WHITE ACCOMPLICE CALL TO ACTION
The following speech was read at AKINE's August 1st 2020 Rally and Protest, sharing a call to action from and for the White accomplices within the community of Easthampton.
AKINE is working to to transform historically racist institutions that have disproportionately affected marginalized groups such People of Color and people of lower socioeconomic status.
"We are here as white community members to ask other white community members to join us in doing the uncomfortable, difficult, and unending work of dismantling white supremacy and all oppression, and creating a community that we ALL want to live in. BIPOC folks cannot and should not do this work alone, and WE can’t do it alone either.
We are also here as white, cis gender women to— as Loretta Ross, the reproductive justice pioneer puts it— call out and call in other white women, and acknowledge and fight back against our 'purity and protection' being used as a defense for the abuse and lynching of Black men. White patriarchy does not protect us, it only protects itself.
We also must voice that all white people benefit from white supremacy no matter what your grandparents or great grandparents did or did not do. We are all responsible for helping dismantle these racist systems, not so we can pat ourselves on the back, but because it is just. This is a lifelong commitment that each of us need to make. You may be exhausted, you may want to shut off the news, you may want to turn away but our BIPOC neighbors don’t have that ability. Do not let your anti-racism work slow down just because your timeline has, we must demand there is no going back to a “normal” that is comfortable for us and deadly for all others. We call upon you to acknowledge that white supremacy hurts all people, including white people.
This leads us to the question 'what can I do as a white person?'
We want to help start to answer that question.
Also, visit AKINE’s website to sign our petition, read our demands, and support our work. Contact your elected officials, both local and state to push for radical, progressive, anti-racist change in our police departments, schools, workplaces, and housing. We also call on local businesses to make meaningful change to their hiring and training policies, beyond symbolic gestures like Black Lives Matter signs. AKINE offers to partner with you to develop anti-racist training for yourself and your staff.
Most importantly, listen to BIPOC folks, believe BIPOC folks, support BIPOC folks and continue doing anti-racism work because, as Audre Lorde, the Black lesbian poet, writer and activist said: 'I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.' Thank you."