Photo Credits: CAITLYN SAMPLEY / AGGIE FILE
The Editorial Board expresses its solidarity with nationwide protests for Black Lives Matter movement
George Floyd’s tragic death in broad daylight should not come as a surprise. Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, David McAtee, Dion Johnson and Ahmaud Arbery, among countless others — the loss of Black life due to state violence carried out by the police is nothing new, it is simply being broadcasted more. Change must start immediately with oneself and one’s circle in order to achieve broader transformation of race relations in this country and the world. It goes without saying: The Editorial Board is in complete solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Among an onslaught of information and misinformation, we want to draw attention to being a non-performative ally as well as moving into action safely and respectfully.
Taking the time to understand the biases and privileges we hold and urging family and friends around us to do the same costs nothing, and it is the most basic first step we can take in making progress toward equality. We need to commit ourselves to anti-racist action. While it may be uncomfortable to confront our shortcomings, being uncomfortable cannot compare to the murders, injustices, silencing and suffering that Black people face every single day due to collective complacency.
In this journey of self-educating, make space for and listen to Black organizers, voices and leaders, but remember it is not their responsibility to address questions about how to help. There are plenty of resources available and texts to read in this effort that do not require further burdening the very people who are most likely burnt out from years and decades of attempting to educate those around them. Read, not just about the history of police and their role in society, but about why it’s so hard to talk about race.
As protestors across the country face both arrests and police-initiated violence in response to their peaceful protests, donating to bail funds can help support them pre-trial. It’s critical to support these bail funds right now because these protests have and inevitably do result in a disproportionate number of Black people being arrested and forced into a system designed to keep them incarcerated. There are also local mutual aid networks that use funds to support fellow community members, whether it be by delivering groceries or distributing cleaning supplies. Research local organizations to support that are committed to ending police violence and resisting white supremacy; BLM chapters can point to the right resources as well.
Recognize that an ally’s role at these protests is to protect Black lives and to listen to and support Black voices; it is absolutely not an ally’s place to promote any other cause or perspective. Think twice about the media that you choose to spread and consume. Post on social media thoughtfully and constructively. Take seriously the significance of this movement and commit to action by, for example, signing petitions as well as calling and emailing local representatives to hold those in power accountable for Black lives.
Black lives are at stake. We are all personally responsible for reforming our communities in a way that values everyone’s full humanity and lives outside of our own. We must take it upon ourselves to understand our role in promoting respect for all human life and fighting systems that perpetuate oppression — systems that have been in place for time immemorial. There should not have to be perfectly packaged narratives, stories or metaphors to get us to understand. We must work to dismantle oppression now.
Written by: The Editorial Board