Especially now, there are more folks than ever that want to support the Black Lives Matter movement. However, whether intentionally or not, sometimes efforts to help can cause more harm, labour and even uphold white supremacy- which I’m sure is not your intent. Here is a non exhaustive list of some lessons on allyship to help you help the movement.
- Do the work, everything is googleable. Do not expect Black folks to teach you how to be anti-racist. And when you find resources by Black folks who have taken the time or whose job it is to do that work, credit them, pay them when you can, compensate them for their labour.
- Do not make this about you. De-center yourself. Feel uncomfortable, and get used to it because that is a necessary feeling when you are unlearning the racism that has been embedded into the system that we live in. Remember that the aim of this work is always to make the world a better, safer place for Black people to live in. A world where their lives are not at risk just for existing. This is not about you being “woke” or avoiding getting “cancelled”. This is life or death for people. Your intention should reflect that reality.
- I don’t want to hear “why does it always have to be about race” because guess what? IT IS! Systemic racism dictates that every single aspect of the systems we live in are rooted in white supremacy. Your classrooms, your opportunities, your workplaces, every interaction, whether intentional or not is dictated by race, gender and capitalism.
- If you have caused someone harm, if you are called out for being racist, DO NOT GET DEFENSIVE. Sit back, listen to what they are saying and reflect on how your actions have hurt someone. There is a difference between intent and impact, you may not have intended to cause harm, but you have. Apologize, follow their lead, learn, and move on with a commitment to be better.
- AMPLIFY Black voices, pass the mic. Use your platform and your privilege to amplify the voices that are at the heart of this movement. Take yourself out of this equation because, I cannot stress this enough, it isn’t about you!
- Put your money where your mouth is. Shop at Black owned businesses. Support Black artists and Black organizations. Check out this Working document of Black owned businesses in MTL compiled by @ShaniceNicole http://bit.ly/AllBlackEverythingMontreal
- Posting a Black square, sharing an article, donating to a bail fund is only the first step. We need to look at the places we frequent every day, the institutions that we are a part of, our friends, families, our workplaces, favourite bars etc. Acting locally to dismantle white supremacy everyday needs to happen. In fact, it is essential, because even when it isn’t the media’s main focus, this doesn’t ever stop trending for Black folks. Being anti-racist is a lifetime commitment.
“An activist’s prayer:
Thicken my love.
Widen my heart.
Sharpen my analysis.
Enliven my praxis.
Embolden my voice.
Deepen my rest.
Lighten my heaviness.
Toughen my skin.
Soften my spirit.
Strengthen my friendships.
Lengthen my endurance.
Weaken my ego.
Awaken my soul.
Refreshen my vision.
Hearken to my weary voice, O God.
I am your friend & co-conspirator in the struggle for a new world.”
– by @terrance_tweets