Film: 13th (Ava DuVernay, 2016)

Real Talk, Real Walk™ Monthly Livestream: August 17, 2023 @ 12pm

Where to join: Watch live on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or YouTube.

At the e(RACE)r Institute, we focus on empowering people so that they become the change.

The kind of change we are looking for goes well beyond the personal.

Sure, you have to do your work, take your courses, and learn what you need to learn.

But you also have to be courageous.

You have to be ready to put it all on the line.

You have to try to take what you’re learning “in theory” and put it into practice.

And folks, that what this space here is for.

So tell me, are you ready? Cause I know we are!

13th has given us another peek into how systems operate to maintain a particular racial hierarchy. And, historically, it shows us how people in positions of power and privilege actively enacted policies that they knew hurt Black and Latino communities across the U.S.

The same thing happens in Canada.

The reason Black and Indigenous communities challenging ongoing investments in traditional policing is because those same police services have released reports documenting the disproportionate use of force against Black and Indigenous communities. That means we know that traditional policing is harming certain communities, but we are investing in it anyway.

Black, Indigenous, and other non-white racialized communities deserve to feel safe. But you can’t feel safe when that state doesn’t take their own data seriously.

And that’s where you come in.

What can you do?

You have loads of things you can do.

And it starts with being focused, courageous, and creative.

Be Focused

Pick a sector that you resonate with. Maybe you work in that sector or volunteer with people impacted by it. No matter what your connection, honour it and learn about it.

Ask questions about its history. How was it first established? Why was it first established? Who did it aim to serve? Who has it historically not served?

These general questions will help you get started. But you also want to be more specific:

How are Black, Indigenous, and other non-white racialized communities supported in that sector? Does the sector collect race-based data? In fact, if you’re looking at a specific organization, ask them when they last collected race-based data.

That’s right: Don’t ask them “if” they collect race-based data. Expect more from them. Ask them WHEN they last collected it and what they used that data to do. Did it fuel hiring initiatives? Did it influence policy development? Why did they collect the data and what did they do with it once it was collected?

Be Courageous

Once you have that data in hand, it’s time to be courageous.

Talk to Black, Indigenous, and other non-white racialized people. Ask them how they feel about that sector and/ or that organization. Find out how they feel about what the sector says it is doing to change. Ask them what is needed to heal the wounds that come with past engagement in the sector.

Remember that you have one job: to hold space. You’re not defending a sector or justifying actions. You’re actively listening to what is being said and you are looking for opportunities to help address the very real experiences of racism that have been sanctioned by the state.

Be Creative

Now it’s time to be creative. Start collaborating on ideas that can address the harm. Start sharing connections you have with advocacy organizations that are doing this anti-racist work, and offer to help them as best as you can.

Be discerning: doing anti-racist work is an art form. There is planning that goes into it, and targets we aim for to demonstrate change in a system. So engaging in the learning that comes with doing this important work.

This is how you consciously and intentionally work to disrupt racist patterns.

If you haven’t already, be sure to join the e(RACE)r: An Anti-Racist Collective. There, we have 100 people just like you trying to figure out how they can address racism in the sector they work in, or in the spaces that hang.

Be sure to share examples of what you have done to address anti-Black racism in our e(RACE)r: An Anti-Racist Collective. And, if you haven’t yet begun this work, share what you hope to do in your sphere of influence.

Looking forward to reading all about it in our the e(RACE)r: An Anti-Racist Collective!

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