If you are reading this, you are most likely an undocumented, first-gen, low-income, and/or POC. And although this page is dedicated to helping UFli students with careers and schools, the reality is that there are multiple situations outside these realms that beg our attention and our action at the moment. We are living in unprecedented times of a pandemic, but unfortunately, there are continuing issues that cannot be ignored. After the murder of George Floyd, there were protests and demands for change that started in Minneapolis and spread to other cities in the nation. As a non-black person, I have no right to input and co-opt during these matters, but I do know that non-black folk can show solidarity by offering support. It isn’t about politics, it is about being a human being. With that, I want to share three ways to show solidarity during these times.
The fight against racism and police brutality is not new, and therefore the best way to understand the context of current events is to dive into the history that has led to them. Start by looking at news, following creators, asking sincerely about issues. No one is born knowing everything, but it is also not okay to let pride get in the way of not understanding these subjects that are greatly affecting people. Many times I hear people just using generalizations and stereotypes to explain horrible events, but that is not the full story because they have not taken the time to really sit down and look at the history. Of course, I also acknowledge that a lack of effective dissemination of knowledge structures plays a hand in perpetuating anti-blackness among communities, but as students, we must take it upon ourselves to be that disseminating force without taking ownership of black narratives.
I have linked a petition for the justice of George Floyd, but there are several petitions you can find and sign to help movements that seek change. There are also fundraisers to donate to causes. Share on social media or other forms of communication to help spread support among your circle of friends and family. I like to mention these tools of support first because I have seen that many people can be wary when I say to fight for the cause. Although protesting is a way to show support, it can be intimidating for some people for a variety of reasons, but it does not mean there are no other avenues for spreading the narrative and purpose of a movement.
3. Speak Out, But Don’t Co-Opt
A very difficult concept we must all grapple with is understanding that we can empathize and we can support, but we cannot usurp the purpose of the movement. Currently, there are certain people who want to combine issues, and while I understand on some level the intention, this is not the time to try to bring attention to another movement. As a final note, remember to continue to learn, spread, speak out about these movements even if they do not directly affect you. It is not a trend, it is a reality.
This is not an extensive overview of the events from these past few days, and I am very aware of the fact that I am personally always growing from my mistakes. Yet, I wanted this to be a starting point as we all move forward with discussions of demonstrating solidarity and attempting to change the world for the better.