Be an Ally Beyond Black History Month
Updated: Sep 12, 2019
While February is Black History Month, it would be naive to think that national awareness equates to meaningful social impact. As bigotry is increasingly normalized by our current administration, it is more important than ever to be an active ally to African Americans and people of color. So, can one person make a meaningful difference in the lives of African Americans during and beyond #BlackHistoryMonth? This is how you can.
LEARN: The best way to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is to immerse yourself in their stories. Unlearn the whitewashed teachings of standardized learning and dip your toes into someone else’s perspective. There are so many incredible books out there to read and so many ways to get books. Here are a few books we highly recommend: ‘The New Jim Crow’ by Michelle Alexander, ‘Underground Railroad’ by Colson Whitehead, ‘Americanah’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, ‘Between The World And Me’ by Ta-Nehisi Coates, ‘White Fragility’ by Robin DiAngelo, ‘The Hate U Give’ by Angie Thomas, ‘Invisible Man’ by Ralph Ellison, and basically anything by Toni Morrison and James Baldwin. Your local library has all these books available for free. So whether your prefer to get your reading in via hard copy, digital ebook, or audiobook - there is no excuse to not cozy up and read a great book. Want to keep learning outside your house? LYFT is offering free rides (up to $10) to Black History Museums and other relevant cultural sites for all of February! Check out the sites available at your city at: https://blog.lyft.com/posts/2019/2/6/celebrate-black-history-month-with-lyft.
ACT: It’s time to call out your the racist jokes your uncle cracks every family dinner. As Nathan Roberts eloquently wrote, “Honestly, there is a zero percent chance white people will get through life without saying or doing something racist. So if you’re on the quest for perfection, let it go.” However, it is not people of color’s job to educate white people. It’s no one else but ours. Black lives are more important than white feelings. It’s time to hold your white friends, families, colleagues, and neighbors accountable for what they say and how they behave. Yes, it is a lot less fun than talking to them about the latest Netflix Original Series released. But this is LITERALLY the easiest, most effective way to support Black Americans’ futures. It is not enough anymore to not be racist, white people need to actively be anti-racist. Oh, and white folks? There is definitely an incorrect way to respond to being called out for racist behavior. Nathan Robert (hilariously) explains more at: bit.ly/HowNotToRespond. For additional information on active allyship, check out Layla F. Saad’s online workshop and podcast series ‘Me and White Supremacy” at: https://www.meandwhitesupremacybook.com/.
GIVE: If you have the financial means to make a donation, please consider giving to NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund, “the leading nonprofit legal organization fighting to protect voting rights and equality for all.’ Your tax-deductible donation will support: voting rights, educational equity, criminal justice reform, and economic justice for everyone. You can learn more about LDF’s amazing work at: bit.ly/Naacpldf.
Have an idea on how to help with this issue or a different cause? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject line that includes your cause and whether your suggestion involves donating (GIVE), taking action (ACT), or bringing more awareness to the cause (LEARN).