I Am Not Your Absolution: 4 Ways to Move Beyond Reading & Start Taking Action Toward Our Collective Liberation by AYL
In the summer of 2020 there was a national and international call to action for racial justice. There were also individual, interpersonal calls. I have been called for coffee, been direct messaged on social platforms, and been asked to discuss why someone is not racist. After entertaining several of these calls, I have come to this conclusion: I am not your absolution. I do not and will never speak for all Black people, so I cannot forgive you nor give you a pass when you have been racist and anti-Black. I thought everyone was reading in 2020. What did you learn? What happens now that the “reading” is over? It is now 2022, and we are witnessing states banning “CRT” or drafting a don’t say Gay bill, and now the powers that be have voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. So my question is: what will you do? How will you take action toward our collective liberation? How will you move beyond reading? If you are truly at a loss, here is your starting point:
Community: Join or cultivate a community. You do not have to start in isolation.
White supremacist delusions make us believe that we need to have this all figured out on our own. That the only “safe” way to heal without hurting anyone is to do it on our own, in isolation. That systems can be tackled by individuals. Trust me, you will be stuck in a revolving door and resort to just reading about oppression instead of doing something about it. Especially when we are working in organizations that do not support equity work or are doing performative work that is doing more harm than good, we need strong networks that challenge us and support our growth. There are plenty of community events, networks, etc. that are cultivating spaces for you to unlearn, heal, grow, and transform your life with accountability partners. It may take some time to find the right community for you, but when you find the right community it is worth it. If you feel as if you can cultivate that community for yourself, seek more resources and support. We don’t need anymore “saviors” failing our communities.
Accountability: Hold yourself accountable and take action one moment at a time.
Take. A. Step. Make. A. Move. Sometimes a fear of making a mistake keeps us frozen. Have you set a goal for your unlearning, healing, and growth as it relates to racism and systemic oppression? You read that book. Now what? Have you set a goal to implement what you have read into your daily life? How are you actively healing and divesting from whiteness in your daily routines? Who do you have in your community that holds you accountable to the person you want to be?
Reflection: Deepen your reflection practice. Knowing yourself deeply & intimately requires asking yourself “why?”
I have heard it said time and time again that anti-racist work starts within us. In the words of Detroit activist Grace Lee Boggs, “Transform yourself to transform the world.” Take the time to explore why you are who you are. Why did you say what you did? Why do you believe what you do? Why do you care about these communities? Why do you care about justice? Why are you apprehensive about actually being anti-racist? After I have been called in, I resist the urge to defend myself to the other person and instead I journal about what happened and ask myself multiple questions that get to the “why,” and after I answer these questions I make my commitment to do better. Grab our FREE Accountability Reflection Calendar to deepen your reflection practice.
Engagement: Engage with resources beyond reading & support grassroots organizing & mutual aid efforts.
Solidarity manifests when you actively engage anti-racist work by supporting grassroots organizing & funding mutual aid efforts. Put your money where your mouth is. You are investing in your own growth and accountability as you would invest in a museum or your gym membership. When you are financially unable to support, how can you leverage your knowledge, connections, skill sets, or expertise? Follow the leads of these different organizations and when they release a call to action. Act. Go. Do. Answer the call.
The real work begins now! If you would like to join a community of white accountability partners that are moving beyond reading and are taking action, check out the CARE Network. The CARE Network is a support network for those learning what it really means to CARE for themselves and others.