We are confronting —as everyone is— the painful and exhausting truths and realities of pandemics: whether it is COVID-19, or the structural racism that has always been a pandemic (if rarely acknowledged). And the intersections of the two.
We are an anti-racist organization. Our commitment to dismantle structures of power and privilege that historically and currently oppresses and kills black bodies globally start with our practices. We often ask ourselves and everyone else around us, including our communities of practice, friends and family: what does it mean to be actively anti-racist? How complicit are we in systemic racism when we are passively non-racist?
As a global and multilingual campaign created to center the knowledge of marginalized communities, a critical practice for us is to center Black scholarship and knowledge. Let’s not assume “we understand”, or worse, appropriate without attribution. We need to affirm, cite, celebrate and learn from the power of Black imagination, expertise and experience to transform our worlds.
We also support and believe in the leadership of Black voices telling their own stories and histories and work to support spaces in which Black voices can resonate powerfully and safely, sharing their truths with us all.
And, we often call in and call out on folks and organizations we work with because not being silent is also a key practice. We speak up when it is needed, however uncomfortable, painful, or scary it is because we have been silenced for too long. We know that doing nothing is not an option.
Our work, practices and commitment to building an anti-racist world is not recent or new. It’s core to who we are and why we do the work we do. None of this is easy or fast. Dismantling racism and other forms of intersectional discrimination is a long, arduous and exhausting process. We are taking the time and space to love and care for ourselves and each other as we navigate such a pressing, emotions-filled time and we encourage our communities to do so as well. Our self-care is a political act and an essential part of the revolution. At the same time, working towards a society of equity, love and justice also offers hope and potential joy.
We ask our friends and allies to focus on everyday practices and processes of anti-racism. Statements of performative allyship without actions of accountability continue to perpetuate racist outcomes. Black lives should matter to all of us, because racism is not just bad for us black and brown folks, it is bad for all of us. As we collectively and differently share pain, uncertainty and fears of many kinds, let’s also share the renewed hope that lies in all the possibilities of this moment. May we see this opportunity as an undeniable invitation to re-imagine ourselves and our worlds.