What Will Be Different This Time?
Amidst a pandemic that is claiming Black lives at a staggering rate, in the midst of economic collapse that is threatening the survival of Black led-businesses and nonprofit organizations, we are once again surrounded by examples of a longstanding truth in this country: the systemic devaluing and dehumanizing of Black lives that leads to death, terror, grief, and despair.
George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, and Ahmaud Abrey deserve justice. Their names may be the most visible examples of anti-Black violence right now, but the reality and consequences of anti-Blackness run deeper than that. The answer to the question of how we got here spans the length of American history.
Black lives matter. Black women’s lives matter. Black trans lives matter.
That’s why people are showing up and rising up (risking their health in the midst of a pandemic) in Minneapolis, Oakland, Louisville, Denver, Los Angeles; in cities across the United States and around the world.
We reject narratives that focus on the destruction of property as a way to undermine righteous anger. We stand in solidarity with the activists and protesters demanding justice.
So what will be different this time?
Our calls for equity and justice will ring hollow if we can’t bring ourselves to talk seriously about anti-Blackness in our own spaces. We need to talk about how white people and non-Black people of color leverage institutional power at the expense of Black lives. We need to bear witness to a larger reality about the entanglement of white supremacy and policing.
White supremacist systems will not end until the people who benefit the most from the power and privilege created by these institutions actively work to take them apart.
In the words of Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, “We gotta stop looking for easy answers and instead join the hard work [...] This is a marathon that no one wants to run.”
Many of us are working remotely through an indefinite shelter-in-place order. How can we connect with each other for healing and accountability during this time?
How are we using our platforms to shift narratives around anti-Blackness? How are we amplifying Black voices speaking out on these issues?
How are we mobilizing resources through donations to frontline groups? Foundations: how are you shifting grantmaking now to meet this moment and stand with Black leadership?
We want to leave you with some resources to explore and share, but not without reminding ourselves and everyone else that there are no simple solutions and no easy ‘outs’ here. Beyond statements, we all need to commit ourselves to action. At the end of the day, we are talking about dismantling a racist political and social order so deep and pervasive that it touches every aspect of our lives.
Committing to shifting these institutions means being in it for the long haul. Anti-racism is a lifelong commitment. Beyond learning and awareness, what action will you take? What will you do? What will be different this time?
The CompassPoint Team
Organizations and fundraisers to follow, amplify, and support:
- Anti Police-Terror Project
Black Earth Farms (working to deliver free food to Black folks that have been arrested, bailed, injured, or traumatized during Oakland uprisings)
- Black Visions Collective
- Campaign Zero
- Critical Resistance
- Go Fund Me for George Floyd’s Family
I Run With Maud Fundraiser
- In Memory of Tony McDade
- Justice for Breonna Taylor
- People’s Breakfast Oakland
- Showing Up for Racial Justice
Readings and resources:
26 Ways to Be In Struggle Beyond the Streets by multiple collaborators
for George Floyd: fire by adrienne maree brown
The Pandemic is the Right Time to Defund the Police by Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic
Op-Ed: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Don’t understand the protests? What you’re seeing is people pushed to the edge by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles Times
Pushing Back Against Habits of White Supremacy in a Crisis by Kad Smith, CompassPoint