Take a look around, at your news feeds and the protests. Take a look at your friends, have you listened to what they’re saying lately? Have you had conversations with them? Have you all talked about what’s going on in the world?
Do black lives still matter this week?
Will they still matter next week?
A lot of people have had conversations with friends in the past few weeks that wouldn’t have happened before. We’ve seen the world change around us and, at least from what it seems like, people are intentionally going out to donate and really opening their eyes to the struggles other people face—specifically, what black people face.
But what I want to know is if it will last… when people who are not black no longer remember to care or see the plight of those who are, will it matter anymore?
Even with movements that are as large as this one, I can’t help but worry that it can fade. After all, I’m graduating from college this weekend (virtually) and a lot of people are just beginning their summers whether that means catching up with friends or a bit of extra self-care. Whatever that looks like, people are slowly getting back to posting about their everyday lives.
So what are you going to do to make sure that your everyday life has actually found a new normal, one that is conscious of issues that impact lives outside of your own? Because that is the only way to make this a lasting change and it starts at the individual level with every single one of us. It starts with you.
Now, think about what you’ve been doing these past two weeks and if you’ve been a part of the changes happening around us. There have been some major paradigm shifts and a recognition that everyone’s lives matter even while the world doesn’t act like black lives matter in the same way they do others.
A lot of what I’ve shared in regard to education has been a mix of books and sometimes articles you can read, but most of it has been a bit heavy. Lately, it’s been a lot to constantly be going through the news and social media to see more people hurt or silenced by a system that never lets them stand.
So, today I’ve found a lovely resource from Sarah Mian on Instagram—she compiled 100 other options for people to get into what they want to read, watch, or listen to. Some of them can be heavy like Just Mercy (book or movie form) but some of them are lighter, conversation starters as well. There’s a little bit for everyone here, so check out this link. It sounds like there’s a lot, but really, it’s just a chance for you to see what options you have; it’s also a reason for people to have zero excuse for ignorance.
But that resource isn’t all I’m here to show you today. I’m here to ask you about what your plan is to hold yourself accountable. Like I mentioned earlier, people are slowly getting back to their lives, and maybe that also means everyone will slowly stop showing up for the marginalized communities that need help having their voices heard.
They will stop looking at what it’s trendy to be doing and start looking at what impacts them directly.
Currently, that means people will stop showing up for the black community. That also means people will stop noticing (if they ever started) the drastically high rates of Covid-19 within the Navajo Nation. Or people will forget about the targeted racism that has been happening toward Asian communities around the pandemic… the list goes on and the communities who face prejudice and systematic racism or injustices, that list will keep growing.
And people will keep forgetting about every little thing these communities face if they have the privilege to do so.
Have you checked yours lately?
Though I am a part of the black community, I am not part of the black trans* community which means I have the opportunity to speak up where they cannot. I can also choose to be ignorant of what they struggle with on a daily basis simply because that is not a life I have to live.
While I have friends who are not a part of the black community, they have opportunities to speak up where I most likely will not be seen or heard or respected, and therefore, they use can their voices to amplify mine in new spaces. They have made a choice to become more aware of my life and what the lives of my loved ones look like because they love me.
They are holding themselves accountable through their relationships, through having those hard conversations and asking the questions they need to be asking even when it makes them uncomfortable. Even when they’re not sure if they will be wrong, they are choosing to engage with difficult growth because it matters—the worst thing to do is not acknowledge what’s happening in the world at all.
So, again, what are you going to do to keep acknowledging what needs to change in the world around us? This is not something that will change quickly, the racism toward black and brown folx is a systematic issue that is engrained in the foundations of the US and that needs to be acknowledged by now. Every one of us has a part to play in rebuilding that. We know there’s a problem and we know we need to fix it; if we’re honest, only some of us are getting out of this system alive.
I am asking you to be your own resource in thinking about what it means to actually move this beyond some trendy change that’s here today and gone tomorrow like the countless black lives this country has already lost.
What are you doing today so that when someone says “black lives matter” someday down the line, it is no longer an argument?