How I’m Helping Black Lives Matter
If you’ve been following my Twitter account for any length of time, you’ll know that I post often about topics relating to equality and Black Lives Matter. But I hadn’t typed a full story about it yet.
My brain has been a little scrambled from a family member getting sick, and for awhile, typing a 600-word article was the last thing on my mind. And at first, I thought, “Well, whatever I have to say, other people can say it better.”
But I quickly realized these issues are important for everyone to talk about, and we shouldn’t stop talking about them until the issues at hand — systemic racism, police brutality — are eliminated. There’s even a new Medium publication, Momentum, about fighting anti-Black racism.
I am very political, and for a long time I championed environmental and scientific causes, but now I see I need to also be a much stronger voice for diversity and equal rights. I plan to vote and campaign for candidates who support overhauls to our current system of policing.
I know that changing people’s minds isn’t easy. I’ve been to many cultural competence workshops where a Karen-type stands up and says, “I’m diverse — I’m Irish and Polish, and I don’t get discriminated against. So I don’t see why racism is a big deal.” No matter how hard the presenter tries, the person goes home completely missing the point.
But personally, I can make changes. I need to pay more attention to what companies I support, and whether or not they support diversity and Black Lives Matter. A former employee recently revealed that the clothing brand Reformation was posting racist content and not promoting black employees. I haven’t bought anything from them, but sadly, I suspect that this is the case at many, many more companies.
I recently watched a Netflix series and realized that, in four seasons, there was not a single character played by a person of color. And in the previous show I had watched, there was also not a single person of color. I did some research and started watching shows and movies with more Black actors.
I love historical films and shows, but they aren’t all as diverse as Hamilton. When the newer Cinderella movie came out, I remarked to someone that I had loved the 90s film starring Brandy, and wondered why the new cast wasn’t more diverse. I was told, “The original story takes place in Germany, and everyone in Germany was white.” I said sure, but the original story also has a pumpkin that turns into a carriage, so why is it a stretch to have a black Cinderella?
I plan to buy more books by black authors — and I don’t just mean Alexandre Dumas. (I do think it was curious that I was never taught Alexandre Dumas, Chinua Achebe, or James Baldwin’s books in school, while I was taught many books by white authors.)
And on the writing front, I plan to use more diverse photos for my articles and read and share more articles by black writers. I plan to learn as much as I can so that I can keep the conversation going and make a difference.