Chronicles of sadness and strangeness in the time of COVID-19
Tuesday, June 2: Black Lives Matter. All black lives, all the time. After the murders of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, within the context of hundreds of years of racism, police brutality and violence against black people, my usual diary entries felt inappropriate. As a white person, what are some things I could do to work against our violent system of white supremacy?
I can listen to and follow black leadership, particularly black women and femmes. Here are just a few of the black women local to Charlottesville that I have been able to learn from when I pay attention and listen: Lisa Woolfork, who organizes BlackWomenStitch on Instagram; Zyahna Bryant, who grew up in Charlottesville, is now a UVA student and has been a leader in the local movement for racial justice for years, is on twitter; Nikuyah Walker, the current mayor of Charlottesville, who has also been working for racial justice in Charlottesville for many years, and is on Facebook; Jalane Schmidt, who has been working towards changing the racist narrative in Charlottesville, including getting the confederate monuments removed, is on Twitter. There are many more, as well.
I can speak out against and resist white supremacy: object, call it out, say no, and participate in protests like the ones that have been so successful in so many cities across the country in recent days.
I can donate to and support local black-led advocacy organizations. There are many in Charlottesville. Lending Hands has helped countless people, including many black women, get re-established in the community after being caught up in the criminal justice system and is a great resource for racial justice work locally. Public Housing Association of Residents (PHAR) is a leader in the movement for housing justice in Charlottesville. The People’s Coalition does great work on policing and criminal justice in Charlottesville. Black Lives Matter-Charlottesville was formed in 2017 to work against white supremacy and support black people locally. The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center has hosted many important events on racial justice in recent years and is a center of African American history in Charlottesville. Again, these are just a few among many.