In the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many more, we are seeing unprecedented mobilization to address systemic racism and racial trauma the Black community experiences.
This movement is being led by incredible members of the Black community and other People of Color. Many White folks may want to participate and support these efforts but feel overwhelmed and paralyzed about what they can do to be supportive. As a White person, you want to be helpful, to be empathetic, to create change, but it can be hard to find where to start when tackling such a large systemic issue. You may even be afraid of “doing the wrong thing” or making things worse. Here are a few practical tips for ways to show up as a White ally right now. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I hope it sparks a few ideas of where to start.
- Support your local Black owned businesses. Check out this list for some ideas in the Bay Area.
- Talk to your White friends and family about what is happening. White privilege allows for silence on these topics. Break the silence, begin to bring awareness to these topics in your circles. At times these conversations can be hard and uncomfortable for both you and your loved ones. Growth comes out of this discomfort and is an important part of the process. Check out these ideas for how to start and continue the conversation. It’s not just a one time talk!
- Donate to organizations focused on supporting Black Lives. Donate to organizations advocating for police reform. Donate to your local Black political candidates that support police reform. Even $5 can make a huge difference.
- Read books like White Fragility. Develop a book circle of White friends to read it together.
- If a Black person chooses to share their experiences with you, LISTEN. Listen very closely and quietly. Validate their experiences and let them know you hear them and care. Now is not the time for a “political debate” with Black people in your life. It’s the time to listen to their stories and learn.
- Join White allyship discussion groups where you can continue to do the internal work on your own White privilege and implicit biases that we all have. Check out organizations like SURJ.
- Follow Black leadership. White privilege puts White voices at the center of most of our structures and institutions. Begin to change this by centering Black voices, listen to them as your guide. This is your chance to be an ally and accomplice.
- Vote! Our local politicians are the ones who have the most control over police reform. Vote in your local elections and educate yourself about your local candidates stance on these issues. Don’t just wait for presidential elections to vote.
If you’d like more support with exploring ways you can be an ally, please reach out to me or an anti-racist therapist near you to schedule an appointment.