The Truth About Our History
It is a somber day after a tough couple of months and an even tougher last week. While we aren’t sure we can say anything thoughtful enough or wise enough for this moment, it’s our responsibility to try.
Why did this happen? Why does it continue to happen? What can be done? So many of us feel fear, anger, sadness, and still most of us can’t imagine the trauma black folks feel after seeing this type of crime committed again and again – often with no accountability. While we don’t have all the answers, one clear and central theme of racism in America is a consistent, ongoing, and very present ideology of white supremacy – the idea that whiteness and white people are better. The idea that a black neck is acceptable to kneel on but a white neck isn’t. That idea is so deeply embedded in the American psyche that many people don’t even see it.
It was this ideology of white supremacy that justified the enslavement of other humans, that justified lynchings and Jim Crow laws, and that to this day justifies any number of things from poor school quality to police brutality and mass incarceration.
It is hard to know what to do in this moment. And while we don’t know exactly how to help or how to speak up, at Change Media Group, we feel compelled to speak up and to do something. As a team, we believe that if you work hard and play by the rules, you should be able to get ahead – whether you are white, black, or brown. But as a country, we are not living up to that ideal – especially for black folks.
Some politicians and ideologues will use this moment to divide and race bait, to inflame tensions and keep us separated. Why use fear like that? They do that to keep power and help the very rich, but it’s a tactic that people of all races and backgrounds should see through in this moment.
We all have a part to play and while we don’t know exactly what to do, there are a few things we are doing and call on others to do as well.
Start with yourself, acknowledge and push back against your own biases. You can’t grow unless you can honestly take a look at yourself.
Invest in organizations doing the work for justice that is so desperately needed. Recognize that movement building takes money to sustain the people who dedicate their lives and time to do this work of moving us toward racial justice and equality.
Today, we are taking one small step to put our money where our mouth is. We are a small firm, we don’t have a lot to give, but we figured out a way to free up $11,000 to donate to organizations doing the critical work the country so desperately needs in this moment.
Money is no substitute for concrete action, concrete change, and permanent change in our laws, but it’s something. Many very large corporations have put out statements over the past few days and that’s nice, but in this moment we encourage organizations and institutions of all sizes to do more. Reflect and make changes to your organizations, and invest money in the organizations working to make this a fairer, freer, and more just country.
Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative said it best a few years ago in an interview with Lester Holt, “I don’t think any of us are free. I think if you’re born into a community where you are taught to presume other people are dangerous or guilty, where you’re taught you’re better than somebody because of your skin color, I think that’s a kind of abuse. I don’t think you’re free either because you don’t see the humanity that’s right there in front of you. So, I think we have to let everyone know that there is something better waiting for us on the other side of this issue – white and black. But we can’t get there until we are willing to tell the truth about this history.”
Amanda, Ryan, and the entire Change Media Group team hope that you will reflect, learn, and act to make things better and to dismantle white supremacy.
Let’s tell the truth about our history, so that we may all be free.