5 Actions that Non-Black Individuals Should Take Every Month- Not Just Black History Month
1. Donate to Black-run grassroots organizations fighting for the advancement of Black individuals in your community
There are so many across the country doing amazing work in their communities. Many of them are severely underfunded and rely on fundraising or grants to get by. Research what organizations there are in your community (city, town, state), see what they need (volunteers, money, etc.), and help meet that need.
2. Shop at Black businesses. Don’t just support them for this month, integrate them into your everyday purchasing routine.
Black History Month is often the time when people go out of their way to try to “support” Black businesses but never return to them again (until the next February). Make sure your support is sustainable. See what products/brands in your life you could switch out for Black-owned brands long-term and do it!
3. Research Black History in America
The history taught in American schools is white-washed and leaves so much out of what it truly took to create this country. Do your own research to learn of the contributions Black people have made to this country. Learn about the struggles they had to endure, the culture that they have created, and how White Supremacy and Systemic Racism have worked to them down. Make sure that you are learning about ALL of Black history, including (but not limited to): Black people’s contributions to science, medicine, and art. Black queer history, the Black Panther Party, and current social justice movements as well.
4. Have tough conversations with the other Non-Black folk in your life
It is not Black people’s responsibility to educate everyone on everything or to have
emotionally draining and traumatic conversations with Non-Black individuals for their self-improvement. The onus should be on other Non-Black individuals to bear the burden of these conversations. So, talk to your friends, your family, your partner. Help educate them and call out their problematic behavior, so the Black people in their lives won’t have to.
5. Allow Black people to just be.
So often, Non-Black individuals put Black people up on this pedestal. Where it is necessary to acknowledge the many achievements and contributions Black people have made to our society, we want to be careful not to harp on “Black Exceptionalism.” Allow Black people to be regular folk, allow them to rest, allow them to just be.
About the Author: My name is Dejah Myers, I am a current MSW student working towards becoming a licensed psychotherapist. I have been a part of Southeast chapter of Peacejam for the past 4 years. I have served as a mentor, jamily leader, and fundraising chair for the alumni board. I am also an educational speaker and have given presentations on a wide array of topics including Race, Veganism, Environmentalism, and Mental and Physical Health.