I am a middle aged white woman. I was raised by two parents who, despite their political differences, believe in equality and raised me to look beyond the color of someone’s skin. To see a person’s value and goodness through their actions, not because of any socio-economic differences or divides. I think I’ve done an admirable job however, despite living with my eyes and mind open, I am not black, and would never be able to put myself in their shoe’s and live their life’s experiences. What has happened to the African American community in our country historically was and still is awful, but I was under the impression that we were moving forward with changes being made for the better. Until the recent police incidents and the video of George Floyd saying those words that I will never forget, “I can’t breathe”. Is it time to speak out and add my own small voice to the voluminous sound of protest? Why did it take me so long to feel this way? I have been educated on the facts regarding slavery, toured the southern plantations, listened to the speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., lived as a young adult in Los Angeles during the Rodney King riots, but in my white privileged life, things always returned to “normal”. It was easy to move on. I say that because I am white, and not too proud of the fact that it was that easy to move on.
Ahmaud Arbery was jogging. Breonna Taylor was sleeping in her own home. George Floyd was intoxicated, but did not resist arrest. And there were so many others. Why is it only now that people like myself are also fed up with the status quo? I can only try to find my own words. The pandemic, the lost jobs, businesses closing, and the one, two, three punch of Ahmaud, Breonna, and George’s deaths. And that video. I can’t get it out of my head.
I would like to go out and physically protest. I still might. But I live in a multi-generational home with my family. My mother is near 80 and is in the high risk population and so I’m very careful with my social distancing. I’ve struggled with my feelings, wanting to join in the protests but would hate myself forever if I brought this virus back into my home and something happened to my mother. If I’m unable to be there physically, I need to self educate. So, I’ve been reading articles, watching the news, and trying to find a way to help, no matter how small. In my search I found a lot of information, some of which I’m going to share below. You may have the same feelings as I do and I hope these help you find your own path.
I saw this great article in Rolling Stones that lists, by state, different groups, bail funds, or legal aid where you can donate money to help those who are less fortunate. I read through quite a few of these and learned a lot just by reading their websites. Even a small dollar amount can make a difference!
If you’re struggling to understand systemic racism and want to self-educate, this resource has some great movie’s and books.
If you would like to show your support by reading and purchasing a book written by black authors, you can search and find many articles. If you are a fan of young adult novels, science fiction, fiction, romance, etc. there are plenty of great books to read! Here are a few articles and blog posts that may help you make a choice.
45 Best Young Adult Novels to Add to your TBR (blog post by Afoma Umesi/All My Beautiful Things)
Of course, as a book blogger I had to mention some books by black authors that I’ve enjoyed reading. The book blogging community has embraced diversity and with the help and recommendations of some of my fellow bloggers I have broadened my reading landscape including choices from authors who are asian, Muslim, and black. I have discovered some fabulous authors and have included some of my favorite black authors in the list below. My favorite genre’s include romance and YA, but if you’re fans of those genre’s check out these books.
Angie Thomas- The Hate You Give
The above is just a drop in the bucket and is geared towards my own reading tastes, experiences, and searching. However, it’s all available at the tap of a finger on your keyboard. Change. The easiest way to start is to change your own vocabulary. I don’t mean the words you use, although for some people that definitely needs to happen. I mean the language of your thoughts, the way you teach your children, how you view the world. It takes big actions and little steps to make change happen. Please take that first step!