I have always prided myself on being informed, but, after listening, researching and looking inward this past week, I’ve realized that I still have a lot to learn (and unlearn) about being a true ally. That’s uncomfortable to admit. The perfectionist in me never wants to do or say the wrong thing. But I’m realizing that the only way to move forward in a meaningful way is to be willing to sit in that discomfort and learn from it.
This past week I’ve been opening the pages of suggested books on anti-racism, engaging in uncomfortable conversations and digging further into the products and platforms that I support. What I found showed me that I need to be doing a lot more to ensure that I’m listening to and empowering a diverse community.
For example, I consider myself an advocate for the earth yet am unfamiliar with many black environmental activists and how their perspectives can advance my understanding of the issues I care about. I often recommend products here on the blog, but few are made by BIPOC. In the last week, I’ve discovered so many black-owned brands who are making beautiful products that rarely get the press or support they deserve. I need to do a better job of seeking out diverse companies and perspectives—whether that’s beauty products, experts or clothing brands. It’s made me recognize that I sometimes default to what is easy, or what I’m already familiar with, and don’t do all the research that I should.
So where do I go from here? What can I DO moving forward? This is not a short-term party, this is a long-term marathon. I’m still just scratching the surface. I’m sure I’ll make mistakes. There is a lot to learn and there is no overnight fix. But I am committed to educating myself and my family to be part of the solution, however long it takes. I pledge to be more mindful of who I’m supporting, who I’m connecting with, and how I’m using my voice and my platforms.
Below are some of the steps I’ve been taking to turn my talk into action this week, as well as some of the valuable resources I’ve been sharing in my Instagram Stories. I’d love to hear about any actions you’re taking or resources you’ve found to help turn this shared moment into a movement for real change.
Who I’m Following
A meaningful way to support and better understand the perspectives of BIPOC is to watch, read and share the inspiring content they are already creating. I’ve learned A TON from so many of the anti-racists educators, activists and artists that I was introduced to over the last week. It’s made me re-evaluate what I want to see in my feed and how I can use my platform to amplify a more diverse range of voices and ideas. My new must-follows:
What I’m buying
Supporting more black-owned businesses with my pocketbook and my platforms can make a real impact. One of my favorite finds this past week is BLK + GRN, an all-natural marketplace by all black artisans that sells a curated selection of everything from skincare and nail polish to organic tea. I also signed this petition, which calls on major retailers to pledge 15 percent of their shelf space to black-owned businesses. Sephora has already committed and I hope to see many more retailers follow their lead. If you’re not sure where to start, the apps EatOkra and Official Black Wall Street can help you find local black-owned restaurants and businesses to support in your neighborhood.
What I’m Reading
Between the World and Me is a powerful book written by Ta-Nehisi Coates as a letter to his teenage son. It’s opened my eyes to what it’s like to raise a black child in the current climate in America. And reminded me how important it is to read stories and perspectives that are different from my own. He truly is one of the most talented writers I have ever read. And I loved his journey and retelling it to his son. It’s a journey that is thought-provoking and indelible.
White Fragility by Robin Diangelo is an uncomfortable, but essential read. The author breaks down the culture of racism and provides answers and actionable ideas on how we can move forward and work together to dismantle racism.
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. I’ve learned a lot from Oluo’s honesty. I appreciate that she’s incredibly straightforward and never tries to sugarcoat this difficult and complex topic.
Where I’m donating
The Loveland Foundation. Founded by educator and activist Rachel Cargle, this organization provides financial support to black women and girls so they can access therapy and mental health support. I was happy to make a pledge.
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund helps provide legal assistance to poor African Americans and is dedicated to bringing greater justice to all Americans through education, policy research and coalition building.
More helpful resources:
- A Master List of Petitions and Places to Donate
- Black-Owned Businesses to Support in Austin
- Black-Owned Bookstores to Buy From
- Anti-Racism Books for Kids
- 33 Books Featuring Black Heroes and Characters That Every Kid Should Read
- The Sesame Street Town Hall on Racism
- Why You Can’t Talk About Climate Change Without Talking About Race
- How Racism Derails our Efforts to Save the Planet
- Race is the Biggest Indicator in the US of Whether You Live Near Toxic Waste
- Know Your Rights Camp
- Minnesota Freedom Fund
- Ola Wellness Resource Hub
- What Can I Do Today?
- 10 Steps to Non-Optical Allyship
Change starts with all of us. Let’s keep up the momentum.