Amidst the informative, fearsome, inspiring upheaval of voices and energies we’ve witnessed and/or been part of this last week, I offer here some resources for action and perspective….
“The point of protest is to raise public awareness, to put a spotlight on injustice, and to make the powers that be uncomfortable; in fact, throughout American history, it’s often only been in response to protests and civil disobedience that the political system has even paid attention to marginalized communities.” – Barack Obama
“In the final analysis, the riot is the language of the unheard. What is it that America has failed to hear?” – Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.
75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
Even if we each did just a few of these, it would start to really add up. Scan over the list (the perspective you get from just doing that will be enlightening) and pick a few actions that feel right for you. Then spread the word.
The White Ally Toolkit
These resources help white allies fight against racism with best practice communications skills based on listening, storytelling, and compassion.
And just in case you didn’t realize there was a problem with some deep history here, check out Racism in the U.S.
This intro, as long as it is, just hints at the full legacy. Beyond it, there is no shortage of remarkable writing, acting, art, music and videography of all sorts on this subject, as noted in the “75 Things” list above. Maybe, thanks to all the demonstrations, more of this work will be delved into by more people.
How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change
Barack Obama points to where to focus attention for changes in violent, racist policing.
How to reform American police, according to experts
As protesters demonstrate against police violence, here are eight ideas for reforming law enforcement in the US, along with some eye-opening background telling us why.
What to do instead of calling the police / Alternatives to police
Here is where efforts for healthy communities can intersect with efforts to make professional police forces less challenged and problematic – or even to replace them entirely….
A closer look at the knee on the neck – Lots of detailed discussion, none of which changes the fact that it was applied to Floyd in a way that would almost certainly kill him.
And a book that deepened my own thinking about the complexities of policing
Into the Kill Zone: A Cop’s Eye View of Deadly Force by David Klinger
It’s filled with detailed first-person accounts of and by the cops involved and their families and others impacted by what happened – and what didn’t happen….
ALWAYS A SPECTRUM OF VIEWPOINTS….
First of all, the vast majority of the current protests were peaceful demonstrations, not riots. Some highlights….
But some of the protests did include riots (albeit often not started by protesters).
Take a time out to consider the many viewpoints alive during a riot, intensely presented by a skillful shape-shifter….
You can watch them (in sequences of short episodes that load automatically):
1. LA – Twilight Los Angeles – the Rodney King riots [I am sorry to say that only a half-dozen of her skits from this show are currently available]
2. NYC – Fires in the Mirror – the Crown Heights riot between Blacks and Jews
And don’t forget the spaces around demonstrations and riots, where we find voices like the following saying deeply relevant things….
…. and we know that these are only the tip of a vast iceberg.
So it helps to not get tunnel vision in the political intensity of the moment, even as we passionately engage. Because too much of importance is happening elsewhere, outside our focus….
And it helps to remember there are never only two sides to any issue. And the more sides and views we can see, hear and take into account, the more of the Big Picture we will be able to embrace as we interact with our world.
Finally, it helps to have useful tools as we engage with the complexity of the world we actually live in, a service provided by the Co-Intelligence Institute’s Wise Democracy Pattern Language Project. Check out all the resources associated with each pattern. (Go ahead, click one, just to check it out as an example….)
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Tom Atlee, The Co-Intelligence Institute, POB 493, Eugene, OR 97440
Evoking and engaging the wisdom and resourcefulness of the whole on behalf of the whole
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