Dear precious community,
Like you, I am still reeling from the brutal murder of George Floyd by white Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin. Vacillating between deep sadness, rage and disbelief… this week I turned my focus to actively listening to black leaders both in our city and across the nation searching for what role I can immediately take up in this fight. I had been weaving in and out of lanes of action with each new learning but as another heartbreaking week of violence against Black Americans passes it is incredibly urgent to be open and clear with you.
Black families need all of our voices right now. So, for now and for the foreseeable future - I’m committed to using the privilege I have as a white person and my platform as a community builder to actively fight racism here in our community.
First… to our black families, classmates and friends, we hear you, we love you, and we stand with you.
Second… to our white families, white classmates and white friends:
At tuneBugz! we have always prided ourselves on building a musical community where everyone is welcome and all children, all people feel safe. This is true for Music Together® providers all across America and also across the globe. However, the abhorrent reality is that black people do not feel safe anywhere in America.
Black families won’t ever truly feel safe unless we show them that we believe them when they say they live in fear. They live with less than. They live secondary to white existence. They live in a white centered world. When we open up and listen to them tell us all the ways they don’t feel safe, we are entering into a social contract that demands we take action against the power structures that are deeply invested in them remaining oppressed and afraid. And yes, these are the same power structures that help - white people - feel safe.
That’s why it can be complicated and actually, this is the most important part. Black people are rising up for their right to feel safe... as safe as white people do in their own skin. White people have a known advantage when it comes to being held to or protected by laws and law enforcement. Focus on the depth of this sentence. Black children do not feel safe in the skin they were born with because we will not challenge the system that is optimized for white people.
We must show black families that a power system that prioritizes black incarceration over black education is a system we will actively work to dismantle in our classrooms, in our churches, in our towns, in our state and in this country. The white community - specifically our white community needs to listen and seek to understand the horrific reality that black families will not feel safe until we act decisively with zero tolerance for racism and to learn how to spot it when we see it.
Although many of us may not know where to start with fighting racism, and since we’ll certainly make mistakes, we need to remember to go at a pace that is sustainable. Take breaks, support earnest effort when white friends and family make it instead of rushing to correct them. Be kind and patient while we hold this space for change that is not at all about white comfort. Be prepared that you will need to push through being uncomfortable and sad.
The old system thrives on your silence and banks on you not wanting to be sad or uncomfortable and loves it when you don’t want to have a hard conversation. Push through that and know we are doing this together, but view this work as critically important on a personal level. It’s ours - to do if we identify as white.
Find your lane and lean into your communities for support. Support for what you can do to be an anti-racist activist will never be more accessible than right now. Support is out there if you go looking for it. I’m asking our entire community to go looking for it.
Here are two great quotes I found that really hit home for me:
"Some are posting on social media, some are protesting in the streets, some are donating silently, some are educating themselves, some are having tough conversations with friends and family. A revolution has many lanes - be kind to yourself and to others who are travelling in the same direction. Just keep your foot on the gas."
“Listen, act, rest, repeat.”
Here are some steps you can take, some lanes you can be in with valuable resources that might help you as you contemplate your role in the fight for racial equality:
Social Media - follow IGs/pages/blogs of black activist leaders, bloggers that resonate with you. Ally Henny has been my fav this week.
Protesting/Activism/Volunteering: become active in local groups who hold the types of marches and protests you’d feel comfortable participating in, here’s one I follow - they are a non-violent organization. Austin Justice Coalition
Educating ourselves: Be the Bridge - Faith Based Racial Conciliation Program
Other local resources:
Lastly…. Please know that as the founder of tuneBugz! I am encouraging teachers to take time for training and participating in educational opportunities around racial equity and anti-racism. I have made a donation to a fantastic local group called African American Youth Harvest Foundation and also the Austin Justice Coalition responsible for the peaceful marching you have seen and will see in coming days and weeks.
I am also working to form a new diversity and inclusion program designed to keep me and my team accountable for forward progress with regard to racial equity at tuneBugz!
Thank you with all our hearts, and with all the love for this community, wrapped in a hug that we wish we could give you in person right now,
Ms. Amber & the tuneBugz! team