Hi sweet friends- Happy Friday! It has been a heavy week, a thought-provoking week, & a powerful week and I am honored to have this little platform of mine to share some of my thoughts, learnings, and action plans after spending the last 7 days becoming a student of the Black Lives Matter movement and truly listening for (what might be) the first time in my life to the message of my fellow Black neighbors, friends, & influencers. I know I am not alone, and yet still embarrassed to say, I truly didn’t understand the truth that our Black community has been living day in and day out- because it wasn’t my reality I didn’t make it a priority to learn more. And now, through the beginning of a long education ahead of me, I am understanding that while I may be a non-racist I certainly wasn’t living as an anti-racist or as a true ally to the Black community. (If these words still sound a little foreign to you- hang in there, I hope to help you know where to start by the end of this post!)
**Before we dig in, I’d love for you to read this IG post which shares a big piece of my heart. As with anything you are learning new, I can’t promise I won’t mis-speak or perhaps even make mistakes, but I am committing to use my voice for change & for the betterment of our country and to make America safer and better for our Black brothers and sisters.**
I know that over the past week we have all been given SO much information-which is amazing!!- but can also be overwhelming if you are wanting to learn and need a place to start. So I thought before I dove into lists of resources, I would break down what I personally have been doing NOW to start making a change in my life. I hope that this is helpful!
Typically in the morning I listen to music while I run or walk and then watch IG stories while getting ready. This week I started committing to using that same time to educate myself, whether listening to IG TVs about diversity & race issues or sermons on what we as a church can do better, I am truly trying to listen and learn so that I can be better educated on the BLM history and present day movement.
Don’t know where to start? I love this powerful conversation between Hillsong Church and T.D. Jakes as well as Oh Happy Dani’s IG TV series on “Upward, Inward, Outward” – if you would like to start with the basics of “why?” as well as how we got to where we are, these are amazing starting points!
I’ve signed up for Leigh Love’s FREE course on “How to Influence During Difficult Times: Using Your Voice for Good”. She is a Black businesswoman, influencer, & founder of the BloggerXchange and I am so excited to learn from her about how I can make Girl Meets Bow a place that shares important issues!
Rob and I are planning to watch Just Mercy this weekend- it is about Bryan Stevenson who was a Civil Rights Attorney and we are really looking forward to learning more about systemic racism and to having some powerful conversations. We hope this movie sparks some learning for us! (For the month of June the filmmakers are streaming this for free across several different platforms).
I am committed to taking more time to call my Black friends & truly asking about the issues that matter. I am embarrassed to say that I have not stopped to ask how racism or acts of micro-aggression effect them and I want to listen, learn, and hear their story and by doing so learn how I can be a better ally & ideally a better friend overall. I love my girls so much and I am committed to supporting them better every day.
Rob and I are making this a top of mind subject matter and having robust conversations in our home about how we can do better, how we can support our Black friends & neighbors better, and how we want to be a part of the change. While that may not be featured on my social media, there is SO much happening behind the scenes in the “heart work” and I can’t want to share those long-term changes.
One other thing that has been on my heart for quite some time is mentoring in the local community. I desperately wanted to get started a few months ago, but with the wedding and planning I knew I couldn’t give it 100% like I would want to. Now that we are married (!!) and have some more time, I would really like to revisit mentorship and how I can make a difference in the lives of young girls here.
This is by no means all we will be doing, but it is our actionable starting point!
I would like to encourage you to check out this comprehensive and FULL document of “Anti-Racism Resources for White People” – I have pulled together some of the books and movies that are on the top of my list but this document is an amazing resource and I want to give full credit where it is due!
BOOKS TO READ:
**No affiliate links used**
Just Mercy– the book that goes back to the movie, this follows Bryan Stevenson as he represents a Black man in Alabama wrongly accused of murder and the racism he encounters along his legal career.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings– I read this in high school and LOVED it and can’t wait to pick it up again as an adult and dive into this memoir by Maya Angelou.
Me and White Supremacy– a lot of buzz around this book as well. The description is a 28 day challenge to “combat racism, change the world, and become a good ancestor” which sounds pretty amazing right? Another read on the top of my list!
White Fragility– As someone who is finally understanding what “white privilege” and “systemic racism” mean, this book sounds like a great starting point to understanding what exactly is going on in our country and how we can constructively engage in race conversations.
How to Be an Anti-Racist– As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I am learning that there is a stark difference between being non-racist and being anti-racist. This book breaks it down and teaches you what that means and then how to become anti-racist. Another great starting point if this is a new learning for you (like it is for me!)
For even more amazing suggestions, I highly recommend checking out Grace’s post on The Stripe! She has so many amazing books compiled and it’s a fantastic resource if this is something you really want to dive into!
MOVIES TO WATCH:
Just Mercy (stream for free for the month of June)
13th – this has come very highly recommended by so many people! It is a documentary that digs into the criminalization of African Americans and the US Prison Boom.
The Hate U Give (also a book)- I believe this is currently on Hulu and I’ve heard is a must watch! It is the story of Starr, a young girl who is a witness to the unarmed killing of her Black friend by the police. I didn’t want to read to much more to spoil it but I cannot wait to watch it an think it’s going to be another powerful film.
One other amazing movement to come out of Blackout Tuesday was that so many talented, creative Black content creators came to the forefront of my Instagram feed. I am so very inspired by the women below and so excited to keep following (in some cases I was already following them) and in others to start learning more about each of them. I would love to know who you are currently being inspired by!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart if you took the time to stop in today and read through this full post. This is such an important topic and although I wish I had paid attention sooner, I am thankful to start today in making steps for positive change. “When you know better, you do better.” – and I am ready to do better for me, for my family, for my friends, for the Black community.
I hope this continues to be an open and honest dialogue moving forward. A lot of this is “heart work” as I mentioned above, but I am evaluating how to incorporate this on the blog and my social channels going forward and how I can promote the diversity of others throughout. I’m all ears if you have suggestions or ideas!