Confronting racism, privilege, and becoming a better ally to people of color in the work for racial justice
From St. Paul to Baton Rouge to right here in NYC, the killings of unarmed young men of color have been a devastating reminder of systemic racism in American communities.
The killings this summer of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile – adding to the list that includes Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, and too many more – painfully reminds us how much work remains to be done to end the persistence of racism. And of course, systemic racism pervades far more than our criminal justice system. It’s in our schools, health care, housing, employment, in all the places that matter for creating or stamping out opportunity.
We believe there is essential work to be done in all communities, but specifically in white communities. I know it can be uncomfortable to acknowledge, but white privilege is the inseparable flip-side of systemic racism.
That’s why I hope you’ll join me, in partnership with Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, the Brooklyn Movement Center, and Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) in an important conversation about how we and our neighbors can play an active role in confronting racism and supporting organizations and coalitions fighting for racial justice here in Brooklyn.
Our discussion will create space to reflect on privilege and intersectionality in a racial justice context, and provide concrete next steps and resources for those interested in getting more involved. We’ll discuss what we can do in our own community, and how we can ensure we are acting as strong allies for people of color in calling for change.
This is not easy work to do. Even while I engage in organized efforts for racial justice in policing, schools, and housing, I find it hard to talk about my own implicit biases, and the impact my own privilege has in my life and work.
But the need for collective action is clearly pressing. If we want to make change, and to pass on to our children a world with less racism and more justice than the one we have now, there is no better time to draw from the strength and compassion in our community to join the march forward.
Please invite your friends and neighbors. All are welcome to join us in this conversation. I hope to see you there.