I’m a person of color, and I’m ashamed I haven’t done more to help

  1. Better understand my parents’ experience. Interview my parents and write their immigration story, including their relationship and thoughts around race as immigrants to this country. This is important context for me –– can’t know where you’re going ’til you understand where you came from.
  2. Better understand whiteness and my relationship to it. I’m listening to the second season of a podcast called Scene on Radio. The season is called Seeing White. I’m also reading a book by Sharmila Sen called Not Quite Not White: Losing and Finding Race in America.
  3. Volunteer for a Black-run project or nonprofit. When I cofounded a local Seattle news publication, I met Mozart Guerrier, the executive director of 21 Progress, a nonprofit in Seattle that develops young leaders of color across sectors and communities to fight for social change. When I was a journalist, it was easy to look at that project and say, ‘That’s cool!’ and move on. But as I reflect on how I want to learn and help, this nonprofit or a similar project feels like a good place to start.
  4. Not be afraid to have tough conversations with family and friends about race and racial justice. This one is by far the hardest on my list. But if I’ve sent you this piece and you’re not someone I regularly talk to about race and identity, then know that this is my attempt at a conversation opener with you. I don’t expect us to agree on everything, but I do need you to try and understand my journey to identifying as a person of color and why fighting racism is deeply important to me. Please also know that in talking about race with me, you’ll very likely say something to offend me and I’ll very likely say something to offend you. It’s ok! I’d be worried if that *doesn’t* happen because it means we aren’t having the right conversation. I definitely do not have all the answers, and while some social justice activists dismiss good intentions, I don’t. You trying means the world to me.

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Anika Anand

Anika Anand

Deputy director, LION Publishers