In light of the heartrending violence we've seen in the last few weeks, I've found myself lost in thought about discussions on racism, especially on social media.
During the Dallas shootings I was wrapping up an event for Lululemon, where we spent the night celebrating their brand. After hearing the news, I decided deleting my Instagram post of the party was the most respectful thing to do. I felt guilty for feeling like celebrating happy events from my personal life during such a dark time. But what I've come to realize over the past few days is not only the importance of showing solidarity for our fellow Americans, but also that we can't let the hate and fear and violence corner us into being afraid to fight for and celebrate life. If we shut down, pretend like nothing is wrong, or even hide, then we've let fear win.
Right now is one of the most important times to educate ourselves, remain open minded, and get involved in discussions. I believe one platform where we can listen and share is through art. My ultimate goal is to show compassion and support to those who are suffering due to racism in this country, and I believe art can be a starting point. Hannah, my studio assistant, wrote some thought-provoking ideas and opinions on this topic that we would both like to share with you.
Hannah: Last week in the studio we had a long discussion about the relationship between activism and social media as a result of the recent events. While this journal entry might seem out of the ordinary, we feel that we have a responsibility to use this unique platform to address issues that we care about.
A brilliant friend recently made the point that any conversation about racial justice is always art-related. In her words, "Art is the perfect place for narrative space and unbound imagination to think differently about race and society...because art forms the bedrock of our capacity to believe in another world." Forming emotional connections – especially through the arts – will better enable an open mind for knowledge, awareness, and productive conversation.
I've been compiling a 'working' list of resources and readings. I know that as a white woman, I will never be able to truly understand the depth of how the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile affect the black community. Yet I believe that the best thing I can do is to educate myself, to listen as much as possible, to empathize to the best of my ability, and then - yes- to get involved.
We could read indefinitely about the complex history of race in America and how it impacts our current society and events. This is by no means a comprehensive or complete list, but it's a start.
- Stay Woke (get involved)
- Black Lives Matter (find your local chapter)
- Campaign Zero
- Showing Up For Racial Injustice (find local groups)
- Curriculum for White American to Educate Themselves on Race and Racism - from Ferguson to Charleston
- More helpful links, etc.
- Death in Black and White by Michael Eric Dyson, New York Times
- Three Terrible Days of Violence by Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker
- Walking While Black by Garnette Cadogan, Literary Hub
- I, Racist by John Metta, Huffington Post
- The Daily Show's Trevor Noah: It's Possible to be Pro-Cop and Pro-Black by Alex Abad-Santos, Vox
- From White Guilt To White Responsibility by Hannah Adair Bonner, Ministry Matters
- 15 Things Your City Can Do To End Police Brutality by Zak Cheney Rice, Mic
- The Problem With Saying All Lives Matter by Tyler Huckabee, Relevant Magazine
- The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic
- 5 Things I Need My White Friends and Family To Understand About #BlackLivesMatter by Ed Coffin, Huffington Post
- I'm a Black Ex-Cop and This Is the Real Truth About Race and Policing by Redditt Hudson, Vox
- White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
- Black Lives Matter Co-Founder: We Can Grieve For Dallas and Still Demand Accountability by Taryn Finley, Huffington Post
- Alton Sterling and When Black Lives Stop Mattering by Roxanne Gay, New York Times
- Advice for White Folks in the Wake of the Police Murder of a Black Person by Justin C. Cohen
- This is What White People Can Do to Support Black Lives Matter by Sally Kohn, Washington Post
- 11 Things White People Can Do to Be Anti-Racist Allies by Kali Holloway, AlterNet
- After the Gunshots, We Hear the Same, Deafening White Silence by Kayla Monteiro, Teen Vogue
- I Am Tired of Watching Black People Die by Hannah Giorgis, Buzzfeed
- A Small Needful Fact by Ross Gay