Mental Health

How to Help Fight Racial Injustice

I really struggled to write this article.  In part because the issue is so massive and in part because as a white woman, I do not want to present myself as an authority on “what to do” or to come across as patronizing. Or to make anyone feel shamed or guilted if they disagree with me. Like so many of us, I am struggling with what to say and what I can do to help.  I just knew I had to say something. I pray that you will accept my words with the grace and goodwill in which they were written.

As we watched with horror the killing of George Floyd by police officers, we were traumatized in ways that left us reeling. We have seen too many of these images and heard too many of these stories before. ENOUGH. We are no longer able to stand by as these injustices keep happening to black and brown people in our community. We must speak out. We must act. We must channel our righteous, justified anger into action. But how? We see the protesters on TV and we our spirit is with them. Yet not all of us can protest, especially with the ongoing health risks of the pandemic. And while protesting is essential, we must also do more. There is so much to be done it can leave us feeling overwhelmed and helpless.

Yes. There is so much to be done.  We must push back the understandable despair, helplessness and even hopelessness we feel as we know all too well that so many past protests and attempts to right the terrible wrongs of racial and societal injustice have led to far too little. This time it must be different. This time, there is so much be done and this means there is a place for all of us to contribute both now and in the future.

Each of us is differently able to help depending on our resources, abilities, and talents. If you do not feel safe protesting, take heart. There is much you can do. It is normal to feel upset, traumatized, sadness, grief, anger, rage, and despair in response to these events. Finding ways to take action can help transform feeling of helplessness into action and change.

My sincere hope is to empower you to find ways to contribute that feel right to you and honor your experience and values.

Remember that how you live your daily life is a powerful change agent. Research shows that even small acts of kindness to others as we go about our day make a significant impact. Focus on listening carefully to others’ experience and validating their feelings. Ask how you can help. Communicate a willingness to support them. Find ways to stay inspired and to inspire others. And when you need support and need to rest in your feelings, find someone who understands.

 

Educate yourself and your children:

A list of 75 things white people can do for racial justice 

Books and films to learn about systemic racism

 

Support Black-owned businesses in your community and online:

A list of Black-owned businesses and restaurants in Tampa Bay

Best Richardson African Diaspora Literature & Culture Museum in Tampa

 

Donate to advocacy groups:

NAACP 

Black Lives Matter 

The Loveland Foundation: A campaign that pays for Black women and girls to receive psychotherapy.

Go Fund Me page to support George Floyd’s family

 

Support the protesters with the financial resources to pay their legal fees:

Go Fund Me for Protesters in Florida

The Minnesota Freedom Fund

Vote:

Black Lives Matter voter guide

Stacey Abram’s Fair Fight: Fight for Free and Fair Elections

League of Women Voters Florida

 

Stay Inspired:

Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams.  Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.
– Shonda Rhimes

You don’t have to be one of those people that accepts things as they are. Every day, take responsibility for changing them right where you are.
– Cory Booker

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.
– Alice Walker

The progress of the world will call for the best that all of us have to give.
– Mary McLeod Bethune

I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.
– Rosa Parks

 Magic lies in challenging what seems impossible.
– Carol Moseley Braun

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