Black lives matter

Right now, Black people in America are hurting.

"We’ve seen brown and black people killed by the very people who were supposed to protect and serve. For having a car that broke down, for walking, for running, for playing loud music, going to church, driving or reading a book in their own car." – Chris Lema

Chris wrote a powerful post about how "we’ve spent the last 35 years witnessing exactly how little the lives of people are valued if they’re not part of the dominant culture." I encourage you to read it.

I'm Canadian, and in the past, I naively thought that racial issues were "not my problem." This was incredibly ignorant of me; I'm embarrassed that I thought that way.

This video by Rachel Rodgers hit me hard. In it she says:

"Being an ally means getting uncomfortable. It means risking your status and your reputation. It’s not enough to make an Instagram post and donate. You have to do more. Put your lives on the line for black people." 

I've donated and I've tweeted, but Rachel helped me realize that to be an ally, I need to put my life on the line.

Racism is real. It affects people in the bootstrapping community. It affects our peers, customers, and partners. It affects our friends and co-workers.

"Nobody's free until everybody's free." – Fannie Lou Hamer

Here are things I'm doing right now:

  1. Listening and supporting. My Black friends, peers, customers, and community members are hurting. This isn't the time for me to tell them what I think.

  2. Educating myself. I've just started reading "So You Want to Talk About Race" by Ijeoma Oluo. "Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions listeners don't dare ask."

  3. Acting. I've donated to The Loveland Foundation, and I'm amplifying Black voices on Twitter, but I know that's not enough. Those are still pretty convenient and comfortable things for me to do. Again, Rachel Rodgers: "Being an ally means getting uncomfortable." I'm still wrestling with that: what am I willing to do, to put my life on the line for people suffering from injustice?

I run an online community, and I recently posted this message:

I want to be clear. Here in this space, we stand against racism and injustice.

Our code of conduct states that we don't "tolerate harassment of participants in any form." Right now, we need to go a step further. In this group, there are folks who have experienced racism their whole lives. They're hurting. Here, they are free to express their anger, hurt, and frustration. This is not the time for the rest of us to tell them what we think. 

We're here to listen, support, and respond by being their advocates.

None of this is enough. I'm still too comfortable. But I'm committed to risking more, and helping where I can.

Published on May 31st, 2020
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