Hedreich Nichols

A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action

#SmallBites E3

Small Bites Friday Five 06-26-20:

20-30m – Set up a doc with contact info of https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials. Then create a basic “Dear Official” template. Use it often to quickly and efficiently let your voice be heard.

15-20m – Use Ballotpedia to find out when school board elections are and what’s at stake, then vote. Better yet, run for office or help support someone who will!

10-15m – Watch Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man from Emmanuel Acho.

5-10m – Remember last week’s conversation you had with a young person on race? This week talk with someone older than you. Again, don’t guide the conversation, just listen.

0-5m – Find an organization to support or donate to.

The recent protests and Covid19 have combined to spotlight inequities that have long plagued our country. People who don’t look like me are waking up to the reality that people who do look like me face daily. They are finding out that we are more likely to die early; in childbirth, of curable diseases, from violence. We make less money, hit glass ceilings before our less pigmented peers and are, as a community, experiencing the traumatic effects of the vestiges of enslavement, Jim Crow and systemic inequitable practices of the last 400 years.

People are beginning to have conversations about issues of racial inequities that are long overdue. I’m glad.

I’m also tired.

I am tired of big words and bigger concepts. How do I fight systemic racial discrimination and marginalization anyway? Do I use a sword? A pen? Expo Markers? A protest sign? How can I fight hate? With more trainings? With firings? With well-crafted laws? We’ve seen how well those work.

Yes, we need to talk, listen, have uncomfortable conversations. But if we are not taking some form of action while we are talking, listening and learning, we are getting smarter but not making an impact on students and communities. While you are reading the third chapter of White Fragility, a child is going hungry, a man is dying of preventable causes before he’s reached retirement and another top student is leaving an ivy league campus because the constant onslaught of microaggressions has started to affect her mental health (“Oh, you’re only here because of affirmative action, right?”).

Let me be clear, the talking, listening and learning are necessary. It’s just that they are not a precursor to action, not a phase that we complete before we go on to the action phase. The action phase has to happen now. If you’re not sure how to start, watch episode 3 of #Smallbites (and 1 and 2) to find out what you can do this week.

The world needs your voice, but it needs your hand to the plow too.