For White People: Direct Asks Centering on #BlackLivesMatter

From the Ohio Aspiring White Allies Committee
May 28, 2020

Tony McDade.
George Floyd.
Breonna Taylor.
Nina Pop.
Julius Tate.
We need to say their names.

The Aspiring White Allies of Ohio are writing to acknowledge, mourn, and shout the names of those killed by the actions of police brutality, racists, and racist actions.
We know this statement is not enough, but white silence is violence.

We are in a pandemic.

But this is a pandemic that has been silenced for too long: violence against Black communities and communities of color.

The deaths of Tony McDade and George Floyd are only a few of the most recent tragic, unnecessary deaths. The death of yet another Black person by police. These acts of violence cannot stand, should not be silenced, must not be allowed to pass without accountability, without a call to action to challenge systematic white supremacy and acts of violence against Black communities. We must hold people and systems accountable for harm caused against Black communities and communities of color.

White Supremacy is in every system and institution, and we can no longer pretend it is unseen. Every single white person has a part to play in stopping injustice and the harmful tentacles of racism and discrimination within those systems.

We can do more. We must do more. We, as aspiring white allies, must raise our voices and our actions to stop this violence. If not now, when?

Here are some actions we are taking, and that you can take as an aspiring white ally:

  • Reach out to your Black peers and colleagues of color with whom you have relationships. Ask them how they are doing, acknowledge the harm and pain, and allow space for their needs. Respect space if they ask for it.
  • Post or share messaging that admonishes actions of police and systemic racism.
  • Lift up the voices of Black people and people of color without taking over, stealing, or trampling over their work. Cite Black people.
  • Call “in” behaviors that are distracting from the root issues and police brutality against Black people and people of color. This is especially needed within our own field and with our white colleagues.
  • Calling in/out “Karen” and “Amy Cooper” behaviors when you see them among fellow white colleagues.
  • STOP calling the police on Black people living their lives because of your fear of them. Talk to your neighbors and friends about how dangerous it is to call the police on people of color. Share resources with your community that can be alternatives to calling the police.
  • Examine your own actions and contributions to these harms. Daily.
  • If you are a white leader of an organization or a supervisor, ensure your staff of color know that their production is not most important. Give them space to mourn and take care of themselves.

Ask yourselves the questions below:

  • What voices are missing at your tables?
  • Who are you silencing in planning efforts for community action against violence?
  • What measures are you are taking to be anti-racist and cause less harm?
  • Who is your accountability partner for equity?
  • Can you see institutional trauma and harm in a position of power and privilege?

Do not wait.
We have already waited too long.
We have already caused harm.
We must act now. And continue to act.

Below are some additional resources and donation recipients, both national and Ohio-specific.