I recently responded to an email I had received. To me, they weren't doing enough in the Black Lives Matter arena, and I told them so. And then I had to look at myself. Was I doing enough? Honestly, no! No, I wasn't.
As someone who has had pneumonia and bronchitis, going to protests makes me very uncomfortable because I am scared of getting COVID-19. But there are lots of people who have been scared for centuries.
We have a humanitarian crisis going on in our own country. And I'm just standing back too far. I don't think that is the right choice for me any more.
There is this aching in my heart, and a chill through my spine when I watch the videos online regarding Ahmaud Arbery, Jennifer Watson, Amy Cooper, and George Floyd. Trevor Noah nailed it when speaking about the oppression that exists in our country. It's shameful, and I realize how I have been a part of it. I work on humanitarian issues almost daily but have been mostly sitting on my hands when it comes to the oppression of blacks in our country. I want to change who I am, and how I represent myself. So, I'm taking steps to support this important change. . . .
1. I've bookmarked 303Magazine's list of 350+ metro-Denver black-owned businesses. Click here to view the list and share with friends. Let's all expand this list. I invite those who live in Denver or visit Denver regularly to have a look at the list and support those businesses. For example, when we get takeout, I will be ordering from one of the restaurants listed. Two of the coffeehouses are close by, and I'll be keeping them in mind as an option for a meeting place when COVID-19 is over, or as a place to stop by when I need a pick-me-up. Mr. Plumber is beyond great. I have used Mr. Butler on numerous occasions and can HIGHLY recommend him. And I'm committing myself to a regular perusal of this growing list to continue to support black-owned businesses.
2. I've tried to educate myself. I've ordered and will be listening to an Audible version of How to Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. I invite you to listen or read this book along with me and share titles of other books, articles, resources that address race issues. Another option is to use the free Libby app to borrow ebooks and digital audiobooks from your public library. All you need to get started is a library card. If you find a helpful read, share it! Or, check out this list of 20 books for adults about racism and social justice in America. Click here to view a list of nine books to help discuss racism with children and teens.
3. In the past, I attended a three-day workshop on race through In.Visible Paradigms. Since then, many more organizations are offering similar workshops or classes. When attending larger events for educational purposes, I try to zero in on sessions focused on equity and inclusion. These efforts have been useful, but aren't enough. When you find a helpful training or resource, please share with us and we can add it to our resource page.
4. In the past, as Vice President of PB and K Family Foundation and personally, I have used my voice to ask that others look at their equity and inclusion status, and I will continue to do so. I have also challenged myself to look at my place of privilege, my voice, and my lack of knowledge, or lack of understanding. I realize now that there are times when I need to keep my mouth shut, and for those who know me, it's difficult for me. Sometimes I. Just. Need. To. Listen. Really listen. And other times, well, I need to write an article, or connect others to resources, or support an organization through grantmaking, or whatever I can do at the time.
5. Although most of our recent funding dollars have been utilized in support of organizations dealing with COVID-19, PB and K Family Foundation feels an obligation to provide ongoing support to the following organizations:
Urban Leadership Foundation of Colorado
What we're doing won't erase the past. But hopefully, together, we can all drastically and positively move the needle towards equity and justice.