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We stand in solidarity…
…and hope to inspire some action. 
Around the Globe 10 Jun 2020
Dear all,

This text has been a collective effort. I wrote it, then shared it with people I trust to give me honest feedback, then rewrote it. In these times it is hard to find the right words and I am looking forward to having this conversation in the weeks and months and years to come. We all have a lot to learn. 

How can I use my voice as a white, relatively privileged woman from Germany to talk about the systematic racial injustice that has happened for hundreds of years and is currently being rightfully called out – again? Hopefully this time we will be able to collectively push for some actual change. 

I found Banksy’s image of the apartment incredibly helpful. 
https://www.instagram.com/p/CBFyA8iM15Y/ Systematic racism is a white problem. And us white folks need to get our fucking act together and do our part to sort it out. 

I also found tremendous joy in Mayor Bowsers move to rename the section of 16th street in front of the White House officially “Black Lives Matter Plaza” https://www.instagram.com/p/CBDwhB0lzZU/

I found this page helpful: https://almoststudios.com/peace-justice

I donated here: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/bail_funds_george_floyd

I had many, many conversations. 

I watched these amazing women discuss Black Feminism and the Movement for Black Lives: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eV3nnFheQRo

I listened to Kimberly Jones break it down for us: @kimberlylatricejones

The reason why this is emotional and important to me, beyond the rational sentiment of justice and fairness, is that I have deep empathy for those suffering because I experienced violence throughout my childhood. And while there certainly is a huge difference between personal experience and systematic oppression, I learned from another friend while writing this, that empathy is key. She is working on a study here in Germany regarding racism and xenophobia amongst students and they found that the ability to relate correlates with one’s anti-racism position.

Let’s search within ourselves and find that moment in our lives where we experience a situation that allows us to relate.

Think back: Were you, maybe as a woman, ever scared walking home alone after a night out? That’s everyday life for a lot of folks out there, women and men and kids of all ages, and not even just at night, simply due to the fact that they happen to be brown or black. 

Have you ever been scared to talk to your boss or someone in power about something, maybe you messed up, maybe you missed a deadline? Now imagine that is every day because you are the go-to culprit for everything. 

Think about that time you were unjustly accused of something, I do have a bunch of memories on that – the outrage, the fear of being punished despite one’s innocence. Now imagine that is every day because being of brown or black skin color makes you automatically guilty in the eyes of a systematically racist system. 

Ever voiced a thought in a meeting and were completely ignored and then another colleague said the exact same thing and was applauded? Now imagine that is always the case because your voice counts less, is seen as inferior to the other voices. 

Now: how do you feel. Terrible? Angry? Frustrated? Scared? Sad? Now imagine that has not only been your reality but those of your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and so on. 

Let’s channel that feeling into some action. First of all, this is a marathon, not a sprint. We will not dismantle hundreds of years within a mere few days:

Talk to friends and family. Question yourself. Watch all the YouTube videos and documentaries and read all the texts. Share stuff you find informative on your Social Media. Be ok with misstepping. Check yourself. Hold yourself accountable and figure out what the right way of activism is for you. Go demonstrate. Or create protest art.  Or donate to a bail fund. Elevate a black or brown colleague.  

And don’t stay silent out of fear to say the wrong thing. Rather say the wrong thing, and then learn from being called out. It’s surely painful and while I type this I am a little afraid if I managed to get some of this very letter wrong. But not sharing this is not an option. Check-in with your black and brown friends. Support black and brown owned businesses in your town. Lastly, if you need to escape for a few hours for your mental health, I can strongly recommend Marlon James “Black Leopard, Red Wolf” one of my favorite books of last year. Writing for NPR, Amal El-Mohtar said that comparisons to J.R.R. Tolkien and George R. R. Martin: “[…] are wildly inaccurate to the experience of reading this book.” She described the book as similar to “[…] more like if Toni Morrison had written Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

“Act the way you can look at yourself in the mirror the next day,” was the best advice I was ever given. Act the way you can look back maybe even a few years from now and be proud of yourself. 
Text by Anna Maja Spiess

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