racial justice

Three simple anti-racist spells

Three simple anti-racist spells

I hope whatever resolve you have to work for racial justice is still alive and well in you. We may be near the time when the flash of inspiration fades and we transition to steady, patient work. Like me, you may be all too familiar with the cycle of waxing and waning inspiration, played out in ways large and small, across areas of life. How do you fold these cycles into steady resolve and patient effort? One way is to establish conditions that carry us forward, independent of our effort or inspiration. I like to think of as magic: the channeling of the energy of inspiration into transmuting the blueprint that shapes our life’s unfolding. In other words, working through changing underlying conditions rather than discrete and direct actions.

Reworking your media stream

The media we take in color our thoughts and shape our worldview. For many of us, this stream comes about haphazardly, an accumulation of small decisions, all influenced by inner and outer conditions. If we haven’t looked at the media we take in through the lens of race (& gender), we might be surprised by how much of it is produced by white men. To take some time to diversify your stream can yield months to years of listening to the perspectives of people of different backgrounds, particularly black & indigenous people of color (BIPOC).

In Practice:

  1. Inventory your media stream. What are the channels it flows through? (e.g. books, news, FB, twitter, youtube, etc.) What are the topics you regularly attend to?
  2. Who’s voices are present? Who’s are absent?
  3. Devote some time seeking out BIPOC voices in each of your main areas of interest and bringing them into each of the channels in your media stream. The key is to embed these new sources pervasively throughout and deep within the stream, rather than as a one-of, add-on, or distinct topic.

Bending the flow of green energy

Money flows in patterns. Like our media stream, these patterns are often unconsciously accumulated, but can be shaped to reflect our deeper values. New habits set in place can over time wear away the centuries-built racial wealth gap.

In Practice (A): Redirect donations to organizations that are committed to racial justice.

  1. Read this short article on Social Justice Philanthropy.
  2. Research the organizations you currently support. Are they committed and working toward racial justice? Are there similar organizations that meet more of the criteria in the above article, like being led by people in the communities they serve?
  3. Make a monthly donation in support of racial justice, to one of the organizations listed here.
  4. Notice how this feels—remembering and appreciating our ethical integrity or generosity supports it’s growth.

In Practice (B): Support local black-owned local businesses.

Black-owned businesses have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus, and as we begin to open up and go out more, it’s the perfect time to put in place habits of supporting them. Find a list of local black-owned businesses online. Consider which could be incorporated into your routines of shopping, eating out, etc. What could reasonably become an enduring habit, rather than a one-time event?

Tapping into social permeability

The people we spend time with co-create us. They influence the attitudes and actions we consider normal and acceptable. By joining a group of people dedicated to anti-racist action, we can be carried forward if we just keep showing up.

In Practice:

Find a local white caucus like SURJ. You may also be able to find one through your local faith community, or another organization or community you’re a part of. Try to find one where you might make friends and establish long term bonds.

With these three relatively simple spells, with just a few hours of craft, reach into the underlying patterns that give rise to your life, divert the stream to carry your resolution for justice to fulfillment.

Posted by Edmund Mills in Practice, 0 comments
Racism and climate change are inextricable

Racism and climate change are inextricable

One of the things that’s becoming clear to me these days is how racism is linked not only to the impacts of climate change, but also to our ability to respond to it.

Climate change asks us, in both mitigation and adaptation, to unify across racial and national lines, to invest in economic transformation, and to have effective civic institutions. It will ask us to take in more climate refugees without succumbing to further fascism. It asks us to cooperate internationally for the sake of millions of people in the global south who are the first and hardest hit.

Racism in our society is impeding responding effectively to climate change. It’s been used for centuries to preserve the position of those with power by dividing those without it. It’s been used to block social welfare programs. It’s been used to weaken and dismantle a functional federal government, which seems to no longer be able to do anything but serve the short-term interests of the wealthy. We can see all this play out in our government’s feeble response to the coronavirus: both in it’s disfunction and in it’s willingness to sacrifice the lives of people of color for the continued profit of the wealthy. This is identical to what we’re doing with climate change.

If we’re going to respond to climate change well, we need a society that isn’t divided by racism. We need a multi-racial working class coalition to take democratic control in order to enact a just transition.

Beyond the importance of advancing racial justice, I’m hopeful that the current uprisings are a step in that direction. I’m encouraged by the new alliances and connections being made between groups working for justice, by the rapid shift in public opinion, by people discovering their power through successful protest, and by all the political education and training that is happening. May this be the ground for a brighter future.

Posted by Edmund Mills in Reflections, 0 comments
No Justice, No Peace

No Justice, No Peace

Last night I wrote these words to myself:

Let yourself be transformed by this moment.

Let yourself be transformed by your sorrow and rage.

Let yourself step into the disintegration of whatever shreds of a predictable future still remained.

Let your helplessness and despair be healed by acting with others and so remember our collective power.

Let your preoccupation with your personal story lose it’s weight for a new story of solidarity and courage.

Let whatever fury is in you become a vow of dedication to justice.

Posted by Edmund Mills in Reflections, 0 comments