Solidarity for Justice In Our Communities: What I Learned From The July 19th Virtual Community Dialogue August 12, 2020 by Arnav Joshi
The July 19th Virtual Community Dialogue was a terrific experience for me!I was really interested in what I could do to be a better ally to the Black community and what I could do to bridge the gap between different races and cultures in general so I decided to attend the event. The speakers were highly informative and inspirational. The speakers were from diverse backgrounds and came from across the U.S. Stephanie Strong, a lead organizer at Faith in Action Alabama, strives “to honor God by dismantling systemic racism to create pathways of opportunity for all Alabamians.” Other speakers included Rev. Dr. Robin Tanner, a social justice activist; Dwight Wilson, an author; and Michelle Fan, a Rutgers University student passionate about social justice. I truly learned from the speakers and I look up to them and strive to change the world like they do. I gained different perspectives and had my methods of getting involved reaffirmed. Some things discussed that I learned from or that reaffirmed my viewpoints that really stuck out to me included the following: 1. Allies should learn and then act. Before trying to make the change and make progress in ending violence/discrimination against the Black community, allies should read books about Black history and about racism against Black Americans to get educated. This goes along with the theme of taking a learner’s mindset. To embody this learner’s mindset, allies must also get closer to the Black community in order to have a better understanding of the community and its struggles. 2. It is very necessary for us to change our approach from “what do I have to gain” to “what do I have to lose”. By not being active in fighting for the underprivileged, including fighting for Black Americans, one loses a part of their humanity and loses a part of their soul. 3. Black liberation and the liberation of us all are attached. Black Americans must be liberated from the discrimination/violence against them in order for us all to be liberated. Nobody can be free if everyone is not free. 4. Solidarity can heal one’s soul and can free one from mental imprisonment and/or the feeling that society is holding them down. After the hard work in overcoming the “imprisonment”, the transformation and the healing that occurs is priceless. 5. Demilitarization of police is necessary to put a stop to police brutality. 6. If we want to put an end to systemic racism we have to show up to events/protests against systemic racism with consistency. This Virtual Community Dialogue was very enlightening, reaffirming, and motivating and I encourage all to participate in the next one.
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