I was recently asked in the wake of all that has happened regarding the deaths of 7 American citizens over the past week as a result of ignorance “What do you suggest?” Amidst constant and consistent rhetoric about how to improve on race relations, what gets lost in the shuffle are those individuals who wish to take action but have no idea what action to take. I believe there is no one consistent methodology to equality. I believe that whatever your chosen strategy, you should have actionable steps to bring about the change you wish to see. I believe economic empowerment and atypical education is the quickest way to bring about the change I would like to see. As a result of my beliefs, here are my actionable steps as I see them;
1) Get someone a job. Every YEAR! You don’t have to be a hiring manager to forward a resume and vouch for someone.
2) Start your own business. Most of us have been talking about it for a while. What exactly are you waiting for?
3) Mentor a young person. Provide your experiences and expertise to someone you believe will benefit.
4) Use your social media platform and all other platforms to educate, inspire and uplift. We swear up and down our voices are marginalized then don’t say much once given a platform to do so.
5) Offer up the decades of expertise that you have amassed in all areas to others who could benefit from that information… FOR FREE!!! Sometimes in order to get paid, you need to pay it forward first with information and volunteered services.
6) Align yourself with like minded individuals. Before you do so however, make up your mind before you find a match for it.
7) Educate yourself. I don’t mean go back to school. I mean use the internet and every other FREE learning tool to increase your knowledge base.
8) GET OVER YOURSELF. Approach each and every situation with what you can bring to the table as well as what you can take away. Your perspective is just that. it is not invalid but it is not more valid than someone else’s. Is your perspective to your ultimate benefit? More importantly, is your perspective to the detriment of others?
9) Capitalize on yourself. By virtue of existing, I am a Male, African, New Yorker, Musician, Writer, Basketball fan, Brooklyn resident, etc… So that’s seven different entry points into seven different vast social networks in which I can offer expertise, build a network and profit as well as enhance my network.
10) Be consistent with your action so that the next time something like this happens in the community, you won’t feel 100% helpless. Part of that helpless feeling comes from actually not helping prior.
Eric Garner was selling cigarettes. Alton Sterling was selling CD’s. Philando Castile had a busted tail light. Mike Brown allegedly stole cigars. All economic issues that led to interactions with ignorant police officers which resulted in their death. Economic empowerment won’t stop racism but if lack of money was the issue that led to these interactions, I think we can take steps right now on a micro level to spread our wealth despite how little we believe it to be so we can minimize these interactions. More importantly, with economic empowerment comes a greater political influence which will allow for that preexisting ignorance to not be accepted or propagated.
So, what’s your plan? I’d love to know.