Black Lives Matter-What Can I do?

Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. Brayla Stone. Jacob Blake. I could go on to list the many other lives taken or irrevocably changed by systemic racism and police brutality. Black Lives Matter (BLM) is not just a response to senseless killings, a movement or part of some required diversity training in response to the protests. BLM affirms that the violence, killings, racism, and oppression of Black lives has to stop. BLM is about acknowledgement of the injustices and inequalities that impact every facet of Black lives from education to housing and beyond . BLM is about taking actionable steps towards the change and growth needed to affirm that not only do Black Lives Matter but that our actions speak louder in affirming these words.

Below are a couple of techniques and resources designed to help individuals get started in taking actionable steps toward change and growth. While this article is not an exhaustive list of resources and tools, it is meant to be a helpful beginning for anyone open to supporting BLM.

1. Acknowledgement-I have biases. I have learned and developed stereotypes and prejudices over time. According to Verna Myers’ Ted Talk: “How to Overcome Your Biases”, a path to overcome biases begins when we can stop denying that individuals have them. For the full Ted Talk, check out:  Ted Talk Verna Myers How to overcome our biases walk towards them.

2. Educate-I have the power to educate myself about BLM. Through Ted Talks, literature, articles, media, and conversation with others, I can begin to understand my own biases and how they contribute to systemic racism. Although it may seem overwhelming and hard to know where to start, there are a variety of resources and individuals are available. For starters, check out: Anti-racist tv movies documentaries Ted Talks Books.

3. Continue the conversation-Be mindful of wording that hinders understanding of BLM. Author Robin Diangelo (2018, p. 9) posits that statements such as “I was taught to treat everyone the same” or “People just need to be taught to respect one another, and that begins in the home” often end the discussion and opportunity for further engagement. Further, these statements often invalidate the experience of people of color (Diangelo, 2018). Check out this link for helpful actions or sayings that continue the conversation: Strategies beat anxiety.

4. Take Care of Yourself-There is so much going on in the world today. In particular, the protests that have occurred and the seemingly endless array of negative news can impact our mental health. In these times, it is not uncommon to feel anxious, overwhelmed, or depressed. The more we can check in with the self, the better able we can cope and continue to support BLM. For coping tips and strategies, check out: Strategies beat anxiety.

 

5. Account-Hold the self-accountable for one’s actions. There is so much that we, as a nation, have to learn, to grow, and change. Accountability can take on many forms, maybe it is saying yes to a training opportunity about systemic racism, maybe it is listening to a new podcast that supports BLM or maybe it means sharing something that has been learned with a family member or a friend. Whatever it is, holding the self-accountable can and does make an impact for the better.

Article by: Kristina Rodriguez, Psy.D, CAPS Clinician

CAPS Clinician Kristina Rodriguez Psy.D.

References

  • Diangelo R. (2018). White Fragility Why it is so hard for white people to talk about racism. Beacon Press. Boston

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