I am not free while any woman is unfree.

June 1, 2020

By LMA

“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own. And I am not free as long as one person of colour remains chained. Nor is any one of you.”

-Audre Lorde, “Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism”

One week ago today, on May 25, 2020, George Floyd was murdered by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Many people in the United States and around the world are responding to the systemic racism, trauma, and injustice in his death, and the deaths and pain of so many other Black and Brown people.

It is so important to us to speak about what is happening, and to attend to it with care, directiveness, and intention. We are also fully aware of the complexities and long, traumatic history related to racism and the faith many of us belong to, are adjacent to, used to belong to, and/or have a complex relationship with. While a statement has now been made (and we are grateful for this), church leadership are still unwilling and unable to acknowledge their role in continued systemic racism. It is very important to us we speak about this and communicate our priorities, love, and commitment to our siblings of color, but especially Black and Brown siblings.

We are sending so much love, comfort, and care to you. You deserve to be comforted, ministered to, helped, supported, amplified, and protected, as you always have. Your lives, resources, comfort and safety are so, so precious.

We are so sorry and feel anger and rage and sadness for the suffering, trauma, wrongs, and injustice done to people of color, especially Black people, in the name of whiteness. We are so sorry and feel anger and rage and sadness for the suffering, trauma, wrongs, and injustice done to people of color, especially Black people, in the name of faith and Mormonism.

These are the things we want to say to our white siblings that read this:

As a white woman raised in a deeply conservative home, I think often about the messages I was given and the things I was taught about vital issues related to intersectional feminism, such as race, sexuality, and body autonomy. So many were raised in both covert and overt racist environments and institutions and faiths like this. We were not taught about racism or how to talk about race; we were benefiting profoundly from racism and white privilege.

Now that we’re adults, we have to be doing the vital work of critically recognizing our privilege, actively working to dismantle it, and leveraging it on behalf of others. This effort is profoundly delicate and we may feel very uncomfortable recognizing our immense privilege, but the time is past for us to do this work. Audre Lorde was right:

“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own. And I am not free as long as one person of colour remains chained. Nor is any one of you.” 

Audre Lorde, “Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism”

Here is a place to start with that work:

This comprehensive link from Black Lives Matter outlines specific, concrete ways to help, including signing petitions, contacting organizations/representatives, and various sources of donation (e.g., victims, protesters, Black-owned businesses) or donating without spending money.

This piece from The Cut outlines additional places/organizations where you can donate funds if you’re able.

This piece from Medium outlines 75 concrete ways to actively assist in racial justice as a white person.

This link outlines expressive writing prompts and reflection questions to consider your thoughts and experiences with race and white privilege. They are written specifically for white people by author and anti-bias facilitator Leesa Renee Hall.

Read Kid Melodie’s plan to organize resources and help share the experiences of Black Mormons to Latter-day Saint general authorities via a letter-writing campaign.

Read more on the Exponent Blog about racism and Mormonism.

This presentation given by Audre Lorde (referenced above) powerfully discusses the connection between Black women and other women of color and white women.

Read more from The Body Is Not an Apology about intersections of race and other dimensions of identity.

More content regarding these events will be forthcoming. We urge white people, in all of the varied intersections of privilege they experience, to do all they can to consider what they personally can and will do to show support for our siblings of color now and into the future.

LMA

LMA is PhD-holding boss lady that teaches child development to university students. She cares deeply about issues that affect women+ inside and outside of our Church.

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8 Responses

  1. Allemande Left says:

    Excellent post LMA. Thank you for these resources.

  2. Chiaroscuro says:

    thank you for the reminder that it is our responsibility to be adults and educate ourselves and for the great list of resources to start with!

  3. Violadiva says:

    Thanks for searching out and compiling these resources! Very helpful to have them listed together.

  4. Caroline says:

    I love these links! Thank you for doing this, LMA.

  5. Heather says:

    Thank you for all these resources. Your posts are always so thoughtful.

  6. Abby Kidd says:

    I love the Audre Lorde quote you used here–“I am not free as long as one person of colour remains chained. Nor is any one of you.”

    I love the idea too, that none of us are free unless all of us are free. When people (esp non-black people) hurt each other or try to climb over one another’s backs in order to be the most woke person in the room or virtue signal about how anti-racist they are, that is a perpetuation of the problem, not a solution to it.

  7. Em says:

    Thank you for sharing these resources, I was unfamiliar with most of them and it is a great place to start to engage more.

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