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  • erinschrode

Not The Time For Silence

Just because you may not be hunted while jogging in broad daylight by white supremacists, murdered by police while peacefully resting in your home, or asphyxiated under the knee of a killer cop while pleading for your life, RACISM IN AMERICA AND BLACK DEATHS AND SYSTEMIC OPPRESSION AND POLICY BRUTALITY ARE YOUR CRISES TOO. So yes, right now, I am looking at you, friends who benefit from white privilege.

You may not be able to be in the streets right now, you may not be able to donate a million dollars, you may not be able to pass the law, you may not be able to put racist murderers behind bars, but you CAN raise your voice from anywhere, you can donate a dollar (or share a link) to worthwhile causes, you can advocate for legislation, you can demand police and criminal justice reform, you can vote in every election at every level, you can engage in the hard conversations, you can support black leaders/businesses/movements, you can channel hurt and discomfort and rage toward solutions, you can educate yourself/children/relatives/friends on history and current events and anti-racism, you can organize and mobilize, you can show up for black friends with love and respect (not tears or burden), you can use your privilege, you can be an ally, you can do something.

Because you can breathe. And George Floyd cannot. Too many cannot, whose names and stories we will never know and certainly not see.

While we desperately lack leadership — and I would still love to hear from Obama (recognizing full well that he doesn’t owe us anything) and Biden too — I want to hear from everyone. I'm centering, focusing on, learning from and elevating black voices/activists/organizers/writers/thinkers/creators/leaders/humans (and giving full credit), but white people and all people need to use our voices and privilege and platform and power and resources every single day to fight the racist, broken systems that threaten, oppress and kill black people.

As MLK said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." As Tutu said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” And as my friend Nicole said, “For the white allies that are asking ‘have I done enough?’ There is no such things as enough. You have done enough when racism is in the past, when the police have been defunded, when we’ve dismantled systemic oppression and white supremacy for good. We're not there yet. So there’s more to do.”

Now is not the time for appalling silence, indifference or inaction. Don’t just believe in, but actively work for justice, for equality, for human rights, for health, for black lives, for what is right at every chance. Because countless don’t have the privilege to choose to turn on or turn off, when survival, wellbeing and futures are at stake.


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