Four things that communities and organizations must do now
As tens of thousands of people across the country protest senseless police brutality against African Americans in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis, the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business is asking important questions. Notably, this one: How do we move forward?
It's a question all organizations should be asking now, says Victor Mullins, Maryland Smith diversity officer and associate dean of undergraduate programs. The answer begins with connecting, Mullins says. "Anytime. Together we will keep moving it forward," he says.
For organizations looking for a way to move forward, Mullins offers this guide, shared earlier this week with the Washington Business Journal.
I'm an undergraduate business dean, a diversity officer, and father to two kids attending the University of Maryland. As a black father to two black children, I pray that my wife and I have done enough to prepare our kids for such a time as this. We must come together for reflection and healing, while simultaneously developing action items to move our community forward.
First, we need to read. At Maryland Smith, we are forming a reading group for students, faculty and staff this summer, centering on literature about racism in modern-day America. We want to focus on literature that addresses the many who do not believe in "white privilege" – addressing, empowering, and developing an action step to move forward. We also want to focus on complicity, and its relationship to racism. My colleague, Kaplan Mobray, an author and career consultant, says that "silence is not an option." To be silent means that we're complicit. To be complicit means that we have endorsed racism.
We must also become informed. Here, through the Smith School, we're working with our Diversity and Inclusion at Smith Committee, our Diversity Empowerment Council, the Smith Business Academy, and the Women's Empowerment Institute to create venues to educate our community about issues of diversity.
We must develop relationships with people who are different from us. A few years back, we founded a movement called The Purpose Project. As part of Smith's commitment to diversity and inclusion, the Purpose Project invites people with differing backgrounds to talk about what matters in work and in life. The structure allows people to dialogue, which is a fundamental practice of inclusion. We paused this movement this year, but given what's taking place, it's time to pick it back up again.
We must frame, examine and analyze our own role in systematic racism. Then we must act accordingly to create our own value proposition, while collaborating with others. These steps I believe will help us move forward.
Maryland Smith's interim dean Ritu Agarwal, in an email to the Maryland Smith community, expressed how "deeply saddened and disturbed" she has found the events of recent weeks, with the police deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, "and the many who came before them."
"As we endeavor to understand and share the grief, fear, and other emotions our Black colleagues and students are feeling, we must also do the work to end bias, discrimination, hate, and injustice within our Smith community," she wrote.
Maryland Smith's Committee on Diversity and Inclusion will host an open conversation for faculty, staff, students and others, from 11 a.m. until noon on Friday, June 5 via Zoom to discuss these issues and support one another. Mullins will lead the discussion.
The University of Maryland has marked this time with a week of solidarity and reflection events, to express and listen to the pain, frustration, grief and other emotions felt by members of its campuswide community. Next week will be a Week of Action, in hopes to engage in more community-building, truth-telling and action-planning for the university.
Mullins and others on campus are offering resources and sharing insights, like the ones drawn here, on how to be an ally in the Black Lives Matter movement.
They're also sharing with others a widely circulated list of resources, compiled in May by white activists Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein, aimed at helping people deeply explore the issues of human rights and racial injustices, and to help parents to raise intelligent, antiracist children. Here are some of those resources:
Videos to watch:
- "How Studying Privilege Systems Can Strengthen Compassion" | Peggy McIntosh at TEDxTimberlaneSchools (18:26)
- Black Feminism & the Movement for Black Lives: Barbara Smith, Reina Gossett, Charlene Carruthers (50:48)
Articles to read:
- "America's Racial Contract Is Killing Us" by Adam Serwer | Atlantic (May 8, 2020)
- "Who Gets to Be Afraid in America?" by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi | Atlantic (May 12, 2020)
- "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" by Knapsack Peggy McIntosh
- Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement (Mentoring a New Generation of Activists)
- "My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant" by Jose Antonio Vargas | NYT Mag (June 22, 2011)
- The 1619 Project (all the articles) | The New York Times Magazine
- The Combahee River Collective Statement
- "The Intersectionality Wars" by Jane Coaston | Vox (May 28, 2019)
Podcasts to subscribe to:
- 1619 (New York Times)
- About Race
- Code Switch (NPR)
- Intersectionality Matters! Hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw
- Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast
- Pod For The Cause (from The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights)
- Pod Save the People (Crooked Media)
- Seeing White
Films and TV series to watch:
- 13th (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
- American Son (Kenny Leon) — Netflix
- Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975 — Available to rent
- Clemency (Chinonye Chukwu) — Available to rent
- Dear White People (Justin Simien) — Netflix
- Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler) — Available to rent
- I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin doc) — Available to rent or on Kanopy
- If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins) — Hulu
- Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton) — Available to rent
- King In The Wilderness — HBO
- See You Yesterday (Stefon Bristol) — Netflix
- Selma (Ava DuVernay) — Available to rent
- The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution — Available to rent
- The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.) — Hulu with Cinemax
- When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
Books to read:
- White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
- Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins
- Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Dr. Brittney Cooper
- Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
- How To Be An Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
- Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
- Raising Our Hands by Jenna Arnold
- Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
- Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
- The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
- by Michelle Alexander
- The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century
- by Grace Lee Boggs
- The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
- This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color by Cherríe Moraga
- When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America by Ira Katznelson
- White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo, PhD
Organizations to follow on social media:
- Antiracism Center: Twitter
- Audre Lorde Project: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Black Women's Blueprint: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Color Of Change: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Colorlines: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- The Conscious Kid: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Equal Justice Initiative (EJI): Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Families Belong Together: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- MPowerChange: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Muslim Girl: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- NAACP: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- National Domestic Workers Alliance: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- RAICES: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ): Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- SisterSong: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- United We Dream: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
More anti-racism resources to check out:
- 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
- Anti-Racism Project
- Jenna Arnold's resources (books and people to follow)
- Resources for White People to Learn and Talk About Race and Racism
- Save the Tears: White Woman's Guide by Tatiana Mac
- Showing Up For Racial Justice's educational toolkits
- "Why is this happening?" — an introduction to police brutality from 100 Year Hoodie
- Zinn Education Project's teaching materials
Resources to raise anti-racist children:
- Coretta Scott King Book Award Winners: books for children and young adults
- 31 Children's books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance
- Parenting Forward podcast episode 'Five Pandemic Parenting Lessons with Cindy Wang Brandt'
- Fare of the Free Child podcast