Strength in Solidarity
I am not doing anywhere near enough. I own that. Nothing is or can ever be “enough,” yet I pledge to do more, engage, listen, show up, take an active stand, learn, do what I can, not just as a human being, not even solely as an ally, rather an accomplice — one who uses privilege, access, platforms, networks, voice, all. I will never understand what it is like to be black in America, systematically oppressed, hunted and killed. But that doesn’t mean I can’t work to dismantle, defund and eradicate the foundations and systems which perpetuate racism and white supremacy, from which I have benefitted for a lifetime. And do it in my lane, in new lanes, in whatever lane I can best actually effect change with and for the people who need it most, in support of and alongside those boldly leading the charge — starting in my own community where I live and work, in my circles, in myself — and ever-deepening and expanding in impact, reach and scope.
I am not asking anyone to educate me; I am educating myself, listening, reading, watching, seeking it out, rather than burdening my black friends (well, most of you!) with having to explain or rehash or articulate it for one more damn person, even the well-meaning white liberals, of which I am one. But I will reach out with genuine love and without expectation, and stand beside you, hold space, answer your calls, do my homework, fight like hell. As a dear friend summed up so well on the phone, “Racism is not a black person problem. There’s no silver bullet solution or action step. You’re not going to fix it, but you can engage,” before rattling off the ways he continues to not-so-subtly suggest white friends hold themselves and each other accountable, rather than making him do the research for or console us. Thank you to those who challenge me to be better, who do the damn work, who lead through action.
This work is not new to me; pursuit of equal justice has been and remains my focus and passion. There can be no environmental justice or social justice without racial justice — and that’s what I devote my time and energy to both personally and professionally. I commit to caring long after the hashtags, further expanding my sphere, embedding the practice of anti-racism in my days, speaking to my white family and friends, challenging the companies I work with, pushing myself as the sun rises and as the sun sets, and every moment in between. We are all becoming — and I endeavor to be a better human, better informed, better equipped, better resourced, better able to be a part of the change I not only wish for and genuinely believe is possible, but moreover actively work towards in strength and solidarity.