Solidarity with Black People
For hundreds of years, white supremacy has stood on the necks of people of color, particularly Black people, in a system designed to uphold the power of people like me. We are white people, and we’re responsible for the systematic oppression of all Black people, including the economic, cultural, educational, judicial, and other systems throughout our society.
I am not exceptional to causing injustices towards people of color. It does not matter where I’ve lived, how I’ve lived, who I have lived with, or what I’ve done in my career or personally with Black people. Just like all white people, I have benefited directly and indirectly from the white privilege bestowed on me by racist systems of oppression that I have consciously and unconsciously upheld.
Right now, I stand in honor of the Black people who I have known throughout my life. I stand in gratitude of the Black people who have taught me, trained me, led me, supported me, lifted me, and transformed me over and over. I also sit quietly, study actively, learn deliberately, and hear conscientiously in hope of learning, growing, and living in a more purposeful, more just, and more powerful world for Black people specifically.
Towards that end, I stand in solidarity with Black people. I stand in solidarity with all those engaged in protest against the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many others. I stand in solidarity against the systems, individuals, and actions designed intentionally or unintentionally to kill, hurt, threaten, demean, belittle, or otherwise oppress Black people.
These murders, this harm, and these injustices are not new. Violence, colonialism and white supremacy are woven into the foundation of the United States. For centuries, white people have been killing and looting African Americans, Native Americans and other people of color while most of us stand silent, and because of our silence, we are complicit.
However, this time right now is different, with a global pandemic and financial crisis that are devastating African Americans, Native Americans and other people of color at massively disproportionate rates. This moment is pivotal and how we act right now will have profound implications for tomorrow and the future.
I recognize the call to fully engage in both self-work and organizational work. When I consider the education system and communities I have the privilege to work with, I am reminded of just how much there is to do. I commit my self, my resources, my energy, and my actions to commit to fight for liberation for myself and others; our communities; and the young people I am so deeply invested in.
I will offer antiracist resources on my social media and website for expanded learning programs, educators, youth workers, and all of us as individuals. I welcome you to share additional resources with me as well. I will offer antiracist trainings and speeches for white people and actively engaged with the organizations I support to end racism. I will put myself on the line.
For the African American, Native American and people of color who are my colleagues, friends, and family, I stand up with you and for you. I will not be silent. I will walk alongside my allies as we hold each other accountable to the part we all play in these injustices and the ways in which we can and must push against our own discomfort and privilege. I will not let this moment pass without reflection, listening, and action.
Thank you to every person my professional networks who has dedicated their career, heart, and soul to African American youth and other youth of color. It is for them — and white youth, and white communities, and ourselves — that we must act.
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