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Black Lives Matter: Beyond the Hashtag

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Black Lives Matter: Beyond the Hashtag

This is about Black Lives Matter and uprooting racism in America.

It’s available in distraction-free (- no ads) PDF for my patrons, linked here. It’s also at the end of this post for people who benefit from access to PDF’. If you want to hear me reading this, just click the link below.

We’re trying to build an America that is united, an America that is good for all of her people, good to all of her people.

Building that America, building  just, equitable, loving, educated, spiritually-developed communities, isn’t so much about saying the perfect thing, about making the perfect statements of support.

It’s not so much about dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s (although, don’t get me wrong, those are good to do).

Building the America that we want is about the millions of choices that we make in our day-to-day.

It’s about who we choose to friend.

It’s about who we turn to when we need help.

It’s about who we want our kids to go to school with.

It’s about who we want our kids to bring home.

It’s about the smiles we give, the empathy we have.

Empathy being born from connection, it’s also about the connection we see that we have with one another.

It’s about where we choose to live, the spaces and places in which we call our own.

It’s about who we hire.

It’s about the assumptions we make, and perhaps challenging the assumptions that we don’t want to make.

It’s about the media we consume, the movies we watch, the music we listen to, the art we embrace.

I’m not a perfect person and I have a lot to learn

I don’t want to exude some vibe here that I have the answers and that I’m doing all that.

Because I don’t and I’m not.

But I will tell you this: I strive to make very conscious choices.

I consciously moved my kids from a very, very white area because I wanted them to grow up with people who didn’t look like them.

I did not put my kids in the “best” schools because the “best” schools were too white and, in two cases, were not disability-inclusive. I won’t send two of my kids to a school that won’t take one of my kids.

And I won’t send any of my kids to a school that is not truly racially diverse.

Moving back to Hawai’i wasn’t just because I grew up here; it’s also because I knew that if I brought my kids here, they would have the opportunity to grow up in a place in which being of mixed race is the norm.

I’m telling you this only to illustrate that we’re making conscious small choices all day, every day. Our lives are endless choices, and each choice that we make contributes to the whole.

We’ve all had choices to sit silently while prejudice or injustice occur in our sphere.

We have all had choices to act or not.

While I think statements of solidarity with the Black community and acknowledgement that Black lives matter are important, I think walking the talk is where it counts.

The walk is going to be long.

Racism is a cancer that is borne through many avenues.

It’s entrenched in every facet of the American system, and just as it takes time (and usually pain) to remove cancer from a body, it’s going to take time (and maybe pain) to remove the scourge of racism from America.

black lives matter: beyond the hashtag
a sign says "recognizing racism in America" and a white person is visibly exhausted having climbed the hill behind, but then facing the person is a MUCH MUCH larger hill. a person with brown skin point forward and on that MUCH LARGER hill a sign is posted which reads "doing something about it"

Links to Listen & Learn:

Below are links and resources that I’ve seen online and have collected for my personal learning and use. I thought I’d share them here; hopefully they are of use to others reading.

Many of them have “white” in the title, like “things for white people to do” – the focus in all of this is on white people, because white people caused this, and the vast majority of white people in America tend to be ignorant about the depth of the oppression, racism, systemic injustice and imbalance.

They are really good ideas: great lists of fabulous ways to learn and understand, and lists of ways to walk the talk.

Since this is going to be a long walk, I’m trying to focus on two things that speak to me, and add them to my calendar. Consistent focus, consistent movement, even if it’s small, will lead to change.

1.#BlackDisabledLivesMatter

2. 26 Ways to Be in the Struggle (Beyond the Streets)

3. Resources for Talking About Race, Racism and Racialized Violence with Kids

4. Anti-Racism Resources for White People

5. Beyond the Streets: Accessible Version 

6. Where to Donate to Help Black People with Disabilities

7. 75 Things White People Can Do to Help Racial Justice 

8. Alice Wong has pulled together so many resources that focus on being black and disabled

Alice Wong’s Twitter Thread

Everything that follows is copy/pasted from a very useful post from Alice Wong on Facebook: 

Here are a few links to work by Black disabled people, ways to support them, and a few other resources:

1) A 2016 article by Britney Wilson

#BlackDisabledLivesMatter
Why we need to talk about both race and disability when addressing police brutality.

https://www.thenation.com/…/archi…/blackdisabledlivesmatter/

You can also check out my interview with Britney for the Disability Visibility Podcast https://disabilityvisibilityproject.com/…/ep-50-disabled-l…/

2) By Dustin Gibson & Keri Gray:

We Can’t Breathe: The Deaf & Disabled Margin of Police Brutality Project (video and toolkit)

https://www.dustinpgibson.com/offerings/wecantbreathe

3) By Vilissa K. Thompson:

Being a Black Disabled Woman Is An Act of Defiance: Remembering #KorrynGaines

http://www.rampyourvoice.com/black-disabled-woman-act-defi…/

You can support Vilissa on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/RampYourVoice

4) Follow and support the work of Talila A. Lewis and Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of Deaf Communities – HEARD

https://behearddc.org

HEARD created and maintains the only national database of deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind detainees & prisoners.

#DisabilitySolidarity #DeafInPrison

5) The writing and cultural work of Leroy Moore such as his book Black Disabled Ancestors: https://www.poorpress.net/product-…/black-disabled-ancestors

And a 2015 documentary:

Where Is Hope – The Art of Murder
Police Brutality Against People With Disabilities
https://www.kanopy.com/…/where-hope-art-murder-police-bruta…

6) Statement on police violence by Sins Invalid from 2014:

“…our bodies and minds are not controllable and cannot always comply — this must be understood. Our bodies and minds are not criminal. We are unique and we celebrate our complexities.”

https://www.sinsinvalid.org/…/sins-invalid-statement-on-pol…

7) Follow & support Teighlor McGee the creator of the private FB group Black Disability Collective https://www.facebook.com/groups/blackdisabilitycollective/?ref=share

If you have the means support Teighlor’s labor: Venmo: Teighlor-McGee

8 ) Read this piece by Leon Ford a disabled activist and survivor of police brutality:

“This is what it’s like to be a young black man in America. Frightened and fearless, dead and surviving, hopeless and hopeful, either dying to live or living to die.”

https://medium.com/…/america-whooped-my-ass-and-i-smile-e88…

Two other resources:

If you have the means, donate to a community bail fund. You can find a national directory from the National Bail Fund Network

https://www.communityjusticeexchange.org/nbfn-directory

You can download & read this e-book from, free until 6/5

“Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? Police Violence and Resistance in the United States”

Edited by Joe Macaré, Maya Schenwar, and Alana Yu-lan Price

Foreword by Alicia Garza

https://www.haymarketbooks.org/…/952-who-do-you-serve-who-d…

h/t Diane Wiener for sharing the link

Image description: an outdoor demonstration of primarily Black people of all ages. One person is holding up a sign that reads BLACK LIVES MATTER
Explores the reality of US police violence against Black, Brown and Indigenous communities.

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Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?
Explores the reality of US police violence against Black, Brown and Indigenous communities.
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Explores the reality of US police violence against Black, Brown and Indigenous communities.

Download the Links to Learn and Listen here

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Meriah
Meriah Nichols is a career counselor, teacher and blogger. Single mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E), she is also a cat-loving Trekkie who likes her coffee hot and black.
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