How to Do the Work of Allyship
This past week, I’ve been sitting in a spectrum of emotions—anger, frustration, grief, shame, hopelessness. And if you are a member of the Black community, I know you are sitting in a level of pain and trauma that I will never fully know.
In the wake of the injustices against the Black community—and as a non-Black POC—I’ve tried to use all the difficult emotions that have come up for me as motivation to learn how I can be a better ally for Black mental health and Black Lives.
I’d be lying if I said the work hasn’t felt uncomfortable.
As a half-Japanese, half-white woman in America—I’m sitting with my own privilege that comes with my experience.
I’m sitting with how I can do better to learn more from Black voices, where I can do more in my white community to be an ally for racial justice, and I’m recognizing where in trying to do the “right thing” quickly, without doing more work, I’ve made mistakes that haven’t been actively helpful for Black lives (like posting a black square on Instagram).
What I’m thinking about at this moment is how I can be a better ally for Black Lives and Black mental health.
To Shine’s Black community members: I value you, your experience, your mental health, your life.
And I stand with you in solidarity as we fight to bring justice for Black Lives and Black Mental Health.
As Marah, co-founder of Shine, powerfully spoke to in a recent Daily Shine: "If you are a member of the Black community, I will tell you the same thing I’m telling myself and my family—we have got to take care of our mental health in this moment.”
To help you care for yourself this week, we’re resharing a few mental health resources from Black creators:
• A collection of self-healing resources — by Yasmine Cheyenne
• Redefine your acts of self-care by understanding your mental health language — by Martha Tesema
• Learn how to cope with race-based trauma — by Jor-El Caraballo, L.M.H.C.
To non-Black members of the Shine community: I’m sharing a few resources I’ve been sitting with to identify where I can do better as an ally and antiracist:
1. I’m listening to the Black community on how to best check-in.
To support the mental health of the Black community, do the work first to make sure you’re showing up in an aware, educated, and purposeful way during this deeply traumatizing time. I’ve been sitting in and sharing the resources below to make sure I do better:
• Read Shirin Eskandani’s post on how to check in with your Black friends
• Understand the 6 questions to stop asking your Black friends
• Ask helpful questions like “How do you need to be supported in this moment?” Be explicit that you do not expect a response, recognizing members of the Black community may not have the emotional energy to respond right now
2. I’m educating myself on how I can be antiracist.
I’m sitting with the words from American author and historian, Ibram X. Kendi: “The opposite or racist isn’t ‘not racist.’ It is antiracist.”
To stand against racial injustice, we must fight, actively. We must use our time, energy, resources—not just hashtags and passive posts on social media—to fight for Black lives, continuously.
And to start, I’m listening and learning from Black voices to better educate myself to inform my allyship:
• I’m reading So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo
• I'm listening to @ckyourprivilege’s Summer School on IGTV to learn more about how my actions affect the mental health of the Black community
• I'm learning from @Girltrek’s Black History Bootcamp to better understand the struggle of historical figures that have fought for racial justice
I’m committing to fight for Black lives until we have racial justice in every part of our system.
As writer and activist Rachel Cargle shares in her Public Address on Revolution: “This work does not end after white people feel better about what they did. This work ends only when Black people have justice in every vein that white supremacy has found to suppress.”
I’m motivated by the discomfort I’ve felt this past week—I know it’s a sign of change. And I know that it’s how I can be an ally in bringing an end to the discomfort & trauma Black Americans feel every single day.
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