Staying Apart, Together: What we can do now to stop racism
Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY Published 4:00 p.m. ET June 2, 2020
Editor’s Note: This is a preview of USA TODAY’s newsletter Staying Apart, Together, a guide to help us all cope with a world changed by coronavirus. If you would like it in your inbox on Tuesdays and Saturdays, subscribe here.
Unprecedented no longer seems like a strong enough word for the times in which we are living.
It’s hard to imagine that something could remove the coronavirus pandemic from the forefront of our minds, but the death of George Floyd and the protests over the past few days in response have taken our attention. Emotions are high, tragedy is everywhere and you would not be alone in feeling hopeless right now.
Instead of talking about coronavirus in today’s letter, I’m sharing resources and stories to help the fight against racism. In addition, I’m sharing tips for self care as violence floods the news. I wish all of you the best and hope that you and your family are safe.
People hold signs near the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct headquarters on Thursday during protests following the death of George Floyd.(Photo: Dave Schwarz, St. Cloud Times, USA TODAY Network)
How to help
For many it is hard to balance the desire to help and the social distancing requirements in a pandemic. The USA TODAY Life team has worked up a list of ways to help stop racism from home. Here are just a few:
Call or send letters to your local politicians and leaders in your state or city if there are issues you would like to see addressed.
Sign a petition like the NAACP Legal Defense Fund petition for George Floyd. This petition insists “that officials ensure safe policing in times of unrest.”
Donate to your local bond/bail fund for protestors.
Support black-owned businesses.
See the full list here.
Mental health resources
Taking care of your mental health is desperately important in a time of crisis. Especially for black Americans, who have seen images of violence against black people flood news media in the past week. Here are a few resources for general mental health, and some specifically dedicated to providing support for black people.
- Black Mental Wellness: An online resource started by four black women psychologists with the mission “to provide access to evidence-based information and resources about mental health and behavioral health topics from a Black perspective, to highlight and increase the diversity of mental health professionals, and to decrease the mental health stigma in the Black community.”
- Sista Afya: A community-driven organization based in Chicago that offers black women low cost therapy sessions and other mental health support including group therapy, workshops and discussions.
- General online therapy platforms like BetterHelp and Talk Space offer paid therapy quickly and virtually.
- Crisis Text Line offers free, confidential crisis counseling (text SHARE to 741741), and is focusing on current events.
- Also in case you missed it in Saturday’s edition, here is our review of the best meditation apps.
How to educate yourself, your family and your friends
We all can learn more about the history of our country, about the lives of people who don’t look like us and about our current moment.
“A lot of people don’t really know the history of why things are the way that they are,” City of Los Angeles Director of Branch Library Services Chad Helton told USA TODAY. “What I would recommend is looking into the scholarship of black history. That way you can really understand how racism has manifested itself and how it’s become structural and institutional. … All of what is happening is connected to systemic and institutionalized racism.”
Here are some suggestions for ways to learn more:
- Follow diverse people and groups on social media to introduce yourself to new ideas. Some suggestions include writer Rachel Cargle, Black Lives Matter founders Opal Tometi, Alicia Garza and Patrisse Khan-Cullors and organizations such as the Audre Lorde project.
- Talk about these issues as a family. If you are struggling to discuss police violence and death with your children, USA TODAY investigative reporter Alia Dagastir talked to psychologists about how to do it.
- The current crisis we’re seeing today can be traced back to America’s founding on democracy and slavery. USA TODAY explored this in last year’s 1619 project which followed the introduction of slavery 500 years ago. There is much I didn’t know before I read and watched my colleagues’ excellent work.
- Read books on anti-racism and history, like “Between the World and Me” by activist and writer Ta-Nehisi Coates. See a full list of reading recommendations here.
‘Between the World and Me’ by Ta-Nehisi Coates(Photo: Spiegel & Grau)
Distractions if you need them
If you need some entertainment and distraction right now (we all need breaks from the news for our mental health), I wrote a list of 35 reality TV shows to watch. I also rounded up the best new stuff on Netflix in June. Sometimes self care requires zoning out to some good and dumb TV.
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