Black Lives Matter
A Black Lives Matter sign at rally from the White House to the Capitol on, July 8th, 2016 (Photo: Victoria Pickering, reproduced under a Creative Commons license)

Edi­tor’s Note: Our team at the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute stands in sol­i­dar­i­ty with every­one who is work­ing to end sys­temic racism in and beyond this coun­try and ensure that Black Lives Mat­ter. Ally­ship is a time­ly top­ic right now giv­en the events of the past few weeks, which is why we’re delight­ed to wel­come our friend Erin Jones to the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate to offer sug­ges­tions on how to be a good ally to peo­ple of col­or. Erin is a trust­ed leader on issues relat­ed to equi­ty and social jus­tice, fund­ing and gal­va­niz­ing com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers and partners. 

Erin has over twen­ty-five years of expe­ri­ence in edu­ca­tion, and vied with Chris Reyk­dal for the posi­tion of Super­in­ten­dent of Pub­lic Instruc­tion in 2016. She now advis­es school dis­tricts to help them serve their stu­dents better. 

Two weeks ago, when the video of the mur­der of Ahmad Arbery became known to the pub­lic and many decid­ed to #Run­With­Ah­maud, I knew we (as a com­mu­ni­ty) need­ed to do more. And then we learned of Bre­on­na Tay­lor… and of George Floyd.

I have made a com­mit­ment to run every week while lis­ten­ing to a pod­cast about racial jus­tice. I have encour­aged mem­bers of my com­mu­ni­ty to run/walk/ride and lis­ten as well…and then I will come LIVE on Face­book and Insta­gram every Fri­day night with some thoughts in response to the podcast.

In my opin­ion, being a true patri­ot is much like being a good par­ent. We must be will­ing to cel­e­brate Amer­i­ca when she does some­thing fab­u­lous and cri­tique her when she miss­es the mark. Racial jus­tice is a place we have missed the mark.

What can you do while stay­ing at home to pre­vent the spread of SARS-CoV­‑2?

  1. Do research. Learn about the ways sys­tems are influ­enced by race and how dif­fer­ent racial groups expe­ri­ence sys­tems dif­fer­ent­ly in your com­mu­ni­ty. Join the 21-Day racial equi­ty chal­lenge.
  2. Lis­ten to the sto­ries of those who expe­ri­ence this coun­try dif­fer­ent­ly from you. Authors: Ibrahim X Ken­di, James Bald­win, Kwame Alexan­der, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michelle Alexan­der, Angela Davis, Bev­er­ly Tatum, Zora Neal Hurston and Alice Walk­er are examples.
  3. If you are White, lis­ten to White peo­ple who talk about race — Paul Gors­ki, Paul Kiv­el, Shelly Tochluk, Deb­by Irv­ing, Robin DiAn­ge­lo and Tim Wise.
  4. Lis­ten to pod­casts that address racial equi­ty — We Live Here, Bound For Jus­tice, The Stoop, Code Switch, Revi­sion­ist His­to­ry; Chris­t­ian: Truth’s Table, Pass the Mic and Quick to Listen.
  5. Invest finan­cial­ly or with time (if you don’t have mon­ey) in orga­ni­za­tions that are specif­i­cal­ly serv­ing Black, Brown, Native people.
Black Lives Matter
A Black Lives Mat­ter sign at ral­ly from the White House to the Capi­tol on, July 8th, 2016 (Pho­to: Vic­to­ria Pick­er­ing, repro­duced under a Cre­ative Com­mons license)

You can make a difference.

We can make a difference.

Mak­ing Amer­i­ca bet­ter requires all of us. If you ever have ques­tions or are look­ing for dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives, please feel free to reach out.


Thanks to every­one who is mak­ing an effort to be a good ally.

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