The impact of these deaths (and so many others), systemic racism and microaggressions on the Black community are immeasurable. Special thanks to Official, Crystal Burgess, for sharing this helpful video on systemic racism.
Something I write in my journal every day is, “I am in control of me,” which also means “I am responsible for me.” My ignorance, prejudices and compliance with status quo makes me responsible. As much as I feel we are all equal I know that I have been afforded white privilege from birth.
I have said in the past that I don’t understand why people riot when they can lawfully peacefully protest. Luckily when we know better, we do better. For the first time in my life I can say that I can understand (without fully understanding their true pain) why people would riot. Why the anger that bubbles from years of systemic racism, outright racism, mass incarceration and police brutality would bubble over. Especially when peaceful protests such as Colin Kaepernick taking a knee get attention but the progress is slow.
There should be no peace until we are all treated equally. The reason I started The Officials in the first place was to allow admins and assistants to share knowledge, knowing that there was power in numbers. In that same spirit, I am sharing the resources I have been absorbing these past few weeks to educate myself on the roots of systemic racism, to more easily identify it and to be able to take action with impact. I share them in the hope that they are helpful to you.
Please feel free to share anything you’ve learned in the comments below.
Follow and Support
I have had the luck and pleasure of working with extremely talented Black women in our industry. Please support Black owned businesses. I would like to highlight a few here. Please get to know them better through the links below:
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele
I chose to absorb this memoir as an audiobook this week. Hearing the words from the author and narrator herself makes this true story even more real. I found parts of her story not wholly different from my own family history but at the same time it was a thousand miles apart. She grew up in a different American than I did. One that was set up so that it was nearly impossible for Black families to thrive in. Her voice breaking when she describes the impact of community intervention is soul shaking.
In the early chapter, “Community Interrupted”, you learn of active racist campaigns birthed from the White House. Khan-Cullors paraphases this quote, “We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did,” John Ehrlichman, Richard Nixon’s aide on domestic affairs.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
I have said this a few times already but this is the year I will continuously quote Glennon Doyle. In her book Untamed, about her own journey with unlearning conditioning, there is a chapter called “Racists” that I highlighted more than any other chapter.
Doyles says, “But I think of the words of Dr. Maya Angelou: ‘Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.’ Doing our best now is an active thing, and so is knowing better. We show up and then, when we are corrected, we keep working. We listen hard so we can know better next time. We seek out teachers so we can know better next time. We let burn our ideas about how good and well-meaning we are so we can become better next time. Learning to know better is commitment. We will only know better if we continue unbecoming.”
In the news
Alexis Ohanian steps down from Reddit board and asks board to replace him with Black candidate. Michael Siebel, Twitch cofounder, announced as new Reddit board member.
The more I read about this story the more I cry. Michael Siebel is exceptionally qualified and Reddit is lucky to have him on the board. Ohanian’s confrontation with his only privilege and then subsequent decision to make impactful action is commendable.
“The key point is that not all encounters with police are equally deadly. In any given kind of encounter with the police, a Black person can be likelier to be killed than a white person even if the overall rate of deaths per encounter appears lower for Black people. This would happen because Black people have many more interactions with police in non-deadly situations — a dynamic exacerbated by racism. And all those extra encounters dilute the rate.
“A Cato Institute review of police misconduct statistics found that sexual misconduct claims accounted for the second-highest category of complaints against law enforcement officers, after use of excessive force.”
This is a fabulous resource I saw shared on the Notion twitter account.
- Do the Work: An Anti-racist reading list
This reading list from The Guardian I found to be very helpful.
- How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
- How to Argue with a Racist by Adam Rutherford
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge – This came recommended by Official, Laura Johnston.
I am starting my actions locally. I am originally from Pittsburgh where there was protesting and arrests. I donated to the Bukit Bail Fund. I was shocked to see a report that at the huge county jail in downtown Pittsburgh 81% of the occupants are not convicted. Meaning they are being held, likely because they cannot make bail.
Here is a good resource for Bailout funds.
Runnymede – UK
I have also looked into some charities in London that are making a difference. I have chosen to donate to Runnymede.
Let’s Talk About It
I’ve had hours of conversations with friends, Officials and family about racial equality. It was long overdue.
I’ve also been listening to conversations. Anna Read, an Official and cofounder of Empowered Assistants Empower Assistants, and her friend Josh Lovejoy shared their conversation openly in their new podcast Let’s Talk About It. Josh talks about his involvement with the organization Your Black Vote Matters and the friends navigate some uncomfortable conversations regarding race. Their friendship shines through and allows for an honest conversation about racial inequity and how to make change.
Conversations with children
I watched this video with my children. It sparked a lot of conversation, questions and some tears. I heard profound thoughts from my daughter and we challenged ourselves to be more aware of our white privilege and callout and take action for social justice.
Talking to your children about race and diversity by Dr Siggie
Dr. Siggie is a child development specialist who has a few helpful posts about discussing race and diversity with children.
Dear White Parents Of My Black Child’s Friends: I Need Your Help By Maralee Bradley
I read this letter a few years ago and it socked me right in the gut. I felt every inch of this mother’s plea. I have since been talking to my daughters about how important it is to stick up for our friends. My youngest still doesn’t quite recognize that her friends may have different skin color to her but to my 7 year old we are able to have more in-depth conversations.
Listening + Watching
An uncomfortable and vital conversations by Global Fireside Series
Nadine King (mentioned above) and Aaisha Joseph spoke with Nick Ginsburg and Rhiannon Ward for the Global Fireside Series. The session was an open conversation about racism, white privilege and moving forward towards an equal world. The session was EXTREMELY informational and quite emotional towards the end. A MUST WATCH.
Tasha Booth, VA and OBM coach, went live on Instagram to talk about her experience as a Black woman. She described her anxiety of failure or messing up for fear of how it might reflect on the Black community. This is a reoccurring theme I keep coming across. She worries that if she doesn’t do something perfectly then a disgruntled client may write off all Black owned businesses. The weight of that is incredible and exhausting and often held on the shoulders of Black women. I was grateful for her honesty and it was a real eye opener. Please show her some love and give her a follow.
Robin Roberts Masterclass
Robin Roberts, an American broadcaster, who has released a Masterclass on Effective and Authentic Communication. She does not dive into her experience as a Black woman but I noticed right from the start Robin mentions how she was aware that she had a “shorter margin of error.” She was eluding to the fact that she is Black and could not afford to mess up or give any excuse to be judged by her race and therefore have her entire race judged by her actions. Just as Tasha Booth had described in her InstaLive. I found Robins masterclass enlightening and inspiring.
This article was shared in our community by Official, Becca Steifle. It says, “Inclusive mentoring refers to an intentional and supportive relationship with someone who is of a different race, gender, ethnicity, religion, cultural or socioeconomic background, or nationality.” I am very interested in this and will be looking into this further. As The Officials grows I will make sure that we remain a diverse organization and our community a true reflection of the world outside as well as supporting and aligning with organizations that do the same.
Lastly, vote. Vote. Vote. Vote.
I hope some of these resources are as helpful to you as they were to me. Please feel free to share additional resources below.
This blog was written by Lauren Bradley, founder of The Officials.