What can I say? I don't think I can ever understand the struggles faced by black and brown people in the US. Not because I don't want to, but because there is no teacher like experience. I don't want to be a performative ally. But I feel that at this pivotal moment in US history to be silent is to be complicit. To be a bystander is to de facto agree that what's happening is ok. So at the risk of saying something wrong, or following a movement, I feel that we must take a stand. We must make known that the system is not working and that we will not be silent and stay home when our fellow humans are being disrespected, punished for existing, and killed.I am deeply committed to supporting our black, brown, queer, and otherwise marginalized neighbors, their efforts, their art, their voices, their needs, their freedom, and most fundamentally, their safety. It is infuriating and so painful to see how the protests have escalated into violence many times brought on by the police.
By saying all lives matter, you are dismissing that there is a problem. That for many there has not been an experience of mattering, they are not safe, their lives are not in their own hands. I have heard a lot of people saying how broken 'the system' is, but I'm not sure that it is broken. As far as I can see it was built this way. By not teaching de-escalation, by not taking prior offences of law officers seriously, by downplaying victim suffering, and so many other small aggressions and omissions, the system has been built to disadvantage black, brown, and other minorities. It's so hard to know what to do to dismantle this broken system. It is so big, it's been here for so long.
I will focus on what I can do. I cannot make masks that filter out tear gas, but I can donate our fabric masks to those protesting who need them. I can make it known that I am an ally. I can protest in my hometown. I can amplify the voices of POC and activists who are doing the work.
As a privileged small business owner still open and operating, I can use the reach and skills of Volante Design. We will be auctioning off three badass Black Panther-inspired coats on Twitter later this week, each one to be made to fit the winner. We'll be donating all proceeds to the NAACP. I am hoping that an auction with some competitive bidding will help raise as much money as possible, for the donation to have the greatest impact. Please help us spread the word once the auction goes live.
"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." Desmond Tutu
Further reading: For Our White Friends Desiring to Be Allies