It’s often said that if you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention, but being outraged isn’t enough. Declaring shock and sadness at a known injustice and going no further in your discomfort to dismantle it allows its existence to remain unchallenged. Feel what you feel, be moved – but act.
Actionable empathy is effective humanity. Use your humanity to demand transparency, justice and change to every single explicit or implicit racist or discriminatory word, behaviour, action, practice or policy – and most importantly of all – amplify the work and voices of those who live amongst the fight firsthand, don’t drown them out with your own.
Often when an injustice or cause is brought to our attention via the news or from activists we follow and admire, we can be stuck for ideas on tangible things we can do, especially if it’s outside of our own personal existence – I’m talking to you, my fellow White people. Questions asking what the next step should be, while well-meaning, can be an extra burden on those who are on the frontlines or living it day-to-day. Imagine how exhausting that is. It is not the job of those directly suffering to educate us on every facet of an issue we want to support. Read what is shared, do your own research, and if you do find actionable ways to support a cause, share how you did it to help inform others.
Bring attention to news stories or relevant social media posts by highlighting the words and work of those you’re looking to support. Contact relevant government representatives, officials, community leaders, media outlets, etc to demand transparency, accountability, justice and change. Find community events to attend, join a protest, sign petitions (or create your own), donate to causes and the people leading them, educate friends and family – these are just a few options to make a positive start.
If you have some really good ideas on how best to support different causes and calls to action, leave a comment.