Allyship 101: Standing together and Protecting your Black Neighbors

Before we dive in, let’s remember why we’re here.

I want everyone to understand the outrage over the murder (and yes, it was a murder) of George Floyd is a tipping point in our country as it reflects the culmination of the senseless killings of black Americans in this country by the hands of biased police officers and racist individuals. Here is what your black friends are going through right now.

“Black People are DYING in a State of Emergency” — Tamika Mallory

We are dealing with a pandemic that is disproportionately affecting our black communities in America. While this is happening, black people are still getting murdered at alarming rates simply for being who they are. You want to know why your black friends can’t always do what you want to do, well here is why:

CREDIT GOES TO PROTESTOR WHO MADE THIS — IF YOU MADE THIS PLZ LMK

In short, the black community is experiencing trauma and anger that we have, unfortunately, experienced countless times before. For real change to happen, everyone, non-black POC, white, gay, straight, and everyone in between, needs to contribute. PLEASE KEEP THIS ENERGY AFTER THIS ROUND OF OUTRAGE “passes” for we can not afford to do nothing and wait for the next hashtag. Now let’s begin.

During times like these allyship is more important than ever. What does that mean? Being an Ally is using your privilege to listen to, speak up, and take action in support of those in marginalized groups — in this particular case the BLACK community. We’ve seen it done during protests but also many people want to help but don’t know-how.

So this document gives you exact actions on how to protect your black brothers, sisters, and nonbinary folk from the fundamental systemic racism that occurs every day.

Immediate Actions to Support Protestors

Prioritize learning about the deep why behind people protesting and learn to differentiate them from the ones that are instigating

1. Help Fund Protestors

Below are resources that only support bailing out protestors who are intentionally advocating for black rights:

For a library of information check out these links shared by Shai Bearden:

2. Sign petitions to Support Black Lives Matter

Check out https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#petitions for a throughout the list of petitions. It takes 2 seconds and it can go a long way.

3. Support family-owned businesses that serve black communities

(black/non-black businesses that support the black community). Please check out the following links (definitely would love more input on this):

https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#business

Social Media Activism

While it is not everything you can do, here are some steps on how to effectively use your social media to support black lives matter.

1. Share powerful positive images of these protests

Reshape the narrative and share the images of those who are intentionally protesting black lives matters. Here are some examples: (include the actual images)

Protesters take a knee during downtown Dallas demonstrations. (Vernon Bryant / Staff Photographer from Dallas News)
“People block traffic as they lie face downward on the street in an intersection in Tacoma, Wash., for 8 minutes and 46 seconds during a protest Monday, June 1, 2020, against police brutality and the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)” Grabbed Photo from BTA News
Outside the Whitehouse
March in Urbana, IL by Paul Benson

2. PLEASE STOP SHARING THE IMAGES OF BLACK PEOPLE GETTING MURDERED WITHOUT SENSITIVE WARNINGS. Here’s Why:

This is traumatic for those who are directly impacted and risks desensitizing the masses — look up the term trauma porn. For example, if you kept seeing black people getting lynched eventually it’s not gonna bother you. Sounds messed upright? Exactly. Our black youth is growing up with these images and it can have long term negative impacts on their mental health. To clarify I am not saying do not share those photos just be mindful of how you do. Do it respectfully and include proper warnings.

Examples of how to highlight events/honor victims

  1. This can be done as easy as adding the words TW (Trigger Warning) or CW (Content Warning) at the top of your post. This practice gives your audience a chance to mentally prepare for what they are about to see.
  2. Another Example:
Right Image: a filter you can use on your Instagram, facebook — Left: Beautiful moral created by Shirien Damra (@shirien.creates)

3. Practice Radical Kindness!

  1. This is a less anguishing way of engaging in online conversations as threads have been extra heated. See a comment that you support? Drop a like or compliment the point of view of that person. This helps them feel seen. Engaging in these forums does not have to be stressful. It is important to recognize those who put in the emotional labor to educate folks about the plight of black folk.

Day to Day actions to protect your fellow black Americans

If the current state of the nation calls out anything to you as an Ally — understand that black people have never felt safe with law enforcement. Please be mindful when involving law enforcement and be aware of the possible outcomes.

1. DO NOT CALL THE POLICE unless it is a life or death situation. Why? Quoting this article by Michelle Kim because it is a great summation of this point

  • “You may need to ruminate on this one, especially if your first reaction is “but they keep us safe!” “who do we call instead?” There is a ton of research on why the police doesn’t actually keep us safe. Read this article and check out this resource mapping out police violence.”( Article by Michelle Kim )
  • Recognize that involving the police can potentially result in another black death — no matter how innocent you make think it is.

2. If you see a black person being pulled over, or having an altercation with the police — GET INVOLVED

Believe it or not, your presence is a shield, use it to protect your peers and to stop these senseless killings. Here’s How:

  1. State your presence and let the officers know you are recording their engagement with the civilian
  2. If it is safe to do so, be physically present during the engagement (*I do not recommend this if you are not white/white-passing)

3. EDUCATE YOURSELF

IGNORANCE IS DANGEROUS. It is your responsibility to cultivate a deeper understanding of the plight of black folk. Furthermore, it is not the responsibility of black people to educate white folks and non-black POC.

  • Learn more about the criminal justice system in relation to communities of color. You can do this by checking out films/educational breakdowns by Ava Duverney and also Hasan Minhaj’s deep dive into the policing system in America.
  • Here’s an extensive list of resources on how to continue to educate yourself beyond this present moment. I know the title may seem accusatory but it is genuinely a great culmination of resources to constantly keep you informed and your peers.

4. Talk to your peers

Dialogue connects individuals and goes a long way. We have the power to influence our families, friends, and professional networks. The personal is political. You must be open to being challenged and always channel empathy when engaging in these conversations.

  • Check-in on your black friends

Here is an example of what one of my close friends who is non-black POC texted me: “I will never understand what it’s like to be in your shoes but please let me know how I can support you and your community at this time“. Not only is this highly considerate, but it also gives them the choice to engage or not.

  • Engage your non-black peers

Discuss current instances of systemic oppression. I know that may seem tough but to be a great ally is to start having these conversations outside of circles that are typically forced to speak on it. An injustice to the oppressed is an injustice for all. I also want to note that anti-blackness runs even in non-black POC communities. So start the conversation.

5. TAKE ACTION

While the system is fundamentally flawed — there are still things we can do

  • Participate in local elections — we have the power to elect judges, DA’s, prosecutors, mayors, etc. … you want to change the system GO DO IT
  • Fill out the 2020 Census. Especially for black and brown folks as doing so directly shows the government the numbers needed to consider when they try to provide for our communities.
  • Invest in Small Minority-Owned Business ( Check out this link for starters https://shoppeblack.us/ )
  • Consume media and entertainment that are made by and features black voices
  • For non-black POC: join an affinity group for your culture and create spaces to discuss how your community can stand up for black lives.

If there is more you’d like to add please fill out this survey and I will adjust the article accordingly.

This document was created in response to the countless allies that have reached out to me wondering what they can do to help and while I normally discourage bombarding your black friends with questions while they are still trying to cope with their own trauma — I also believe there’s hope for our generation and fundamentally were all tired of this shit.

I want to give a special thanks to everyone that truly wants to be here for humanity itself, we see you and appreciate you. Let this acceleration into long term action for racial equality not stop here but grow because we are the future and the younger ones are watching us. When black lives matter — ALL LIVES WILL MATTER.

Please stay safe and only together will we move forward.

Thanks.

This article was written by Jewel Ifeguni and edited by Aira Lheiz Bejec Aquino.

Bonus: If you are a member of the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American community, here’s some food for thought:

A recent grad from Univerity of Illinois, Jewel Ifeguni is driving inclusion in media through her startup, YouMatter Studios, as well as her tech career.

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