Saturday, February 7, 2015

Baby Steps into Activism: A Time Sensitive Call to Action

Becoming politically active is not unlike choosing to walk across a mine field. It takes years to figure out how to avoid making regular missteps. And yet, taking action that sparks controversy and upset is bound to happen. No doubt about it, it’s painful to find out that regardless of your best intentions, people you care about think you made an error.

Navigating challenging feedback is tough, especially when there has been a serious attempt to outreach to a diverse set of people before taking action.  What do you do when two of your closest advisers give you different advice? When it comes to issues of race, as a white person, I have frequently felt challenged when two politically-minded friends of color have expressed totally opposite viewpoints and suggestions.

One of my closest friends recently faced this challenge. He’s a white rapper invested in social justice. He just released a song called Listen, and it highlights the receipt of military-grade weapons by a local school district. It’s a good song, and it’s an amazing first step into political activism.

And, it’s not a perfect effort (from an activist's standpoint). There’s a particular phrase that sets things up a bit too much as him being a “protector” for students of color. Since my friend is a white guy, this easily calls to mind the “white savior” idea. We’ve talked about this, and he’s been receptive to feedback.

This one point of feedback, however, should not detract him from forward movement. A large number of people of color in his life are saying: “Yes, you have to do this. Yes, this is a great song. Yes, this is useful. Yes, we are behind you.” A diverse, creative, well-connected set of people have also come together to help produce a video for the song that should help it reach a wider audience and support action steps

But, even with these folks working for free…there is money to be raised to help make the video shoot happen. This is where seasoned activists and caring individuals come in. If you want to help support a budding activist in walking this path, please take a few minutes and contribute even a little to his Kickstarter campaign.

If we can get a bunch of people to contribute even $5 or $10 each, we can demonstrate that taking a risk to put yourself on the line, in the path of critique, is worthwhile. This is a great way to help me send the message to my friend he should continue down this challenging road of learning how to walk the activists’ path.

Please donate whatever you can and share with others who recognize the need to support an emerging activist and all those rallying behind him.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Shelly,

    Hi, there, my so, so very dearest and precious white sisterfriend, Shelly! What a fantastic and very inspiring blog post article in which you have written, and I just love the wonderful work your friend has done on his great song, Listen. I so love this song of his-this white brother of ours has been so on point and right on with this beautiful work of his, sister!!!!!! Shelly, you, too, are For Always my very special and steadfast inspiration as the wondrously wonderful white woman who you are as my sister as the lesbian black woman who I am, and to other black persons, other nonwhite persons, and our white sisters and brothers, my white sisterfriend who you are so, so very much!!!!!! Shelly, I have just gone to the great link which you put on this spectacular blog post article, and I made a donation for the splendid creator of Listen, and I am praying so hard and thinking such good thoughts for him, and sending him positive energy his way that he has all the success as possible in spreading his proactive message in his allyship and activism as a white anti-racist brother!!!!!!! He is just doing such a great and wonderful, so, so very empowering endeavor, sister!!!!!!

    Sister, I just so love and cherish so, so very much you, Shelly, and my other white allies and activists in solidarity as the beautiful inside and out children of our Good God who you all are so very indeed!!!!!!! You and the others, Shelly, just For Always keep me keeping on, and For Always keep my very faith and hope alive, sister!!!!!!!! I think of each and every one of you like my local white sisterfriends, and indeed all of you, who have been such true blue and loyal friends to me, Spirit-saving and even life-saving at times-like in the Great Flood of 2008 in Iowa I lost my basement apartment back then on the Iowa River due to the flood, and I received an emergency evacuation order to get out of my apartment because the flood waters were coming down the street intersecting mine. I don't drive due to my multiple physical disabilities, and I don't have a car. I had no way to escape and evacuate my apartment, so I called one of my very many, many local white sisterfriends who came and got me, and we took as much of my belongings out of my old apartment. Because she came and got me,. I escaped being trapped in my old basement apartment and drowning. This is not even the first time my white sisterfriends have been in a life-saving position for me-my white sisterfriends are my very family of choice and my very heart, my white sisterfriend, Shelly!!!!!!!

    I can just imagine in my mind's eye and when I pray and meditate how challenging it must be for you, precious sister Shelly, and for the great creator of Listen, and for other white persons to come out of white denial and to face racism and white privilege. Dealing with your white process,. white conditioning, and white enculturation must be a major life's change, and take a major revamping of all of your thinking. I can just imagine in my mind's eye and when I pray and meditate that if I were a white women that this would be so unsettling and petrifying of a process. I understand so, so very well, sister. I truly appreciate you, precious and dearest sisterfriend, Shelly, and all of the other empowering and inspiring white anti-racists and allies in your allyship in solidarity from the very deepest depths of my heart from the very bottom of my very heart For Always!!!!!!!

    Shelly, thank-you, thank-you, thank-you For Always for this magnificent blog post articles and your other very marvelous ones, and for all you do so, so very well in such a very gracious and generous manner!!!!!! Sisterfriend, please have a Happy Sunday!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my white sister, Shelly, and Blessings and Even More Blessings To You For Always, my white sisterfriend,

    Your Christian lesbian black sisterfrriend For Always in solidarity, Sherry Gordon