Institutions change slowly. Individuals change slowly.
If I change my diet and exercise patterns, it takes weeks for that change to register on a scale. If I start learning a new skill—the piano, Spanish—it takes years to become proficient.
Beautiful, Disruptive Change
Undoing the harm of centuries of injustice means changing. Uncomfortable, beautiful, hopeful, disruptive, it-takes-time change.
And just as starting a new way of eating, or learning a new skill, can feel so overwhelming that we decide not to even try, the thought of changing our thinking and parenting and spending and socializing and institutional commitments can feel impossible. As if we are too little. As if we are too late.
But change begins with one small step. And then another. And then another.
First Steps Toward Change
If you are just starting out in this process, start at the beginning. I’ve written about five first steps that white people can take to acknowledge the harm of injustice and participate in a holistic work of healing.
In short: learn more, talk to your kids about race, celebrate leaders who are people of color, speak up among friends, and pray. (You can find explanations of all five here.)
Next Steps Toward Change
If you have been learning about race and injustice and privilege for a while, if you’ve started talking to your kids and having conversations about these things, then I’ve also written about five next steps that white people can take to continue that work.
In short: Take a class, give money, create collaborative spaces, attend a protest and/or prayer gathering, and take a pilgrimage. (You can find explanations of these five here.)
We are each small participants with small parts to play.
Take One Step
And we each can take one small step, and then the next, and then the next. Until the change is no longer disruptive and uncomfortable and overwhelming, but the change is a part of something new.
To read further with Amy Julia:
- Five First Steps Toward Racial Healing
- Five Next Steps Toward Racial Healing
- S3 E3 | Our Different Stories Divide Us with Patricia Raybon
- A Week of Protests: Learn, Listen, Lament, and Love
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