Jun 03, 2020
"Every day, you have the power to choose our better history — by opening your hearts and minds, by speaking up for what you know is right" - Michelle Obama
Like everyone else, we are heartbroken by the recent deaths of innocent Black people - George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and Ahmaud Arbery, as well as so many others - at the hands of American police officers. Protests all across America and the world have seen people coming together to take a stand against racism. Canada is not exempt from issues of racism. It’s crucial for people everywhere to come together in solidarity, educate themselves and inform others.
We've spent the last few days actively learning more about the #BlackLivesMatter movement and how to become the best allies we can be to Black people and people of colour. There is still so much learning to do and we must continue to keep bettering ourselves. If you're not sure what to say, listen. If you're not sure what to do, educate yourself. It is not enough to be "not sure" when racism is taking lives on a daily basis.
We're using our platforms to share some of the resources that have helped us educate ourselves on the movement. There is also a list of actions you can take right now to support the Black community, both here in Calgary and across the world. This is a space that we at CCC are all continuing to learn about and we welcome any feedback.
Change your language
There are phrases that people regularly use that, no matter how well-intentioned, are very harmful and damaging to people of colour. Being mindful and changing the language you use is a good step in the right direction.
The quickest way to show your support is to add your name to any or all of the petitions you see that are supporting the Black community.
The BlackLivesMatters site has an extensive list of petitions you can sign, including U.S. zipcodes for those of us not in the States to use.
Justice for George Floyd - Yesterday, the other three officers involved in the murder of George Floyd were arrested, but there is still a long way to go. We still need Justice for Breonna Taylor, Justice for Ahmaud Arbery, Justice for Tony McDade and for so many others.
Educate yourself through books written by Black authors
It’s important to learn the roots of the movement and why this issue is still ongoing. Reading books written by Black authors is one of the ways to educate yourself on the history of oppression and what you can do to help. Here are a few examples to add to your to-read list:
Why I'm No Longer To White People Talking About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelo
White Rage: The Unspoken Truth About Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
Many of these books are available through the Calgary Public Library or local independent book stores.
You can also support other Black authors by purchasing their work - look to see if you can purchase directly from the author's website, rather than from a big name company. This is a list of Forthcoming Books for 2020 by African-Americans.
Learn through films and videos
If you're more of a visual person, take some time to watch these films, videos and documentaries:
Public Address On Revolution: Revolution Now by Rachel Cargle - YouTube
Dear White People – This Netflix-original series follows several Black college students at a predominantly white Ivy League school. The show uses honesty and humour to highlight racial issues that still plague our society.
13th – This documentary explores the history of racial inequality in the United States and the U.S. prison boom.
John Boyega speaking at the Black Lives Matters UK Protect - Instagram
Chrissy Ford discussing why 'It’s not enough to just say “I’m not racist”'
YYC Colours - a documentary about racism in Calgary from the Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation
Educate your kids
As Nelson Mandela once said, "no one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."
This is the time to teach your children about what's going on and why there needs to be change. Be honest about oppression and privilege. Don't shy away from it. TheConciousKid is a great Instagram account for parents wanting to start these conversations.
There are a number of books that discuss race in a way that is understandable for smaller children - try I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont, The Skin I’m In: A First Look at Racism by Pat Thomas and It’s Okay To Be Different: A Children’s Picture Book About Diversity and Kindness by Sharon Purtill.
Embrace Race - For older children, this is a great option. There are many webinars and resources with useful topics to get children thinking. They also produced this list of 31 Children's books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance.
For those of us based in Calgary, you may have seen or heard of the protests this week. On Saturday, there will be a peaceful protest and vigil outside City Hall at 4 p.m. in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Precautions to take if you are protesting during the COVID-19 crisis: wear a face mask, prioritize signs or noisemakers over yelling, and bring hand sanitizer.
How to Protest Safely: What to Bring, What to Do, and What to Avoid - This article is U.S.-based but contains a lot of good advice to follow in order to protest safely.
This is a good list of more resources related to protesting - BlackLivesMatter Protest Page
Make changes in your workplace
133 chief executives from some of the biggest companies across Canada signed off on a statement released by the Business Council of Canada, vowing to denounce racism and do more to promote diversity. But it doesn't just end with a signature. Update your diversity training by including relevant articles, books and films as a part of a training requirement. Make resources available to your staff members and be an ally to people of colour in your workplace.
Donate (funds and time)
When signing petitions, we've seen notes to not donate to change.org - the money donated this way will go to change.org itself, when it is vitally needed by so many other charities.
Black Lives Matter Global Network: https://blacklivesmatter.com/
Here's a list of ways you can donate to help protestors.
Bail Funds: Split your donation across many of the reputable bail funds across America.
Minnesota Freedom Fund: A non-profit that pays bail and immigration bonds for individuals who have been arrested while protesting police brutality. They have been flooded with donations and are asking for people to donate to other organizations.
Stream to Donate: This is a free way to contribute to the movement. Be sure to turn off your adblocker, then let the ads roll all the way through. The ad revenue will be donated to the BLM movement.
George Floyd Memorial Fund: The official memorial fund to support the Floyd family.
Color of Change: A nonprofit civil rights organization that "help(s) people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us."
For anyone looking to donate to Alberta-based organizations:
Calgary Foundation's list of Black-Led and Black-Serving Organizations in Our Community is a great resource.
United Nations Association in Canada: The Calgary Branch works here in our city and works to educate people on equality.
The Come Up is based in Edmonton and they lead consultations with African and Caribbean students in schools.
ActionDignity is a community-based organization working to enhance the voices of ethno-cultural communities in Calgary.
Check on your Black/POC friends
It's not the job of Black people or people of colour to educate white people on the history of racism, white privilege and how it is ingrained in every aspect of our society. But their voices need to be heard in other ways. Talk to your friends of colour. Check on them. Listen to them. Help them if they ask for it. Give them the time they need to grieve, protest, be angry. Take a look at this article for how you can best support your friends.
Support Black businesses
Black YYC is a platform for Calgary based Black-owned businesses to be highlighted (the page hasn't been updated with businesses in a while but they have been posting about the BLM movement, so expect them to be more active in the near future).
AfroBiz is a fantastic website highlighting Black-owned businesses all across Canada. The page for Calgary businesses can be found here, but many other cities across the country have their own pages too.
Diversify your social media feeds
Bring more of the Black community into what you consume on a day to day basis. Be intentional about who you follow.
Black Women United YEG Facebook Page - an Edmonton-based collective, working towards the protection and advancement of Black women and girls.
Use your voice online
Use your platform to share resources on the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Your voice is not too small. Use it!