Written by Amity Lantz-Trier, Director of Youth and Family Faith Formation
As February has come to a close we have spent the last month honoring and remembering many of the Black men and women who have had an impact on our county in many different ways. We know Black history is happening constantly and we have been reminded of that more than ever this last year. The murder of George Floyd sparked a fire that has been continuously burning since May.
We stood together to bring attention to racial injustice and police brutality, nationally celebrated Juneteenth, we supported Black businesses as much as we could, elected an array of Black and people of color to our local, state, and national governments, combated voter suppression linked to racism, and elected a Black and Asian American to be our first female Vice-President.
To me, the most important work happened in our churches. We started asking questions, listening to stories, uplifting Black voices and planning. Planning on how to continue this movement. Planning on how to continue to make the world a better place for our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) sisters and brothers.
We can’t stop now. Kathy Pierre of Relevant Magazine gives 5 great ways to continue and support our black communities:
While figures of Black history won’t be in the forefront of the news, you can keep learning by reading books. Read books about society and the systems and institutions that were set up to keep Black people—and people of color—marginalized. Read biographies on lesser-known Black people who affected the United States and the world in great ways. Read fiction books written by Black writers. Read memoirs written by Black writers. Read to have an understanding and don’t be afraid to read other books and do research inspired by the books you’ve read.
Support Black Businesses and Creators
“Support small businesses” is a common rallying call in our country. This year, consider shopping from Black-owned businesses where you can and recommending them to your friends and family. In the same vein, look for Black creatives and creators and support their work. Whether that looks like paying Black writers to write—not just about race, buying art from Black artists, watching films and TV shows by Black screenwriters and directors, and listening to music from Black musicians
Add Black People to Your Networks
One of the downfalls of networking, aside from how much introverts hate it, is the way it unintentionally excludes people of color. When you’re networking or looking for young people to mentor, be intentional about looking for people of color you can connect to opportunities and other people who can help them succeed.
Consider volunteering with or donating to nonprofit organizations that serve marginalized communities. Get plugged in and genuinely attempt to become part of that community in a way that will transform you and the people you’re helping.
Learn More History
Many cities across the United States and the world have museums focused on the history and contributions of Black people. Going to a museum is generally a cheap way to spend your day and you’ll come away with information you didn’t know before entering and you’ll be able to experience it and learn with an added visual component, which can even make old information feel new.
Most importantly we must continue to do the work in our churches. As the church, it is our responsibility to confront the silence and indifference concerning racial issues. We need a greater understanding of what the Kingdom of Heaven looks like here on earth and what part we have to play in the narrative. We turn to God in prayer first, asking for guidance and understanding as we continue to work towards a world in which all of God’s children are afforded the same privileges as one another.