I'm not going to talk about how "shocked" or "horrified" or "disgusted" or "heartbroken" I am about the state of the country right now. (Or any of those other empty-sounding words and phrases brands and influencers have used to share their thoughts on what's going on.) Let's not beat around the bush.
The murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many, MANY other black people who lost their lives in America have finally forced non-white folks to face racism. I'm not going to dwell on what I think — I already shared on my Instagram page — but instead, I want to share resources, book-related and non book-related, so that people can take action and fight racism.
*I also want to note that I'll continue to talk about and promote upcoming books that I'm excited for following this post. That doesn't mean that my personal fight against racism has ended. I'll continue to share other resources as I come across them.
Read POC authors
There are so many incredible book lists out there that I would love to credit. This book list in particular by @theartisangeek includes black literature from all genres. It's important to remember that reading books by diverse authors is not all about pain and suffering. You should also check out diverse stories about daily life. Falling in love. Going to school. Having a family. Fun stuff!
Books on @theartisangeek's list that I would personally recommend also:
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim *on my library hold list
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams *on my library hold list
Purchase books from black-owned bookstores
The African American Literature Book Club has a list of all the black-owned bookstores in the U.S., sorted by state, city and name. Rather than purchase your next book from Amazon, consider supporting one of these small local businesses instead.
Sign petitions and donate
Check out this post by @chnge if you need help finding organizations you can donate to. There's the Minnesota Freedom Fund, Campaign Zero, and the ACLU, to name a few.
Petitions to sign:
"If we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn't between protest and politics. We have to do both." Barack Obama posted this in a much longer post on his Instagram on June 1st, and I couldn't agree more.
The election dates many states have already passed, but there are quite a few in June, July and August for other states. Check the 2020 Presidential Primary Election Calendar here to see if yours was rescheduled and when.
A couple more notes
I'm currently reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, which examines the ethics of race and class in medical research. Henrietta Lacks, whose cancer cells made medical breakthroughs possible, was never asked for her consent to give her cells, nor was her family told or compensated. I'm about 80 pages in, but so far I'm hooked.
In local uplifting news, I'm happy to see that Colorado introduced a sweeping police reform bill yesterday that requires all police offers to wear body cameras, plus makes it easier for civilians to sue individual police officers. It's a step in the right direction that may help hold police officers accountable for their actions.
If you made it to the end of this post, thanks for reading. Stay strong. #blacklivesmatter