June 11, 2020
Word of the Week: Imperfection
Part of being an ally is recognizing that you will fuck up. You will piss someone off. Miss something important. Research for hours and hours, yet still somehow say the wrong thing. Breathe. None of us allies will get it right every time.
The important part about being an ally is to continue showing up even after mishaps. To keep listening, learning, growing, taking care of each other and taking care of yourself. To figure out how to be a part of the change in your own unique way, one that is impactful and sustainable.
As an Asian-American woman, I am committed to doing my own decolonization work; committed to amplifying the voices of WOC (Women of Color); committed to paying BBIPOC (Black, Brown, Indigenous, People of Color) for their time, energy, art and gifts; committed to donating; to voting; to running a company that prioritizes the safety and inclusivity of all marginalized groups and to standing in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
I am learning a lot. And unlearning more. I am learning when to lean in and when to lean out. I am learning new terminology. I am learning how to tolerate the discomfort of being called out. To check my unconscious biases. To listen better, deeper, harder. To make space for my own rage and grief and how to use these big feelings to fuel change. To rest during the fight. To practice self-compassion when I feel like I’m not doing enough. I am learning that there is no such thing as the perfect activist.
Being an ally is a process. One that involves both metabolizing your own trauma and taking action to dismantle the systems of oppression that continue to cause trauma. It won’t happen overnight, and we won’t do it perfectly.
But we will keep showing up again and again and again. We will stand in it for the long haul. We will stand in it until our Black neighbors aren’t afraid for their lives every time they leave their homes. We will stand in it until we’ve dismantled every last trace of this country’s—and world’s—institutionalized racism.
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If you are looking for a place to start, here are just a handful of wonderful Black teachers, leaders and creators to learn from:
Austin Channing Brown
Dr. Jennifer Mullan
Dr. Jaiya John
Morgan Harper Nichols
Adrienne Maree Brown
Louiza “Weeze” Doran
Myisha T. Hill
Ibram X. Kendi
Jessica Wilson, MS. RD
Here are a few of many, many worthy organizations to donate to:
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): a nonprofit organization founded in 1920 “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.”
Southern Poverty Law Center: an American nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation.
George Floyd Memorial Fund: collected funds to support justice for George Floyd.
Black Visions Collective: seeks to expand the power of Black people across the Twin Cities metro area and Minnesota.
Color of Change: The nation’s largest online racial justice organization, Color of Change, campaigns for an end to the injustices faced by black people in America, spanning criminal justice, workplace justice, politics, voting freedom and democracy, economic justice and more.
Know Your Rights Camp: an organization founded by Colin Kaepernick that provides education and training in black and brown communities.
Reclaim the Block: organizes Minneapolis community and city council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city’s budget that truly promote community health and safety.
The National Bail Out: a Black-led and Black-centered collective of abolitionist organizers, lawyers and activists building a community-based movement to support our folks and end systems of pretrial detention and ultimately mass incarceration.
Black Lives Matter: #BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. Black Lives Matter Foundation, Inc is a global organization in the US, UK, and Canada, whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.
Run with Maud: collected funds to support justice for Ahmaud Arbery.
Justice for Breonna: collected funds to support justice for Breonna Taylor.
Black and Pink National: an open family of LGBTQ prisoners and “free world” allies who support each other.
The Okra Project: combats food insecurity in black trans and gender-nonconforming communities. It set up two funds — the Tony McDade Mental Health Recovery Fund, for trans men, and the Nina Pop Mental Health Recovery Fund, for trans women — to help cover the costs of mental health therapy sessions with licensed black therapists.
Black Girls Who Code: a grassroots organization dedicated to exposing girls to opportunities in STEM.
Therapy for Black Girls: an online space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls.
The Loveland Foundation: founded in 2018 by academic, writer, and lecturer Rachel Cargle, the Loveland Foundation is dedicated to bringing opportunity and healing to communities of color, especially Black women and girls. Your donation will offer financial assistance to Black women and girls nationally seeking therapy.
Homeless Black Trans Women Fund: a fund for the community of Black Trans women that live in Atlanta and are sex workers and/or homeless.
Ask Yourself: How can I educate myself so that I can show up, stand up and be the change I want to see?
Weekly Mantra: I can create change imperfectly.
When in Doubt, Jam It Out!
Memories Sol Rising, DJ Taz Rashid (Follow our Spotify playlist “Jam it Out with Elizabeth” to stay up-to-date with the weekly tunes 🎵)
Things I’m Educating Myself With:
George Floyd, Minneapolis Protests, Ahmaud Arbery & Amy Cooper | The Daily Social Distancing Show: I love Trevor Noah and thought he did an excellent job explaining the backdrop of the current riots, why the Black community is fucking exhausted and fed up by the bullshit in this country, and the things white people and non-Black POC need to understand about what it means to be a black body in America, where you are murdered by the very people whose job is to protect.
Karl Shakur IGTV episode “What should I do?”: Karl Shakur shares his thoughts on the current state of affairs and what we can do if we feel lost on how to help.
Bonus: Antiracism and Allyship Resource Guides
Here are three of my favorite comprehensive antiracism and allyship resource guides:
Activism & Allyship Guide: Prepared by the Black@ Airbnb Employee Resource Group
Antiracism Resources: Compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein
20+ Allyship Actions for Asians to Show Up for the Black Community Right Now: Written by Michelle Kim
To our Black Monday Vibes community, please know that we see you, we’re with you, we love you and we’ll fight for you. Your feelings and experiences are always valid and welcome here.
If anyone is in need of additional support, space holding or has feedback and suggestions for how we can better support our BBIPOC community, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here for you.
Sending you all so much love. Honoring each and every one of your experiences.