Showing Up For Racial Justice
Do you look at the news and feel misrepresented? Do you see Trump, Conway, Sessions, Bannon, DeVos, Tillerson, and not see your America? Do you want to show up for the most under-represented and disenfranchised in your community who need you during this troubling time? Since November 8th, have you noticed racism more and have you wondered what you can actually do about this growing racism? There is a growing organization of people devoted to tackling these issues head on-- the Showing Up For Racial Justice, Northeast Ohio Chapter. Showing Up For Racial Justice provides a space for us to build relationships, skills, and political analysis to act for change while supporting and collaborating with local and national racial justice organizing efforts.
I have been living in Lakewood for three years, and I began to feel a sense of urgency to do something about the racism I was observing around me, in addition to working through the racism I had internalized myself, which I've come to realize over time. Living in the western end of Lakewood, I have seen many things that have disturbed me, like chalk-on-concrete “Trump” on sidewalks, Lakewood police officers only pulling over Lakewood residents of color on Detroit Avenue, increased cop presence on the eastern end near the Lakewood- Cleveland border versus the western end, and reading about a Lakewood resident of the Muslim faith attacked.
For those of us who are white, it is easy for us to avoid the growing injustice in our communities, but we must look in the mirror if we are to truly end racism in this country. There is a place where we can unlearn the racism we have been taught and show up for people of color who need us to, now more than ever. If you have been to the Women's March on Cleveland, the Immigration Solidarity demonstrations, stood up against the Dakota Access Pipeline, and protested outside of Senator Portman's office, there is a place to continue. If you haven't attended any of these demonstrations, this is also a great place to start.
This organization is Showing Up For Racial Justice, the Northeast Ohio chapter. We meet the first Thursday of every month at West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Rocky River, which is right next door to Lakewood. At the meetings, we learn about anti-racist history, we discuss and work on dismantling the racism we were taught, we show up for actions that people of color-led groups like Black Lives Matter Cleveland, Hispanas Organizadas de Lake y Ashtabula Ohio, The Council on American-Islamic Relations, and Indigenous activists in Cleveland. You may have seen us when we did a banner drop on Detroit and Warren a couple of months ago. We also have a few working groups, like our Cleveland Community Police Commission working group, where we amplify the voices of people of color wanting to see police reform in the city of Cleveland; the Use of Force working group where we track use of force in most Greater Cleveland area police departments, including Lakewood's; the Research working group where we look up and look into people and organizations to serve the work we are doing and the work we want to get done; the canvassing group where we set up actions to continue engaging the public; and the book discussion group where we read literature focused on racial justice in neighborhood groups to build community. We approach all we do from a place of love, and you don't have to be a seasoned activist to be involved with Showing Up For Racial Justice, you just have to be a person who wants to get more involved in these pressing issues.
If you want to do something tangible about racism in these troubling times, I encourage you to join up with us and invite you to attend one of our monthly meetings. All are welcome at our meetings. We welcome all levels of understanding and backgrounds. If you are a person of color, and want to check out what we are doing, and hold us accountable to the work we are doing, you are welcome. If you want to visit our website, please check us out at surjneo.org. Together we can make America better by confronting our wounds and making our nation's future a more inclusive one.
Tim Collingwood is a Lakewood resident of the past year, who writes blogs for Tumblr, and has written blogs for Turner Classic Movies, and was the Akron Classic Movie Examiner. He would like to write about issues pertaining to social justice issues and how they are affecting the Lakewood community. He believes in the power of citizen journalism, and as a reader of Lakewood Observer, he likes that he gets it.
I am a Lakewood resident of the past year, who writes blogs for Tumblr, and have written blogs for Turner Classic Movies, and was the Akron Classic Movie Examiner. I would like to write about issues pertaining to social justice issues and how they are affecting the Lakewood community. I believe in the power of citizen journalism, and as a reader of Lakewood Observer, I like that I get it.