For the past few weeks, as it has been in the national media, the focus of many of my clients has been on all the police brutality and violence happening in the Black community.
So I want to share three actionable and achievable strategies for all of you White allies are ready to take action:
1. Sit with Your Emotions
The first strategy is going to be the most uncomfortable. I’m going to dare you to sit with your emotions, the dark and deep feelings that you have about the Black lives being taken. We have two different layers of emotions. We have an outer layer which is made up of our anger, our frustration, and our resentment. But please make sure that you are digging deeper to access the more vulnerable layer underneath, the true heartbreak and horror that so many of us are feeling.
I believe that if we allow ourselves to experience these emotions, they will fuel us to stay awake and to stay engaged. Folks like me have White privilege by being able to check out and to forget. Staying connected to all the upsetting feelings that I have about these events is a way to stay on track and stay engaged.
2. Contribute Meaningfully with Actions That Light You Up
Many of you have asked, “What can I do to help?”. I’m going to encourage you to do things that light you up. If you jot down three or four ideas that have been bouncing around in your head, I want you to rate each one on a 0-10 scale in terms of how much fulfillment you would get from each of those activities.
For example, your first option is to go to door-to-door during an election period. Where are you at on a 0-10 scale when you think about this action? Another option is donating money to organizations that you believe in. Where are you at on a 0-10 scale when you think about this option? Another is starting a book club on White ally issues. Where are you at on a 0-10 scale when you think about this action?
If one or more of these options lights you up at a 9, I’m going to encourage you to follow through on those. We can do those things that we are not so interested in out of sense of obligation, yet I firmly believe that if you do things with a sense of synergy, there will be more fulfillment on following through on those actions. You will be more likely to stay engaged, and do that thing more than once. Follow your own lights-on cues, and pick two or three that light you up the most.
3. Commit to Staying Involved for the Long Term
What would happen if we all committed to staying active and involved for the next year? What if you identified what your action steps are going to be for each quarter of the next year? Because they might be different from one quarter to the next. What are your grassroots organizing activities going to be? What are your conversations with friends going to look like? Where are your philanthropic contributions going to go? What if you quantified each of those for each quarter in the upcoming year. If you have other members in your household, this is a great conversation to involve them in. What are we going to do as a family?
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