Some kind folks have reached out lately to say hello and ask how I’m doing. My answer today: I’m exhausted.
Doing this work usually energizes me, but lately, I find it harder and harder to get going and keep going. It's hard to concentrate, and I don't feel rested when I wake up.
When I talk to Black family and friends, most are experiencing the same thing. We’re still working hard, parenting hard, protecting ourselves from COVID-19, combating systemic racism, and trying to maintain our mental health...all while stories and images of the horrors of racism in this country come at us from all directions (overt voter suppression, anyone?).
It’s emotionally draining. We need your help, allies.
Do you want to support the Black community? Here are some things you can do right now:
Send a note of support to a Black person. Doesn’t matter if it’s a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker, your UPS delivery person. We need the support. You can tell them they’ve been on your mind and you wanted to say hello. You can say, “it’s been a while! Just saying hi and letting you know I’m thinking of you.” You can say, “No pressure to respond. Just checking in on you. If you feel like it, let me know how you’re doing.” We need to feel seen and loved.
If you are parenting white children, encourage your children to do the same thing with their Black friends and acquaintances. Explain to them why it is important. Teach them by example; show them what you sent to one of your friends. Make sure they follow through. Our children, especially, need to feel seen and loved.
Do not send articles, memes, or other info related to the trial to Black people unless they’ve explicitly expressed an interest in seeing it. For many of us, the watching testimony and reading articles feels like reliving the horror George Floyd’s excruciating death over and over. We see ourselves, our fathers, our brothers, our cousins. I see what can happen to my sons if things don’t change at a fundamental level. It’s almost debilitating, this grief for what he and too many others experienced and the fear of it happening again and again to people who look just like me and my family.
If you have already shared content with a Black person who didn’t specifically say they’d like to talk about it, please reach out to them to find out how it felt to them. You can say, “I sent you X. In hindsight, I realize that it could actually have caused harm, and I’m sorry.” Don’t try to explain. As tempting as it may be, know that there’s a 99% chance your friend knows you had good intentions, and explaining puts your feelings in the center of the conversation, not the unintended effect of your actions.
Talk to your white friends about this, including your spouse. Ask them who they’re following on social media and what they’ve seen/read/listened to about the trial. Do this with someone different every day. If you’re reluctant to do it, contemplate why that is, and contemplate that most Black folks don’t have the option to ignore it.
Nothing on this list takes more than a few minutes to do. It does take a little courage. But you can do this. You can do this. And we're here to help.
This is how change starts. We’re depending on you.
If you have thoughts or questions, comment below or email us. We would love to hear from you. Let us know what you tried and how it went!
While our initial focus at the Ally League is anti-Black racism, we’re devastated by anti-Asian hate in the US, too.
Please, please show the Asian community as much love as you can. Reach out to your friends, colleagues, and acquaintances to check on them. Showing love costs so little, and little things add up.