I've been thinking a lot about activism and what it means in my own life. After the election, a lot of us are fired up about protecting our civil liberties, rights for marginalized folks, health care, the environment, you name it.
I was really low on resources for awhile. I have a baby who is about to be a year old, and as you can imagine, that's a lot of need. Further, there's work and trying to do foundational self care, etc. After awhile, however, I realized that I was kind of hiding from everything. The onslaught from the news, social media, internet, etc., created this crazy firestorm of "THIS IS NOT NORMAL, BUT WHAT CAN I DO?!" hopelessness that left me paralyzed.
Have you felt the same way?
Wanna know what my answer was?
I just had to make the internal agreement to show up.
I know it sounds reductive, but so much of everything is just showing up, over and over again. Agreeing to be present for whatever experience arises, even if it's uncomfortable, even if it's risky, even if you put a lot on the line.
You do it because legions of People of Color have gone before you, and they didn't have a choice. Their lives, communities, and dignity were on the line, and they sacrificed all of it for civil rights, for justice, for the right to live, and live free. You do it because LGBTQ+ pioneers went before you, and a whole generation of them died in the AIDS crisis during the Reagan administration, when no one gave a shit about them. You do it because Native folks are showing up to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline and are being hit with rubber bullets and big streams of water when it's below freezing.
You do it because you are tired of being complacent. You do it because you realize that you can benefit from racism even if you are not being actively racist. You do it to dismantle the systems that privilege you while shitting on everyone who isn't like you.
I wrote a blog post a while back that was about doing the work even when it was hard. It pertains to training, but I think some of it is valid to my experience now:
In order to be better partners, better allies, better people, we need to show up, get our hands dirty, take risks, do the hard work. If we want to be useful in dismantling white supremacy, racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, transphobia, etc., we need to be willing to be wrong, to be called out, to put our feelings aside, because the work is more important than our feelings.
Truly, what we need to be is accomplices -- put ourselves out there, take risks, really show up for our PoC, LGBTQ+, disabled, poor, old, and non-Christian folks. For more about that, I refer you to this site, which is excellent: White Accomplices
Some of you may be shaking your heads, saying you're afraid to be arrested, that you don't have the bandwidth to put your life on the line for justice. I hear you. I understand. I can't be separated from my kid right now, as I'm still a primary food source. So I didn't physically go to any protests recently. I will, when I can. I plan to be as much of an accomplice as possible. It's not enough for me to be just an ally anymore.
But wherever you are, however you find yourself in the process, the first step is showing up.
Show up with me. Be accountable. Let's do this. No more theater, no more performing, no more asking for validation, no more fragility. It's bigger and more important that we get our hands dirty and do the work.
In that vein, here are some really good organizations to support/get involved with:
A list of Black-Led Racial Justice Organizations - remember to elevate and support PoC organizations that have been doing the work in their own communities
Showing up for Racial Justice - "Through community organizing, mobilizing and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability." Basically, we're gonna go get our people and redirect them to dismantle racism.
Proactive Things to Do to Not Be Defeated by the Next 4 Years - an updated spreadsheet of social activism activities
Resistance Manual - another good set of things to get educated on and do
Really good articles:
How to survive in intersectional feminist spaces 101 - learn about then check your privilege
How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind - seriously good