Before THE GREAT PAUSE was pushed by the pandemic, Matt and I had the pleasure of seeing lawyer and activist, Bryan Stevenson, speak at Davidson College. To say his talk was inspiring was an understatement. Not only was his talk inspiring, he gave me and the thousands that gathered, a deeper understanding on how inspired his organization, the Equal Justice Initiative and his mission truly are.
Among the compelling stories he gave us instructions on how to change the world:
* Change the narratives (on race, poverty, justice)
* Get in proximity to the people we serve- how can you understand someone’s experience without getting close?
* STAY HOPEFUL- hopelessness is the opposite of justice
* Hopefulness will get you to stand when people tell you to sit
* We HAVE to be willing to do things that are uncomfortable
* It’s in the brokenness that we learn and we are all broken
* The opposite of poverty is justice
If you haven't seen Just Mercy, the movie inspired by his story, its streaming for FREE on most networks right now.
If you would like more context on the mass incarceration epidemic that is violating the Black community, I can't recommend you read the book, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander enough.
There are many valuable sources, including the ones above, to look for education about the true history of race/ism, white privilege, white fragility, structural and industrialized racism. The places that I have found great knowledge, support and further examination of my own white supremacy and privilege are listed below(not exhaustive)...
If we do not understand the invasive nature in which we are all impacted by racism on a daily basis-that our society was built on racism, and actively fight against it, we will be helping our communities on a surface level and not living with our eyes and hearts open, perpetuating that very system.
Its important that we seek knowledge from the maaaaaany Black authors, researchers, activists, teachers, leaders that have poured their time, heart and souls into their work- buy their books, watch their documentaries, take their webinars, Venmo them if you follow them on socials, listen to them on podcasts etc.
If you are a white person waking up to the ways that you are being complacent, silent, hurtful, ignorant on this subject and are wrestling with feelings of guilt, confusion, sadness, anger or any other emotion that this brings up, I am here for you to process your feelings. It is not fair to further burden your Black friends, colleagues by unloading your awakening and the feelings that result.
We are complicated creatures living in a complicated world. If we can have the courage to be vulnerable, be uncomfortable, be humble, be listening, be curious, be open, "get proximate" and move forward even if it means messing up, our communities can heal and our children can learn by us living as an example.
If you would like to support the Equal Justice Initiative by wearing your intentions, head to our merch store and purchase your AntiRacist Reformer tee- all the profits from the sales of this shirt go to the EJI.
*Indicates collaboration/partnership/relationship with Craftingood