Dear White Friends: I Know You Feel Bad, So Here are 5 Ways You Can Actually Help.

You saw it.

You were horrified.

And now,

At this point,

you’re probably sad,

Possibly confused,

Maybe even mad.

But one thing you are NOT right now,

Is powerless.

While emotions and empathy are good,

To be honest with you,

Right now, they’re not enough.

As my friend, 

I want you to know, 

there is so much you can do.

And to be honest,

I need your voice and influence right now,

more than I’ve ever needed it.

The first way you can help me, friend,

Is to stop making me a unicorn,

As in, the only one or one of very few Black people in your circle.

You can help me by beginning to question “all white” and "predominantly white spaces" you currently occupy.

I’m sure the thought of this may make you uncomfortable.

But please understand when I show up in these

Spaces that appear very unwelcoming, and I’m one of the only Black people,

I often feel very uncomfortable.

I just never told you.

I want you to begin questioning mostly white schools, churches, businesses, organizations, sports clubs, neighborhoods, and corporations like where you work.

Begin to ask why there aren’t more black friends there (please don’t believe it’s a simple answer. I promise you it’s not).

Ask your leadership why there aren’t many

And advocate to proactively include us.

Trust me, there are a lot of spaces we’re left out,

And you’re one of the few people who can change that. 

I promise you,

this is way better than a virtual hug.

Second, ask yourself how many Black peers you have in your circle.

I used the word peer and not person on purpose,

I mean an economic and professional peer.

How many doctors, lawyers, professors, business owners do you know and have exposed your children to who are black?

Why does that matter?

Let me tell you what happens when you don’t,

The result is you and your kids end up thinking my 5 smart sons are some sort of an anomaly.

That just a few black people excel intellectually,

And that the majority of black people are rappers and sports players and not as smart as you.

Interacting and doing business with black people shouldn't be an occasional event, but rather 

A regular lifestyle.

Your circle should also include professional non-peers, not as a mission field, but simply because diversity is and has always strengthened our community and lives.

So, please evaluate and change your personal dynamics.

“I Love You.”

Third, stop being silent. 

My voice in many places has already been silenced and shut down.

Try being the only black person in a white space explaining the racism you’ve experienced.

Frankly, you and your friends don’t want to hear about it.  

So...

It never gets talked about...until now,

From a position of sadness and not power.

Help, change that.

If anything, forward this letter as a starter, knowing some of the experiences I share with you, 

your friends will not like them.

They don’t want to think about these things.

But remember,

I don’t get that choice to choose to confront racism or not.

It regularly confronts me.

Hugs!

Fourth, please stop telling us you don’t see color.

Here’s a little secret I’ve never told you.

When you say that,

We already know it’s not true,

No matter how many times you tell us.

Because if it was, most of your spaces would be more non-white.

How can you not see color, when your schools, churches, businesses, offices and neighborhoods are typically

comprised overwhelmingly with people who look like you.

It makes no sense.

Stop saying it.

And please do see my color.

God gave it to me for a reason.

Don’t diminish His handiwork.

“You’re the best!”

Finally, if you can’t muster the strength to open your mouth and use your influence in ways that not just allows, but welcomes, and actively solicits/engages more black people, then financially support some organizations that do.

Here’s a list of organizations that work for racial equity either directly or indirectly. 

The Innocence Project. The officers currently in the news and others are being held accountable right now because there is video, but what about the video-less injustices.  Remember, Ahmaud Arbery’s Killers sat out of jail, not charged for two months until a video surfaced. Consider supporting  the Innocence Project.  https://www.innocenceproject.org/

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund. You may get uncomfortable with the word NAACP, but when injustices are committed, this organization is often called to assist and defend.https://www.naacpldf.org/about-us/

Donate to a Bail Fund. Do you know many people sit in jail for minor charges (have NOT been proven guilty) because they cannot make bail.  I PERSONALLY know of a case of a friend this past summer who sat in jail for SIX MONTHS without ever seeing a judge. We could get no answers or a court date for six months. Unbelievable, right? An anomaly? Wrong.  

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/bail_funds_george_floyd

Here’s another great organization that focuses on police brutality and racial injustices in Minnesota.  https://eji.org/

And just in case you need more, here are some more I googled. (It’s not hard to find information if you look). 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.townandcountrymag.com/society/money-and-power/gmp32730417/george-floyd-blm-how-to-donate-help/

So...if you’ve read through to the end, thank you! Thank you for listening to my Little Ted Talk.

I, now, 

like you,

no longer feel guilty. 

Because I shared this letter with you.

Now,

it is my sincerest prayer,

you’ll be convicted to act.

While I appreciate your

"Sad face" and "I Love You" Messages,

Sadness and Feeling bad 

Are not a strategy.

I hope this letter 

Will help you actually make an impact

I love you!

xoxo

Najah

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