If you are anything like me, you’ve been anguished by the brutal murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and his accomplices. But, more than that, you may feel sick, heartbroken and angry at the injustice, especially because this is not the first time this has happened – it’s just the most recent in a long line of senseless murders of black people including Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others. Tragically, our country is built on racism and racist policies.
Here at Emily Honeycutt Health & Wellness, we stand in solidarity with black and indigenous people, and with all communities of color. Black Lives Matter. We believe in equality, respect, and speaking up.
In my coaching sessions, most of my clients’ goals are focused on weight-loss through a whole food, plant-based diet and we take a holistic, integrative approach – focusing on all aspects of health and wellness, including mental, emotional and spiritual health.
In every coaching session, we discuss each clients’ individual values to help them move forward to help them achieve their wellness goals. Our values as a society is an issue that has been on my mind a lot lately. Here in the U.S., we seem to live in a state of cognitive dissonance. We talk about America being the home of freedom, diversity, equality and justice, but tragically, this is not the case.
When we want to improve our health and wellness in any area of our individual lives or in our entire society, we need to examine our values – values like humanity, justice and courage – then think about how to align our actions more closely with those values. This work of examining our values is critical in order to live with greater integrity as an individual, and as a society as a whole.
I’ve been spending a lot of time on this work recently, but I know it will take a lifetime of continued education to undo the bias inherent in myself and in all of us. I’m committed to do my part. I know many of you may feel uncomfortable talking about race or racial issues. You may feel helpless or not know what to do. I feel the same way. But we have to start somewhere.
I’ve put together a list of resources for my white friends to learn to become allies to the black community. I hope the sharing of these resources will foster growth, compassion and understanding among people and communities.
How White People Can Be Allies to the Black Community
- LEARN about systemic racism and injustice.
Check out this 5-minute video for a brief explanation of systemic racism. For a list of resources and to keep yourself accountable, check out the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge. This comprehensive resource guide provides actions you can take, books, videos and more. Bookmark it for years of learning.
- READ (or listen to audio) books on how to be an anti-racist.
Learn how to actively stand against racism, while celebrating diversity and equality by reading books on black history and racial justice. Here are a few: How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
- WATCH movies and documentaries to understand the black point-of-view throughout history.
Biopics and documentaries like Just Mercy, Malcolm X, Selma and I Am Not Your Negro offer us a chance to learn from black storytellers who give us important insight into black lives. Check out this list of 29 Movies, Shows, and Documentaries to Watch to Educate Yourself on Racial Injustice from The Everygirl.
- SPEAK UP when someone you know makes a racist (or sexist, or homophobic) comment.
Don’t laugh along and don’t let it slide. Your family member, friend or co-worker may or may not be aware that their language or behavior is offensive to black people and people of color (POC). It’s our responsibility for those of us with privilege to check each other.
- TEACH your kids about the injustice of racism, bigotry and prejudice.
Here’s a list of recommended books for kids, broken down by age group, from the NY Times. Recent additions to my 13-year old son’s library include: Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? (he likes this series of biographies and has read many others including those of Nelson Mandela and Booker T. Washington), It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Adapted for Young Readers) and All American Boys.
- SUPPORT black plant-based wellness experts.
They may be my competitors in the wellness arena, but they’re also my respected colleagues. Here’s a short list of few notables. Check them out!
- Milton Mills, MD, Internal Medicine Doctor and Speaker
- Jenné Claiborne, author of Sweet Potato Soul
- A. Breeze Harper, author of Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health, and Society
- Bryant Terry, author of five cookbooks including Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine and his newest, Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes
- Tracy McQuirter, MPH, author of Ageless Vegan: The Secret to Living a Long and Healthy Plant-Based Life
- END WHITE SILENCE by wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt.
We must not sit by as bystanders. This is a moment of collective liberation. Now is the time to use our voices to stand with our black brothers and sisters. Learn and be prepared to discuss the issues and wear responsibly. For information, visit Wear Out the Silence.
- DONATE to organizations that are committed to ending racial injustice including
Color of Change, Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Southern Poverty Law Center and Boston University Center for Antiracist Research.
- VOTE for local, state and national leaders who support a progressive, inclusive agenda including the advancement of equal rights for all.
All lives cannot matter until Black Lives Matter. The Congressional Black Caucus supports Joe Biden for President.
Health Disparities & the BIPOC Community
Racism isn’t confined to police brutality. It’s pervasive in every area of our lives. The BIPOC (black, indigenous and people of color) community face disparities in healthcare and rates of COVID-19 infection as well. I’m doing what I can to support all people affected by this pandemic. If you would like coaching and support, but have been financially impacted, please contact me for discounted or pro bono services.
Becoming An Ally
As a white person, I will never fully understand the black experience, but I join with the black community in pain, sorrow and mourning for the loss of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and all the other unjust deaths of black people for the past 400 years. I’m definitely not an expert on racial justice and I probably never will be, but I’m learning and I care. I guarantee I’ll make mistakes, but I’m doing my best to listen and learn become an anti-racist and an ally. I hope you’ll join me.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” – Elie Wiesel
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