Black Lives Matter

Hi Everyone –

I want to take a moment to thank those who have been continuously posting BLM-related information / resources / content. Social media can be incredibly draining for me, but due to this constant stream of information I have been donating, reading articles, signing petitions, watching documentaries, and overall doing my best to stay actively engaged and informed; I’m hoping to soon get some books into the mix as well, and also plan on looking into how I can better support Black businesses.

The degree of racial prejudice and injustice in this country is profound. The other night while watching a bit of news, I got emotionally upset – still – over the death of Trayvon Martin. I forgot how long ago that happened (2012). I think Trayvon’s death, followed by the death of Michael Brown (and the subsequent uprising in Ferguson, MO) were big turning points for me personally as to how I started to truly realize racial injustice was still happening in the world. It frustrates me when I reflect on when I was in school (in a predominately white neighborhood), the issue of “civil rights” seemed to be ultimately resolved, and we never talked about Malcolm X – which I believe should be a mandatory insert within the American historical narrative.

I’ve been very careful (and have had deep discussions with others) regarding the (at times) potential performativity of social media posting (text and pictures, whether conscious or unconscious) about these issues. I apologize if this comes off as performative. I also realize that another white voice thrown in the mix may only make for more “white noise”, but despite that, I would like to put my singular voice forward and confirm my solidarity with Black Lives Matter and BIPOC everywhere. These killings and abuses of power deeply distress me. The American mythology I grew up with, as well as what I consider to be my identity as an American citizen have become disrupted, broken, and called into question largely due to the inequality Black people (as well as immigrants and other POC) endure and suffer everyday. I think for awhile now, I have been vigilantly educating myself on issues of race (past and present), while also having deep, meaningful, and at times uncomfortable conversations with others, particularly regarding complacency and white privilege. I like to think that if you truly know me, this confirmation and affirmation of my stance should not be surprising.

I also would like to think that if you truly know me, you know how much of a Star Trek nerd I am. In all its iterations, that show has always projected diversity and acceptance, especially at times when it was not politically convenient. That is the kind of future I always strive for and seek. In Star Trek, the foundation of Vulcan philosophy is IDIC: Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. I reflect on that phrase often .

Another reason I wanted to share this post is to also make a list of all the places I’ve donated to / petitions I’ve signed thus far; This is a growing list. I’m sharing this information to encourage others to do the same, if you haven’t already. If you are able and willing, please take a look at these links below. If you’ve been following me, you know I recently released an EP and I’ve donated every cent I made (most recently to Breonna Taylor’s family (via GoFundMe), and prior to that, to the W.H.O.). I want to let you know that I’ve been really trying my best to contribute and do my part as a white ally, and I hope this post will encourage you to have conversations with others, get active, learn, and push yourself outside your comfort zone.

I recognize we are still living in a pandemic, despite states reopening. So if you have been protesting, thank you. If you’ve been learning, signing, conversing, and donating like myself, thank you. Let’s continue doing so to demonstrate our solidarity to Black lives everywhere in order to enact positive change. Thank you for reading if you’ve made it this far.


Petitions:

Amnesty International – Justice For George Floyd: https://www.amnesty.org/en/get-involved/take-action/george-floyd-police-violence-usa/ (6/3/20)

Change.org – Justice For Breonna Taylor: https://www.change.org/p/andy-beshear-justice-for-breonna-taylor

Color of Change – Justice For Breonna Taylor: https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/justiceforbre-breonna-taylor-officers-fired/ (6/13/20)

Color of Change – Bob Kroll Must Go: https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/sign-petition-bob-kroll-must-go/ (6/17/20)

Color of Change – Justice For Elijah McClain: https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/file-criminal-charges-against-officers-who-murdered-elijah-mcclain (7/6/20)

Donations:

Black Visions Collective https://www.blackvisionsmn.org/ (6/1/20)

GoFundMe – Official George Floyd Memorial Fund: https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd (6/2/20)

NAACP – Empowerment Programs: https://www.naacp.org/empowerment-programs/ (6/4/20)

GoFundMe – Justice for Breonna Taylor: https://www.gofundme.com/f/9v4q2-justice-for-breonna-taylor (6/7/20)

GoFundMe – Official Gianna Floyd Fund: https://www.gofundme.com/f/gianna-floyd-daughter-of-george-floyd-fund (6/9/20)

ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/ (6/12/20)

GoFundMe – I Run With Maud: https://www.gofundme.com/f/i-run-with-maud/ (6/13/20)

UltraViolet Action (working in coordination with BLM Louisville seeking justice for Breonna Taylor): https://secure.actblue.com/donate/taylor0615_sbs? (6/17/20)

Equal Justice Initiative: https://support.eji.org/give/153413/#!/donation/checkout (6/22/20)

Please also check out https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/ for even more resources.


I’d also like to add a list of media that I’ve encountered throughout my life and found inspiring, informative, and helpful. I recognize the list is not large, which is a combination of this is what came to me off the top of my head, and knowing I have a lot more work to do. There are better lists out there you can find with a simple Google search. I’ve bookmarked a few links that I’m planning on scrutinizing more closely, and would be happy to share if you need:

Books by Black Authors I’ve Read That Changed My Life:

Everything Maya Angelou Ever Wrote

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley and Malcolm X

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

Films by Black Directors That Changed My Life:

13th – Directed by Ava DuVernay

Mudbound – Directed by Dee Rees

12 Years A Slave – Directed by Steve McQueen

Malcolm X – Directed by Spike Lee

Do The Right Thing – Directed by Spike Lee

Black Artists Who Have Changed My Life (in no particular order): Sammus, Talib Kweli, Black Star, Pharoahe Monch. Lizzo, Beyonce, Jay-Z, A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy, James Brown, Queen Latifah, Killer Mike, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Tupac, The Notorious B.I.G., Ray Charles. Also Kehinde Wiley. The list goes on…

Talking Freddie Gray Blues

https://soundcloud.com/devinyl-records-ny/talking-freddie-gray-blues

I can’t get this song out of my head.

It’s beautifully written and constructed in classic Kevin Devine fashion, Elliott Smith influence ever so subtle.

I haven’t been very vocal about this because I feel as though no matter what I say, I cannot change the situation or the larger problems surrounding it; Only shoot hypotheticals and what-ifs and could-bes. But KD did such a wonderful job here. 99% of the words are things I wish I could say or construct into such a beautiful, succinct statement.

I don’t watch the news as much anymore as I believe it is mainly a vehicle for entertainment and bias. But I see the headlines and tune in every once in awhile. Because I have the luxury of not becoming emotionally involved. I’m a white female living in the suburbs and I can just turn it off whenever I want.

This is not my reality / I’m afforded the luxury / Of shaking my head / I shut the screen, go to bed / I can turn off what you never can / And watch it happen again and again

Truth is, I feel so deeply for my black brothers and sisters. And days come and go where I wish I could take away all of their pain.

Truth is, as a nation, we’re nowhere where we need to be. And this won’t go away overnight. Change is necessary. Justice and Equality are necessary.

But with each passing day I just feel helpless and unsure. And I’m so sorry and I wish I could paint the world over.

The system’s broken / Not breaking / It’s done

Because how many more times must this happen, how many more young black lives must be lost before we wake up as a country and ignite the human compassion seemingly dormant within us all?

I hope not too long.