Thursday, June 11, 2020

Black Lives Matter

Like many other creators, influencers, brands, etc., I stepped back in promoting and creating my own material and such over the past week. Instead, I've been sharing Black-owned businesses, helpful info, Black creators, and more on my Instagram Stories and Twitter. I created a "Support" tab on my Instagram to start sharing more support to BLM, but also to other causes close to my heart. It's not much, but it gets the word out and that's something.

While doing and talking about things in real life, I don't really show that side of me online aside from likes/faves/saves/reshares. Still, I can be louder. I just haven't truly talked, mainly because my channels are mostly about beauty, fashion, and lifestyle. Somewhere along the line, I forgot that this is very much under "lifestyle". I'm still not vocal about everything, but I'll be working on doing a better job at showing that side of me a little more and using what platform I have for supporting and spreading awareness. On this blog, I'm going to make more of an effort at making sure BIPOC brands are showcased when I can.

I've spent this last week putting together a list to share. This isn't about me, but the latter part was very difficult for me to write and open up about. I'm usually pretty private about those things. I have been putting in the emotional work and it shouldn't be easy for any of us. And I really hope you have been looking at ways to help, ways to change, and ways to grow. We each have room to grow and no one promised it would be easy.

blm, ally, white ally, former republican, american in canada, supporting blm, making a difference, white privilege
blm, ally, white ally, former republican, american in canada, supporting blm, making a difference, white privilege
This is a mix of non-fictional and fictional books and authors (all of whom are Black).
  • How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad (I'm reading this one right now!)
  • Compassionate Conversations: How to Speak and Listen From the Heart by Diane Musho Hamilton, Gabriel Menegale Wilson, and Kimberly Loh
  • White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
  • This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work by Tiffany Jewell and Aurelia Durand
  • Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
  • Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan
  • Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
  • The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
  • With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Whitney G. (One of my favorite romance authors.)
  • Maya Angelou
  • Alice Walker
  • Toni Morrison
blm, ally, white ally, former republican, american in canada, supporting blm, making a difference, white privilege
blm, ally, white ally, former republican, american in canada, supporting blm, making a difference, white privilege
Here are a few movies to watch, some of which are free right now!
  • 13th: From Slave to Criminal with One Amendment - available to watch free on YouTube
  • The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson - available on Netflix
  • Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement - available on Amazon Prime
  • The Hate U Give - available on Hulu, Crave (Canada)
  • Hidden Figures - available on Amazon Prime
  • Dear White People - available on Netflix
  • Just Mercy - free by Warner Bros for those in the US through June
  • Selma - free by Paramount for those in the US through June, Amazon Prime
  • Black Stories films available on Cineplex for free right now to Canadians
blm, ally, white ally, former republican, american in canada, supporting blm, making a difference, white privilege
Here's a handful of ones that I enjoy across my different social media channels. Share more with me! I especially love a good dose of strong women and body positivity.
blm, ally, white ally, former republican, american in canada, supporting blm, making a difference, white privilege
And by all means, do leave more Black-owned businesses and brands in the comments! This is one area I can do better in when shopping and supporting. Actually, make that BIPOC businesses. I can do better all-around in this category. Obviously, I focused more on beauty, fashion, and home, but I'll take any recommendations. And if you've ordered from any below, also let me know which items you recommend!
blm, ally, white ally, former republican, american in canada, supporting blm, making a difference, white privilege
This isn't me trying to make it all about me, but I've been sharing black creators, influencers, businesses, etc. on my Instagram Stories all week while not updating my feed with anything of my own. I also have temporarily removed my blog link from my profile to link to, where you can find more petitions and ways to donate besides the ones I listed above. Please visit it for more info! Yes, I shared the black square (with the appropriate hashtags), but I promise I'm putting in work behind it. I've always tried to be inclusive in what I share, read, watch...but I know and realize that I can and should do so much more.

I'm signing every petition I can find. I put the YouTube videos on to play to donate. I've sent letters to politicians to those in both of my countries- US and Canada. I'm not saying this for praise. I'm saying this because it's what we all should be doing.

The biggest thing I'm doing is getting my paperwork done for my absentee voting ballot. I admit that I was naive and selfish in not voting in the last election because I come from a red state (Republican- only voting blue in 1976 if I'm remembering correctly) and I thought "what's the point" and I suppose I felt a bit removed from the States after being in Canada for so long at that point. I believe in the right to keep who you vote for to yourself if you so choose. That's how I was raised. But I can't keep quiet about it this year.

I was also raised to be more Republican than anything else, but these past years have opened my eyes. If this is what the party wants to be and this is the hill they want to die on, I'm not going to be on that hill with them. The party has gotten so used to its old ways that it can't fathom the idea of evolving, changing what is not working, or admitting a wrong when it happens. The world is moving forward, but the Republican party is not. I don't know what party I'm with right now, but I can't in good consciousness be a part of what is most certainly not making America great again in my eyes.

I'll tell you that leaving my small city in South Carolina for the much bigger city of Toronto, Canada has been a learning experience. I feel like the Bible Belt is such a bubble and shelter, I didn't realize it until I was out of it. I haven't turned my back on where I come from. That's not what I mean by this, though I do think the bubble should be popped. I've just happened to gain more by leaving. It was good for me.

I experienced growth and learned to have better acceptance of everyone and every lifestyle. I've always thought of myself as accepting, but I did have some biases ingrained in me that I didn't even know or realize until I was facing them head on. I was accepting, but not enough and I was too complacent. It helps being surrounded by different everything. Cultures, accents, backgrounds, sexualities, etc. Not to say racism doesn't exist here, because it does. All I know is that for me, none of these different things make me hate. None of these things make me think someone doesn't matter. None of these things make me want to condemn someone.

They make me want to learn, love more, and be better. I love learning. Without learning, there is no growth. I'm already a listener and prefer it to talking. You want me to shut up and listen? I'm going to tell you that I'm ready to hear you. I support you. I'm with you. I love you.

The mistreatment and murders of Black people were going on long before the last election, but the way it is being handled - by those in uniforms, politicians, our justice system- is terrifying and only getting worse. I didn't think of anyone and certainly not BIPOC in 2016 when I decided not to vote, but I am now. I should have before, I know it now. I'm not hiding from it. I'm learning from it.

I can do better. I will do better. And I won't stop trying. Maybe none of this is the right way or thing to say. Maybe I'll get hate for it as one typically does when race and/or politics are involved (I respect other opinions and views, but I don't respect racism, hatred, and close-mindedness. I can only hope for the same respect.). It's better to take a chance and say something than to continue saying nothing. No more complacency.


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