Turning Your Righteous Anger into Change
Ahmaud Arbery was an unarmed innocent man, stalked and killed over a non-violent crime he didn’t commit. For many of us, the last few days have been full of righteous anger as we try to understand how this could happen. Many of my friends are expressing their anger and heartbreak via social media, and I believe that anger is properly placed. But, how does that righteous anger result in change? In a world where COVID-19 is a constant threat, how do we make our voices heard? Protests and demonstrations hold a health treat for both ourselves and other fellow liked minded sisters and brothers. This is not an argument for or against those who feel compelled to protest despite the fear of an outbreak. But, there are concrete and definitive ways we can speak out and call for the justice AND change when collective public protest is not an option.
- Run: Ahmaud Arbery would have turned 26 years old tomorrow, Friday, May 8th. Instead, his life took a tragic end on February 23. In honor of him, his high school football coach has called on supporters to run 2.23 miles tomorrow and use the hashtag #IRunWithMaud as a sign of solidarity to seek justice. You can read more about this cause here.
- Sign a Petition/Make a Phone Call: The Action PAC has already created a website, providing an opportunity for supporters to sign a petition calling for the arrest of the two men responsible for Arbery’s death. In addition to signing the petition, you can make phone calls to officials and entities in Georgia who have a direct impact on how the investigation and case are handled. Other groups like Color of Change have similar campaigns as well.
- Donate: There are several organizations who have been influential in fighting racial injustice in our country. The NAACP has been a dominant force against racism and inequality in our country for over a century, and its current We are Done Dying Campaign provides supporters with an opportunity to demand action from their elected officials through Twitter. The Southern Poverty Law Center has been working for equality since 1971 and has just called for a Federal investigation into the death of Ahmaud Arbery. Newer organizations like Color of Change and Black Lives Matter are also doing empowered work. These organizations and so many more will be on the front lines in the coming weeks, fighting for justice and truth. Financial support will strengthen their initiatives towards justice for Ahamaud Arbery as well as projects to prevent injustice from continuing to be a plague in our nation.
- Read: You could spend hours of time wading through the sea of opinions regarding Arbery’s death. I recommend you avoid opinion pieces and find works that provide nuance and long form analysis that editorials can’t provide. Some recent works that come to mind are Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped From the Beginning, Austin Channing Brown’s I’m Still Here and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. One should never neglect works prior to the last decade, but these particular books speak to the struggles and challenges of our current times. These are powerful works that helped continue my ever evolving education on what it is to be black in America.
My fifth point would have been volunteer, but with our current health crisis, this might be a difficult endeavour. For now, I’d encourage all of us to focus on these four points. Turn your righteous anger into change we want and the change our African American sisters and brothers need. Fragile innocent human lives depend on each of us.