Updated: May 31, 2020
By now, Saturday, May 30, 2020, you will have noticed that much of the country is burning and people are protesting... during a global pandemic. That's right. In the middle of a deadly crisis where over 100,000 Americans have died, people are still fighting for equal protection under the law. This country often boasts the claim that all men are created equal on our money, you'll find the US motto, the Latin phrase, "e pluribus unum" which means "out of many, one." Yet, every day, every single day, black and brown, Native Americans, and in most cases the poor, have to prove our humanity. Think about that. I, a wife, mother, college educated, working class, tax paying member of society, am expected to prove that I am worthy of my life AND that is worth more than a dog on a leash. Every. Day.
If you ask us, many black people will tell you that this daily routine, this exercise in living is exhausting! And personally, I find it insulting. I have to prove that I am worthy of the money I earn for the job I outperform along side others with the same title. My people have to prove that we are worthy of the cars we drive, of the homes and neighborhoods we live in, and of the clothes and jewelry we wear. Experts say to fight stress, people should invest in their physical, mental, and spiritual health. But, if black folks can't go for a run or hold a prayer meeting without being killed, then how are we to help ourselves first so that we can be in better shape to help others? The answer is that we cannot. The unfortunate reality is that, whether or not people choose to see it (and, yes, there are many who choose to look away), we are being systematically oppressed. So, what can you do? This nation is at a tipping point. Cities are on fire right now. Although I do not condone violence, I must quote Dr. King and say that "a riot is the language of the unheard." In real time, people are watching those who are sworn to protect and serve communities, choose which people they will protect and serve. In essence, black people's tax dollars have been and continue to pay for our own deaths. So, how do we change that? We've heard it before, but we need to activate and mobilize our communities. We need to hold our elected officials accountable and this country needs police reform now. I believe in my personal motto: "I can't help, but help". I know that my role here is to shine a light where I can and to help when I can. I believe in being a resource, in activating and motivating people. To that end, here are some ways you can get active.**
Visit www.vote.org and please seriously consider absentee voting this year. Review this site for registration details and candidate information. Be an educated voter! Check the voting records of candidates and choose to support the ones who reflect your values.
Visit www.aclu.org, the American Civil Liberties Union, to find out how you can help protect the rights of every American.
Visit www.joincampaignzero.org to learn more about why and how we need to end police violence.
Visit www.redcross.org for information on how to donate or to organize a virtual blood drive.
Visit www.nul.org, National Urban League, a non-partisan civil rights organization whose motto is "empowering communities, changing lives."
Visit www.naacp.org to help promote and support equal rights for and the well-being of all people.
Visit www.supermajority.com, a "community for women" working towards gender equity.
**Disclaimer: I will always amplify resources that demonstrate work that uplifts communities. Please do your own research to find out more about the work these groups do before committing yourself, your money, and/or your time. What can you do? Find your tribe and grow in it. We can make positive change by working together. It is possible. In the meantime, please stay safe.
Kenyana Briscoe #GullahGriot