Our sociopolitical climate is changing. We are feeling the effects of that.
Various reports show a significant rise in race and religious hate crime since Brexit and the Trump administration and it is anticipated that we will receive a further rise when we leave the EU in March. But many wonder where this increase in hate is coming from and feel powerless to stop it.
From the more overt acts of verbal racism being captured closer to home to devastating violent attack to the Jewish community in America I see a lot of people posting about how sad and abhorrent it is and that we should all pray. A similar sequence of events happens on social media whenever there is any attack, major or minor. An outpouring of love, perhaps a trendy new hashtag and then not a whole lot more.
A few of you personally reached out and said how totally helpless you feel.
See, it’s easy to sympathise with race hate crimes, but less easy to take action to contribute to change the society we live in. To abdicate responsibly onto someone else.
I mean, how can you on your own change the world? It’s enormous. One person alone can’t do that.
But, hundreds, billions and millions of individuals like you can make impact in your own circles, by not being paralysed by overwhelm or fear, but instead committing to do something, no matter how small , in your own communities. If you, like the many, stop waiting for another Nelson Mandela to be reincarnated to lead us all, you absolutely can make a difference and you can start today.
We are the change that we seek and it absolutely does start with us.
So if you are upset or worried about the increase in race related hate crimes and social injustices, I hear you. It is why I do the work that I do. Here are a few safe, realistic and tangible things you can do to help and feel more empowered too.
Boost your self-care
When society is segregated it has a knock on effect on our economy, it suffers. Mental ill-health continues to be on the rise in the U.K, which is no doubt impacted by this. So be aware of this. Up your self-care every day. Look after yourself.
Make sure your cup is full before you even begin to start trying to help others. Exercise, mediate, journal, discover mindfulness, tai chi, singing, colouring, join a community choir, go for walks in nature, eat food that boosts your mood, whatever it is, make time for regular self-care and boost it. Right now. Here’s a few more tips
Pick a cause that speaks to you and volunteer. This is a great way to be of service and actually serve communities who need you. Be an ally by doing something useful, not being a bystander.
Lend an ear. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do to help someone who is in a marginalised group, is listen. This is because they are so often silenced into not speaking about their lived experience through fear of not being believed or being persecuted, so just listening, perhaps over a cup of tea can help massively. Reach out. Hear their stories, their struggles. Deeply listen. Not to solve anything. But to simply be there to hear them.
Widen your community
Find a community that speaks to you. Spend time with them. Widen your network and your knowledge of things that affect their day-to-day and how you might be able to use your position, your stand point and any influence you might have to raise awareness, make introductions and effect change. Don’t underestimate the power of your own network.
Random act of kindness
These work every time. There is a lot of trauma right now and a lot of fear. People in minority groups reportedly expect to receive race hate crimes and as a result are in a constant underlining level of stress and anxiety (even if they don’t know it) and it has a serious impact on the brain and mental health.
Choose someone in your circle, in your workplace or even a stranger in a minority group and perform a random act of kindness. It helps boost yours and their wellbeing and also reinforces positive associations .
Exercise your spending power
Spend some of your money with companies that have a social enterprise or community interest that serve underrepresented communities to help eliminate social injustices. OR better still, support small business owners whose businesses are run by people in minority identities.
Lead by example
If you are a parent you are in a POWERFUL position to not repeat unhelpful patterns of behaviour that continue to enable inequality and truly effect change.
Boost your knowledge. Boost your power.
The more you understand the complexities of race and race hate and how they are rooted in the U.K. and how so many of us have benefited and continue to benefit from racism – (yes it smarts), the better. Get out of your comfort zone, do some reading and join my anti-racism course and learn, so you can better explain racism and its impact at every opportunity to people within or outside of your circles to effect change so that people in minority groups aren’t expected to continue to educate. Your voice is often more powerful than that of someone in a minority group. The more you can help to dismantle even the most subtle of racism, the better for all and the more empowered and less helpless you will feel.