Please, I can’t breathe.
Those words fill my eyes with hot, burning, shameful tears. I’m not an emotional person but George Floyd’s story, and all the stories that are so maddeningly similar, make my head pound with grief and anger and shame.
Passivity here is not an option. Turning your head away so you don’t see knees on necks, guns in faces, blind racism, is the same as allowing it to happen and being on the side of this happening.
It’s time we KNOW their names. George Floyd, Michael Brown, Sean Reed, Steven Demarco Taylor, Ariane McCree, Terrance Franklin, Miles Hall, Yassin Mohamed, Finan H. Berhe, Trayvon Martin, and more. Unfortunately, you can find dozens of examples and names in many places, including here.
These men are human beings. Sons. Brothers. Husbands. Fathers. Family members. Friends. Loves. SOULS. And we need to hear them, see them, know them, fight for them, and create a world where just BEING isn’t a crime that may come with a death sentence.
May we hunger for justice.
Christians, remember Jesus would not take the sidelines here. These are his sons and daughters who are being judged, discriminated against, hurt, and murdered. This is HIS family. Whose side are you on?
I don’t want to hope on a pedestal because this isn’t my time to be seen and it’s not my voice that should be heard. But I can’t stay silent either. I am white but I HAVE to be an ally.
I have a mouth so I can speak out against injustice.
I have eyes so I can see my own privilege and the oppression of my fellow humans.
I have ears so I can listen to their words, their experiences, and their knowledge.
I have feet so I can do something and take action.
I have a heart so I have empathy and feel the heartache and grief that this causes them and the Lord.
And I have hands so I can point to the voices of those who know more than me.
Follow authors such as Angie Thomas, Nic Stone, Jason Reynolds, Ibram X. Kendi, and Clint Smith who use their life experiences, families, friends, and knowledge to spread awareness and share stories that are so important. Follow Zellie Imani, an activist who started the Black Liberation Collective, a group of black students organizing initiatives to shed light on problems that are often kept in darkness, setting demands from the college level to the highest level of government.
And if you’re white and ignore this, think all lives matter, then you need to use what God gave you and OPEN YOUR DAMN EYES to the violence and oppression that is filling this country.
Bernice King said, “All Lives Matter is ideal. Black Lives Matter is an organization & activism committed to ensuring that Black lives become a part of the ALL. #GeorgeFloyd’s last breath screams to us today that Black lives are not indiscriminately among the ALL. Do #BlackLivesMatter to you?”
Rachel Elizabeth Cargle wrote this in 2018 and it’s frustrating that it still applies so deeply and personally.
Dear white people,
I’m tired of hearing you say:
“I can’t believe this”
“I had no idea”
“This can’t be real”
That is in all actuality wildly offensive that our pain is so far off of your radar that the mention of it shocks you. It’s actually hurtful to know that the news that’s been keeping me up at night hasn’t even been a topic of conversation in your world.
Instead, when I keep you informed on the blatant abuse, racism, and trauma happening to women of color and their families I need to hear:
“I’ve found an organization that helps in these types of instances and I’ve donated money,” “I’ve brought this topic up to my coworkers and family so we can talk through what’s happening,” “I’ve researched more on this and I have learned more about the history of this particular race issue we have in our country.”
Your shock isn’t enough. Your wow isn’t solidarity. Your actions are the only thing I can accept at this point. And if that is too much for me to ask of you, dear friend, feel free to let yourself out of this community because complacency is not welcome here.
With all seriousness,
Rachel Elizabeth Cargle
TOOLS/ORGANIZATIONS/ACTIVISTS/BOOKS/AUTHORS/WEBSITES TO READ MORE/GIVE BACK/DONATE/VOLUNTEER/RESEARCH
- WAYS YOU CAN HELP.
- PETITIONS TO SIGN.
- Black Lives Matter – donate here
- A global organization whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.
- An organization that “educates and engages African American and black immigrant communities to organize and advocate for racial, social, and economic justice.”
- UndocuBlack Network
- “A multigenerational network of currently and formerly undocumented Black people that fosters community, facilitates access resources, and contributes to transforming the realities of our people, so we are thriving and living our fullest lives.”
- Black Women’s Blueprint
- An anti-police brutality organization that “envisions a world where women and girls of African descent are fully EMPOWERED and where gender, race, and other disparities are ERASED.”
- An organization whose mission “is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo – A simple book for anyone trying to understand identity, representation, and racism in modern-day America.
- Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi – A timely, crucial, and empowering exploration of racism–and antiracism–in America
- Black Is the Body by Emily Bernard – A collection of essays about the black experience and a testament to the necessity of Black storytellers.
- Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism by Bell Hooks – For the reader who wants to learn more about black feminism, this is one of the most important and comprehensive works on how sexism and misogyny specifically affects women of color.
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum – Through research and case studies psychologist Beverly Daniel Tatum confronts the subtle ways in which racism dictates the ways both white and non-white people navigate the world.
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – A YA novel about 16-year old Starr Carter who witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
- Dear Martin by Nic Stone – a YA novel about race relations in America. “Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs.”
- Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds – “An ode to Put the Damn Guns Down, this is New York Times bestseller Jason Reynolds’s fiercely stunning novel that takes place in sixty potent seconds—the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother”
- Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz – A picture book about Malcolm X
- More picture books with POC protagonists.