I stand in solidarity with the protesters across this country and I believe that black lives matter.
As a white woman in the United States I know I have privileges that many do not. I strive to be inclusive in both my business and my personal life but good intentions are not enough. I don’t have all the answers but I am committed to dismantling racism to be an anti-racist.
Racial justice and agriculture are deeply interwoven. As a farmer it would be naive of me to focus only on crops and not address the loud demand heard around the world for racial equity. Our current food system was built on the backs of people of color, who for centuries were disenfranchised and discriminated against (for historical context listen to the 1619 podcast).
This Sunday there was a gathering in St. Michaels, a Walk for Unity (thanks to my mom for letting me know about it). I attended it with my parents, carrying a simple sign that said Black Lives Matter. We went not knowing how many other supporters would be there. I was pleasantly surprised to see over a hundred people there standing up for racial equity. It brought tears of empowerment to my eyes to see my neighbors, farmers market customers, and visitors to the Eastern Shore of Maryland taking to the streets to stop racism.
My bookshelf is filled with many well loved books on agriculture, rural studies, culinary arts, and homesteading. But for a long time now, it has been missing books on racial justice. So last week I placed an order with Loyalty Books (a Mid-Atlantic Black-owned bookstore) to continue to educate myself and to increase the diversity on my bookshelf. There are many great anti-racist reading lists out there, a simple internet search will give you plenty of suggestions. Here are the books I will be starting with:
All About Love by bell hooks
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
This Child’s Gonna Live by Sarah E. Wright
I recommend you take on the task of undoing racism in your own home as this will transform all of our communities. Have conversations with your family and friends about race and discrimination. These may be uncomfortable for you but your silence when you hear or see racism is complicity. If you feel shy about speaking up in the face of racism imagine your friend, a person of color, is in the next room and they can hear everything including your silence. How would your friend feel? Hurt, betrayed, unsafe?
Speak up and stand up for what is right, you must call out racism for what it is, hateful speech which has no place in your home or your community.
I’m in it for the long haul and I hope that my actions can help us as a society inch towards true equity.