Celebrate Juneteenth By Doing These Things
Stephanie Cortes Graduate of California State Polytechnic University of Pomona
David Englund from Pixabay
Today is Juneteenth, a day that celebrates the official end of slavery in the United States.
But obviously, we still have a long way to go when it comes to racial equality in this country. You may be wondering how you, one single person, can make a difference.
Here are some action tips.
“Do your own research to understand the history of the struggle in which you are participating,” says a Guide to Allyship.
However, don’t expect minority groups to educate you.
Read. Listen. Watch.
Share on social media.
Utilize your social media to raise racial inequality awareness, resources and news updates. It does not matter how many followers or friends you have. There are many valuable resources and individuals that you may amplify and share to support community development to combat racial inequality.
Utilize your privilege for good.
Don't wallow in guilt. Leverage your privilege by sending emails, making phone calls to politicians, writing letters, making donations, and having conversations to solve racial injustice.
Listen. For Real.
@officialmillenialblack shared this tip: “Listen without asking questions and without inserting your thoughts.” It is vital to listen to the under-represented voices and accept criticism with grace, even when the feedback may feel uncomfortable.
2020 is a big year when it comes to voting out bad people and voting in good people.
Before voting, it is essential to become informed on what each candidate's positions are on social justice and criminal justice reforms. Court Buddy's new partner, Mike Muse, offers a guide that explains why voting matters, especially at the local level.
Localize your efforts.
Although the presidential election is on all of our minds this year, you have a lot of power at the local level. Take advantage of Town Hall events or Q & A sessions in your district and town.
Talk to your neighbors. Put up signs in your windows or on your lawn. Don't let the people around you forget.
Support racial inequality initiatives by donating to organizations, bail funds, nonprofits, etc. that advocate for equality of rights of communities and eliminate racial discrimination.
Buy from Black-owned businesses.
“Supporting these businesses helps close the racial wealth gap and gives the owners capital to hire employees, thereby creating jobs for those in the community, and helps boost the appeal to potential investors,” states Michelle Wulfson at The Item.
Communities generally flourish when small businesses are doing well.
Pipe up at work.
Think about your company's hiring, firing, and management practices.
If your workplace reeks of white privilege, let the right people know. Offer concrete solutions on how to improve the atmosphere.
“Normalizing offensive conduct tends to have a chilling effect on other potential dissenters, and communicates to those who are offended, regardless of whether they are targets of the behavior, that their perspectives and voices are not valued," says Amber Lee Wlliams at Harvard Business Reveiw.
Although it may be uncomfortable, it is vital to call out bias and discrimination. If you speak up, others may follow you.
Update your email newsletter list.
Model the behavior you want to see.
Modeling behavior is an effective approach and sends a stronger message. Your actions to combat racial inequalities may also teach others what they can do to contribute.
Signing petitions is a way to participate in reforms and advocate for changes in current policies. It is important to do your research before adding your name to issues that matter most to you.
The Black Lives Matter website has created a list of petitions you can sign to demand justice for victims of police brutality and racial inequality
Become an authentic ally.
“Allyship is an active and consistent practice of using power and privilege to achieve equity and inclusion while holding ourselves accountable to marginalized people’s need,” explains Michelle Kim at Awaken.
According to Guide To Allyship, being an ally is commitment to take action daily.
Some ways you can become a true ally are:
- “Take on the struggle.” Allies understand they may not be a member of the under-reperesented communities they support. However, they play an active role in taking on the oppression and struggle as if it was their own.
- “Transfer the benefits of your privilege to those who lack it.”
- “Acknowledge that even though you feel pain, the conversation is not about you.”
- It’s okay to make mistakes in your journey of allyship. Be willing to learn from them and “de-center yourself”.
- “Do not take credit for the labor of those who are marginalized and did the work before you stepped into the picture.”
- “Do not assume that every member of an underinvested community feels oppressed.”
- “Understand that your education is up to you and no one else. Be proactive daily to find information and resources.”
Here's an idea - let's celebrate Juneteenth all month. Pledge to undertake one of these activities each day.
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