It is a gross understatement that what Sandy Band experienced in the interaction that led to her arrest – and eventually her death in police custody – was a brutally unjust violation of her rights and absolutely unacceptable.
The video below was not easy to watch, but as as a white presenting woman who considers herself an ally and human rights advocate, I felt it was important for me to see first-hand just how starkly different Sandy Bland’s lived experience was from my own. It was important for me to see her as a whole person: to see her face and hear her voice, rather than just read her name in a headline.
I’m sharing this video – and addressing this post to my white friends – because I am outraged and still in disbelief.
Because I believe that as white people, we need to continuously educate ourselves on the realities that black citizens and other racialized citizens experience every day, in order to be effective allies to the vital #BlackLivesMatter movement and other vital human rights movements such as #MMAW. Canada’s not color blind either.
It was my birthday last weekend, and it got me thinking about how much I’ve grown in recent years. The person I am today is a fundamentally different human being from the person I was 10 years ago.
I’ve realized that one key ingredient in the process is that phrase: I’m an introvert. I didn’t become an introvert in the last decade. I’ve always been an introvert. The foundational shift for me has been recognizing and embracing that truth about myself.
Next year, the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will expire with victories seen in too few of the eight milestones set.
In their place, the United Nations will put what are being called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a new set of global milestones (there are currently 17, but my fingers are crossed we’ll narrow the focus) aimed not only at ending global poverty, but doing so in such a way that preserves our Mother Earth and holds both ‘developing’ and ‘developed’ countries accountable for achieving them at home.
The global conversation about poverty and development has started to shift:
We’re (slowly) moving from a notion of “us” (developed countries in the Global North) helping “them” (developing countries in the Global South) end extreme poverty “there”, towards a narrative that frames most countries–regardless of what continent they’re on–as experiencing a deeply devastating (and widening) gap between the rich and poor.
Advocacy is an art of advancing a cause, idea or policy within political, economic and/or social institutions. It requires an ability to deftly navigate power dynamics, build influence, collaborate with (sometimes unlikely) allies and think on your feet.
Continuous, rigorous evaluation of advocacy is vital to ensure we’re learning from past experiences, pivoting as the ground shifts beneath us and investing our time and energy where it’s most likely to have the biggest return.