Check Your Privilege and Build Community

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”

Coretta Scott King

By: Lauren Michelle

Edited by: Rachele Blick

It’s time to stop being silent. My heart is broken for the black community and the systematic racism, harassment, and police brutality that they endure every day in this country. 

This blog was created as a resource to foster intentional community and honest conversations between friends. Racism is a heavy topic, but it is an extremely evil problem plaguing our nation. Racism affects all of our communities, and I acknowledge that other race communities experience this problem too. The conversation has to continue. 

I acknowledge my privilege as a straight white woman, and as a person who has been blessed to have a supportive family, access to medical services, higher education, and never worrying if I could be shot by a police officer. I am thankful and not ashamed of these advantages, but I understand that I have a responsibility to use my blessings to reach out and serve others and lift up the voices of the oppressed and disadvantaged. 

Privilege extends beyond race. Kathleen Ebbitt says it best: “Having privilege does not mean that an individual is immune to life’s hardships, but it does mean having an unearned benefit or advantage one receives in society by nature of their identity.” 

Ebbitt also shares advice in having conversations about privilege with your friends in her article:

  1. Lead with empathy. Get an understanding of individual experience 
  2. Understand the relativity of privilege
  3. Systematic injustice is good for no one
  4. You don’t need to feel guilty or defensive when discussing privilege 
  5. Consider ways to equalize power. 

We must be agents of change. We must use our voices and efforts to end this injustice of racism and police brutality in the United States. 

Mayor-elect of Ferguson, MO, Ella Jones said, “We keep hope alive with courageous conversations, having honest conversations with police officers, and by electing quality leadership.” She is currently making history in Ferguson as the first black woman mayor.  In 2014, Ferguson made headlines when an unarmed black man, Michael Brown, was killed by a policeman. Weeks of protests followed and solidified the momentum of the Black Lives Matter Movement. 

Photo Credit: Cameron Nicole Vause, Serve and Protect Sculpture, Salt Lake City, UT, 2020. A powerful statement of protest.

Now in 2020, the fight to end racial injustice within our public policies and our leadership continues. After the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man, at the hands of a police officer who kneeled on his neck for almost 9 minutes, a revival of the Black Lives Matter Movement is stirring around the world. The goal of the movement is to raise awareness of the oppression and violence the black community faces unique to any other community, and demand change within the governing policies in our cities to better protect these citizens from police brutality and racism. 

We must come together, united and unafraid, to support the black community and create positive change within our society. On June 2, 2020, I participated in Blackout Tuesday with people from around the world who stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. We took time to listen, educate, and share resources to spread the cause. It is our goal to increase our knowledge of black history, art, literature, and social/economic experiences. We want to support the protests in the streets and support the police chiefs who are working to build relational policing in their cities. 

Photo Credit: The Dallas Morning News, 2020

For the month of June, I will be sharing resources to learn more about Black Lives Matter, how to have hard conversations about these issues within one’s community, and how everyone can get involved in this movement. We need reform in our politics and policing, we need justice for the people senselessly killed, and we need to build up our communities with understanding and kindness.

Petit à Petit,

Additional Resources: 

Anti-Racism Resource List by Melyssa Griffin 

We Need Honest Conversations about Race In The Church by Randy Alcorn 

Black Lives Matter Website

New Era of Public Safety Toolkit, a 153-page PDF about fair, safe, and effective community policing by the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights

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