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  • erinschrode

We Must Rise

Black lives matter. But what am I doing concretely to ensure that is more than a hashtag, more than a rallying cry, more than a black square? I'll share below. What are you, what are we doing in our lives to start within, educate ourselves, engage friends on the issues, use our platforms, leverage our privilege, raise our voices, focus our resources, activate our networks, donate intentionally, put our bodies on the line? If we really believe that black lives matter and want to see that become a reality in our communities and across this country, those are the real questions we need to ask, as we recommit to the hands-on, messy, never-ending work of fighting for justice and anti-racism.

There is no one way to stand for justice. You can’t do it all, nor should anyone attempt or be expected to. But we need all of us together to bend the arc.

I am inspired by people speaking out and calling attention to the pain, hurt, tragedy, needs, impact and potential of this present moment… but what did you do yesterday? Or what have you done today? Or what will you actually do tomorrow and tomorrow’s tomorrow?

I’m proud to lead Conscious Kitchen to feed not only students where we have worked in Marin City for seven years, but also families, elders, and the vulnerable most affected by Covid and the related current crises, which disproportionately affect black populations because of historic marginalization and long-standing systemic oppression. At the heart of my professional work lies food justice, food equity, food access.

I’ll continue to stand in solidarity with black friends, black activists, black leaders, black community members near and far, to elevate black voices, to ally with black-led organizations, to commit to racial justice (and to do the work with my white peers!), not only with our team making food for and representing (for those of us who can’t be there physically right now) yesterday at the peaceful protest in Marin City or across social channels, but on the ground everyday in direct and meaningful ways. Thank you to Conscious Kitchen, our staff, our volunteers, our partners like Paul Austin and PLAY MARIN, our kids, our supporters, our educators, and our community beacons whose wisdom we heed, inspiration we feel, and example we follow.

There is not a checklist, no right way to be an ally, and nothing will ever ever be enough, but I seek to do my part and have purchased multiple new books by black authors to learn (*paid*), bought art from black painters (*paid*), ordered clothing from black-owned businesses (*paid*), downloaded a new app by black techies (*paid*), became a first-time Patreon patron of a black creator (*paid*), watched black-produced videos and documentaries (*on paid/legit platforms*), donated money to black-founded organizations, signed petitions for racial justice, reshared black writers and thinkers and doers (*with credit*), made calls to local police for policy reform (more on that soon and at, challenged multiple non-profits I work with to take vocal positions, form new bridges and make concrete changes. I fully acknowledge that all of this is woefully inadequate, but I am present, listening intently, holding space for hard conversations with both black and white friends, trying to share useful tools (personally and via mostly Twitter and my newly discovered Instagram stories limit!) and ever endeavoring to absorb more information, to engage more deeply, and to do more of what I am asked or called or capable of doing.

I will close with words from those far wiser than I. A random smattering that has crossed my path in the Twitterverse today (where I invite you to engage with me 24/7 @erinschrode and please send good follows, links, reads, etc.)…

As proud black queer femme poet and counselor @Lindss_tastic posted, “Resistance is NOT a one lane highway. Maybe your lane is protesting, maybe your lane is organizing, maybe your lane is counseling, maybe your lane is art activism, maybe your lane is surviving the day. Do NOT feel guilty for not occupying every lane. We need all of them.”

As Bernice King, minister and leader and daughter of a man who died for the movement, never chose silence, powerfully countered injustice, and indeed bent the arc toward justice, wrote earlier, "The work is offline. The work is online. The work includes presence. The work includes absence. The work is virtual. The work is in the streets. The work is in legislative halls. The work is in art. The work is in policies. The work is at the polls. The work is where we are.”

As Viola Davis shared, “Radical change can take place in homes, in schools, in boardrooms, voting booths, etc. 401 years of systemic racism needs a comprehensive array of radical revolutionary intervention. ❤🤜🏿 Some are posting on social media, some are protesting in the streets, some are donating silently, some are educating themselves, some are having tough conversations with friends and family. A revolution has many lanes — be kind to yourself and to others who are traveling in the same direction. Just keep your foot on the gas.”

As Senator Cory Booker reminds us, "We can't let our inability to do everything inhibit our determination to do something.”

And as President Obama wrote and reiterated today in a virtual town hall: “The bottom line is this: if we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.”

We need all hands on deck in every lane around the clock doing what we can where we are with all we have for justice. So what are you doing? I want to hear, to know, to learn, to be inspired and activated to rise.


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