“When we listen to our bodies, hearts, and minds, and consider input from trusted friends, we can find resiliency and renew our lives and work.”
We each bring our own beliefs, experiences, and feelings to our anti-racist work – a work that is difficult and demanding. Our ongoing commitment to actively think about and take action against racism, combined with a sense of urgency and deep caring, adds pressure and stress to our daily lives. The emotional impact of this work is real, therefore it is vital that we all practice “self-care” to benefit our overall health and quality of life.
Self-care, at its most basic, refers to a person’s effort to maintain their wellness and health. Initiated and maintained by each individual based on their own needs, self-care requires active engagement and conscious effort to form new, beneficial habits. Caring for ourselves helps to bring balance, focus, and mindfulness to our lives. In turn, this helps us to better navigate the challenging social and political issues related to our anti-racist work.
While there is no single formula for self-care, even a deep centering breath can provide a moment of calm. Each self-care plan is unique to the individual and changes over time. When we listen to our bodies, hearts, and minds, and consider input from trusted friends, we can find resiliency and renew our lives and work.
TWO SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES
Watch this video leading families through a self-care strategy led by Ita Reyes E-RYT, Owner and Founder of Ita Yoga Studio.
This information is from the Talking About Race Series offered by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, a division of the Smithsonian Institution.
Click the button below to learn more about self-care and explore other topics.
Finding time to breathe and center yourself can help you refocus and avoid burnout, even if it’s for two minutes.
Far too often, people think of themselves as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity. – Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
The following is a list of some of the great organizations that are supporting Washtenaw County. This is what community care looks like. Members of the community coming together to support one another and lift one another up.
“Ozone House is a community-based, nonprofit agency that helps young people lead safe, healthy, and productive lives through intensive intervention and prevention services. Since 1969, we have actively developed unique, high-quality housing and support programs and services that provide support, intervention, training, and assistance to runaway, homeless, and high-risk youth and their families. Through these support services, we help youth develop essential life skills, improve their relationships, and enhance their self-image so that they may realize their full potential for growth and happiness.”
“SOS Community Services is a community-based nonprofit. We are dedicated to preventing and ending family homelessness in Washtenaw County through partnerships with caring individuals, local businesses and organizations, social service agencies and professionals. We provide integrated services to homeless families, children and youth. And we directly serve 4,000 people annually, including families, individuals, and children, with comprehensive services that move them from homelessness to self-sufficiency and permanent, stable housing.”
“The mission of the Corner Health Center is to inspire 12- to 25-year-olds (and their children) to achieve and sustain healthy lives by providing judgment-free, affordable health and wellness care and education. At the Corner, we offer a full range of health care, mental health, and supportive services for young people as they transition to adulthood. Corner staff–including physicians, nurses, psychiatrists, social workers, nutritionists, and health educators–are well versed in young people’s unique needs. We provide our services to young people regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay for care.”
“Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels provides nutritious meals, social contact and other services to the homebound elderly, ill and disabled in eastern Washtenaw County, to enable them to enjoy healthier, safer, and more independent lives. We envision a community where every senior feels nourished, valued and supported.”
“Food Gatherers exists to alleviate hunger and eliminate its causes in our community. We are committed to providing the best possible service to the community. All Food Gatherers’ actions are based on our commitment to serve people experiencing hunger. We are committed to distributing safe, usable, nutritious, and appealing food. We believe that food is a basic human right. We are committed to and work for equity, and an ideal world in which all people have access to food, shelter, meaningful work, dignity, and freedoms.”
“We believe that as a community we are stronger when we work together to help each other out. Our purpose is to help facilitate as much cooperation and aid as possible. Particularly focusing on the most impacted and marginalized members of our community.”
“Growing Hope fosters an equitable and sustainable local food system where all people are empowered to grow, sell, buy, prepare, and eat nourishing food. Growing Hope envisions Ypsilanti as a community where all people–particularly those with barriers due to race, class, culture, language, ability, and mobility–have access to nourishing local food that is culturally appropriate and affordable, can grow and prepare their own harvests, and may earn a living as a food grower, producer, or entrepreneur.”
“Parkridge is a recreational and educational programming center for Ypsilanti residents. The center is designed to actively involve youth and families in safe, positive, and structured activities.”
“Our mission is to break the cycle of incarceration in Washtenaw County by investing in the employment and development of formerly incarcerated men and women through farming and community engagement.”
TO BE AN ALLY IS TO...
- Take on the struggle as your own.
- Transfer the benefits of your privilege to those who lack it.
- Amplify voices of the oppressed before your own.
- Acknowledge that even though you feel pain (and discomfort), the conversation is not about you.
- Stand up (show up), even when you feel scared.
- Own your mistakes and de-center yourself.
- Understand that your education is up to you and no one else.
Ally is a complex word that not everyone likes to use. A good place to begin your journey of understanding is with this definition of “ally” from author Roxane Gay in her article for Marie Claire, “On Making Black Lives Matter.” In it, she notes:
- Black people do not need allies. We need people to stand up and take on the problems borne of oppression as their own, without remove or distance.
- We need people to do this even if they cannot fully understand what it’s like to be oppressed for their race or ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability, class, religion, or other marker of identity.
- We need people to use common sense to figure out how to participate in social justice.
As an ally, there is much to unlearn and learn—mistakes are expected. You need to own this as fact and should be willing to embrace the daily work of doing better.
– Amélie Lamont
As a family (and/or individually), use the reflection graphic above from Collaborative ChangeMakers to help guide the anti-racist work that you are being called to do.
- What is freedom and how can you work towards everyone being free?
- What strengths and resources can you use to be a part of the revolution? We have some suggestions below!
Until we are all free, we are none of us free.
– Emma Lazarus
- Use your voice to say something if your friend is not being treated fairly
- Talk with a trusted adult if you need help in supporting a friend who is not being treated with kindness because of the color of their skin
- Organize a book club with family members or friends using books such as This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell or Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
- Read and share stories about Black joy
- Become a pen pal to the elders that live in a nursing home and learn the stories that they may be willing to share (multigenerational learning)
- Read and share picture books such as Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi, Peaceful Fights for Equal Rights by Rob Sanders, and Enough: 20 Protestors Who Changed America by Emily Easton, to learn more about antiracism and how it affects the whole community
- Create Black Lives Matter art to display in the windows of your home to show support and inspire your community
- Read and share stories that accurately portray the history and experience of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color)
- “Pass the Mic” to friends and family who are BIPOC so that you can help uplift their voices and stories (“Pass the Mic” means giving BIPOC space and an opportunity to tell their truth)
LEARN MORE ABOUT ANTI-RACISM
In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.
– Angela Davis
Get tips for how to talk with your kids about race and racism.
If you missed previous weeks’ anti-racism webpages, click below to learn more about learn how to use books to talk about race and racism as a family.
SUMMER CHALLENGE SECRET CODE
Watch our website this fall for more recommended books and anti-racism activities you can do as family.