Creative Ways to be Anti-Racist
If you read last week’s blog, you may have sensed the call to action youth leaders have taken to advocate for Black lives and their safety within social and institutional spaces. Some youth leaders have taken to the streets to protest and others have organized and led some protests. While this revolution continues, Genesis recognizes that everyone may be in different spaces in their advocacy and learning and may not be able to attend protests for fear of contracting COVID-19 (though organizers and protesters are all taking precautions to ensure protesting is safe for everyone). There are many different ways to be present during this time and we just wanted to talk about a few of the ways you can get creative and join the movement!
Last week I was able to join a few youth leaders from St. John’s Episcopal Church in Montclair as we discussed direct action and root problems. Using the parable of babies floating down the river, we discussed the importance of doing the work of grabbing all the babies from the river, direct action, and going up the river to figure out where the babies are coming from, addressing root problems. Direct action addresses the individuals who are impacted by a problem, such as organizations that provide food or housing to those in dire need. Addressing the root problem makes it so that we can discover a solution that eliminates the problem at a greater level, such as organizations like Genesis that community organize and work towards enacting equitable public policies.
The most important role during this time is the active role of being anti-racist. Being anti-racist means you are going beyond trying to avoid being racist; you actively work towards eliminating racism in all its forms. Because of white privilege and other intersecting identities we may have, we may naturally have platforms we can use to appeal to other individuals regarding issues of racism and white supremacy. There are many institutions that are inherently racist and therefore, we all naturally and regularly take hand in racial oppression. Being anti-racist means you stand against racism and you take action to rebuild a society and systems that are just and equitable to all races.
I have seen so many people get creative with how they show up as anti-racist. One of my friends, Sophia who is 21, has gathered Bay Area artists and has created an Instagram page, @communitymakes, that shares art people can purchase and all proceeds go to Black organizations. My friend, Kiara who is 24, has set a goal to create and sell art to raise $100 for Black organizations each month (she embroidered the square above). I have also seen people creating really fun TikToks to engage their audience into anti-racist rhetoric.
There are clearly so many ways to get involved and here are just a few ideas:
Read a book or article regarding racism and Black power
Listen to a podcast
Have a conversation with friends and family
Buy items that support Black-businesses
Donate to organizations supporting the Black community
Create and sale your art, paint, draw, make a graphic design, stickers, etc. and donate the proceeds to Black orgs
Make posters that can inform others of issues of Black oppression
Make posters for protesters
Pick up trash in locations protests have been held to keep the community clean
Provide masks and first-aid supplies for protests
Watch movies and documentaries by yourself and with friends and family
If you have more ideas, comment on this post and share with others in our community!
Everyone is at a different part in this journey and that is okay. Some individuals may be taking direct action and others may be looking towards making policy changes. Maybe you are educating yourself and listening to Black voices speaking towards racial oppression. Maybe you are posting and sharing information on social media. Maybe you are silently donating. Maybe you are talking to friends and family. There are various ways to get involved. We are all on our different paths towards being anti-racist within ourselves and towards the world. This is all a learning curve for some of us and that is okay as long as we are trying to be anti-racist within our everyday lives. It is important to take breaks to avoid burnout, but we are all responsible for making changes and that responsibility may take different forms. Remember to be kind to yourself and others.
Genesis works towards being anti-racist and encourages our community to join in this endeavor with us. We believe youth and our community at large are very powerful and capable of taking action. Black lives matter. Fight on.