Please join me in a peaceful, non-violent march of White people in support of Black lives. It is time for us White people, who hold privilege and power, to take sustained collective action against racism, which is shamefully still overwhelmingly present in all areas of our lives, and hurting millions of our brothers and sisters. It hurts all Americans. Our silence and lack of action make us complicit with this evil and horrible aspect of our society and history. It keeps us divided. It weakens all of us. It morally and spiritually empoverishes us. It corrupts the legacy we leave our children. A year ago you witnessed what happens when too many of us remain silent and fail to take action. You are only as powerless as your inaction and silence; history has shown time and again that once a determined group of individuals believe they can effect change, speak out, and take action, they can accomplish tremendous change. On the one year anniversary of the election of a racist president who is dividing and destroying our country, take action and make a stand against racism and tyranny. Don't wait any longer. Seize this day; make a stand; end your silence; and fight to end racism. All are welcome to this march, however people who identify as White are those who are being called to put an end to their silence and participate in the strongest and loudest possible way.
I regret to inform you that the march has been postponed, but is not cancelled. The timing of the event is less important than making sure it is well organized and achieves what it’s intended for:
1. Creating a mass mobilization of people who are willing to commit to ending their White silence, and thus creating a ground swell of sustained racial justice activism at both the local and national level.
2. Raising awareness about rampant systemic racism and racial injustice.
3. Challenging and unsettling the belief and myth that we are powerlessness and that nothing can be done to change racism and racial injustice in the United States.
4. Challenging those who are still sitting on the sidelines, and who are still remaining silent, to follow the example of their mobilized fellow citizens, and use this energy to finally take the first step toward ending their White silence and committing to sustained racial justice activism.
5. Tip the scale of silence, inaction, and racial injustice, toward a ground swell of collective sustained action and investment toward racial justice.
6. Standing up clearly and decisively, as a nation, against White Supremacy.
When I began this process, I chose to simultaneously promote the event and work on organizing it, trying to capitalize on the potential energy that was likely to be associated with the one-year anniversary of the election of president Trump. It was an ambitious goal, but I chose to take the risk and act. It was never my intention to organize this event on my own. The response from organizations and individuals committed to helping me organize this event has been slower than the interest it has generated. This being said, there has been and continues to be a response and investment. There are organizations that are in the process of considering supporting the event, and I’m in touch with a growing number of individuals who are willing to help organize the event. I am committed to working hard with this growing number of individuals and organizations to ensure that a well-organized march is achieved.
I know many will be disappointed. However, I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to commit to the cause of racial justice and the principles of this march, rather than merely committing to the initial proposed date. You can channel your interest into donating money and time to local and national racial justice organizations. You can channel your interest into helping with organizing this march. If you see a need for this march and its principles, and are interested in participating in it, then please seriously consider investing in making it happen, in whichever way you feel you can. Please contact me if you want to help.
It is White silence that has allowed racism and racial injustice to go on for so long and thrive. It is now time for White people to take the next step; to collectively end their White silence; to join the fight for racial justice if you’ve remained silent to this point; and to commit to sustained collective action to write a new page in history.
This event is not meant to replace or supplant any local or national racial justice activism that is already taking place. To the contrary, it is meant to support, promote, and amplify this work. It is one more angle taken at confronting a monumental, complex, entrenched, pervasive, systemic problem that dramatically impacts all people living in the United States, particularly People of Color, Black people, and Native Americans. Involvement and investment in racial justice causes and organizations at the local and national level is indeed needed. Human resources and capital are indeed badly needed to support racial justice. However, the fact remains that generalized White silence continues to be a sad and overwhelming reality of our society, and much has to be done to challenge it, unsettle it, and channel White people into sustained racial justice action. It is also true that lack of human resources and capital is a myth. This powerful myth is a creation that effectively makes us blind to our power and wealth, so that the currently powerful and wealthy few can exploit and rob us blind, while we remain overwhelmed, apathetic, and focused on fighting one another, instead of joining forces to reclaim our power and what belongs to all of us. The investment in this march is not meant to be taken away from local and national racial justice efforts, but rather from the currently untapped human resources that constitute White silence, and from the capital that constitutes White privilege.
We will keep you informed as significant developments occur.
The exact date of the march is to be determined, but is likely to be close to a year from now.
The location of the march is anticipated to be in select cities across the United States, and remains to be determined. As a means to do our best to abide by the principles and wishes of local Washington D.C. organizations and communities, who are negatively impacted by a disproportionate amount of marches and demonstrations in our nation’s capital, a decision as to whether or not to include marching on the National Mall is tabled until proper discussion and coordination occurs with these organizations and communities.
The name of the march has been changed to March to End White Silence, to avoid possible misleading associations with the Black Lives Matter movement or possible misinterpretations that People of Color are excluded. To be clear, all people, regardless of color, are welcomed; however the call and burden of responsibility to march is being aimed particularly at White people, because we are the ones responsible for our White silence and our consequent complicity with racial injustice.
First, let me thank those interested in the event and who are considering putting an end to their silence and inaction, as well as all those who contributed to the lively and passionate discussions that have taken place thus far, with the exception of those who have engaged in obviously inflammatory, racist, white supremacist, shallow, self-aggrandizing comments.
I was absent for a few days to focus my efforts on trying to secure support from anti-racism organizations, including Washington D.C. organizations, as well as investing time and effort in organizing this event. To date, I have heard back from only very few of the many organizations I have contacted. To this date, none have agreed to support this march. Most have expressed many of the concerns aired on this page: waste of precious resources; efforts being best invested in local sustained anti-racism action that is informed by and supports the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement or other organizations of People of Color (POC); potential unintended consequences; negative impact on local Washington D.C. organizations and communities of color; supporting other marches being currently organized, etc. These are all very valid concerns. Organizing a large scale, ideally nationwide, series of marches is not something I can accomplish alone. Unless people and organizations step up, this effort is not accomplishable. If you believe in this cause, your help, and that of others and organizations is needed, and I encourage you to come forth and give of your time and resources. Indeed, organizing such a proposed large-scale demonstration(s) is very costly and requires a lot of time and resource. I make the argument for its merits below, despite the very valid concerns aired. But unless concrete support occurs soon, your interest and commitment will indeed best be invested in other anti-racism work and marches; so please consider getting involved and letting me know if you choose to do so. If no significant help is secured in the coming week, I will make a formal announcement about the fate of this march. If you believe in this cause, please consider making investments in it. Until then, I will continue to do what I can to help organize this event and make it a success.
Given that I cannot realistically answer and respond to all posts, that responses get lost in threads, and that I need to concentrate my energy on organizing efforts, I provide a lot of thoughts and details below, should you care to read some or all of it. I also leave the discussion in the hands of you all.
I started this effort hoping to capitalize on the energy and fervor to protest on the one-year anniversary of what many others and I believe to be one of the worst, most unqualified, and most racist presidents in US history, who is ruining, destroying, and further polarizing our country. Ideally, planning and organizing should have taken place in concert with others, and the support of organizations, sponsors, speakers, and securing of funds, permits, and other details should have been started and been done long before now. However, my personal circumstances did not allow for this happen. While I had done some planning for such an event, when faced with the prospect of missing the potential energy associated with this moment in time in order to invest more careful efforts in planning and organizing before launching a networking campaign, I chose instead to launch the idea and start working on organizing it simultaneously. There are some obvious risks and drawbacks with doing so, but I figured it was worth it.
I, like many others, believe that the election of President Trump was, at least in large part, due to a response from a White minority of racist voters who felt threatened by an increasingly diverse population; the false and misleading rhetoric that People of Color (POC) and foreigners are taking their jobs and resources away; and by racially motivated fears in response to the commendable anti-racism activism of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement which has elevated awareness, raised the level of discourse, and increased anti-racism action. Some of the examples of racially motivated actions of this group of people and this president are the rhetoric both during the electoral campaign and since the election; the targeting of Muslim and immigrant populations; the attacks and undoing of policies that supported communities of color and immigrants; and the emboldened actions of neo-Nazi White Supremacist individuals and groups since Trump’s election. Aside from the fact that sustained nationwide anti-racism action has always been needed, it is particularly important to end White silence now, because of the racially motivated aspects of this Administration and many of its supporters. I believe Trump’s election was also made possible as a result of manipulation, apathy, inaction and silence by far too many; as well as the inability of factions to come together within so-called “progressive” circles. Regardless, the results have been devastating on all counts.
I felt we White people, as a group with power and privilege which has largely remained silent and on the sidelines, had a moral imperative to speak out loudly against such a racially motivated election. More so, I felt that as a result of the potential energy associated the one year anniversary of this president, there was a chance that a significant amount of White people would finally be motivated enough to put an end to their silence and inaction, and for them to finally commit to sustained collective action against racism. Rather than remain in the comfort of my White privilege and silence, I chose to challenge it, and took action. The course of action I chose merits criticism, and yes, my position and response is inevitably mired in White privilege and supremacy. This being said, at the very least, it also is a challenge to the destructive status quo of White silence, which fuels and allows racism to continue and thrive. My thoughts were, and continue to be that, if you can get hundreds of thousands of White people to march against racism across the United States, not only will it put the current administration and one percent on notice (and possibly make them shake on their boots and listen and respond), but there would be the potential that at least a sizeable number of White people would finally commit to sustained action against racism, and that this would propel the cause forward. For those naysayers amongst you, consider what has happened in regards to LGBTQ rights. While much remains to be done, and while this administration is working hard to roll back some of the progress that has taken place, the fact remains that some significant progress has occurred, and some companies now use their leverage to influence politicians to reverse discriminatory actions that they engage in.
Marching alone has never been the objective. Sustained, collective, coordinated, organized local and nation wide action is indeed what is needed, as many on this page have argued. However, significantly more people need to be involved in this kind of action for it to truly make significant change, and this should not be just left up to Black people alone, while White people continue to be mostly silent and inactive. We White people are the ones who have created racism, fuel it through our inaction and silence, and who “benefit” from its existence. We, as a group, are also those in a position of power and privilege. These factors are some of the critical reasons why we hold particular responsibility for taking action. This is not a savior position. This is a position of taking responsibility for the systems and actions oppression we have set up, engaged in, and continue to fuel. It is committing ourselves to addressing and undoing these. However accurate it may be that we need to engage in antiracism activism without the need for a march, the fact remains that local action that is informed and led by BLM has not been large enough to decisively change the racism landscape. Still too many remain silent and on the sidelines, and a march is simply another tool and action aimed at unsettling that inertia enough to tip the scale, and possibly creating enough momentum for sustained action to effect significant change.
I thought that despite this inertia, there may be enough potential energy to finally overcome it. BLM has raised our awareness about how rampant racism continues to be, and how blind our White privilege has made us to it. Many are shocked and unsettled as they awaken to this reality. Many want to act, but are afraid to, and do not know what they can do. Many buy into the narrative that they are powerless. Many buy into the narrative that racism is too big and too entrenched for us to do anything about it, and that it’s nothing but utopian delusions to believe that racism could change in America. I can tell you all of this with assuredness, because I am one of them and I am among them: the White too silent and too inactive privileged people who watch their Black and Native American brothers and sisters being abused, exploited, segregated, blamed, victimized, and murdered, and then try as best as they can to dissociate from it all. While I’ve engaged in anti-racism work throughout my life, I am still not vocal and active enough about it. Racism haunts us all, and brings us all down. Many of us White people know either consciously or unconsciously that we are being played by the one percent in power, and we know that we are next in line to be abused and exploited…it’s already happening, and we feel it. We know, at least on some level, that divided we are falling, because it’s already happening. Something needs to be done to disrupt that inertia, address those defeating beliefs, so that masses can indeed finally get involved with sustained, collective anti-racism work at all levels.
Many still ask “What privilege?”, thinking of how hard and what a struggle life is already for them. I get it. My life is a struggle too and does not “feel” like privilege. What you have yet to realize is that, however overwhelmed and hard your circumstances may be, it is far worse for those who have a different color of skin. You have yet to realize to we are all being played by the one percent. Racism is a social construction that was created to exploit others, but then it was also used to exploit us all and keep us distracted and focused on attacking one another; because as long as we do that, we remain blind to how badly we’re being manipulated and exploited by this one percent. Racism is one of the critical tools that is being used to keep us blind and divided. It keeps us from accessing these basic truths. There is no actual scarcity of resource, or rampant misuse of these by the disenfranchised. The insane hoarding of these resources by the insatiable appetite of the one percent for money and power is what creates the scarcity of resource. We are not powerless. We hold tremendous power and the key to effect change, BECAUSE WE’RE 99% WHEN WE STAND UNITED. The one percent can continue to rob us blind and amass insane wealth, as long as we’re divided, fighting each other, remain isolated and overwhelmed, and abide by the individualistic values of our society that shames problems and struggles and anything and anyone who fails to embody productivity and consumerism. They can continue to exploit us all, as long as our society is segregated, so that others can remain “other”, and so we can dissociate ourselves from the pain and suffering of others, and feel threatened by these “others”, rather than the one percent who are the real threat. Under these conditions, the one percent can do as they please, and continue to mercilessly exploit us, resting comfortably knowing we’ll simply continue to accept it.
My retort to those who criticize this attempt to organize a large-scale anti-racism demonstation, is that this does not need to be an either/or proposal. One action can supplement the other. Racism is such a massive problem that we need to try and engage it from many different angles. We need to mobilize the masses to effect significant change. Trying something is far better than remaining silent or remaining entrenched in the status quo, which clearly is not enough, as “racism remains as American as apple pie” in 2017, as repugnant as that is and sounds. I use blunt and ugly words because racism is far worse than blunt and ugly words: it’s murderous and unconscionable. That blood is on all our hands, including mine, and that of all progressive liberals and Democrats; that is, it’s not just relegated those who are blatantly and visibly racist. As long as it continues to exist, we all share in the responsibility of its existence.
I have the following to say to those of you who argue that their ancestors did not own slaves; that they do not see color; and that they moved to the US recently and therefore have nothing to do with the history of slavery, and thus bare no responsibility for it. The silence and inaction of your ancestors, and/or that of yours now, is what has and continues to allow racism to be alive and well in the US still today. This country was founded and has thrived as result of the stealing of the land of Native Americans and engaging in their genocide, and the enslavement and exploitation of Black people who were taken from their homeland. Their enslavement, exploitation, and subsequent use and abuse to distract exploited White people from uprising against the powerful and exploitive few, has been systemic and intentional, and this continues to this day. Have any doubts about this, begin your research with the White House itself, which was built using slaves, and reliable sources of information, that is, not the internet. Slavery and exploitation still fuels the US to this day: how else do you think you’re able to afford the food that feeds you and your children, and the clothes you wear? When you immigrate here, you inherit and benefit from a past and current system that thrives on racism and exploitation, which thus places you in position of benefitting from racism and being responsible for it. The mere implication of exempting yourself from having to do something about it, for whatever reason, including feeling that you hold no responsibility for racism because you’re a White person who immigrated here in the past few decades, means that you are willing to tolerate and condone racism and the exploitation of others, and that in and of itself makes you complicit and responsible for the continued existence of racism. Our support and contributions to systems of oppression is inescapable, because we support and benefit from them, and we fail to collectively address dismantling them.
While you may not see color, as a result of your privilege, those of color certainly do, and color is there, and it is being used to discriminate. Still don’t believe me, I challenge you to willingly put yourself in a situation where you are a significant and visible minority simply because of your White skin color, even for just a few minutes, and see if you still do not see or feel color. You’ll very quickly start to get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a visible minority, and whatever you’ll experience, it will pale in comparison with the daily experience of People of Color, because your experience will be a momentary one that you can easily remove yourself from, and return to your position to privilege, and one which does not involve your systematic oppression for centuries on end. When I offer these challenges, I do not speak from a position of judgment and righteousness. I speak from a place of knowing and identification. I held and, sadly, still hold a significant degree of biases and blindness, despite decades of best efforts to challenge these. It is literally impossible to not have racial biases, because they overwhelmingly permeate our society, and therefore are part of our psyche. I also hold privilege and responsibility. I am still too complacent about the state of racism in our country.
Everyone should care about this, because if you haven’t already been part of the population that’s felt the oppressive hand of the one percent, you’ll soon be next, whether you’re Slovac, Russian, Asian, European, disabled, young, old, and even White…yes, White…just ask “the rural Whites” who felt mocked, ridiculed, and forgotten by the “elitist” “urban” “northerners” and voted for Trump as a result. As much as the racism that fueled their choice needs to be called out, opposed, and addressed, their concerns about being unjustly ignored and marginalized by urbanites also require attention. Do you get it? We all hold responsibility for one another. Divided we fall! The one percent is counting on this. It’s the oldest trick in the book, and it’s been going on for millenniums. Read your history and see what happened to the Greece; to Rome; to England; to France; etc. The same is happening in the United States, yet again. The stakes are high: the collapse of yet another civilization, and the perpetuation of misery for generations to come. We have an opportunity to finally learn from history. Will we walk into the same hole in the road yet again? Or will we finally engage in learning, sacrifice a little, and look out for one another?
Those who live in Washington D.C. have spoken loud and clear: marching in D.C. seriously negatively impacts their communities. Anyone who plans on marching has a responsibility to donate to their organizations and communities, and to support their causes by bringing media attention to them first and foremost, and to support legislative action for those communities first, and that includes me and those who support this march. We have a responsibility to follow up and look out for the communities we impact, especially after we’ve come and gone.
Those who are part of the Black Lives Movement and/or who engage in anti-racism activism have also spoken loud and clear: large scale marches are financially costly events that can drain precious resources and human capital, and these are best invested in local, sustained anti-racism activism that truly effects change. Large-scale demonstrations can cost millions of dollars, and take a lot of time and resource to organize. A march alone will not effect change, and comparatively speaking, can be a waste of resource and capital, and have unintended consequences, such as retaliation from extremists, the police state, and those in power. Organizing this march is neither sanctioned, supported, nor called for by BLM. These are all very valid points. I only argue that a march, if done correctly, can advance anti-racism as a whole. If this march is not followed by sustained collective action, it likely will amount to little more than stirring a hornet’s nest, and possibly even worsen the complacency it is meant to address. If you plan to march, then you have a responsibility to commit to sustained collective action. For those of you frightened by the thought of sustained collective action, and I will be the first to admit that that scares me as well, because overwhelm is real, know that you can effect powerful action without it having to take all of your precious time and limited resources…the trick is to do so collectively and on a sustained and large scale level. I also will challenge us all to know that true anti-racism will take work and sacrifice. These all pale in comparison to what our brothers and sisters of color have to endure every day. And you will reap the benefits of your sacrifices in the end.
Posts in this page are correct in pointing out that I do not represent the views, message, agenda of any organization. I never claimed that I did, but if anything I did that misled people into thinking that I did, I apologize for that, and it was unintentional. I have sought to be as transparent as I can be throughout the process. Mistakes will be made, but this is inevitable with any undertaking. Expecting perfection is one the things that keeps White silence and inaction going. I am committed to readdressing mistakes as these as they occur. The more people help, the more likely that these can be prevented and properly readdressed. This is still very much a project that is in its infancy, and many of the details that people are seeking are in progress. However, this is not something I ever intended on doing alone, and this project cannot come to fruition without the help and support of many individuals and organizations. Please consider getting involved to help make it happen. I will keep you posted as major developments occur. Thanks everyone for your interest and support. Keep up your support of anti-racism.