Disclaimer: This is made with respect and love for POC and the Black Community. As a white woman, I could never fully understand the difficulty of these times. These are just suggestions of things I have personally found helpful and impactful, bringing light in such darkness.
Each News Source, Social Media Platform, and Activist has their own version or presentation of what's going on. First, try to learn the facts and history of the cause. Look up the situations of similar injustices as well as the facts and statistics of racially fueled killings. Be open to hearing people out, whether it be Police supporters, Peaceful Protestors, or those who have lost a loved one to racial violence. It is up to you to decide how you feel, as well as what you believe to be right in your heart. Everyone's opinion is valuable and should be respected. There are hundreds of stories out there for you to see. Learn the information from a reliable source or explore the many sources out there to see the biases and opinions of Americans in such a dividing time. There are many movies you can watch such as "Just Mercy" or "The Hate U Give" that tackles these issues and teaches you about the history of these issues and how they are repeating themselves.
2. Be Smart and Safe.
Know what kind of protests and events are going on in the area near you. Look on apps like Facebook, NextDoor, and even social media platforms that could be spreading information about local protests. If you want to participate in a protest, more power to you, just know what to expect and prepare for if things go sideways. Go with a close companion or a family member so you are not only supported by those at the protest, but also know that someone you trust has your back and you have theirs. Be careful going out at all in an area with a protest or at night where most looting and riots are taking place. There are many stories of accidents happening to those who are not even involved in the protests and get injured or even shot at. With emotions running high and an uncountable number of opinions, people are bound to find someone they disagree with or feel aggravated by. Be aware of these possibilities.
3. Get creative.
There are so many different things you can do to show your support to the Black Lives Matter movement. If you are an artistic person you can make art work to resemble the feelings that come up, the impact of injustice, as well as showing hope and understanding. If you are willing to protest or hold a sign, make one! You can get as creative as possible, put sayings, quotes, statistics, or even sayings to bring a smile to someone's face. You can post videos or photos taken either by you or someone else on social media with a poem or a caption to spread the feeling of togetherness and unity. Use your strengths, no matter what they might be, to make a difference, even if it doesn't seem big enough, every message of support has the power to make an impact.
4. Let yourself Mourn and Feel.
There is no "right" way to feel during this time. Even if people tell you one thing, these times are unlike any other many of us have seen or been a part of in our lifetime. It can be hard to understand others' feelings and actions. It can be painful to witness so much death and destruction going on in general let alone during a global pandemic. You might have grown up thinking one thing and now you are experiencing another. Or your darkest nightmares have seemed to manifest themselves into reality. Take the time to take care of yourself and do what you need to do to feel at peace again. Know there are many out there that support you and are thankful for the support you've shown them. Especially for students like me, many kids are in the midst of their final exams. It seems as though the world wants to keep people from living their "normal" life. I can't tell you how to feel. For me, I feel there is a reason for all this and that we need to call attention to this enormous ongoing issue. I will continue to let myself be sad and support the Black Lives Matter movement anyway I can. I know there is a light at the end of this tunnel, there is justice to be served, and issues to acknowledge. Let it inspire you to be the best version of you and to hold your loved ones close.
Stay safe and make sure you protect yourself during protests and when going out. Know there is love and support out there for you. Research what to do if you want to help, there are so many resources out there.
Text "FLOYD" to 55156
We can do this!