Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know 2020 has been focused on COVID-19 and social justice. It’s great that we are using our voices and resources to let our leaders know about the changes that need to be made.
I’ll admit though, I worry this movement will lose its luster. Often, people choose to use their voice, but not their resources, to support the initiatives that move our world into a better place. The energy is spent on social media, but the long-term commitment is not there.
Use Your Time
People are passionate and fired up right now about social justice across the nation. Thousands are spending time at rallies and staying virtuous to follow the leadership that asks to leverage their voice to incite change. However, change starts with a voice and is pursued through action.
For those of you that are passionate that change needs to happen, I plead with you to do more than just post on Instagram or show up to a march. Use your time and resources to support and integrate yourself with the organizations on the front lines that serve our neighbors most in need. I know we have a community that cares about the people who live in it, but vocal support doesn’t always turn into much more than words. I understand that people have limited bandwith, especially with the added stressors of a pandemic.
But if we are really focused on change, don’t we need more man power to do it? To start, here’s a list of local non-profits offering opportunities for involvement:
- Attend or watch meetings held by the Fargo Human Relations Commission
- Cultural Diversity Resources
- Immigrant Development Center
- ND Human Rights Coalition
- New American Consortium for Wellness & Empowerment
Use Your Own Diverse Background
As a Latina, I learned early on to utilize my multicultural experiences as a tool to empower myself and my community. Many of the people who are in need of support services come from diverse, multicultural backgrounds as well. This is important to understand for two reasons:
- People working in support positions that are themselves multicultural can help the multicultural consumers of the services feel more at ease.
- Multicultural persons often possess unique language skills, cultural practices, and understanding of their diverse neighbors.
If you are someone with multicultural or diverse background, USE it! It’s empowering to see a community rally behind each other. But we also need to focus on support that can between diverse community members. The motivation for being an active participant is not just a “want,” it’s a “need.”
I carve out one weekend a month to be on call for Rape & Abuse Crisis Center to support victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. I find my Hispanic background to be an incredible asset to other Hispanic members of my community seeking these services. If there’s a language barrier, I take care of it. If someone is needed to understand a patriarchal culture that is led with men at the head of the family, I can help there, too.
Bottom Line: If you have any diverse background, please consider how immensely valuable your support is to the community. To see and talk to someone that understands who you are is so incredibly reassuring.
Support Others’ Diverse Beliefs
As a multicultural person, one of my biggest frustrations is this expectation that people in a minority group are somehow either poor, uneducated, or lack skills to speak for ourselves. Then when we are successful, make good money, and enjoy luxuries, we are pinned against our communities and told we are becoming too assimilated to white culture.
Success and enjoying life’s luxuries should never be based on the color of anyone’s skin. Period. This is why it is also important to understand diverse populations also have diverse beliefs just like every other group of people. If you are using social media as a platform to vocalize social injustice, understand that the feelings and paths multicultural people feel we should take is also diverse and wide.
Supporting a diverse community means supporting diverse beliefs. I make it a point to ask my neighbors about their experiences and why they feel the way they do. You should, too. Please don’t assume all multicultural people feel the same way about a social justice issue. Take time to ask them about it.