I can’t breathe: Ideas for a discussion about George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter Movement
In light of the events that occurred in the United States last week, I thought it would be appropriate to open up a dialogue about The Black Lives Matter movement. The movement needs us now so everyone has to do their part, however small it might feel, to raise awareness. In class, we are discussing this very topic.
➢ We Must Awaken the Souls of White People to Resist White Supremacy
➢ Ending White Supremacy Is in Everyone’s Interest: An Interview with Meta Mendel-Reyes of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
➢ Unleashing Rage and Yearning for Liberation: The Real Lessons of Dr. King for Urban Uprisings
➢ “Which Side Are You On?”: An Interview with Liz Perlman and Seth Newton Patel of AFSCME Local 3299 on Racial Justice Organizing in the Labor Movement
➢ “To Nourish and Sustain Us”: A Poem on the Third Anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s Murder
➢ “For White Anti-Racist Leadership and a World Where Black Lives Matter: The Purpose of this Book”
➢ Being a Good Ally is Not the Goal
Articles of Interest:
❖ Suggested discussion questions
● When you hear the phrase “All Lives Matter”, how do you feel and react?
● How would you respond to someone using the “All Lives Matter” argument in order to invite them into the struggle for racial justice?
When you hear “white supremacy”, what first comes to mind?
● For many, events in the news about racism are not the products of a racist system but of a “few bad apples.” What is the difference between individual prejudice and systemic racism against people of color?
● If you are white, what were opportunities and benefits that you and/or your family had because they are white?
● How is white supremacy used as a tool of capitalism to break down class solidarity?
● According to Towards the ‘Other America’ and your own perspectives and experiences, how does fighting for Black Lives Matter get white people free too?
● How has your gender identity, sexuality and class background affected your experience of being white or a person of color?
● Why is it important to support the leadership of queer people and women in the struggle for collective liberation? ● Why is working class leadership important in the struggle for collective liberation?
● How can we foster more intersectional approaches to organizing for racial justice, and what tips did you pick up on in Towards the ‘Other America’ that have been overlooked in your movements?
● What are times when you regret you did not show up or speak up for racial justice? What held you back, and what might have made the situation different?
● What kinds of reactions have there been when you have taken action or spoken up against racism? How did these reactions make you feel?
● What fears or insecurities do you have about speaking up or taking action against racism? ● What has helped you move through fears and insecurities?
● Why is it important that faith communities be involved in the struggle against white supremacy?
● What values, stories, scriptures or theologies from your faith tradition ground the work for racial justice?
● What resources (prayers, songs, spiritual practices, etc) from your faith tradition can lend resilience to the movement?
● How have you experienced pushback or reluctance in your faith community to talking about racism or taking action for Black Lives Matter?
To join the cause, go to: https://blacklivesmatter.com/
For additional sources, see: https://crackmagazine.net/article/long-reads/help-black-lives-matter-protests-donate-organisations/