Updated: Jun 22, 2020
After our powerful first online event that brought together inspirational South Asians committed to sharing their thoughts and experiences with anti-blackness in our communities, we wanted to keep going.
Our generous group shared their hopes and enthusiasm to create change to bring lasting South Asian support to the black community, so we reconvened a few days later, but this time in pyjamas. On June 14, our collective met for a more relaxed afternoon session, where we could focus on actions and creating language to help navigate the challenges of speaking to the people that you love who harbour anti-black sentiments.
We understand how hard it is to have those kinds of conversations. Yet, everyone who participated was certain of the importance of having these conversations. This special group of people are clearly dedicated to making change. Manju was recently invited to speak as a Thought Leader at this event hosted by Reboot the Future, and as we listened to these leaders in their fields, the word empathy kept surfacing as part of what is needed to move forward and rebuild the future. This is the link to our work, we are talking about difficult conversations because we are challenging the beliefs held within our community or in our families. Our approach has been intentional, we avoid division and never demean others. That means we have to acknowledge that the people we love, their bias and anti-blackness sentiments too, are also part of their need to heal their own feelings of oppression within systems constructed by white supremacy. Interlaced with those feelings is inherent, sometimes unexpressed, pain and trauma.
The work ahead of our collective calls for empathy, just as we need to be gentle with ourselves working through our feelings and our disappointments from wanting to do more for the Black community, there will always be frustrations and hurdles.
We have to be compassionate and empathetic to those whose minds and hearts we are trying to change, and ourselves. This is how we rebuild the future of South Asian communities and rid them of anti-blackness.
The efforts we put into our community becoming better allies to the black community, will also be what heals us as individuals, as communities and as the larger societies in which we live, because we are bringing through gentle action, a peaceful and equitable way to move forward. Having a collective like ours has been so helpful for the facilitators and collaborators alike. We are so grateful for each of you, and the moral courage you show every time you share your stories with us, and for the beautiful empathy you bring to such a difficult time in our lives.
I look forward to sharing that space again with you all soon, Reshmi