Written by Rorri Geller-Mohamed, LCSW
December 6, 2019
There are so many white people that I talk to that want to do more to stand up against racism, be part of a diverse and inclusive community, and promote racial equity but they don’t know where to start. They often describe feeling overwhelmed with how much needs to be changed and at a loss of where to start. How do we change a huge system made up of many institutions that have been functioning in this harmful and painful way for hundreds of years? So I’m here to tell you that yes those feelings are valid and we still need to figure it out.
Imagine if all of us who didn’t know where to start, could wake up tomorrow and take one step forward against racism on one specific project or issue. Think about how powerful that could be and the change that could happen. Think about the impact that could have on our kids and creating a world that is equitable, diverse, and inclusive for them to live in.
Just like with anything in life that feels overwhelming, it’s important that we break it down into manageable pieces so that we are able to start taking steps forward (even if they are baby steps).
You can start here:
- We need to be able to see the issues of systemic racism that are taking place in our community. You can strengthen your racial equity lens through self-education, reading books such as How To Be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi and White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo as well as taking racial equity training with organizations like the Racial Equity Institute and Undoing Racism: The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond.
- Pick one space in your life or community to get involved in working on issues of racial equity. It can be within your child’s school, within your place of worship if you have one, within your workplace, or with an outside organization that is doing this work in your area. This could look like joining or starting a committee, having a conversation with leadership, and bring resources to work that has already. started.
- Connect with other people that are doing this work. Find organizations in your area doing this work such as SURJ (Showing up for Racial Justice). Ask other people in your community that are doing this work, how you can get involved.
Here’s how you can make it feel less overwhelming:
- Make a goal to do 1-3 things that supports your anti-racism work by the end of the week.
- Find someone to share your goal with that can hold you accountable and help support you.
- Schedule time in your calendar to make happen.
- Show up. Do the work.
- Check in with yourself around your feelings and get any additional support you might need.
We’re all counting on each other to make this happen. We all can’t start everywhere but if each of us starts somewhere, we can see change happen. We as white people can’t let ourselves feel paralyzed by not knowing where to start. We have to keep taking steps forward. We must remember that not only are our BIPOC family and friends lives at risk because of racism but that we all suffer as a result of white cultural supremacy. Let’s make it end.
To taking steps forward.
I’m currently running my Anti-racism Parenting Pilot Program to support racially conscious white moms that want to be more equipped to have difficult conversations about race and racism, be more involved in anti-racism work in their community, and desire a racially equitable world to raise their kids.
We will be opening registration at the beginning of the new year for the program, if you are interested in learning more about it, sign up here.
I first got involved in anti-racism work in my late teens mainly because of the personal pain I felt from my brother's experiences of racism as a person of color. It's actually one of the main reasons that I become a social worker because I saw it as an avenue to...
Is it racist to say Happy Thanksgiving?I noticed that I started feeling uncomfortable saying happy thanksgiving due to the history of the holiday. From what I’ve learned, it seems like many indigineous people and groups acknowledge it as a day of mourning to remember...
If you have read my blogs, are on my email list, or read my posts you may have noticed a recent shift in topics from social justice for families to where I have been trying to speak directly to white folks that care about racial equity and justice but could use extra...