I am feeling focused and somewhat hopeful going into week thirteen. Not about COVID, that has been an afterthought for the past week, but in finding some direction to take to help impart changes in our country. Last week was a tumultuous and painful time for our country. It was uplifting to see people unite together to battle a nation-wide problem. But, it is disheartening to see a country where, after the foundation laid by the Civil Rights Movement and what seemed (from my sheltered life experience) like progress in our society, I am jarringly awoken to the fact that our society has not progressed much in my lifetime and, perhaps, has actually regressed over the last 40 years.
While I generally don’t intend to venture into the the political realm on this blog, it is unavoidable in this case. We cannot condone the use of the military to silence the voice of peaceful protesters exercising their First Amendment rights to demand equality for all Americans, especially those of color for whom it has so often been denied.
We cannot continue to tolerate a society that turns a blind eye to socioeconomic disparities along race lines, excuses indefensible police brutality and tacitly allows prejudice to continue. It is heartening to see so many corporations start to come out and commit to supporting social justice along with the push for reforms at the state, local and federal levels. It will not be a quick road to lasting change but hopefully this time we are experiencing a tectonic shift that will move our society forward, permanently.
While it may not yet resonate as strongly as it should, the fact that the NFL has finally come forward acknowledging their past failings in how they addressed racial injustice should be seen as a major turning point. As the NFL is the largest professional sports league, they have the platform to reach millions of Americans in a way that very few organizations can.
But, the NFL, corporations and even changes in laws will not be enough to root out inequality and bigotry. I wish I had the personal knowledge, network and platform to be a driver of these changes but I have to admit that I feel somewhat limited in my ability to make things better. However, I think that there are two roles I can play here to help contribute:
First, I can and will absolutely do my work at home to make sure that we are teaching our children to see color. To acknowledge and celebrate people’s differences and their cultures and make sure to always treat everyone equally and to call out those those that don’t. It is one thing to believe in equality but quite another to have the gumption to stand up for those that would put others down.
Second, donate time and money to foundations and charities led by the most articulate leadership on this topic as they guide real change in our country.
Here is what I came up with and the first place we are donating is Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp.
NAACP – ” SUPPORT THE FIGHT FOR RACIAL JUSTICE – While we are living in a moment unlike any we have seen before, LDF will continue to work to protect the most vulnerable in our society. During this time, the fight to defend our civil and human rights has never been more critical. Donate today to help us win landmark legal battles, protect voters across the nation, and advance the cause of racial justice, equality, and an inclusive society.”
- The ACLU – “The ACLU dares to create a more perfect union — beyond one person, party, or side. Our mission is to realize this promise of the United States Constitution for all and expand the reach of its guarantees.“
- Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp – “Our mission is to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization and the creation of new systems that elevate the next generation of change leaders.“
- Patients R Waiting – “Our 3 areas of focus are; Increasing the pipeline of minority clinicians, making the pipeline of minority clinicians less leaky and support minority clinicians in practice.“
- Equal Justice Initiative – “The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.“
- Common Ground Foundation -“I started the Common Ground Foundation because I wanted to help. Most of all help people to help themselves. I always believed that if we started with the youth then we would be planting the seeds for our future to blossom. Give the children a sense of hope, self-esteem, and love that will better the world…I think making a difference in the lives of others is life’s greatest purpose. I walk this path with faith knowing that the Common Ground Foundation will Change the World.”- Love, COMMON
- FC Harlem – “1. Create more opportunities for Black and Latino youth from Harlem, Washington Heights and the Bronx to participate in soccer for minimum to no cost.
2. Develop and prepare youth to be CONFIDENT, COMPETENT and CARING future leaders. 3. Develop a creative player from the inner city that will positively impact US Soccer landscape.”
- Urban Arts Partnership – “We believe integrating the arts in every classroom disrupts the status quo in public schools, engages students and boosts academic outcomes. Because a quality education shouldn’t depend on a child’s zip code.
We design and implement innovative educational programs rooted in the arts. Think learning English through storytelling, fractions through music, coding through game design, or socialization skills through role play.”