Yesterday we celebrated our Independence Day –the 4th of July – honoring that day in 1776, when delegates from the original 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence. Since 1776, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American Independence.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget the words of the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
It is 244 years later and the promise and sanctity of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness is not accessible to everyone in our country. At this time, with the calls for reform, those of us who enjoy the promise have an obligation to support and uphold these ideals for those who don’t.
Here’s my suggested place to begin:
Write three concrete, out-of-your-comfort-zone actions you are committed to taking in the next three weeks toward antiracism. Create a commitments statement you will refer to every day and especially on the days when you forget, make mistakes (we all do), or begin to slip.
I have compiled a list of commitments we can all make to begin to erase the racism that has plagued our country for so long. Which of these can you commit to?
To help erase racism, I am committed to:
- Breaking through my white silence by . . .
- Taking personal responsibility for my own antiracism education by . . . ( e.g., seeking out books, podcasts, videos, films, articles, online classes and other resources)
- Growing my understanding about racism by . . .
- Breaking my silence by . . .
- Showing up by . . .
- Financially supporting organizations that are working to erase racism by . . .
- Challenging racism in others by . . .
- Using my voice for antiracism work by . . .
- Buying from and working with black entrepreneurs and service providers by . . .
- Sharing the work and words of people of color by . . .
- Raising my awareness of my implicit biases and judgments . . .
- Making antiracism more of a priority by . . .
Commitments are strong statements of solidarity and action. To help you focus, write your commitments down and keep them in a place where you will see them. To create accountability, share your commitment statement with a person or persons who are also committed to social change and antiracism work. Keep one another accountable.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”― Edmund Burke
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” ― Martin Luther King, Jr.