Taking action in solidarity with black lives

Opinion: Columns

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By Indivisible Brookfield

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We are the co-founders and leaders of Indivisible Brookfield, a local grassroots organization, founded in 2017, working to elect progressive leaders and leading local actions to resist the agenda that is threatening all of humanity. 

We are also the direct beneficiaries of over 400 years of white privilege in America that has denied black people their right to equal education, health care, housing, employment, banking, and basic human dignity. 

We have had the privilege attend private schools, go to college, own houses, be elected to office, be promoted at work, and have countless other advantages routinely denied to our black contemporaries. 

As our nation continues to be impacted by the horrific deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless other black lives lost to acts of violence, brutality, and racism, Indivisible Brookfield stands in solidarity with those calling for justice and reform. 

We at Indivisible believe that Black Lives Matter, without qualifications, without asterisks, without caveats. We also believe that our community has the right to protest and protect themselves against state-sanctioned violence. 

As privileged white Americans, we must move beyond Facebook posts, Instagram stories and Tweets to demonstrate our "wokeness." We have a national crisis of white supremacist violence against black people in this country. 

In the past 10 years alone, we have witnessed the deaths of thousands of black people at the hands of police. There is systemic racism in our police and criminal justice systems that spans centuries. 

Now is the time for visionary and radical change that we must all be part of, beyond the comfortable parameters of social media. We can start by contacting our local and state officials and tell them to defund the Brookfield Police Department and invest those funds in resources people need in black communities, indigenous communities and communities of color. 

When we defund police, we can invest in black community-led education, health and safety programs -- funding for schools and youth homelessness services, solutions to the opioid crisis, and non-police responders for crises, such as mental health response teams and community violence prevention programs. 

We can donate and support local anti-white supremacy groups, such as Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, the Southern Poverty Law Center or nonprofit organizations such as the Chicago Community Bond Fund, My Block My Hood My City and Action Now. 

Patronize black-owned restaurants, shops, salons and other businesses. Mentor and hire black people. We must pursue our own anti-racist education. It is our responsibility to seek resources to educate ourselves about America's deeply-rooted racism. 

One easy place to start is to Google "anti-racism resources for white people" or visit the Brookfield Public Library. Choose one article, one book or one documentary. Then, discuss it with three white friends and hold each other accountable. 

Do this again and again. If you live in the 4th or 7th Congressional Districts in Brookfield, contact Rep. Danny Davis or Rep. Chuy Garcia and thank them for co-sponsoring House Resolution 988, introduced by Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (MN-5) and Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), condemning police violence. 

If you live in the 3rd District and are represented by Congressman Dan Lipinski, call him and demand that he co-sponsor the resolution and speak out publicly about the need for the House to pass it without delay. 

Most importantly, white people need to listen. This is not our time or space to lead. Be supportive and provide assistance. No village is immune to racism, including Brookfield. 

We must start with ourselves. We must use our individual and collective voices to denounce racism and inequity in all its forms. When we see it, we must call it out. 

Brookfield, we are a wonderful and welcoming village, and we can do better. As co-founders of Indivisible Brookfield, we pledge to do a better job of addressing racism and making sure this movement is not just a moment.

This op-ed was submitted by Meaghan McAteer, Chris Meier, Mitzi Norton, the co-founders of Indivisible Brookfield

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