History has a way of making you feel like things happened a long long time ago. Like way before your parents. Like forever ago, not even close to now. Now is awesome, it’s immediate. “History” was back “then”—you learn about it in school because you are required to or drawn to it. As a young person, while you can intellectually and empathetically understand the Civil Rights Movement, you don’t know the ache in its belly. The bubbling boiling resentment. You can’t feel the years peeling by the people who live in its shadow.
Ferguson happened and it’s been happening and what are we going to do? We the people. WE. What are we going to do about this? Kareem Abdul Jabbar is calling this “Class Warfare.” You might want to take a look at his very reasonable argument and call to action.
We’re calling on you, our friends and peers.
You know who you are. You have either lived it, studied it or defended it. You get it. We don’t want to get hysterical over here (although we kind of have a right to, who are we kidding), but we’re talking about basic human rights. Some of you are frustrated because you have Ferguson unfolding in your own backyards and don’t see the point in getting involved when you have a situation boiling at home you need to deal with. You have to get involved because the changes that need to happen are changes that must occur on a national level in order to see changes at home. And in order to make those changes you need to get involved (NOW, RIGHT NOW) on a local level.
Wouldn’t you be sitting in Ferguson right now wondering where people are? Where’s the President? Where is he?!!!! Somebody call him and tell him this is for real. He needs to go there and take those weapons away from the police in Ferguson, who forgot the “people” they are supposed to be protecting are PEOPLE not animals. LLáMALO y dile: it’s happening in Chicago, in New York, in cities across the country, and we’re on the brink of the same fate! We don’t care WHICH President you call pero recoge el teléfono and dial the number and get them into that police station to set them straight. Email them this link and force them to watch it. It should be mandatory watching for anyone trying to form an opinion on this issue.
If you don’t happen to have the direct extension to POTUS, you can still do something proactive. We’ve linked articles all over this post: read them and digest their points of view. If you were raised in a predominantly white neighborhood and weren’t exposed to diversity while growing up, PLEASE READ THE LINKS. If you grew up in a home that was blessed enough to never worry about putting food on the table, PLEASE READ THE LINKS. If you really believe the looting is what’s causing people to lose their voice in Ferguson… PLEASE READ THE LINKS.
Let’s get to work. Satisfying, supportive, empowering, loving and immediate work.
Here’s what we have learned—take what you need or what speaks to you and pass it on. We’re learning as we go and will share what we figure out.
Pay attention to your local government! Why? Because it affects you directly!
For example, here are the Illinois candidates for midterm elections: Find the guide for your region. Every city has one.
Put pressure on your elected representatives.
Institutional abuse of African-American citizens is happening all over the country, and it demands a federal response. Talk to your senators and congresspeople about enacting policies to protect citizens from their protectors. While you’re at it, maybe suggest that they work to limit the amount of military weaponry police can inherit from the armed forces.
Read this article. Act.
Acknowledge that the socio-economic status we’re born into dictates the world’s perception of us. Let’s change that! Start with your own kids.
Read this great blog by a white mother on white privilege. Don’t be scared of the word.
Our comedian peers are out there and they’re vocal. It’s a great way to take in the issues from people who would rather laugh, even when they’ve got something serious to say: Understanding race from a comedian’s perspective.
Become an ally.
Dominizuelan (Lorena Díaz and Wendy Mateo) is a comedy duo from Chicago. The Chicago Tribune wrote that the group “contains the kind of sharply honed humor that isn’t afraid to stare down cultural stereotypes–even stereotypes other than their own.” Follow them @Dominizuelan.