Combating Racism – Setting Your New Year’s Resolutions

“Very few people will ever do great things, but all of us can do small things in a great way.”

~ Mother Teresa

Hopefulness is the driving force behind every great endeavor. Because it allows us to envision positive outcomes, it can help focus our energies on generating beneficial effects.

While there has been some cause for optimism since George Floyd’s murder galvanized a renewed racial justice movement, there is still much work to be done to combat the systemic racism that has plagued our country for centuries.

As you think about your resolutions for the new year, I ask you to consider making any one (or more) of the following a part of your new year’s resolutions:

  1. Read one book about racism or the history of Black Americans. A list is included in my newsletter of October 18, 2020.
  2. Teach your children. Point out and condemn racism, brutality and indifference to suffering wherever you see it. Discuss these issues honestly and openly. Read a book about racism or the history of Black Americans to a child. Lists of resources to teach your children about racism and the history of Black Americans are included in my newsletters of October 4, 2020 and January 3, 2021.
  3. Read or forward one or more of my newsletters to someone you know to educate them on issues related to racism.
  4. Test yourself for hidden biases. Take this test developed by Harvard University.
  5. Learn about your local elected officials. Many local state and federal officials will be up for election or re-election in the fall of 2022. Find out where your state and local candidates stand on erasing racist policies and policies that disadvantage people of color. Attend town halls, candidate meet-and-greets, etc. and ask political candidates about their positions. Study their platforms. Read their websites. Listen to their speeches. Ask questions.
  6. Contribute to organizations working for racial equality and equity. A list of organizations is included in my newsletter of July 12, 2020.  In addition, consider making a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative or the Southern Poverty Law Center.
  7. Engage in an open-hearted and open-minded conversation with friends, colleagues or neighbors of races other than your own. Communicate with empathy. For guidance on initiating uncomfortable conversations, see my newsletters of July 26, 2020 and August 30, 2020.
  8. Encourage your school boards to create diversity action plans, to introduce more books by people of color, to hire more teachers of color, and to overhaul curricula to include a more inclusive view of our history. Ensure that schools have policies and practices that foster respect, recognition, and inclusion of diverse cultures and languages.
  9. Vote for school board representatives who will work to reduce the educational disparities between White and Black students.
  10. Support Black businesses. You can find lists of them at any of the following sites: The Black Wallet, The Official Black Wall Street, New York Magazine, Etsy. In addition, Yelp has a feature to search for Black owned businesses, restaurants and nail and hair salons by location. Another helpful article to find Black owned businesses can be found here.
  11. Call or write your federal legislators to support criminal justice reform bills, including the Smarter Sentencing Act (S 2850), the Justice Safety Valve Act (S. 399, H.R. 1097), and the Second Look Act and to support state-wide criminal justice reforms, such as reducing mandatory minimum sentences, reducing sentences for non-violent drug crimes, passing alternatives to incarceration, etc. Use these links to find the contact information for your Congress persons and Senators.
  12. Write to, call, or email to your state legislators to end cash bail.
  13. Speak out when another’s rights are at risk or under attack.
  14. Eradicate hate. Good people need to stand up to promote tolerance and inclusion. Specific suggestions are included in my newsletter of January 24, 2021.
  15. Visit a Black History or Civil Rights Museum.
  16. Donate to an HBCU. The U.S. Department of Education identifies 107 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States. You can find a list of these colleges and universities in alphabetical order and listed by state on the Hundred-seven HBCU Listing here.
  17. Call out racism and prejudice in your community. This includes, but is not limited to, standing up in a county council or city council meeting, writing letters to the editor of your local newspaper, and refusing to listen to or partake in racist jokes or jokes that disparage any other group of people.
  18. Help combat the homeless crisis that has escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic and which has disproportionately impacted people of color. Specific actions you can take are listed in my newsletters of March 7, 2021, September 19, 2021, and September 26, 2021.
  19. Make a list of actions you can take to demonstrate the courage to make a difference.
  20. Garner your courage and stand up against injustice. For suggestions, see my first newsletter.

Remember this quote, which has been attributed to Edmund Burke:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.”

As we cross the threshold into 2022, now is the perfect time to choose what one thing or things you can do. I look forward to hearing which action(s) you’ve added to your new year’s resolutions.

In the meantime, I wish you all a new year of good health, happiness, and peacefulness.

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