FAQs:

Q: Who is this site trying to reach?

A: This site aims to reach all the well-intentioned white people currently asking how they can help fight racism, particularly police violence against black people.

Q: What is the message?

A: We cannot fight a problem that we deny even exists.  So the first step in fighting the disease and addiction of racism is to admit we have a problem.  Doing that requires that we BELIEVE BLACK PEOPLE.

Q: Do you support BLM?

A: YES.

Q: Why does the BLM movement only talk about black lives?  Don't all lives matter?

A: Of course all human life matters but in practice one particular group of human lives are being disproportionately targeted.  An example from popular culture may help put it in context:  Imagine the story of Cinderella, who was mistreated by her step-mother, who treated the rest of the children in the family in a privileged manner.  If a step-sister one day said to the others, "All the children in this family matter" that may be a pleasant sentiment but does not call attention to what Cinderella has experienced and does not address the specific changes that would be needed in order to include Cinderella as an equal family member.  In contrast, what impact would it have if a step-sister said, "Everyone, Cinderella matters."?  The two statements can both be true, but one means much more on a human level.  The latter can lead to concrete solutions to Cinderella's actual experience of injustice (for example, "I see Cinderella has been doing all the housework.  How can we create a more equitable division of chores so this burden does not fall only on her anymore?")

Q: Does supporting BLM mean someone is anti-America?

A: No. Quite the opposite.  Although America has an inexcusable history of falling short of its ideals, it is those ideals that define our country.  The US supported slavery but also ultimately rallied to abolish it.  Segregation was instituted but the Civil Rights Movement had the social framework to arise and defeat it.  We face challenges now but we can overcome those too.  Nothing is more American than the ideals that everyone is equal, they have rights, and the People can rise to change the system to protect them. 

Q: What happened to needing evidence "beyond a reasonable doubt" and police being innocent until proven guilty?

A: Life is not a courtroom.  The rigorous legal rules of evidence for use in trials apply in those contexts to (ideally) prevent the system from harming an innocent person.  But that has always been completely different than the standards for what is credible in everyday life.  Unless you're serving on a jury, your belief that a police department was in error is not going to send an officer to jail.  But your failure to believe that could lead to more black deaths.  In everyday life, we know that power corrupts and the scales are already tipped against the voices of the vulnerable.  Let's give these voices the dignity of the benefit of the doubt.

Download and print the graphics below (8.5"x11") and hang them in your window. Then explore, listen, and learn from the links below.  Let's make it so another video of another victim is not necessary.   Instead, let's believe the black experience from

VOICES NOT VIOLENCE

vnv.PNG

The Autobiography of Harriet Jacobs (pseudonym Linda Brent)

“If ‘underdevelopment’ were related to anything other than comparing economies, then the most underdeveloped country in the world would be the USA, which practices external oppression on a massive scale, while internally there is a blend of exploitation, brutality, and psychiatric disorder.”

-Rodney Walter, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

Rodney, W. (1972). How Europe underdeveloped Africa. Washington, DC: Howard University Press.
Jacobs, H. A. (Harriet Ann)., Child, L. Maria Francis., Cairns Collection of American Women Writers. (1862). The deeper wrong, or, Incidents in the life of a slave girl. London: W. Tweedie.
Redfishstream. [@redfishstream]. Jun 22, 2020). [Instagram video]. Retrieved from https://www.instagram.com/p/CBwbhNnjWxm/

James Baldwin & Nikki Giovanni discuss police in America

"One feels his two-ness, — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder."

-W. E. Burghardt Du Bois, Strivings of the Negro People

Du Bois, W. (1897, August). Strivings of the Negro People. The Atlantic.

a father teaches his son how to survive a George Floyd situation

Pulse Ghana. (2020, May 29). Blacklivesmatter: Dad teaches son how to survive a George Floyd situation [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuSkPwWXyVE

"Black people are given the belief that they are citizens of the United States, yet the reality is that Black people are slaves in this country. Dr. Bobby Wright (1982, 1985) defined enslavement as follows: whenever the life-sustaining resources (food, shelter, water, etc.) of one group [the Blacks] are controlled by another group [the Whites, the Arabs]. Nevertheless many Black people believe that they are actually first-class citizens in America."

-Olomenji, Mentacide, Genocide, and National Vision: The Crossroads for the Blacks of America

O. (1996). Mentacide, Genocide, and National Vision: The Crossroads for the Blacks of America (And Essay of Commentary). In African Psychology in Historical Perspective & Related Commentary (pp. 71-82). Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.

Dr. Cornel West on responding to racial terror with the Blues Sensibility and Catastrophic Love

Big Think. 2011, Jun 3). Cornel West's Catastrophic Love [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EYK4p0Byfw&t=1s
J. Cole.( 2017, May 1). Neighbors [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nfVWiXY3WY

J. Cole, Neighbors

Lyrics
(The full lyrics are printed here. The official video embedded above does not include the whole song.)

I guess the neighbors think I'm sellin' dope, sellin' dope
Yeah the neighbors think I'm sellin' dope, sellin' dope
Sellin' dope, sellin' dope, sellin' dope

I don't want no picture with the president
I just wanna talk to the man
Speak for the boys in the bando
And my n*gga never walkin' again
Apologized if I'm harpin' again
I know these things happen often
But I'm back on the scene
I was lost in a dream as I write this
A teen down in Austin
I been buildin' me a house back home in the south Ma
Won't believe what it's costin'
And it's fit for a king, right?
Or a n*gga that could sing
And explain all the pain that it cost him
My sixteen should've came with a coffin
Fuck the fame and the fortune, well, maybe not the fortune
But one thing is for sure though, the fame is exhaustin'
That's why I moved away, I needed privacy
Surrounded by the trees and Ivy League
Students that's recruited highly
Thinkin' you do you and I do me
Crib has got a big 'ol backyard
My n*ggas stand outside and pass cigars
Filled with marijuana, laughin' hard
Thankful that they friend's a platinum star
In the driveway there's no rapper cars
Just some sh*t to get from back and forth
Just some sh*t to get from back and forth
Welcome to the shelter, this is pure
We'll help you if you've felt too insecure
To be the star you always knew you were
Wait, I think police is at the door

Okay, the neighbors think I'm sellin' dope
Hm, I guess the neighbors think I'm sellin' dope sellin' dope
The neighbors think I'm, neighbors think I'm
I think the neighbors think I'm sellin' dope (Don't follow me, don't follow me)
I guess the neighbors think I'm sellin' dope, sellin' dope
Sellin' dope, sellin' dope, sellin' dope
Well motherf*cker, I am

Some things you can't escape
Death, taxes, NRA
It's this society that make
Every n*gga feel like a candidate
For a Trayvon kinda fate
Even when your crib sit on a lake
Even when your plaques hang on a wall
Even when the president jam your tape
Took a little break just to annotate
How I feel, damn it's late
I can't sleep 'cause I'm paranoid
Black in a white man territory
Cops bust in with the army guns
No evidence of the harm we done
Just a couple neighbors that assume we slang
Only time they see us we be on the news in chains, damn
Don't follow me, don't follow me
Don't follow me, don't follow me

Okay, the neighbors think I'm sellin' dope
I guess the neighbors think I'm sellin' dope sellin' dope
The neighbors think I'm, neighbors think I'm
I think the neighbors think I'm sellin' dope (Don't follow me, don't follow me)
I guess the neighbors think I'm sellin' dope, sellin' dope
Sellin' dope, sellin' dope, sellin' dope
Well motherf*cker, I am

I am, I am, I am, I am
Well motherfucker I am
I think the neighbors think I'm sellin' dope
I am, I am, I am
Well motherf*cker I am
So much for integration
Don't know what I was thinkin'
I'm movin' back to Southside
So much for integration
Don't know what I was thinkin'
I'm movin' back to Southside

In the U.S., Black people are 20% more likely to experience serious psychological distress.

 

The Black community is also more likely to experience socioeconomic disparities such as exclusion from health, educational, social and economic resources. These disparities, in addition to racism, often contribute to worse mental health outcomes.*


 

Unfortunately, there are several barriers to mental healthcare, from socioeconomic, emotional, mental and physical to cultural.

 

According to the American Psychiatric Association, only one-in-three African Americans who need mental health care receive it (Mental Health Disparities - African Americans, 2017).

 

The strong, independent Black family, and in particular the “Strong Black Woman” stereotype, has created a cloud of shame, hopelessness and fear surrounding mental health to the point where it seems like the only option is to suffer in silence.

 

“Black women are especially vulnerable to wrestling with their mental health, consistently reporting higher feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, and the sense that everything is an effort," says Dr. Hutcherson in "8 Health Conditions That Disproportionately Affect Black Women".


 

An initiative to shed light on Black women's mental health is Black Girl, Bleu, a short documentary by Sharee Silerio featuring candid interviews with Black women - from a teacher to an organizer and an entrepreneur - about how the "Strong Black Woman" stereotype impacts their mental wellness.

 

Through this documentary, the hope is to deconstruct the stigmas surrounding mental health; encourage society to realize that mental illness does not “look” any particular way; create a safe, loving space for Black women to share their truth; and help Black women experiencing the same challenges see that they are not alone and healing is possible.

 

Watch the film’s official and teaser trailers below:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhJIKLtOVWI

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTX7Jq29orY


 

Source: *U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health via National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI); italicized text added