By: Nicole Andino
Black History Month was created to focus attention on the contributions of African Americans to the United States. “It honors all Black people from all periods of U.S. history, from the enslaved people first brought over from Africa in the early 17th century to African Americans living in the United States today.” (National Geographic) DEI stands for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion it is the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc. Be an advocate by taking these actions to end inequality and injustice.
#1 Be an advocate.
Be ready to advocate together with other communities. The equality movement is global. Commit to having difficult conversations about injustice and inequality amongst minorities including people of color, black indigenous people of color, and LGBTQIA+ communities. Collaborate with friends that are being affected by this movement and ask how you can contribute effectively for them.
#2 Be resourceful.
The media is saturated with deceiving information and miscommunicating claims. Focus on thinking differently outside of your current mindset, there is always room to learn. Be resourceful by spreading only credible information across all your platforms. The best way to know the correct organizations to support and donate to by checking the sources. A great example of this is sharing the mission of the Trevor Project, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQIA+) young people under 25. By spreading the number of the project 1-866-488-7386 to your public networks it could save someone’s life. Organizations similar to the Trevor project have provided accredited data sources to build impact with the actions you take.
#3 Be authentic.
This movement is not a trend. Find a reason for your intention to stand for equality. Be an honest broker of communications by reflecting these questions. Be aware of your own privilege:
As a non-black person, in what ways does my proximity to whiteness afford me privileges that are not extended to Black and Brown people?
As a non-black person, in what ways have I been conditioned to believe in the authority of whiteness?
As a non-black person, in what ways have I engaged in rhetoric that promotes othering or stereotyping of Black people?
As a non-black person, in what ways do I actually center myself in a dialogue when I’m unaware of the space I’m taking?
As a non-black person, what can I do to better educate myself on the historical context of race in the country and community I exist in?
#4 Help beyond the frontlines.
This action represents the types of things you could do to support equality with limited resources. This movement has been a challenge for many, do your part and create an opportunity to seize inequality once and for all. Sharing links to credible educational resources to diminish confusion about the movement. Confront oppression immediately by standing up for yourself and for victims of inequality, do not be a bystander! Start writing articles and blog posts to support ongoing movements, this is a great way to reach larger communities online. Lastly, raise your voice. Amplify words from the voices who know best, but do not have enough listeners.
#5 Educate yourself.
Use media outlets such as, TV shows, podcasts, movies, books, articles, TED talks, and more. Learn about the importance of practicing equality among all social, sexual, and ethnic differences with these resources:
“Today Black History Month continues the discussion of Black people and their contributions through activities such as museum exhibits and film screenings, and by encouraging the study of achievements by African Americans year-round.” (National Geographic) Although this month is honoring Black History, remember these actions should be taken everyday. Educate yourself, understand your intentions, and spread kindness for all, every day.
BIPOC Black, Indigenous, and People of Color- BIPOC is to include voices that hadn’t originally been heard that they wanted to include in the narrative, darker skin, blacks and Indigenous groups, so that they could make sure that all the skin shades are being represented.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a decentralized political and social movement advocating for non-violent civil disobedience in protest against incidents of police brutality and all racially motivated violence against black people.
DEI stands for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion it is the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.
Oppression- unjust or cruel treatment by an authority or power
LGBTQIA+ is pertaining collectively to people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or those questioning their gender identity or sexual orientation), intersex, and asexual (or their allies).