Black Lives Matter was founded in 2013 in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin, yet countless Black lives continue to be lost at the hands of police and white supremacists. The time for silence is long over; the status is not quo and it is critical that we support the people on the ground fighting for their lives (during a pandemic which is disproportionately affecting them, no less) and demand change.
Reader Voracious is going on hiatus for the time being to focus my energy on supporting Black Lives Matter and becoming a better ally. But I want to use my platform to provide information how you can be involved, resources of where to look for information, reading suggestions to confront our privilege, and uplift three Black debut authors’ novels we all should add to our TBRs!
10 Ways You Can Get Involved in Black Lives Matter & Show Your Support
It is time for all of us to collectively use our voices and demand change, and this takes many forms. There are a lot of ways you can get involved!
- Use your privilege to boost Black voices
- Sign petitions (if you’re outside of the United States and need a postal code, you can use 92103 in San Diego, California)
- Share petitions, bail funds & GoFundMe campaigns on your social media platforms
- Donate to bail funds & GoFundMe campaigns if you’re financially able (consider setting up monthly donations!)
- Watch Stream to Donate with adblockers off to help contribute to bail funds (don’t skip the ads and don’t mute the video on Youtube)
- Join a protest if you’re capable or provide information to those on the ground on your social media platforms
- Talk to your friends and family (call them out/in)
- Use trigger warnings when sharing images of police brutality & violence against Black people
- Educate yourself on the systems in place which have led to the disenfranchisement of Black people and confront your privilege (See Additional Reading)
- Remain critical when consuming the news and be aware of the narrative they are trying to paint – get your news from multiple sources
It’s important as white and non-black POC that we do not center ourselves and our feelings in these discussions.
I see a lot of people struggling with this. Here's the shortest version I can manage.
When discussing what the problems are and how they manifest, defer to those impacted.
When it's time to demand change and push the powers that be to act. That's when you use your voice. https://t.co/drltDMspnm
— Marco Rogers (@polotek) May 29, 2020
The best resource I’ve found is blacklivesmatters.carrd.co, which is constantly being updated with new information and petitions as they become available. Do not ask Black people to educate you or provide you with recommendations.
Debut YA Novels by Black Authors Out NOW!
Debuting as an author is a busy and intense time under the best of circumstances.
While it is important for my fellow white and non-Black readers of color to read nonfiction to educate ourselves, it is also critically important to read Black stories that do not center on Black pain.
Please take the time to check out and celebrate these three debut novels from Black authors! Request them at your local libraries and/or purchase from Black-owned indie bookstores if you’re able, and boost them on social media. None of the links below are affiliate links.
A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow
Publisher: Tor Teen | Release Date: June 2, 2020 | Pages: 288
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy
But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either.
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
Publisher: Balzer + Bray | Release Date: June 2, 2020 | Pages: 480
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Fantasy, Mythology
For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.
But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.
When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Publisher: Scholastic Press | Release Date: June 2, 2020 | Pages: 336
Age Range: Young Adult | Genre: Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQIAP+
But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.
The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?
Additional Reading & Resources
Now more than ever people are finally looking for resources to educate themselves and become better allies. This is good! Confronting the systems of power in place to disenfranchise people is difficult but important work. The first step is realizing how insidious these systems are and how we unknowingly play into and benefit from them.
I want to encourage everyone to read and/or listen to The 1619 Project, a collection of essays edited by Nikole Hannah-Jones examining the legacy of slavery in the United States. It’s a good first step for people looking to educate themselves and confront their privilege, and is free to read online. (It is also on Goodreads, so be sure to mark it as read & leave a short review to bring more awareness to this!)
Another great place to start is by watching this 10-minute video from Emmanuel Acho.
Dear white people,
For days you’ve asked me what you can do to help. I’ve finally found an answer.
Let your guard down and listen. pic.twitter.com/74SVv8XOqp
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) June 2, 2020
Once you have a good primer on the 400 years of systemic oppression Black people face, it is time to start unlearning and relearning. The tweet below has grouped nonfiction books on anti-racism into sections so we can all become better allies.
I’ve been getting a lot of questions from my non-Black friends about how to be a better ally to Black people. I suggest unlearning and relearning through literature as just one good jumping off point, and have broken up my anti-racist reading list into sections: pic.twitter.com/gj5uko69OY
— Victoria Alexander (@victoriaalxndr) May 30, 2020
Sunshine Behavioral Health has a fantastic resource that discusses Mental Health issues facing the Black community and a list of resources available.
It’s important that we continue to show up for Black Lives Matter, not just today. I made the decision to halt blog content for the time being as I don’t want this to be my focus right now. I want to spend time helping, learning, listening, and spreading awareness.
All lives cannot matter until All Black Lives Matter.
Let’s go on another adventure together!