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5 Ways To Continue To Fight The Power From Home

5 Ways To Continue To Fight The Power From Home

Between work, a baby, and COVID, I knew protesting in the streets was a no go for me. Here's how I found a way to contribute to the cause from home.

Human Interest

I dare not lie and say I have all the answers to fighting systematic racism or the social injustice that continues to plague black folks. In fact, a few weeks ago I was just as angry, tired, and confused as the next person. I cried my tears, stewed in my frustration, and vented until I could vent no more.

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I had an honest moment with myself, admitting that all the reposting in the world did little to fix the issues at hand. After coming to grips with this reality, I decided I was going to do something that mattered, but what? Between work, a baby, and COVID, I knew protesting in the streets was a no go for me. Thankfully, my Sorority sent out a call-to-action that included several ways I could make a difference from home. Once I worked through that initial list, I stumbled upon resource after resource and even created a few ideas of my own.

Here is a rundown of some of my faves thus far.

When We All Vote

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If you are like me, you have seen activists everywhere harping on the importance of voting. There is a reason for that. Our vote dictates more than who becomes President, it influences who serves as District Attorney, Mayor, City Councilmen, and so forth.

Make a concerted effort to learn more about the issues affecting your state and hometown. Next, look at which candidates seem most aligned with the needs of your community. Take note of their stance regarding social injustice and other issues facing the black community. Mark your calendar with reminders of election days in your city. Finally, if you've moved, changed your name, or just aren't registered to vote, you can visit whenweallvote.org to register.

See Something, Say Something

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We often discount the power of our voice. If you notice a lack of diversity or an instance of social injustice, call it out and ask for help changing it. It is as simple as writing or calling your Congressman to state your concerns and what you'd like to see happen as a result of those concerns. If you're not sure where to begin, NAACP.org does a great job of laying out some of these concerns in an easy-to-understand format that you can use as a guide.

Lack of diversity at work? Write your CEO to respectfully explain your experience as a black employee, why it matters and solutions for change. You may be surprised to see the impact your voice truly makes.

Participate in the Census

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There's not enough emphasis placed on truly understanding the importance of the census.

The census is vital to change because it directly affects billions of federal government budgetary allocations. These allocations could be the difference between funding community centers in black neighborhoods or elsewhere. Nearly everything you can think of is impacted by the census – public transit systems, highway repairs and construction, free lunch, daycare, and housing assistance just to name a few. In addition, the census determines congressional representation. It is also used to draw congressional legislative districts as well as state legislative districts. The opportunity only comes once in a decade and it's here now. If you haven't already completed your 2020 Census, visit 2020Census.gov. The process is quick and painless but makes a world of difference.

Spend Consciously 

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With black consumers spending more than any other demographic group, now is the time to put your money where your mouth is. Only shop with socially responsible companies who reflect good diversity practices and are in the fight for equality with us. Be conscious about supporting Black-owned businesses and double down on your philanthropic efforts by contributing to organizations that are making a difference in your community. Not sure whether you should support a brand? Go follow @pullupforchange. You will find diversity stats and action plans for a ton of major brands with the list growing daily.

Use Your Influence

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Been sitting on a great idea? Now's your chance to put it out there. Get creative about effectuating change by leading your own movement. Do not despise small beginnings. If everyone did something positive, imagine the difference we could make.

For my part, I have hosted a little black dress photo challenge to bring awareness to the slaying of Breonna Taylor and raise funds for justice. Aside from this, I created an email template that can be used as a starting point for discussing workplace diversity. The outcome of these efforts has been phenomenal. A huge reminder that we all have what it takes to fight the power by using our voice and our resources.

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Featured image by Shutterstock.

Black Women, We Deserve More

When the NYT posted an article this week about the recent marriage of a Black woman VP of a multi-billion-dollar company and a Black man who took her on a first date at the parking lot of a Popeyes, the reaction on social media was swift and polarizing. The two met on Hinge and had their parking lot rendezvous after he’d canceled their first two dates. When the groom posted a photo from their wedding on social media, he bragged about how he never had “pressure” to take her on “any fancy dates or expensive restaurants.”

It’s worth reading on your own to get the full breadth of all the foolery that transpired. But the Twitter discourse it inspired on what could lead a successful Black woman to accept lower than bare minimum in pursuit of a relationship and marriage, made me think of the years of messaging that Black women receive about how our standards are too high and what we have to “bring to the table” in order to be "worthy" of what society has deemed is the ultimate showing of our worth: a marriage to a man.

That's right, the first pandemic I lived through was not Covid, but the pandemic of the Black male relationship expert. I was young – thirteen to be exact – when Steve Harvey published his best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Though he was still just a stand-up comedian, oversized suit hoarder, and man on his third marriage at the time, his relationship advice was taken as the gospel truth.

The 2000s were a particularly bleak time to be a single Black woman. Much of the messaging –created by men – that surrounded Black women at the time blamed their desire for a successful career and for a partner that matched their drive and ambition for the lack of romance in their life. Statistics about Black women’s marriageability were always wielded against Black women as evidence of our lack of desirability.

It’s no wonder then that a man that donned a box cut well into the 2000s was able to convince women across the nation to not have sex for the first three months of a relationship. Or that a slew of other Black men had their go at telling Black women that they’re not good enough and why their book, seminar, or show will be the thing that makes them worthy of a Good Man™.

This is how we end up marrying men who cancel twice before taking us on a “date” in the Popeyes parking lot, or husbands writing social media posts about how their Black wife is not “the most beautiful” or “the most intelligent” or the latest season of trauma dumping known as Black Love on OWN.

Now that I’ve reached my late twenties, many things about how Black women approach dating and relationships have changed and many things have remained the same. For many Black women, the idea of chronic singleness is not the threat that it used to be. Wanting romance doesn’t exist in a way that threatens to undermine the other relationships we have with our friends, family, and ourselves as it once did, or at least once was presented to us. There is a version of life many of us are embracing where a man not wanting us, is not the end of what could still be fruitful and vibrant life.

There are still Black women out there however who have yet to unlearn the toxic ideals that have been projected onto us about our worthiness in relation to our intimate lives. I see it all the time online. The absolute humiliation and disrespect some Black women are willing to stomach in the name of being partnered. The hoops that some Black women are willing to jump through just to receive whatever lies beneath the bare minimum.

It's worth remembering that there are different forces at play that gather to make Black women feast off the scraps we are given. A world saturated by colorism, fatphobia, anti-Blackness, ableism, and classism will always punish Black women who demand more for themselves. Dismantling these systems also means divesting from any and everything that makes us question our worth.

Because truth be told, Black women are more than worthy of having a love that is built on mutual respect and admiration. A love that is honey sweet and radiates a light that rivals the sun. A love that is a steadying calming force that doesn’t bring confusion or anxiety. Black women deserve a love that is worthy of the prize that we are.

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