Black Lives Matter.
This post is a resource for you to support that fact. I speak to different groups of people in this post. The overall premise to keep note of is to answer for yourself what you are doing proactively, outside of social media, to make sure Black people are safe around you and people who look like you.
In this video, I discuss whether or not Africa is an ally to it’s diaspora and Black Lives Matter, as well as the world, plus refer to how you, regardless if you are in America or not, can be an effective ally. As you scroll through this post, you will find a list of information that I have curated to assist in learning Black history, putting your money where your mouth is through donating and purchasing from black-owned businesses, and how to pull up in real life to make a difference. Take your time with this post. Bookmark it. Share it. Refer back to it.
To you who live in America, regardless if you think you are not racist, your entire life has benefited from this system. The same system that continues to keep Black people disenfranchised. The only way this will change is if you make a proactive effort consistently. Here is my take on how to be an ally for the oppressed. Remember, check yourself on what you are doing to make sure Black people are safe and allowed to breath around you and people who look like you. Also, scroll down for resources on how you can take action.
This town hall discussion is insightful. It is encouraging that they made sure to have voices from different generations to get a sense of what is happening on the ground, what has been done in office, and what needs to be focused on. Everyone should take the time to watch it. This is what I appreciate about how we do things in America. We are able to juggle one incident with the thousands of grievances and issues that branch out of that incident in a cohesive way. It is great that we now have everyone’s attention. I hope we finish what we started. I hope there is a systematic and economic plan behind what we started.
This clip explains systematic racism that is helpful for everyone in and out of America. Understand that the protests in real life and online are not only about police brutality. The murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others is the tip of the iceberg. The micro, macro, and obvious aggressions that Blacks experience in America daily has been further magnified due to the pandemic. That is why this shift feels different. This time around, there is no distraction to dismiss or shove this under the rug. This time around, no one can look away from the mirror we have shoved in your face.
This is why your effectiveness as an ally goes beyond posting your fears online or apologizing for what you do not understand. Like I said in the video, you need to hold your people accountable. Every aspect of this society functions under the premise to keep Blacks out, from banks to school districts to corporate politics.
To Africa and Africans, we need to do better. Growing up, I thought the disconnect between Africans and Black Americans was generational. I am disappointed, after living and working in Ghana for a year and a half, to see that this ignorance spreads throughout generations. Here is my take on why Blacks and Africans can be on the same team.
The question as to whether Africa is an ally to Black America and Black Lives Matter has a government level and people level. Like I said in the video, I am singling out Ghana because that is the country I have had the pleasure of having as the introduction to living and working in Africa. At this point, to be honest, any official government statement made now is too late. It feels as if you were waiting to see who wins before you announce whose team you are on. Like I mentioned in the video, the address to the nation was on May 31st, which is when, I feel, a reference or statement to Black Lives Matter, systematic racism in America, and George Floyd should have been mentioned. I recorded the video above on Tuesday, June 2nd. On Monday, June 1st, the President of Ghana wrote a Facebook post extending condolences to George Floyd. This was 7 days after George Floyd was murdered. Signaling and positioning is very key in this era of rapid information. The method of communication you choose to express certain statements adds to that signal. You do send a certain signal when you choose to speak on certain things during an address to the nation. On Friday, June 5th, a funeral service was held at the W.E.B. Du Bois Center in Accra for George Floyd. To be honest, seeing the video and photos of it made me further disappointed. Don’t get me wrong. It was a nice gesture. However, the group of people standing behind the microphone are the same older folks who are behind Beyond the Return, the Diaspora Forum, and the Office of Diaspora Affairs. Half of the people there were “press.” I know this because I have attended a similar event hosted by the same people who were promoting housing they were building for the diaspora. Juxtaposing these images with the videos and photos of the hundreds of thousands of people in the streets all over the world, outside of Africa, the raised fists looked like a photo-op. On top of that, the news bulletin video only shows footage of violence, bypassing all the peaceful protests. Notice the clips I am sharing in this post. It was all nice and we are grateful for the gestures. It also feels like there is a layer of playing-it-safe, which is frustrating for someone who wants to see us win.
Why did you not make an official statement condoning America for brutalizing Black people, perverting laws, and oppressing and marginalizing anyone who is “different?” Why are you not holding your American contractors accountable? Why are you not advocating that all American companies, NGOs, or contractors in Ghana, or working with Ghana, must take tangible measures to advocate for Black Lives Matter? You spent all of 2019 promoting the Year of Return, calling for all of the diaspora to come to Ghana, and approximately 750,000 visitors answered the call. You received $3.5 billion worth of remittances from your diaspora in 2019. There are 3-5 thousand Black Americans living in Ghana. They did not move there yesterday. Some have been there for 6 decades. Also, fun fact, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr traveled to Ghana to celebrate your independence with Kwame Nkrumah. What are you doing?
On the people level, there is an inferior mindset that will continue to hinder progress if it is not attended to. I am not sure if it is an education issue or cultural issue. Actually, the colonizers did do us really dirty. They did a great job brainwashing Africans, who continue to see no problem in maintaining that defect. To be honest, you now choose to continue sitting in the dirt the colonizers put you in. This unfortunately will continue the trend of foreigners who have no blood ties to Africa to extract as much as they want. Like I explained in the video, the presence of returnees and diasporans should be seen as an increase in the entire pie. Instead of accusing me as taking away the mosquito slice of pie you have been scratching at, you should recognize that my presence triples the size of your slice of pie. Why do Africans see Black Americans as a threat? It is not enough to apologize for selling your cousins into slavery. Black America built America. Why is it so difficult for you to see the value of Black Americans in your country? Can you not imagine how Black Americans can enhance your life and your country? Do you fear Black Americans will refuse to be oppressed by the rules of your church, elders, and patriarchal society?
Yes, Africans have beautiful traditions. Outside of art, music, and fashion, what are you pushing? What have you invented recently? What are you discussing? What are you teaching? Watch the videos above. Do you see the youth and young adults in America? They are educating themselves, organizing their communities, running businesses, creating content, teaching the community, advocating for humanity, and discussing real topics. Check the list below for Black inventors and Black-owned businesses. Now, Africans, I see you are inspired by Black American music, style, dance, and personality. You honestly see nothing else to be inspired by? Could African youth and young adults learn more from Black Americans. I will let you answer that for yourself.
I am not saying any of this to discourage the diaspora from moving to Africa. Like I said in the video, I am just keeping it 100 with you. I feel there is a disconnect between the bigger picture. Yes, Black Americans can come to Ghana and Africa, build their own businesses, raise their families, and live peacefully. I cannot be a spokesperson for all, but there are Black Americans who also want to make a bigger impact and are more than capable of doing so. Are Black Americans only tolerated in Africa? Or is Africa ready to value, step up, and join forces with Black Americans?
To the world, again, there is a people level and government level. It is very encouraging to see the hundreds of thousands of you marching in your cities. Power to you. I know you also are experiencing your own versions of oppression and brutality. I am glad we inspired you. Now, make meaningful change in a way that makes sense for your country. You cannot copy and paste. Do not settle for photo-ops for viral appeal. To governments all over the world, what are you doing? What are you scared of? America has spent a really long time putting its nose in your business and dismantling your peace. Why can’t you step up to the bully for once. Why are you not treating America like you treated South Africa during apartheid? Why are you not pulling out your investments, contracts, and products with the condition that America must get its act together?
Finally, the resources to be an effective ally are listed below. I decided to highlight books for children in this post because I feel we need to do better in building an early foundation of comprehension. The list of videos to watch on Netflix is like a starter kit. Tyree’s Freedom Papers Newsletter provides speeches, playlists, articles, documentaries, and more tips to be an effective ally. The list of Black-owned businesses I curated is not exhaustive. I have purchased from some of them and plan to purchase from the others. The clothing section includes options for all genders.
As you may know, content about this movement is being suppressed online all over the world. Please bookmark this post, comment below, and share this post to help with this. I really believe this time is different. I am proud of us. I look forward to living in a world where we all can breath.
Also, remember to connect with me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I love hearing from you.
The Freedom Agenda
Books for Children
- Let it Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters by Andrea Davis Pinkney
- Shomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford
- Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story by Reem Faruqi
- Happy In Our Skin by Fran Manushkin
- Chocolate Milk, Por Favor by Celebrating Diversity with Empathy
- My Hair is a Garden by Cozbi A. Cabrera
- Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Became Malcolm X
- Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard
- Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
- Young Water Protectors: A Story About Standing Rock by Aslan Tudor and Kelly Tudor
- My Family Divided: One Girl’s Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope by Diane Guerrero with Erica Moroz
- I Am Not a Number by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer
- The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
- Voice of Freedom Fannie Lou Hammer: Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford
- Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story by Paula Yoo and Lin Wang
- Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
- Maddi’s Fridge by Lois Brandt
- Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
- A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
- The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad with S.K.Ali
Check out this Twitter thread for a continued list
Watch this on Netflix
- Explained: The Racial Wealth Gap
- When They See Us
- Time: The Kalief Browder Story
- Who Killed Malcolm X?
- Dear White People
- American Son
- 12 Years a Slave
- A Fall from Grace
- Strong Island
- Seven Seconds
- LA 92
- What Happened, Miss Simone?
- Teach Us All
- The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson
- The Green Book
- The Negro Soldier
Policing Protests: Lessons from the Occupy Movement, Ferguson, and Beyond – A Guide for Police by Edward R. Maguire and Megan Oakley
Where to Donate