In reflection of recent events in the Omaha metro, our country, and an the elevation of the Black Lives Matter movement, I find myself coming back to three things: learning, listening, and action.
Learning: As a white female I must start with internal reflection on the ways I continue to perpetuate and contribute to racism. We see overt racism, conscious and deliberate acts of intolerance and hatred, play out on the news, but covert racism, racist ideas, attitudes or beliefs, and microaggressions happen all the time. I know that I have done this and commit to learning more about how that shows up and how to stop both forms of racism when I see it.
Also, white people need to be talking to other white people about racism—now is not the time to burden Black and/or people of color with questions about your privilege and possible situations of racism or bias. If you are unsure of what to read or where to start please reach out, I am grateful that the Foundation has invested time to offer me resources to learn. I have not always done a great job in sharing what I am learning and am committing myself to making a change. I commit to being more vocal and sharing more publicly what I believe.
For my white family, friends, and colleagues, if you are interested in starting this dialogue and digging in for the first time, let’s talk.
Listening: In addition to doing our own work we also should listen when Black and/or people of color offer insight or perspective on their lived experiences. Listen and then support Black and people of color in ways that doesn’t center whiteness or white people’s feelings or discomfort. It isn’t about white people right now. This also means changing our government and organizations to reflect our communities. We need more Black and people of color as executive leaders, not just for diversity, but for decision-making and power.
Action: Listening and learning is nothing without action. There are so many organizations who have been doing racial equity work for so long and will continue to do this work. They focus on policy and dismantling oppressive systems that will result in lasting change. Support them in any way you can from giving, volunteering, or participating in their calls to engage in advocacy.
Investing your money in Black-owned businesses is another way to engage. For me, this means committing to giving and purchasing more from organizations led by Black and/or people of color, attending more protests/rallies, and contacting my elected officials throughout the year, not just in this moment.
It also means advocating within the Omaha Community Foundation to engage and commit to doing things differently around power, representation, and action.
This is not just a moment, but a movement and we must all participate.