Note: this blog post has been adapted from a Facebook/Instagram post that I shared earlier this month.
I’m going to preface this by saying: I’ve gone back and forth quite a bit on what I should share in light of the recent events highlighting police brutality and systemic oppression against the Black community in the U.S.
Why did I struggle? Mainly because I felt compelled — as a diversity and inclusion professional, as a self-proclaimed feminist, inclusionist, and mother who’s determined to raise anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, generally anti-bigoted sons — to make my thoughts and feelings known.
Also, sadly, because I felt pressured by the sheer amount of anti-racism-related and allyship-related content that was flooding my news feeds: I was concerned that my social media silence would be interpreted as apathy — or worse — complicity. What could I post on Instagram, Facebook, and my blog to assert that this was a cause I cared about? And how could I word my thoughts so that people would know I’m not a performative ally?
And then I told myself. Fuck. That.
I realized: I don’t need to prove who I am to whoever follows me on social media. People who know me, know where I stand. And I shouldn’t rely on social media engagement metrics as measurement of whether or not I’m doing the right thing as an ally.
Besides, this moment and this movement aren’t about me — while this is a challenging time, I can’t forget that what’s important is amplifying the voices and struggles of the Black community. I shouldn’t and won’t forget about that.
The past couple of weeks have been overwhelming and exhausting. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’ve experienced more work crisis situations in the past couple weeks alone than I have in the entire six months that I’ve been working at my current employer.
It’s been easy for me to feel bogged down with everything going on. But, when I take a step back and look at the position I’m in, I’m grateful that I’m poised to actually effect systemic change, at the very least within my sphere of influence. I’ve been presented with a window of opportunity to start to make a true difference within my organization (and potentially impact the wider industry and/or region).
And when that window cracked open, you best believe that I fucking dove through it, no questions asked. Even though it’s tiring, I’ve also been invigorated by my work. People who didn’t always listen are listening now. There’s a sense that this is a “hinge moment,” as someone called it during one of our company-sponsored ally sessions. And I can’t believe (am very appreciative) that I can play an instrumental role here.
Let me be clear, though: I’m not saying I’m perfect. I definitely still have a lot of things I can do to educate myself, to make myself a more impactful agent of change, and to regularly commit to allyship. Nevertheless, I’m glad that I’ve grown so much in the past few years — sometimes, I look back at the person I was a decade ago and am heartbroken as I reflect on the opinions I had, the words I had said.
But it’s a hinge moment. And I’m moving forward. And I’m continuing to grow and continuing to learn — and I’m continuing to commit what I’ve learned into action.
For the sake of the Black community. For the sake of all disenfranchised groups. For the sake of my kids: they — and all generations that come after us — deserve a better world.
As I continue on my journey to being a better ally, here are the commitments I’m making:
- I will stop putting up with micro-aggressions and will call them out when I see them.
- I will share resources and learnings with my personal network: on social media, in virtual conversations, in-person.
- I will continue to share diverse stories, images, toys, etc. with my kids, educate them on the histories of underrepresented groups, and talk with them about systemic injustice.
- I will educate myself more on and become more involved in local politics (at the city and county level).
- I will create a space for allies to learn how to be better together (my virtual Do Better Book Club).