"None of Us Can Stand Silent:" 5 Ways to Stand Up For Our Communities & Democratic Values Now
People, especially white people like me, it’s time to stand up with courage, clarity and integrity against white supremacy and hate politics. None of us can stand silent. Just look at what’s happening in #Charlottesville, Virginia yesterday and today.
The diversity of our nation is what’s made our country strong, innovative and prosperous; and we can not watch silently from the sidelines as the core of our nation’s strength and values are attacked.
Make no mistake, the election of Donald Trump has emboldened white supremacists across the nation, and in the Oval Office, who are right now marching in Virginia. Racial violence has always been a part of our nation’s history; and has always required good people who truly believe in our country’s founding values to speak out.
That’s us. That's you. That's me.
Now is the moment when we all must stand up for the founding ideals of our nation that are written into our Declaration of Independence of everyone having an inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. (We certainly haven’t gotten this right yet. But we have to keep reaching toward a “more perfect union” together or else throw in the towel. I’m nowhere near throwing in the towel—and I know you’re not either.).
So it’s time. It’s time for us to follow in the footsteps of other brave anti-racist Americans throughout history to stand up against hate and in defense of what makes our nation good - whether the hate appears in the form of a brown-shirted nazi, a white-robed klansman, or the polo wearing white supremacists and hate mongers on the march in Charlottesville this weekend.
---> How do you do that? Everyone has different ways that work for them; here are five ideas, especially for white people:
1- Post on social media (Facebook, Twitter, other) to show that you don’t stand with the white supremacist movement and share an article to show this isn’t “fake news” as you do it. Social media has a wide reach and you can be a media outlet in your own right.
2 - Talk with other white people, especially those who don’t fully agree with you. It’s on us to educate other white people about what’s happening. Talk with your friends, family, and neighbors. Share data. Share stories. Share your experiences. Take deep breaths and talk. Handy phrases to dive in with people who don’t agree with you include: “Really? That’s not my experience.” “That’s not necessary.” “Why are you doing this?” “Where are you coming from with that perspective?” And then: "What can we do to stop this together?"
3- Follow, listen, and support: Find out who is leading on racial justice in your community then follow, listen to, and support them. Support #BlackLivesMatter, We Belong Together, ColorOfChange, Black Women’s Round Table, NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, BYP100, Million Hoodies For Justice, Advancement Project, National Domestic Workers Alliance, and other groups in your community. Pay close attention to what they are saying. Contribute in any of the ways that you can via volunteering time, giving a donation, or other. Follow the lead of those organizations to reach out to elected leaders for policy change. Be there.
4- Show up: Be there in-person to counter protest white supremacy as possible. Create white anti-racists groups to stand up in times of need.
5 - #KeepMarching: Many white people like me have anxiety about talking about racism. I know I do. As a white feminist I know I live in, swim in, and breathe in a culture that is packed with implicit racial and sexual bias each and every day. I know that I’m like a sponge in our culture that’s sure to absorb more than a little of that negativity. Because of this (and more) I know I’m far from perfect, have a long way to go, and that I have (and will) put my foot in my mouth. But anxiety about talking about racism is nothing compared to living with racism each day — and not talking, not making mistakes, not taking the time to listen and learn just perpetuates the current status quo of widespread implicit bias along with structural racism and sexism in our nation. So jump in off the sidelines. Make mistakes. That’s the only way we can lift our nation up and out of this hate climate.
Last but far from least, be clear: There is no fight for women’s equality without also fighting against racism. Sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, heterosexism, transphobia, xenophobia, and classism are intertwined.