The past couple of weeks have been especially heavy. The devastating murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor have compelled so many to rise up and take a stand against racism and societal injustices. The need to fight for what is right and pay attention to what is going on around us is important now more than ever.
Personally, for me, I have spent the whole weekend overwhelmed, emotionally paralyzed, and sad. I knew I wanted to and must do something, but I didn’t know where to start. There were so many thoughtful posts on social media and news outlets on how to take action. But reading more and more about what people were doing to help, understand, and learn made me feel even more overwhelmed. Then, there was the guilt that I felt about making it about me.
As a non-black POC, I have felt the effects of bias, prejudice, and feeling “different” from others, but by no means do I know a black person’s experience. Being Asian in America is different from being black in America. Full stop.
Out of the concern for my mental health, I took a break from social media to reflect on what’s happening and try to understand the perspective of so many who are suffering and have suffered at the hands of racism in the U.S. I recognized I couldn’t make clear decisions or be of help to anyone at that moment, so I took the weekend to think. And now that it’s Monday, and I’m ready to do what I can. Where to start, though?
You might be feeling similarly right now. You want to put yourself, your resources, your energy out there, but you don’t even know where to start, or maybe feel like you don’t have enough power to make a difference. Well, the good news is, anyone can make an impact. Even if it’s in the smallest of ways. To help, I’ve taken some inspiration from wise words I’ve read on social media; from my own co-workers, friends, and family; and from all the difficult yet thoughtful conversations we’ve been having with each other during the past couple of days, and made a list of ways to take action—from the smallest (but by no means unimportant) to the biggest. Take a look below.
We’d love to keep this important dialogue going with you, Another Long Weekend community. Please reach out to us if you think there is something else we should add to this list or if you just need someone to talk to. We’re here for you. Our DMs are always open on Instagram.
Listen to Others
Make it a point to be an active listener. This might be the simplest and most important place to start. If you’re not black, you will never truly know what it’s like to be black in America, but by listening with an open mind and open heart, you will get a better understanding of their perspective and experiences. And the more you know, the more you’ll be able to effectively help and contribute to the cause.
And it’s not just listening to the people in your circle—you can also listen to the many activists and thought leaders on social platforms and podcasts. Below are some to check out…
Read and Educate Yourself
Knowledge is power. It might seem that staying at home and reading books and articles on racism and the black experience is like doing nothing when compared to seeing the people out there who are protesting, but by educating yourself more, you’ll be prepared to take a stand and speak up when you see injustices happening.
This extensive anti-racism resources document has suggestions for books, articles, TV shows, movies, and more.
Talk to Others
Discourse is important, too. The conversations will be tough, but they’re essential. This can mean talking to the black people in your life to understand their perspectives. Through that, you might be able to find out how to be a better ally and think of ways that you can be of more help. And it can also mean taking the knowledge that you have learned and discussing it with your non-black friends and family to help further their education on racism.
Make Calls and Sign Petitions
Take a few minutes out of your day to call, text, or sign petitions. Here are a few places that need your help…
Get involved in your community by donating your time, expertise, and energy to an organization. Here are a few places to check out…
If you have the means, donate to some worthy organizations that are fighting to end racism and injustices, and to protect those who are affected. It doesn’t even have to be a large amount, just whatever you can. And when shopping or dining, think about the companies you are giving your money to—make it a point to support black-owned businesses.
Need some ideas for where to donate? Here are some ideas…