By Erin Okuno
A new year is a great time to start new habits. This year for our first January post I’ve put together a list of different things to pledge to try to do in 2019. I’m asking you to take the Fakequity pledge and commit to doing at least five things differently in 2019. If you think you’re already doing one of them but want to recommit to it or pledge to do it with more intentionality go for it. You don’t have to do all of the pledged items right away, you can spread them out throughout the year or practice them as they come up in life. Practicing and being more aware of race and its impact on our lives allows us to be more sensitive to injustice and when equity and justice are found and achieved.
In 2019, I pledge to do five or more of the following: Please fill out this form with your pledges.
- Disrupt racism by speaking out or asking questions when things don’t feel or sound right.
- Read two or more books by authors of color, at least one of the two should be an author of a different race than you. Children’s books and audiobooks count. Some suggested titles are here and here.
- Name your biases and have a conversation with someone about biases and how they show up for you. Here is a starter guide for your conversation.
- Switch one (or more) shopping purchases from a mainstream store or vendor to a poc owned business. Check out Equity Matter’s POC map for suggestions. Other suggestions can be in the POC shopping guide.
- Vote if you can. If you aren’t legally allowed to vote find someone who is legally allowed and encourage them to vote. Also use your voice to work towards instating voting rights for those who don’t have the right – immigrant residents, felons, etc.
- Learn who’s land you’re on. Here is a handy map that can tell you who’s land you are on. Once you’ve done that go deeper and learn about the Native American history of the place and learn the Indigenous place name for where you are.
- Play Fakequity BINGO, Social Justice Fakequity BINGO, Abelism BINGO, or Power Hoarding BINGO. Have a conversation with others, such as with your work team or a group to talk about how these things show up in your environments.
- If you are still using the word minority, pledge to stop doing so. Minority is an outdated term. People of color are quickly becoming the majority and in some places already the majority of the population.
- Pledge to learn more about colonialism and its impact on Native American/Indigenous people.
- Resist the urge to talk and listen to someone who is different then you tell their story. This could be someone from a different race, someone with a different life experience than you, someone of a different generational group, etc. Listening is how we learn.
- If you follow the news, supplement it with reading ethnic media or community media from people of color outlets.
- Learn about abelism and be aware of how it shows up in your life. Bonus points for learning about disabilities justice and race. (Thanks to Carrie for this suggestion.)
- Consider the accessibility at events, meetings, spaces you are in – are the doors wide enough for a wheelchair to fit through, are the lights dimmable for sensory needs, do the bathroom stalls have grab bars, is there a quiet area for people to take a break and recalibrate, is it near transit? Make meetings more welcoming for everyone by practicing welcoming behaviors – nametags, being upfront about asking people what their accessibility needs are on pre-event information and at the event, greeting people, providing maps, etc. (Thanks Carrie for providing this one too.)
- Learn about white privilege and white supremacy and how it shows up in every day lives.
- If you give monetarily or volunteer time to causes and non-profits, shift or supplement your giving to people of color led and embedded organizations. For every cause (e.g. homelessness, immigrant rights, breast cancer, education, environment, etc.) there is a poc led or centered cause working on the same topic and probably approaching the work differently than a historically white-led organization.
- Learn about climate change and its impact on people of color and the environment as it relates to people of color, especially Indigenous people. If you need a jump start, pick-up the book Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (hat-tip to Jondou for the suggestion).
- Mark important religious holidays on your calendar – Ramadan, Yom Kippur, Lunar New Year, etc. Learn the cultural expectations of these times and be aware of how your work and daily life can impact our relations, such as during Ramadan not scheduling meetings around food and drink during daylight hours. If you use an online calendar many of them have plugins that can automatically add these dates to your calendar. [Edit: here is a list of dates.]
- Practice humility and apologize when you say or do something wrong.
- Realize the limits of the equity box graphic and have a conversation with someone to deepen their understanding of it.
- Read Equity Matter’s Color Brave Space and pledge to start embedding some of the concepts into meetings you run or are a part of.
- Ask someone their pronouns and use the pronouns.
- Examine without defense. I first heard this phrase by Terrell McCraney, playwright of the movie Moonlight. I enjoy his simple phrasing of thinking about things and resisting the urge to automatically defend the status quo and to examine a problem situation, etc. in ways that gets us to new meanings. Some people might call this “honest intention.”
Take the pledge by filling out this simple form and checking off the items you plan on taking on this year.
The pledge is for you, feel free to share what you pledge to do with others so you have an accountability system. We may (depends on how this goes) share some of what you pledge to do online so we can collectively learn what resonates and other things shared through the form.
Have a great 2019!
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