When we, as students, decided to attend school in New York City, we chose the heart of Manhattan for a reason—the excitement, the independence, and the culture. As a creative ecosystem, we feed off of each other and our passions, our backgrounds, and our commonalities. In one way or another, we share values, a history and a collective story. In perilous times, it is our duty as a student body to rally when our community members are under attack. In the past two weeks, New York and other US cities are fighting for black lives, justice and equity—years of oppression culminating in mass protests—thousands of fists raised high in the air calling for peace and reform.
We as a platform of student voices have the responsibility to bring attention to the Black Lives Matter movement, call for action, and talk about the academic and white privilege any one of us may hold. As students in New York City, we are thrown into an environment where we can either learn about our various degrees of privilege or turn a blind eye. Many of us can afford subway rides to Soho, lunch at By Chloe, and splurge on a bag or shoes every so often. Therefore, we must actively search to understand the discriminatory nature of money and education, and use our privilege to change the system that has benefited the wealthy and failed the poor; the system that has welcomed white students and questioned black students.
Now is the most crucial time to learn about the Black Lives Matter movement. Most of us have leadership roles, social followings, or will graduate into a job soon enough. We must go into our careers dedicated to diversifying our communities, platforms and future industry. Fashion has fed off of black culture and continues to do so. Now is the time to right our wrongs and be a force for change. Courtney Yahn explains white privilege, read and remember it. Identify your biases with Harvard’s Project Implicit Bias test. And don’t be persuaded by everything you see on social media; Instead, read, listen, watch and educate yourself. Learning is the best possible tool in allyship.
This movement is one that calls for education, and it’s okay if you don’t know every in and out yet, as long as you learn and lend a helping hand. Although we will never understand what black people go through on a daily basis, we want our readers to recognize the anger. So imagine, getting paid less for the same work. Facing a lower life expectancy. Being subject to racial profiling. Even being denied a bank loan or adequate healthcare because of the banker or nurse’s own prejudices. This treatment is unacceptable. View our educational resources at the bottom of the article to learn more about how systemic racism affects society today.
Seeing violence, pain and struggle on the news can take a toll, especially for black students. This is trauma: something that can change the way you view the world around you for years to come. To cope with this, talk to your friends and family. Don’t be scared to tell people how you are feeling. Events like these can trigger many emotions and memories of discrimination, oppression and microaggressions, even perhaps at the hands of FIT. Remember that your feelings and emotions are nothing less than valid. Additionally, Talk to a professional, somebody who can make sure you’re in the right headspace to heal.
There are many ways to help, no matter who you are or where you live. If you’re at home, talk to your family and friends about what’s going on, how they’re doing, and how to help. Maybe you can explain the difference between Black Lives Matter vs. All Lives Matter, or why this revolution is different than how they perceive it to be. Hard conversations are stepping stones to change. Additionally, support the movement by funding protests through bail funds, mutual funds and organizations that uplift BIPOC voices. We strongly encourage you to look into these organizations, read what they stand for and recognize the work they do to strengthen the Black Lives Matter movement across the country. Here’s a list of organizations provided by @stephseemsok on Instagram.
If this movement feels too radical, too loud, or takes up too much space, ask yourself what an appropriate reaction to 400+ years of oppression should look like. This movement is one that calls for understanding, and now is an opportunity to learn. We at Blush urge our staff, our readers, the student body and the faculty to learn about the oppression of black lives in America. After you learn, we urge you to teach others, your friends, family, teachers, and peers. By understanding privilege, we can understand what real change looks like and how to help achieve it. This isn’t a trend. Do not stop protesting, do not stop donating, do not stop reposting. Do not stop fighting.
To our black readers, we stand with you. You will always have a voice on our website and in our pages. The time for equity is now, once and for all.
How You Can Educate Yourself
Books to Read:
- So You Want to Talk About Race By Ijeoma Oluo
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings By Maya Angelou
- When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir By Patrisse Khan-Collars and Asha Bandele
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness By Michelle Alexander
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism By Robin DiAngelo
- Becoming By Michelle Obama
- Beloved By Toni Morrison
- The Hate U Give By Angie Thomas
- Malcolm X (Autobiography) By Alex Hayley and Malcolm X
- Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins
Some Shows & Movies to Watch / Stream Right Now:
- 13th – Stream on Netflix [Documentary]
- The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson – Stream on Netflix [Documentary]
- Just Mercy – Stream on Amazon Prime [Film]
- The Hate U Give – Stream on Hulu [Film]
*Especially recommended if you’re not a big reader and prefer movies*
- When They See Us – Stream on Netflix [Documentary]
- Selma – Stream on Amazon Prime [Film]
- 12 Years a Slave – Stream on Netflix [Film]
- Moonlight – Stream on Netflix [Film]
- Dear White People – Stream on Netflix [Show]
- Code Switch – [Podcast]
- Mass Action – [Podcast]
- Intersectionality Matters! – [Podcast]
- Therapy for Black Girls – [Podcast]