June 5, 2020

By Katherine Ewing of Lee’s Summit

As protests over George Floyd’s murder have made headway, I have come across many people who are unsure how they can help advocate for the black community. Due to COVID-19, attending these protests is not possible for those who cannot risk contracting the virus. For others, financial hardship debilitates them from being able to donate to organizations that are helping the black community. However, there are a plethora of ways that everyone can contribute to Black Lives Matter, such as signing petitions, spreading awareness among your family and friends, educating yourself, and actively communicating with city, state, and federal officials about the changes that need to be made.

On Saturday, June 6, 2020 at 10 a.m., I am hosting an event where people can come, while social distancing, to Lea McKeighan Park, 125 NE Chipman Rd, Lee’s Summit, MO 64063 and write letters to officials about the ways they need to change the institutional inequities that are oppressing the black community. Many policies currently in place, and the lack of certain policies altogether, exacerbate the inequities that this community already faces on a day to day basis. Mandatory minimum sentences, cash bail, and the lack of enforcement of affirmative action plans are just a few examples of the ways that our society gaslights the black community to believe that their oppression is the natural result of their own actions. No amount of reparations can ever make up for the pain, death, and trauma that the black community has faced. However, changes can and need to be made.

If you cannot make it on Saturday, do not allow this to be an indication that you are consequently unable to advocate for this cause. Do your research, educate yourself, and chip away at your own biases. Listen to the stories of black folks whether that be through social media, books, movies, etc. Donate your money or time to organizations that are helping the black community such as Black Lives Matter, Equal Justice Initiative, and Color of Change. Sign petitions for victims of police brutality to be brought justice. Write to your representatives and officials about the changes you want to see made. Call out microaggressions when you see them. But most importantly, never stop. The protests over George Floyd’s murder are not aimed solely at justice for one man. They are the tipping point of an entire history of generational trauma, racism, violence, slavery, segregation, and inequality. The best we can do is listen, empathize, and take action.