Black lives matter. Black pain matters. Black joy matters. Black safety matters. Today, there is no more important message that can be said.
We at Aunt Lute are grieving the tremendous loss of life, freedom, and happiness at the hands of police brutality as well as Covid-19, systemic racism, and a broken criminal justice system. Black lives matter. As an organization committed to the empowerment of marginalized voices, our place in this fight continues to be to amplify the cries of the oppressed, to demonstrate our shared humanity, and to enact radical change to make our society more equitable. We should have spoken up sooner. We stand in solidarity with the protestors of police brutality. We demand justice for George Floyd, for Nina Pop, for Ahmaud Arbery, for Breonna Taylor, for Tony McDade, for the countless millions who have suffered the violence of White Supremacy.
It is also important to acknowledge our positionality. Aunt Lute is not a primarily Black nonprofit. We want to share the demands for change coming from organizations at the heart of this issue.
Here are some of the demands for change from the Movement 4 Black Lives:
Now is the time to show up. The path of resistance is by no means singular. It is intersectional, it is multi-tiered, and there is space for all to contribute. Below are some ways that you can support and defend Black life.
We encourage you to be kind to yourself in this time, particularly if you are Black. Images of Black suffering are traumatic. Audre Lorde said that caring for yourself is an act of self-preservation and thus an act of political warfare. The sad fact that even maintaining your wellbeing while Black comes with extra labor is a terrible injustice. But it is still important. If you are Black, we hope you can find some relief in being tender to yourself in these times. You are supporting this cause by doing so.
Self care is also important to allyship. Take the time to process the pain and emotional reaction to the horrible violence we witness every day. Do not leave your emotional labor for your Black and POC community members.
Here are some mental health resources in the Bay Area:
The San Francisco based Warm Line: 855-845-7415
Open Path Psychotherapy Collective: https://openpathcollective.org/
Here is a list of ways you can provide support for others in this time.
If you are not Black, educate yourself on issues important to the Black community. This doesn’t just mean looking up what is going on right now, it also means understanding the history of how we got to where we are. Here are some topics you might look up:
Jim Crow and the New Jim Crow
School to Prison pipeline
Prison industrial complex
Black infant mortality rate
Color blind racism
Racial disparity in COVID
Race vs. ethnicity
Slave patrols to Police
There are also many people who are sharing resources and leading or working for racial justice, wealth distribution and against police brutality. Reading and listening to what they have to say is a great way to learn from Black people who are offering their knowledge and resources for educational purposes. Some activists include:
Once you feel you have educated yourself as much as you can on your own, then do engage in conversation with people who may have first hand knowledge. When someone you know says something you think is coming from a place of privilege, you can use your knowledge to start a conversation. Talk to your white and non-Black friends, neighbors, and family.
But be aware of what you might be asking of someone. Revisiting racial trauma can be exhausting for someone, especially if they have been asked to display their trauma for white or non-Black people to view repeatedly.
Contact Your Representatives
Call and email your representatives and local officials. Let them know what you’re thinking. Identify the issue you want to address, whether it is defunding your local police force or charging police who have murdered Black folks. There are many prompts out there, so you can search online for ones or write your own.
This document has a list of Oakland and San Francisco public officials to reach out to about police brutality if you’re looking for a place to start.
Support Black Businesses
This means to support Black owned businesses that range from restaurants to financial management. There are ways to incorporate Black owned businesses into every aspect of your life. For us in the Bay Area, here are just a few of some of the amazing local businesses:
And here is a list of Black owned bookstores courtesy of @roohiamber! And a list of Black owned bookstores by state.
There are many different organizations that could use financial help during this time. Here are a few examples:
Our first priority is giving to those who need immediate support. We encourage you to donate to George Floyd’s family’s GoFundMe, bail funds for protesters in your local area, and to those organizations that are spearheading this movement, including Black Lives Matter, Movement 4 Black Lives, Communities United Against Police Brutality, and more. If you have more to give, please consider donating to Aunt Lute. For 38 years, Aunt Lute has fought patriarchy and racism by publishing the writings of marginalized peoples. This work is imperative to the antiracist movement.