A Word to The Allies

We would like to amplify this message from Baltimore National Heritage Area’s Executive Director, Shauntee Daniels

Call to Action-Be A Witness And Then Do Something!

There Is No Excuse.
Police Brutality and Racism Needs to End NOW!

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

This past week has opened so many wounds for all of us. I must say it was difficult for me to watch the cruelty and vicious treatment of one man from someone who took an oath to protect and serve. George Floyd’s treatment was cruel and unjust. There is no excuse. It has to stop, NOW!

Heritage Areas and our partners are charged with recording our history. We document the past for the future generations. Most of us are doing a great job at documenting and educating, but I have to be honest, eradicating racism and changing the systems that oppress Blacks and other people of color is not scholarly work, it’s emotional and compassionate work. History has recorded over and over again that change is needed, but that hasn’t made a bit of difference. We can document all we want, but until we start doing and acting we will be at this place again!

To my dear white friends, I’d like to share these words which were posted on Facebook. A friend’s 18-year-old daughter was preparing to go to a protest this week.

These were the instructions she shared with her white child:

I saw a lot and I learned a lot this weekend. If you are a white person considering joining a protest this week, here are some rules.

  • FOLLOW CALLS ONLY. Do not initiate or lead calls. Your job is to follow and add your voice when it is called for.
  • DO NOT TAKE SELFIES. Ask to take pictures or videos of individuals. You are there to witness only. Film the police as much as possible. Your goal is documentation to ensure that the true narrative is told.
  • BE HELPFUL. Hand out water and snacks. Make sure protest leaders are hydrated & fed. This is exhausting work, help keep their energy up.
  • FOLLOW DIRECTIONS. STAY IN THE BACK UNTIL YOU ARE CALLED FORWARD. If you hear “white people to the front” or “allies to the front” step forward and link arms with other white people to form a human shield.
  • WHEN YOU ARE AT THE FRONT, YOU ARE SILENT. Your job is to be a body. You are there to support only. The only voices on the police line should be Black voices.
  • REMAIN CALM AT ALL TIMES. This is not a game. Joining a protest is a serious decision. Make sure you are there for the right reason. Support the safety of Black protesters at all times.

If you are truly interested in doing the emotional work, I strongly suggest the books and programs at the end of this message for enhancing understanding, changing your views and opening your heart. This is definitely hard work and all won’t have the stomach for it. When you become discouraged, think of all those Black bodies from slavery to now that too were discouraged and somehow endured. We will all make it through this with collective effort and action.

Stay safe, be well and Peace!

How To Be An Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
Your Silence Will Not Protect You by Audre Lorde
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon

Code Switch (NPR)
1619 (New York Times)
Pod Save the People (Crooked Media)
About Race
Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast

13th (Ava Duvernay)- Netflix
American Son (Kenny Leon)- Netflix
If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)- Hulu
The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr)- Hulu with Cinemax
Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler)- Available to Rent

Baltimore National Heritage Area