February is Black History Month. Here at Shared Planet, we believe that taking action is one of the best ways to acknowledge the hundreds of years-long history of oppression and violence that Black people have suffered at the hands of white supremacy. Taking action can look different for different people, so here are a few ways you can acknowledge this important month. We encourage you to try at least one, if not all four!
1. Educate yourself
As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Educating yourself on racial justice, white supremacy, and the history of inequality between races is a good way to challenge personal biases that we all have. Sign up for a virtual lecture, watch movies from the Black Lives Matter collection on Netflix, or read books that feature Black protagonists or that are written by Black authors. You can find a list of 125 Black-owned bookstores by state here.
2. Buy from Black-owned businesses
Buying from Black-owned, local businesses is another way to celebrate and support Black culture. It is especially important now, as the Coronavirus has disproportionately affected people of color, and therefore, many minority-owned businesses. We are proud to support Black-owned cosmetics companies like Ace Beaute, Un-defined Beauty, Janet & Jo., and The Lip Bar, among many others. Bonus: all four of these companies are vegan or cruelty-free!
3. Expand your circle
One of the best ways to fight for racial justice is to expand your circle. Getting to know people who are different from you helps challenge personal biases and usually leads to you educating others. With Covid-19, it may be difficult to get to know new people in person, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do so online. Following social media accounts that celebrate Black history, people, and culture is a good way to expand your circle, if only virtually for now. Hit the Follow button on accounts like @rachel.cargle, @adriennemareebrown, @eji_org, @antiracismdaily, @ibramxk, or our Vice President @kamalaharris, among many many others.
Donating to organizations that fight for racial justice and support people of color is another way to take action during and after Black History Month, and all it takes is a click of a button! This amazing website helps you navigate easily through non-profit organizations by categories like health, civil rights, education, art, and community development. You can also donate to your local Black Lives Matter organization, which gives back to your specific community.
What else can you do in addition to these four steps? Share this post with a friend (or ten) to increase global change. Every person counts.
Maggie Blehar is a Philadelphia based writer/educator with a Bachelor’s in English and a Master’s in Education. She has been plant-based since 2011 and is always in search of ethical companies to support. She loves traveling, walking her dog, painting, meditation, working for social justice, digging deeper into her zodiac sign, and exploring the Philly vegan scene with friends. Some of her favorite organizations are: Don’t Eat the Homies, Farm Sanctuary, CHNGE, Gentle Barn, and the Equal Justice Initiative. You can find out more about her at www.maggieblehar.com.