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Opinion: To Stand Against Racism, Use Your Wallet

blacklivesmatterThis letter was sent to Scarsdale10583 by Charles Musoff:
Dear Scarsdale, particularly white people in Scarsdale, if you care about what's happening in this country right now, my question for you is simple: What are you doing to support Black people today?

If you have a platform on social media and you haven't spoken up, why not?

Maybe you don't know what to post, maybe you're nervous to engage with your followers, or maybe you don't want your school or employer to see you take a strong political stance. If that type of justification is currently your bottom line, remind yourself that Black people are dying, and the people killing them rely on white bystanders in order to keep it up. Please, make it clear whom you stand with.

If you've posted on social media but that is the extent of your engagement, what more can you do?

If you just want people to know that you care about racism, ask yourself why that public image is your priority. Instead, prove that you do care and push yourself to take action. You can sign petitions, contact your elected officials, and attend protests, all of which are great, but if there’s only one thing you do, donate. Most of us in Scarsdale are incredibly fortunate to have financial security, even now during the pandemic, which makes donating one of the most direct and most powerful ways we can support Black people right now. If you don't think you, as one individual, will make a difference with your donation, look into where specifically the money goes—maybe to medics or to victims' families—and convince yourself that it will.

If you're donating, where?

Trick question: It doesn't matter as long as the money will work toward racial justice, so don't get hung up on any one cause. If you're having trouble understanding why protestors are looting businesses and don't want to donate to a bail fund, maybe you'd rather support a nonprofit working to rebuild small businesses in the riots' wake. Find an organization or a fund whose mission makes sense to you.

If you're donating, how much?

I'm not asking for a dollar amount; I'm asking for your commitment. Giving a small sum, whatever that means to you, says that you expect others to make a bigger commitment to this effort than you are. If your donation doesn't feel that significant, it probably isn't. Push yourself to donate even more.

Lastly, if you've been arguing with friends and family members about racism, what goals do you and they still share?
Your conversations about race might be getting heated more easily. However, it's worth putting in the effort to find points of commonality and focus on actions you can agree to take now. When you start to feel interpersonal tension overshadow your shared focus on racial justice, don’t end the conversation. Instead, try to walk back through the points you agree upon and turn that into a plan for where to put your money. Even if the recipient organization is a compromise, donating there rather than not at all is a successful step in the right direction.

Altogether, as we work together to support Black people, I hope you put your money where your mouth is. If you have any questions about my message, feel free to send them to charles.musoff@yale.edu.

Note that all linked attachments are sourced from Black Lives Matter Carrd.

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