As we start this new week, communities across the nation continue to protest the racism in America and the state violence perpetrated against Black Americans day in and day out. While demonstrations here in Monterey County have remained fairly peaceful, those in other cities have been met with further aggression, violence, and militarization. This response is unacceptable. The YWCA-MC stands against racism in America.
The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the latest viral, police-related death, comes on the heels of the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and is among the unfortunately ever-growing list of fatalities caused by interactions with police officers. Given the tumultuous climate due to these recent horrific losses of life, YWCA Monterey County stands in solidarity with those calling for justice on behalf of the victims and for action to end police brutality and racism in America. We see you. We hear you. We support you.
Together with YWCA Minneapolis and St. Paul, YWCA USA, and YWCA local associations across the U.S., we remain firm in our commitment to eliminating racism and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. For those seemingly “detached” from the issue, we urge you take this time to reflect on the experience and perspective of Black Americans in this country. Imagine how you would feel knowing that the way
you are perceived by someone, specifically a white person, with some level of authority over you matters more than who you actually are. To constantly be on the defense and acutely aware of how you need to conduct yourself in places where you are surrounded by people who may very well fear your very presence based on one characteristic that is completely out of your control. To have to consistently and intentionally present yourself as non-threatening, even when trying to process your own heightened emotions, because the slightest infliction of your voice or change in your demeanor may forfeit you the benefit of the doubt. And to have to come to grips with the fact that, despite your best efforts at respectability, it still may not be enough to save your life. And worse still, that if your life is
taken in such a manner, that some will either identify you as the main catalyst of your own demise or not care at all. Imagine if this was Your Son. Your Daughter. Your Mother. Your Father. YOU.
The fact that these incidents haven’t yet affected your family or aren’t happening in your backyard shouldn’t be reason a person turns a blind eye to racism in America. In truth, silence signals compliance and approval to those who are blatant perpetrators of bigotry; silence also signals indifference and apathy of those on the receiving end of bigotry. If injustice is happening one of us, it should move ALL OF US to call for change.
For those who are moved to action but are unsure of how or where to begin, we want to offer a few suggestions of ways you can be an effective ally and accomplice to change. The most important steps are to:
1. LOOK – Look at these incidents and institutions for what they are—manifestations of white supremacy. People are unnecessarily dying at the hands of those who are supposed to “Protect and Serve.” Law enforcement and the justice system are not holding these individuals accountable. Consider the graphic below to examine how other incidents, actions, and
behaviors around you may be examples of overt and/or covert white supremacy. You can also use this image to examine your own thoughts or beliefs and understand how they may be perpetuating racism. *Image developed by Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence and adapted by Ellen Tuzzolo
2. LISTEN – Listen to the experience of Black people for understanding and education. Follow Black creators, authors, and activists on social media. Amplify Black voices. However, allies need to remember that it’s NOT the job of Black people to point you in the right direction. You are responsible for doing the research and seeking out resources like those included in the link below to further learn how we got to this point:
- An extensive list of anti-racism resources
- A list of journal/conversation prompts to explore white privilege and white supremacy
3. TALK – Talk to individuals around you and call out bigotry and apathy regarding these injustices, both within your personal circles and to society at large. Black people alone can only do so much to change a system that they did not create and have very minimal power within. But non-Black voices raising awareness about these issues helps to carry the message to ears it would otherwise fall deaf upon. Below are some of the local movements that work for racial justice in Monterey County. Consider following them online and joining in the conversation:
- The Monterey Peace and Justice Center
- CSUMB’s Otter Cross Cultural Center
- National Coalition Building Institute (NBCI) Monterey County
- Whites for Racial Equity
4. SUPPORT – raise your voices by donating to organizations dedicated to supporting the Black community, fighting injustices, and calling for accountability:
- Local Organizations:
- National Organizations:
- Petitions for Accountability:
It should be our collective mission to do the work necessary to make sure that these people’s lives and
deaths—and the countless others who have suffered the same fate in similar circumstances—serve to
fuel the long awaited systemic and institutional changes that this country desperately needs.