you right now. So please don’t get offended or respond with all lives matter, when we need to support Black Lives Matter, first.

Recently, we shared a post on how to donate and contribute to organizations that have been at the forefront pushing heavily for change. This post will focus more on resources and how to make an impact beyond donations through listening, learning, and taking action.

We’re Privileged, Whether We Realize It Or Not

When we think of racism, we naturally think it’s revolved around acts of hostility towards an ethnicity. But we don’t think about “invisible systems” that are always present and making silent judgments.

Peggy McIntosh wrote a 50-point checklist called “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” I encourage you to read through and identify how many apply to you.

Here are some additional privileges we don’t have to constantly think about:

  • I know that the police and other state authorities are there to protect me
  • People do not assume that I am unintelligent or lazy based on my race
  • My race or ethnicity will not make people around me uncomfortable
  • I do not have to worry about being chosen last for a job or housing due to my race or ethnicity
  • I can move into a new neighborhood, start a new job, or enter a new school or class, and know that the people around me will generally respect and feel safe around me
  • I can go to a store or spend money knowing that no one will be suspicious of me

The Anti-Racist Reading List

Elle magazine put together a list of 20 essential Black History books that dive into the history of racism in America, its current state, and how the nation can move forward towards actual change.

Written by some of the greatest Black American authors and leaders, it’s a meaningful step to stand behind your allyship that can go beyond social media posts.

While we’re talking about books, here’s a list of black-owned bookstores that are taking online orders that you can also support.

And more self-education resources here.

Racial Injustice & Police Brutality Watch List

Breonna Taylor was a 26-year-old EMT who was killed when the police entered her home with a so-called “no-knock” warrant that let them enter without warning and without the need to identify themselves as police. It was also in the wrong neighborhood. And they still haven’t been charged yet.

Ahmaud Arbery was a 25-year-old who was just jogging in the neighborhood and was fatally shot. Just… jogging.

These are just 2 names out of many.

Will Smith put it best when he said, “Racism isn’t getting worse, it’s getting filmed.” We can’t look away now and we have to consider how many countless others have been killed that went under the radar. How long can it continue?

For your watch list, here’s a list of 11 documentaries and series that discuss the stories of Trayvon Martin, Kalief Browder, Sandra Bland, and more.

Vulture also put together a list of 12 documentaries that you can add to your list as well.

Support Black-Owned Businesses 

Money talks. Redirect some of your spending to support black-owned businesses and flex your individual buying power.

With the impact of coronavirus, small businesses are even more in danger of shuttering. White business owners have easier access to capital (another privilege) and Washington Post has reported that the number of working African-American business owners has plummeted by more than 40% in the United States.

We encourage you to find your local list of black-owned businesses to support. Here are some ways to do so:

In the meantime, here are some you can pick from as well as a list of 100 black-owned Etsy shops.

Support and Insist on More Education & More Resources

African-American financial literacy lags behind White Americans, particularly in insurance, understanding risk, investing, and debt management.  Support strengthening financial literacy by checking to see if your local schools have financial education programs here and by understanding the impact how this knowledge gap has on the Black community, the socioeconomic and cultural barriers, and the role of Black financial advisors in this free financial web resource, Annuity.org, accredited by the Better Business Bureau.

How to Donate Time to BLM 

For those unable to contribute financially to Black Lives Matter, (which is absolutely OK too) you can still donate your time from home.

Just stream this hour-long YouTube video as 100% of the Adsense revenue will be donated to protester bail funds, help pay for family funerals, and advocacy listed at the beginning of the video. (Please read their updated YouTube video subscription)

Utilize your time at home to sign online petitions as well. Here’s a list to start provided by Nico, a 17-year old that has been gathering important information in one easy-to-read place.

Take Action: Vote! Yes, Vote!

When we think of elections, we tend to only think about the presidential election. While that is important, and even more so this year, there are congressional, state, and local elections that affect you as well on a daily basis.

Be sure to check your registration status and take part in your local elections.

Staying silent is being complicit.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.