#blacklivesmatter – Finding the Words & 6 Action Steps

Art by Hailey Florez

These past few days have been a wake up call for all of us. We all knew this was an issue boiling behind veiled walls of silence. But we were living our lives while so many people around us were suffering. I believe a lot of us were scared to say something or didn’t have enough knowledge or education on the privileges of white people and the oppression of people of color. But that’s no excuse.

For my part I was lucky enough to grow up very intercultural and being completely honest racism was too far away from me. I’m sorry, I was wrong. I now see that this is an example for white privilege. Being too far away from something, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. The biggest lesson I received the past days is that it is not enough to be able to say yourself that you are an anti-racist and an advocate of equality. We have to get all the information, speak up and take action.

SILENCE IS SYNONYMOUS WITH CHOOSING THE WRONG SIDE.

And while I myself like so many others are deeply afraid to get it wrong and not find the right words or actions I’m convinced it’s necessary. And if you think there are so many others already doing the necessary, please understand, that it’s never enough. Every single one needs to get out of their comfort zone and be an advocate of change. Your spark might be the one that will help your neighbor or your friend understand. Be fearless! It has been too long!

I’m disgusted about the hate and the sheer stupidness of people hurting and murdering human lives. I’m not able to understand how people can feel superior of others because of a pigment in their skin. We are one race – the human race – that is sharing the earth as their home together. This is so simple and obvious, but apparently it has to be said again and again. What’s important to realize is that this is a systemic problem with a long history. Something that is taught and spread by ignorant people. But it’s possible to unlearn ignorance and bigotry! Everyone deserves the same rights and chances and should be treated equally. No one is better or worse because of their skin color, who they love or what they believe in. Our actions and our voices are what shapes us. So live, act and speak with love and empathy.

My heart is hurting for everyone affected and I promise to try my best and to speak up for what’s right. Even though being a white woman that will never fully understand your pain, I’m here for you and I stand with you! If you read this, please share your thoughts and stories with me. I want to listen and get to know you.

It can be extremely overwhelming to know where to start, but these are 6 action steps to take now:

1. GO INWARD AND EDUCATE YOURSELF

Do some serious reflection and read and listen to all that you can find on this matter. Articles, videos, books, children’s books, podcasts, real voices of POC. I found most sources on Instagram, which is full of educational videos and reads right now. Just a few here:

I also want to dive a lot more into the black history and culture in the coming weeks.

2. SHARE YOUR LEARNINGS

It doesn’t have to be on your social platforms, but let your friends know about educational reads and what you learned from all of this. Start with your children and talk to them about what happened. Also whenever you witness a comment from someone, correct them and educate them. Tell them they’re wrong. These small steps right around you might be the most important.

3. SUPPORT BLACK BUSINESSES AND SURROUND YOURSELF WITH DIVERSITY

Have a closer look to what you consume. Are the brands you support caring for the black community? Are you buying from black businesses regularly? Do the novels you read have black characters? Is your feed filled with diverse people? This was really eye opening for me.

4. DONATE

If possible for you consider donating to an organization that is aligned with the BLM movement: Black Lives Matter, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Color of Change, Campaign Zero.

5. VOTE

As I wrote this is mostly a systemic issue. Voting the right authorities will help spread equality and change deeply routed standards. Also never stop to ask them questions. Make people in power uncomfortable.

6. CONTINUE TO LEARN AND TO SPEAK UP IN YOUR ENVIRONMENT AND WITH EVERY SITUATION YOU WITNESS

When the days go by and the people and media stops posting, don’t stop. Keep listening and speak up if you’re the witness of injustice. Even when it’s ”just“ a comment made by someone – say something.

After continuing with sharing different stories, happy stories and romantic stories here, please know this is all staying in my thoughts and heart. I will pursue my believes and actions in my everyday and will not stop educating myself further. Please do the same with love and compassion. My utmost hope is that this is going to be the beginning of a BIG change

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