A citizen's guide to navigating what's happening.
In an unexpected turn of events, all 50 states have protested George Floyd's murder and the murder of Black Americans across the country. That. is. huge.
Really, though, it was time. Black Americans have been suffering at the hands of American colonialism for 400 years, so, if anything, a revolution is overdue. But, I am not obtuse. I know we have seen this before. When I attended the protests in Chicago, I felt stark parallels to the civil rights movement of the 60s.
As we marched down King Drive, I understood that change is on the horizon. When we sat in Washington Park while pastors rallied up a festival-like audience, I realized that now was the time to act. We had not only been victimized by COVID-19, said Pastor Otis Moss, but also by COVID 1619 and COVID 45 as we deal with domestic terror.
Given the momentum that’s been revved up, it would be remiss of me not to call this what it is – a revolution. Now that it is here, we must act with care and caution moving forward. In the following guide, I will offer suggested actions you can take to navigate and sustain the revolution we are currently seeing in America.
1. educate yourself
A key step in navigating the revolution is to look at previous revolutions. Although I put it first (because it is arguably the most important), it is an ongoing process. There are many great Black writers out there who have talked about this, even predicted this. One of my personal favorites is Audre Lorde who gave us the powerful quote, “For the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.”
She is among many who are accessible in their language and revolutionary. One recommended text from Lorde is Sister Outsider (where I pulled that first quote). Additionally, you might consider acquainting yourself with the teachings of Dr. Angela Davis, Huey P. Newton, Paul Robeson, Ta Nehisi Coates, and other Black radicals.
For more recommended readings, digital library JSTOR provided this list of texts tackling Black radical ideology that are accessible to the general public for free. Additionally, independent publishing house Verso books offers a free reading list of texts exploring Black radicalism.
So, the resources are there. Use them. But, how, you ask?
2. take direct action.
Direct action can also look like calling leaders and demanding changes, such as what we did in Chicago. Had we not put pressure on the city for stopping food programs that served millions of children, poor Black and Brown kids would be scrambling to find food as the city punished protestors. So, that was a direct action that did not require leaving the house.
Another more in-depth direct action is creating a website with resources to help people find out what's going on, and what they can do. This useful website, that includes a map of protests, was created by a 17-year-old named Nico, whose Instagram and Twitter are dehyedration.
3. get some headspace
There’s a whole lot going on right now, so it is imperative that we are taking care of ourselves. "They will kill us with stress if they can," writer Crissles tweeted just before offering some apps that she uses. One I personally use Headspace because it gives guided meditations that help me re-center my thoughts. However, given the emphasis on moving to supporting Black businesses, I am also integrating Liberate into my meditation schedule.
According to Crissles, "[T]he Liberate app is great, it's meditation for and by us and mostly free." Yet, some of us need that extra push to keep going.
Following protests, many lawyers wrote on Twitter offering pro bono legal services, and mental health professionals followed suit. The search "pro bono therapy" pulled up these results. For Chicago-based people like myself, Howard Brown Health and the King Center have some beneficial, low-cost services that are helping me right now.
For those in other states, I created this Google Map of mental health services and am accepting suggestions via Google Form. There is also a website for Black mental health resources. As we fight for our right to live freely, we must be sure to take care of ourselves as well.
4. dont. stop. talking.
The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told us, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This is a vastly important guiding principle right now. While at protest in Bronzeville, I saw a sign about Kenneka Jenkins, and I remembered her gruesome and strange death.
What’s sad is that I had to remember it – that in all that is going on, it got lost. This cannot happen. Justice must mean justice for everyone. This especially includes our vulnerable Black people who hold multiple marginalized identities. If anything, they should be at the forefront of this movement. We need justice for Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was killed in her sleep. We need justice for Tony McDade, a Black transman who was allegedly killed by police. We need justice. Period.
5. sustain the fight
Finally, we must sustain the fight. Like educating ourselves, this is an ongoing process. In order to do this, we have to take a stand so that it is known and understood that Black dollars will not be spent in places that do not care about Black people. I saw this suggested boycott on Twitter, and I could not agree more.
Taking notes from the bus boycotts, we must divest in businesses that do not serve our community. We must get comfortable in discomfort. We must iterate, loudly and fiercely that Black Lives Matter. ~ℝ
javanna plummer, rwebel in chief
Javanna is the editor of "Rwebel Magazine," the architect behind "Rwebel Radio," and the pioneering force of "Xscape." Through her words, Javanna hopes to inspire creativity, passion and forward-thinking.
LINKS i included above
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