This is an edited version of my article “How to Be an Ally” published on Sikhnet May 29th, 2020
As a member of several “liberal” religious communities, I am both happy and disappointed with what I’ve seen over the last two weeks. In some communities, the response to current events has been swift and action oriented (working towards change behind the computer and in the streets). But in other communities, all I’ve read and heard is “woo is us” and “let’s pray/have a vigil for our brothers and sisters”. Though the sentiment is much appreciated, it is no longer enough for people in our country to light candles, sing kumbaya, and agree that racism is wrong. In 2020, being non-racist is truly to be compliant. And compliance gets people like me killed.
If you are reading this and you are not black, most likely, you have a certain amount of privilege and power that I don’t. That includes ya’ll who are apart of the “model minorities”. So for those of you who care, why not put that privilege to good use and check out what the things that you can do below.
When George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer, there were three other officers on scene who ideally stood by. If they had chosen to intervene, Mr. Floyd might still be with us today. If you do not speak up against oppression, hatred, or racism, you are just as complicit as those who are perpetuating it. I acknowledge that this can be hard for some to do, since sometimes the ones who are being hateful towards others are those who we hold dear. But how can justice reign if nobody acknowledges that there are bad things occurring?
If there’s one word I’ve constantly heard from people in my community these past few weeks, that word is “tired”. I am tired. We’ve been through these things as a country over and over again, with little to no change. That all being said, check up on those you know who might be affected by what’s going on in our country currently. Support and encouragement are most welcome right now.
I’m not going to tell someone whether they should go out and protest. In my opinion, only you can determine that. But what you can do is write or call your local and state government officials to let them know how you feel. You can also donate to organizations and movements who are fighting against police brutality.
And lastly, who you vote into office does have a major affect on laws. Be an active (but educated) voter.
Note: I would also add that if you really want to stick your money where your mouth is (or who don’t believe in voting), support local and online black owned businesses/organizations.
Outward change can not happen unless we start the change within ourselves. I leave you with this quotes to think about.
“There is light in the world, and it is us“
– Eliezer Yudkowsky (Humanist)
“Purity, contentment, compassion, faith, and truthfulness – I have ushered these into the home of my self”
Guru Arjan Dev ji (Sikh)
“Racial difference in the human kingdom is similar. If all the flowers in a garden were of the same color, the effect would be monotonous and wearying to the eye. Therefore, Bahá’u’lláh hath said that the various races of humankind lend a composite harmony and beauty of color to the whole. Let all associate, therefore, in this great human garden even as flowers grow and blend together side by side without discord or disagreement between them.”
– Abdu’l-Bahá (Bahai)