I’ll be brief because privileged white people have said far too much for far too long. But Dr. King warned about the silence of good people in the face of oppression and cruelty, so Brad and I feel it’s our moral obligation to speak out.
The sense of despair hanging over the country is palpable. What I’ve learned, though, is that the opposite of despair isn’t joy — it’s action. To that end, I wanted to share a few of the things we’re doing, in case anyone is feeling paralyzed and doesn’t know where to begin.
- Show up. It’s going to be a long fight, so start by joining the group that’s been battling poverty and racism since 1968 — the Poor People’s Campaign — for their virtual Assembly and Moral March on Washington, taking place June 20-21.
- Donate. The protesters need our help with bail and legal assistance. Here’s a list of national and state funds as well as ActBlue’s secure donation link that splits your donation among more than 70 community bail funds and racial justice organizers. We’re keeping our money local with the Atlanta Solidarity Fund.
- Educate. Learn how to identify bias and systemic injustice. AWARE-LA’s website is a good place to start.
- Go public. We’ve searched for a way to publicly identify as supporters of racial justice and equality, and have discovered the US Unity Flag. Its design is inclusive of race, gender, sexuality and religion, and at least 50% of the profits will be donated to the non-profit of your choosing.
- Do one thing. None of us can fix everything, but each of us can tackle one problem in our own neighborhood. For us, that’s food justice. If that’s your thing, too, buy food from farmers of color, donate to organizations that support food sovereignty, volunteer at a school or community garden, or start a pop-up farmers market in a food-insecure community.
Back in 2015, we had the privilege of hearing Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign and president of Repairers of the Breach, as he opened the Wild Goose Festival. He rallied the crowd to fight for social justice with a reading of Isaiah 58 and, sadly, his words seem even more fitting five years later. An excerpt:
Cry with full throat, without restraint;
Raise your voice like a ram’s horn!
Declare to My people their transgression….
“Why, when we fasted, did You not see?
When we starved our bodies, did You pay no heed?”
Because on your fast day
You see to your business
And oppress all your laborers!
No, this is the fast I desire:
To unlock the fetters of wickedness,
And untie the cords of the yoke
To let the oppressed go free;
To break off every yoke.
His point? It’s time for us to join together and demand better of our politicians. To interrupt the status quo, “with full throat, without restraint.” To name names. To demand that all humans are treated with dignity, that all are worthy of basic rights. To speak for the victims of brutality who no longer have a voice.
I don’t know what else to say other than take care of each other, stay safe, and spread love. It’s all we have.