Black lives matter.
When any human being is treated with less than respect, that is wrong. And when an entire group of human beings is systematically treated as if their lives do not matter, that is so deeply and devastatingly wrong that it can be hard to find a way to express the enormity of it.
That’s why we at Focusing Resources support and stand with the protestors who are braving the pandemic and putting their bodies on the line against racism and injustice, and in favor of justice and real change. We are taking this time to look inwardly, to listen, and to learn.
This post is a way of acknowledging our own feelings and to invite you to acknowledge yours.
Acknowledging is the opposite of silence — and silence leads to despair.
I’ve been feeling a lot of sorrow and also confusion about what I can do to help and not be part of the problem. What about you?
Feelings that are acknowledged can lead to action. We’ve decided to commit to regular donations to organizations working for economic and social justice for the Black community. We’ve listed some of those organizations at the end of this email.
My staff — Allison, Maggie, Shannon — has compiled a list of articles and other resources that we’ve found valuable to educate ourselves about anti-racism. That list is also found below.
What I’ve learned is that coming to terms with my own privilege means being able to stand the feelings of guilt, shame, and grief that will surely come up. There’s a lot I don’t know but this much I do know: feelings, when felt, carry us forward. When they are not felt (when they are silenced) we are all stuck.
“Ways to be helpful while sheltering in place”
A list of several resources compiled by Black Lives Matter to educate yourself on systemic racism, anti-racism, and being an ally: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#educate
An illuminating TED talk by Megan Francis that explores “the root causes of our current racial climate to their core causes, debunking common misconceptions and calling out ‘fix-all’ cures to a complex social problem”. From 2016, but very relevant today https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aCn72iXO9s
For people who are troubled by the phrase “Black lives matter”: https://www.vox.com/2016/7/11/12136140/black-all-lives-matter
A Google Doc compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein intended to serve as a resource to white people and parents to deepen our anti-racism work: bit.ly/ANTIRACISMRESOURCES
“10 Steps To Non-Optical Allyship” by Mireille Cassandra Harper: https://www.vogue.co.uk/arts-and-lifestyle/article/non-optical-ally-guide
13th: A thought-provoking documentary about the history of incarceration in the Black community in the U.S., directed by Ava DuVernay.
Just Mercy: “A powerful true story that follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson and his battle for justice as he defends a man sentenced to death despite evidence proving his innocence.” Rent for free on Amazon for the month of June (in the U.S.), directed by Destin Daniel Cretton.
Race, Discrimination & Social Justice Reading List (Google doc)
Recognizing and Dismantling Your Anti-Blackness a brief article by Janice Gassam, Forbes. June 2020.
Anti-Racism Project: Resources list – includes books, articles, films, other organizations, and a link to the Harvard Implicit Bias Test.
Organizations we are donating to:
Loveland Foundation is committed to showing up for communities of color in unique and powerful ways, with a particular focus on Black women and girls. Loveland Therapy Fund provides financial assistance to Black women and girls nationally seeking therapy. https://thelovelandfoundation.org/loveland-therapy-fund/
The Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM) is dedicated to removing the barriers that Black people experience getting access to or staying connected with emotional health care and healing, through education, training, advocacy and the creative arts. https://www.beam.community/