The call for white allies to speak up in support of our black and brown neighbors, friends, families, —and all people of color— has been sounding for a long time. It was Sharon Knight's eloquent and moving Statement of Solidarity that really kicked my comfortable, privileged butt into gear, coming hot on the heels of CAYA Coven's public statement against police militarization, brutality and racism. Both of these, of course, are a part of the ever-spreading protests and other actions in response to the recent Grand Jury decisions concerning the murders of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, including Columbia Law School's decision to postpone exams due to the "deeply shaken faith" and trauma suffered by many of the students.
I am committed to recognizing, honoring, and respecting all people of color and all that they hold dear. My intention is to speak up whenever I witness racism expressed by anyone— regardless of the racial makeup of the company in which it is expressed. I will not wait until later to approach someone privately and say, "That was awful, I'm sorry that happened." I will speak loud and clear in front of everyone, "That statement sounds disparaging. Racist behavior will not be tolerated in my presence." If the statements or actions are not amended, after a reasonable attempt at resolution, I intend to withdraw my support from that individual, business or community, no matter how deeply involved I may have been up to that point. My intention is to continue to educate myself, not expecting People of Color to do my educating for me.
Though I extend this respect to every person I encounter, and I could say "ALL lives matter," I recognize that racial inequality, inequity, and injustice deserves to be addressed directly. This matters to me.
Black lives matter.
Brown lives matter.
May the highest good be served,