We’ll do this one a little differently today.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: “We need you guys to put this word out... we need you guys to get our message out.”
That was Rondae after practice on Saturday, asking the media on his Zoom call to help support the message of love and unity that NBA players are trying to get out. There’s a lot of crazy things happening in the world, Rondae said, and as excited as we all are that basketball is back, we can’t lose the focus on the things that really matter.
Rondae is right. We all have a part to play, from national media all the way down to bloggers and team blogs like Raptors HQ. So here are five things we — meaning us at Raptors HQ, and meaning you, our awesome readers — can do.
1. Support Black Lives Matter in your Area
The Canadian arm of the Black Lives Matter movement can be found at here (remember the dot ca). From there you can donate funds, which is one method of support — but one we recognize isn’t always possible, especially right now, with so many people facing decreased income thanks to COVID-19. So at the very least, read what they have to follow them on Twitter and share their messages to your followers, and when you can, attend their events.
You can also read more about Defunding the Police in Toronto and Canada, and what that might mean and what alternatives there are, here; there’s a lot of confusion, I think, about what defunding the police might actually mean in practice; if it’s just a Twitter hashtag there’s no context, but through Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police the picture becomes clearer.
2. Make Your Voice Heard by Attending Events or Volunteering
If supporting these causes financially isn’t in the cards for you right now, considering donating your time instead. Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police are regularly organizing events and rallies, and the larger these events grow, the more our elected officials will pay attention.
If you’re not comfortable attending big events right now thanks to COVID, hit up an online seminar or see where you can have your voice heard directly to your local government. Here in Toronto, the awesome people at Progress Toronto have been organizing online events and providing resources on a host of issues that can help make our city more just; they’re a great place to start.
3. Listen to, and Amplify, BIPOC Voices
It’s easier than ever to hear what people are saying, thanks to social media. Even if you are in a small town or don’t have a large social circle, that doesn’t mean you’re cut off from this conversation. Social media makes this so easy. Follow more black voices, more women, more Indigenous voices, more trans voices — hear what they have to say, read the news they share, understand what’s going on in those communities. And share those messages with your followers. Desmond Cole and Robin Maynard are good places to start, but you don’t have to just follow the big names — heck, there are tons of non-white Raptors fans out there to connect with!
These are the voices most likely to tell you when there’s a rally or event in your area as well.
4. Write to your Elected Officials
If you live in Toronto, you can find your city councillor’s contact info right here. Write them an email or even a letter! Take what you’ve read at Blacklivesmatter.ca and tell them what you want and why it matters. Follow them on Twitter, and @ them, especially when there are votes coming up. Do the same for your provincial and federal governments.
5. Stand Up Against Racism When You See It
This is probably the toughest one, but it’s important. When you see racism, whether subtle or overt, call it out. That might mean telling that asshole on the TTC who’s harassing an Asian woman because of the “China Virus” to fuck off, or it might mean talking to your boss about why your company doesn’t have a more diverse workforce.
Personally, I haven’t done nearly enough of the above, so I have plenty of work to do too. And the “I’m just one person” thinking can easily creep in, but if all of us just do a little bit, one voice becomes a lot of voices, and that’s when things start to change.