Healing the historical racism this country was founded on is going to be a process and will take time. It is not enough to be educated; we need to do some work. It is important that we, white people, take intentional actions toward said healing.
This work is by no means a checkbox or a “one-and-done ordeal.” There is nothing I can do once that makes me indefinitely anti-racist. It is continuous work. I am constantly learning and trying to figure out how to do this work. That being said, there are things we can and need to do. Here’s my list:
1. Follow racial justice educators and activists on social media.
2. Be aware when the people in your surroundings look like you: at work, at church, in the media, at school, in your neighborhood, while shopping, in advertising, etc.
3. Diversify the authors you read, the musicians to whom you listen and the artists you support.
4. Take implicit association tests to see where there is a potential bias.
5. Demand police use a harm-reduction model of community policing.
6. Record police interactions with people of color that you witness.
7. Join racial justice organizations in real life and donate your time and/or money.
8. Invest in underfunded public schools, then fight for those schools to be funded differently.
9. Read books or listen to podcasts and blogs by authors of color. Read about white privilege. Read a full history on the racist founding of this country. Buy these same books as gifts for friends and family.
10. Call for a racial equity committee and a minority mentorship program at your place of employment.
11. Divest from private prisons.
12. Discuss race and racism with the kids in your life.
13. Investigate the news and media you are taking in and sharing.
14. Write to organizations you are a part of, and challenge them to change programs and policy (city of Columbia leadership, University of Missouri System Curators, financial institutions, churches, city council, county commission and state legislators).
15. Interrupt racist jokes and ideas.
16. Buy products and services from Black-owned businesses.
17. Visit the National Civil Rights Museum, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, U.S. National Slavery Museum or Columbia’s own African-American Heritage Trail.
18. Vote and help register others to vote.
19. Fight for re-prioritizing the city/county budget to support citizens’ basic needs.
20. Support your local Minority Business Incubator, and ask your local government and chamber to support it, as well.
21. Don’t let off the gas. Stay angry about injustice.
I once heard Bree Newsome say, “Taking to the streets isn’t the only way to protest.” I loved that quote and have used it to find ways to stand up against injustices. I hope we can all find ways to push for a more equitable, inclusive community. We all have a part in this.