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Briana gave you really good information about building relationships and organizing, and she let you know in clear terms what some of the problems are. Given that our country has a history of taking free labor and other resources from people of color, we need to be very careful about asking for their time. Pay her.

You don’t have to Google about why Grand Rapids is fucked up. Google, “why people of color don’t trust white allies.” Look up Safety Pin Box online. Commit to taking the time to learn in bits and pieces about the layers and layers of racism in Grand Rapids and how white people do harm. These answers don’t come quickly, but they do come. And even those of us who know some of this stuff still fuck up in huge ways (i.e., I was one of the co-organizers of the event and I let lots go wrong).

Read more of Briana’s pieces here. If you go to therapidian.org, look up my name — Amy Carpenter — and you’ll see a bunch of articles I’ve written about various aspects of racism in GR. Go to events by Partners for a Racism-Free Community. Listen, learn, reserve judgment knowing that you don’t understand, but keep working to step outside of your whiteness.

The layers of racism in GR translate to the organizing efforts here. Folks of color are good at it and white people aren’t. We should only be supporting folks of color in their work, and that means being trustworthy in order to build relationships, and because of our complicity in white supremacy we are nearly incapable of that. I certainly didn’t do that correctly at this march. That’s on me. But I will do better.

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