Privilege is buying a $50 mask from your favorite indie designer. Ordering champagne to take the edge off. Thinking about what art projects to do during quarantine. Stressing over things that aren’t life or death. Not enduring constant mourning for friends, family, loved ones who are discriminated against because of their skin color. Just to name a few…
I’ve been looking at my own privilege this month and experiencing emotions that range from feeling deeply grateful to feeling very guilty. But those emotions are centered on me, and there’s not what’s needed right now. Positive change requires thinking outside of one’s own reality.
That said, here are some ways I’m contributing to the Black community’s ongoing fight for racial equality. I’m also including some resources for assisting those suffering from coronavirus impact (from which communities of color have been disproportionately impacted) environmental causes I have been donating too (as environmental destruction also disproportionately impacts communities of color).
If you’re intimidated by making large donations, sign up for $5-10 each month instead. It may prove more helpful to make a recurring gift than a one-off contribution. Giving a little bit over time makes a big difference.
Also: I’m far from an expert on the fight for equality and supporting marginalized communities. But I know that supporting others empowers, heals, and strengthens us all. The only question is, why wouldn’t we?
🖤 The Loveland Foundation provides free therapy to women of color with a focus on Black women and girls.
🖤 No White Saviors – A Uganda-based campaign dedicated to educating and uprooting harmful white-centric narratives in philanthropy and volunteerism.
🖤 BOLD facilitates social transformation and fundamental improvements in the lives and living conditions of Black people.
🖤 Black Girls Code is empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology.
🖤 Women’s Earth Alliance catalyzes women-led, grassroots solutions to protect our environment and strengthen communities from the inside out.
🖤 Girls Write Now is New York’s first and only writing and mentoring organization for girls and gender non-conforming youth.
🖤 Freelancers Relief Fund is supporting freelancers who have been left without work and fewer unemployment options.
🖤 Brooklyn Community Bail Fund is committed to challenging the racism, inequality, and injustice of a criminal legal system that disproportionately target and harm low-income communities of color.
Deterred by the idea of bailing folks out of jail? Do this: Imagine someone you love sitting in a jail cell for days because they stood up for the rights of others OR for literally no reason at all. Imagine someone you love detained for weeks before a trial because they can’t afford bail but they haven’t even had their case heard. Imagine not knowing if they’re okay or what’s happening to them.
Now add a pandemic and the risks involved with being detained and possibly infected with coronavirus. It is hell just to know someone in that situation, let alone be them.
These are things you may never have to face, but they’re the reality for many, and this IS the reality for so many people, including people I love deeply. This fund is designed to support fair legal proceedings for those arrested, without making poverty itself a crime. No one should be treated inhumanely because they’re struggling financially.
Before you think “then don’t break the law”, please recognize how many people are arrested based on the color of their skin without ever breaking the law, even killed before it’s determined whether they did anything wrong. Then recognized how much crime is inspired by the systematic oppression and denial of basic needs to entire communities.
Above all, recognize that supporting others doesn’t require a prerequisite of understanding exactly what they’ve been through. We should resist the urge to cram the experience of our neighbors through our own perception of reality. We need only conjure up the most basic sense of humanity.
There are educational resources for understanding and becoming a true ally to marginalized people. That takes time, but it’s our duty to investigate those resources and strive to empathize outside of inspiring social media posts. Some experts that come to mind are Rachel Cargle (@rachel.cargle) of The Loveland Foundation and Dr. Kiona (@hownotottravellikeabasicbitch) of How Not To Travel Like A Basic Bitch.
For today, you have the power to say, “We’re both human, I love you and I’m here for you because you’re my neighbor” and contribute something to them.
If you say you love your neighbors, stand up for them. Every single extended hand matters. The most neighborly thing you could do is to reach out with resources. When we are all equally believed, loved, and supported, we all thrive.
Life is not a zero sum game where you are depleted when you give to those around you. Nor does your suffering somehow disqualify the suffering of those around you.
Let’s stop “othering” marginalized communities and stop judging people from a place of privilege. Instead, let’s focus on how much better life would be for everyone is we all had access to the same privilege, the same feeling of safety, the same degree of respect, the same basic human needs—and the same luxuries too!
We are no one’s neighbor if we turn our eyes away when people need us. So let’s do better. ❤