How Eco Businesses Can Support Black Lives Matter
We, like so many, are in an era of reflecting, reckoning, and understanding how our efforts can help change the state of policing in this country and dismantle systematic racism that pervades our society.
For us, one of the biggest questions is “what can we do?” - as individuals, as colleagues, as friends, and as a business.
Based on our reading and listening, it seems that most valuable actions a non-Black person and business leader can take fall into a few main categories. Below, you’ll find a long list of specific resources that can help you execute on these different actions. Have anything to add? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Listen, read, reflect, and adjust your behaviors - over and over again: The most essential action is to understand racism and its broad sweeping impact in this country, to reflect on your own perspectives and role in racism, and to move towards being anti-racist. This is not a one time exercise and it is one that requires being open to discomfort, empathy and dialog. There is no non-racist, there is only anti-racist and the choice to speak up when you witness unjust actions against the Black community.
- Immerse yourself in environmental justice and re envision what sustainability means to you and your business: If you, like us, have created a view of sustainability focused on big, systems numbers (such as overall greenhouse gas emissions or overall levels of plastic pollution in the ocean), take the time to learn about environmental justice and use this to evolve your environmental perspectives. Like all “issues”, sustainability is one that must be intersectional. Educating yourself on environmental issues and how they disproportionately effect black and marginalized communities is essential for creating a sustainable business framework.
- Donate: Change requires resources. Resources to help advocate, pay change agents for their time, pay legal fees, support memorial funds, and keep organizations who are doing the work in business. If you don't have the funds to donate, you can donate your time to any of the below:
- Protest: The size of the crowd matters. The more people who come out peacefully in support of the policy changes we need to see, the more public officials will listen. Sign petitions: especially if you aren’t comfortable with protests in a time of COVID. Petitions are also valuable as they take the larger issues of police brutality and systemic racism and translate them into actionable changes that are needed. And once you sign, make sure to share.
- Call your local officials: Research policing practices in your area and call your major to ensure chokeholds are banned, stop and frisk policies are eliminated, and body cameras are required (among many changes that can be made!). We have seen this with Breonna's Law - no-knock warrants are now banned in Louisville, where the murder of Breonna Taylor occurred.
- Support Black-owned businesses: Spend with businesses whose values, actions and identities you are actively trying to support. Especially during COVID19, black-owned businesses were, once again, disproportionately affected.
- Rethink your marketing: How intentional have you been about showcasing diverse identities in your marketing material? If the answer is anything but "actively," change that going forward.
- Rethink your workplace culture and hiring practices: Do you have an inclusive, anti-racist workplace culture? Are you attracting Black and brown talent? If not, take steps to understand why and make those changes.
- Finally, don’t ask a Black person to educate you, unless you are paying them to do so - through speaker or coaching fees, Patreon funding, buying their books, buying their documentaries, etc.
None of these are or should ever be considered acts of superiority or saviorism. Much the opposite. We consider them acts of simply being a person and businesses oriented towards dismantling systemic injustices that (1) we want to eradicate for our society and the society our children grow up, and (2) as non Blacks, we have benefited from and must reckon with.
This blog post is written with Black Lives Matter in mind, and was written primarily for non Black readers. We recognize that there are many disenfranchised communities. EcoEnclose is an Asian woman-owned business, and therefore is representative of one of these communities. However, we are very aware (and becoming more aware by the day) that racism against Blacks is more pervasive and destructive than what is faced by other minority groups and as such, have dedicated this particular post to actions that support Black activism in this country.
RESOURCE AND ACTION LIST
Have something to add? Contact us at email@example.com so we can include it.
The End of Policing - Alex Vitale
The New Jim Crow - Michelle Alexander
Are Prisons Obsolete? -Angela Y. Davis
Abolition Now! Anthology
Our Enemies in Blue - Police and Power in America - Kristian Williams
Stamped from the Beginning - Ibram X. Kennedy
How to be Anti-Racist - Ibram X. Kennedy
White Trash - Nancy Isenberg
White Fragility - Robin Diangelo
A People’s History of the United States - Howard Zinn
We Need To Talk - How to have Conversation that Matter - Celeste Headlee
We Keep Us Safe - Zach Norris
The Autobiography of Malcolm X - As Told To Alex Haley
Brainwashed - Tom Burrell
Defining Moments in (Black) History - Reading Between the Lines - Dick Gregory
So You Want To Talk About Race - Ijeoma Oluo
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou
Divided Sisters - Midge Wilson and Kathy Russell
The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison
Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
They Can’t Kill Us All - Wesley Lowry
Fatal Invention - Dorothy Roberts
Locking Up Our Own - James Forman
The Wretched of the Earth - Frantz Fanon
A World Without Police - The Problem, the Strategy, the Study Guide
What Are We Protesting For? - ACLU
How to Ally - Does and Don’ts - Waste Free Marie
Defund, Not Reform - what defunding the police means & why it matters
Preventing Burnout - Keeping the movement alive
13th - Netflix
American Son - Netflix
Dear White People - Netflix
If Beale St Could Talk - Hulu
King in the Wilderness - HBO
See You Yesterday - Netflix
The Hate U Give - Netflix
When They See Us - Netflix
A List of Petitions for Justice - via change.org
ACTIONS SPECIFIC TO ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
Donate/Orgs to Follow
Outdoor Afro - “where black people and nature meet”
We Act - for Environmental Justice for low-income and marginalized communities disproportionately affected by climate change
Black Owned Bookstores to Support - Instagram post
Black Owned Bookstores in the US - website
Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry - Camille T. Dungy
The Body of the World - Mary Moore Easter - black feminist nature poetry
PlanetWalker - John Francis - walked across US and took a 17 year vow of silence after witnessing an oil spill
A Negro Explorer At The North Pole - Matthew Henson - 1909 expedition to the north pole
Mississippi Solo, A River Quest - Eddy L. Harris - canoeing the Mississippi from Minnesota to NOLA recounting racists encounters during his trip
The Lost Daughter, A Memoir - Mary Williams - solo-hike on the Appalachian Trail
To Love The Wind and the Rain: African American’s and Environmental History - Dianne D. Glaves
Race, Place and Environmental Justice After Hurricane Katrina: Struggles to Reclaim, Rebuild, and Revitalize New Orleans and the Gulf Coast - Robert Bullard and Beverly Wright
Diary of An Environmentalist by Norris McDonald - who founded the African American Environmentalist Association in 1985
Black Environmentalists Talk About Climate and Anti-Racism - Somini Sengupta for New York Times
Why Every Environmentalist Should Be Anti-Racist - Leah Thomas for Vogue
I’m a Black Climate Expert. Racism Derails our Efforts to Save the Planet - Ayana Elizabeth Johnson for Washington Post
Racial Complexities of Outdoor Spaces: An Analysis of African American ’s Lived Experiences in Outdoor Recreation - Matthew Charles Goodrid
Environmental And Climate Justice - article on NAACP
5 Things to Know About Communities of Color and Environmental Justice - Jasmine Bell for Center for American Progress
Connecting the Dots Between Environmental Injustice and the Coronavirus - Sacoby Wilson for Yale Environment 360
Intersectional environmentalist accounts to follow (black-run):
@ayanaeliza - Black Climate Expert and Marine Biologist
@melaninbasecamp - People of Color in the Outdoors
@greengirlleah - intersectional environmentalism, writer
@poppyokotcha - permaculture designer & organic grower
@indyofficinalis - manages urban garden on skid row in downtown LA
@dominiquedrakeford - sustainable development, social innovation and holistic living (founder of @melaninASS)
@mayasideas - environmental activist and artist
@whitneyrmcguire - attorney and cofounder of @sustainableBK
@thatcurlytop - sustainable fashion and lifestyle
@wastefreemarie - environmental and racial advocate
@climatediva - climate advocate and writer
https://sycamorelandtrust.org/2018/02/black-history-month/ - includes TED talks