Impact Over Intent: Support work to end racism
February is Black History Month and I thought it extremely fitting to highlight Bayard Rustin: a man whose unrelenting commitment to nonviolent protest (of discrimination toward any group of oppressed individuals) frequently goes unhighlighted and for this, I believe he deserves a crap ton of recognition. Most notably, he was responsible for a great deal of counsel he provided to Dr. King and the March on Washington.
Mr. Rustin was a Black, gay man who advocated for the rights of just about anyone who suffered at the hands of oppression. His work centered around nonviolent protest, a steadfast commitment to identifying issues of segregation and discrimination, and presenting solutions for said problems. His priority was always the greater good of the movement, even if it came at a personal cost.
Whether living in New York City or during his time in prison (how much more bad a** can you get than someone who was sent to prison and still continues the fight with the same grace, perseverance and unwavering commitment to equality?) Rustin refused to sit back and accept the status quo. From his letter to Warden Hagerman in March 1944:
“Usually, I have discovered the most intolerable attitudes in those areas where no educational measures were taken to condition properly or where remedial methods were lacking. These observations have convinced me that nonviolent resistance by investigation, negotiation and education are primary and far better.”
Additionally, where some may have been too intimidated to contradict or challenge Dr. King in his decisions, Mr. Rustin refused to back down if and when he felt strongly enough that King were taking the wrong route.
Bayard Rustin was unyielding (and arguably relentless) in his convictions, and the world was very lucky to have had him on this planet for a short time. He has quickly become one of my greatest heroes, and I look forward to learning more about him as I continue reading, “I Must Resist: Bayard Rustin’s Life in Letters.”*
“The proof that one truly
believes is in action.”
This quote speaks to me as a white, cisgender woman who knows that if my fellow white brothers and sisters continue to sit by idly and talk of doing our part instead of actually doing it, change will not happen. We must act.
I’ve created a design for this month’s Impact Over Intent campaign with 100% of proceeds going to support the work of Rachel E. Cargle. If you are not familiar with her work, take a seat and get ready.
Rachel Cargle is an activist, writer, and lecturer. Her activist and academic work are rooted in providing intellectual discourse, tools, and resources that explore the intersection of race and womanhood. Her social media platforms boast a community of over 40k where Rachel guides conversations, encourages critical thinking and nurtures meaningful engagement with people all over the world.
Ms. Cargle has taken her signature live lecture Unpacking White Feminism to a myriad cities in the United States. I have yet to get my hands on a ticket for a NYC lecture, but believe you me I am READY! By purchasing a hoodie, you will be supporting the crucial work that Ms. Cargle is doing and undoubtedly, will continue to do to dismantle white feminism. You can follow Rachel on Instagram and be sure to check for any of her lectures in cities near you. Buy a ticket, for the love of all that is holy!
Here is what someone had to say about Ms. Cargle’s work:
“She absolutely gave me the tools to start exploring this area to not only educate myself, but feel like I can also educate and discuss with others.”
My fellow white folks…
If you are considering supporting this campaign, I encourage you to open up a dialogue with other white folks around the concept of impact over intent. I encourage you to be open to examining your own role in the oppression of the Black community (regardless of your intentions - see what I did there?) And above all else: listen.
We have a great deal of power at our disposal to improve this imbalance - let’s GET TO IMPACTING!
In friendship and cheesecake,
Image source: blackhistorymonth.org
*Edited by Michael G. Long, foreword by Julian Bond