Doing What’s Right, Right Now
Updated: Jun 7, 2020
by Sarah J. Kings
So many of us feel like we have suddenly slipped into some sort of time warp that has sent us back to a different era filled with racial turmoil and divide. In the last few weeks alone we have seen video footage of racially charged threats, neo-nazis burning down shops and breaking windows, and the brutal murder of an unarmed black man who pleaded for his life and called out to his mother in his last breaths on this earth. While it is more comfortable to believe that racism and prejudice are ugly blemishes on the face of our nation’s history, we must understand that we have not been magically transported to another time. It is 2020, and racism very much exists today. For many years, people have been crying out, protesting, and campaigning for change, arguing this very point.
Recent traumatic events have been evoking a lot of emotion in all sorts of people. It is nearly impossible to watch a video of a man dying or a synagogue burning without feeling broken to pieces or terrified. Some people are feeling debilitated and depressed, some are unsure of how to cope, and others are feeling filled with the desire to “do something.” If you have been active on social media, or if you have read the news, you have probably seen that in response to these atrocities, many people are coming together for candlelight vigils, virtual solidarity gatherings, and peaceful protests.
If you are reading this and you are looking for some ways to positively channel your energy and emotions regarding this subject, keep reading. Below are a few ideas of things you can do to let your voice be heard and stand up for what you believe is right.
Writing Your Feelings:
As a writer or a creative type, you may have already written some pieces or articles inspired by your emotional response to the current state of our nation. Writing is an important way to channel your feelings and sort through your own experiences. In this way, this is one of the healthiest things you can do right now. In addition to personal catharsis, writing is extremely important for accurately depicting history and helping others to know that they are not alone. If you have written something in relation to the Black Lives Matter movement or the promotion of peace, there are many literary journals looking to read your work. Take a look at these three Literary Magazines looking to publish anti-hate and pro-equality pieces.
In response to recent events, and continuous systematic violence and oppression, Syndrome has launched the Black Voices Matter campaign. They are looking for nonfiction articles between 500-1200 words. Topics include “Black Lives Matter, protests, everyday racism, grief, trauma, community and leadership, “Woke-ness”, and allies.” Submissions close on July 1st, and authors whose work is selected will be paid $50 per article.
On May 10th FTB began accepting submissions for fiction, flash fiction, and poetry for the upcoming issue Vox: Voice for the Voiceless. FTB is looking for work centered around the topics of marginalized voices or groups, human rights, animal rights, poverty, mental illness, alienation, oppression, or discrimination. Fiction should be between 500 - 8,000 words and submissions close on June 15th.
Dzanc Books has created a writing prize celebrating full-length manuscripts by writers from minority, underrepresented, or marginalized communities. They are accepting fiction and non-fiction book submissions. And the winning author will receive a publishing deal as well as a $2,000 advance on publication.
Protesting for Peace:
Our nation is built on the notion of freedom, and we should be proud of our right to voice our dissatisfaction whenever we feel it. It is important to stand up against hate and discrimination. While FTB is an international journal, Writer’s Blo[g]ck is located in New Jersey. If you too are New Jersey based, here is a list of peaceful protests planned near you.
On Tuesday, June 2nd at 4 pm, there will be a protest in Willingboro. Demonstrators will meet at the GrandMarket Place on Route 130
On Tuesday, June 2nd at 6 pm, there will be a moment of silence at the Newark Avenue Pedestrian Mall. The moment of silence will last 8 minutes, so be prompt.
On Friday, June 5th at 1 pm, there will be a protest in Hoboken. Demonstrators will meet at Maxwell Place Park.
Show Your Support:
So many of us are looking for ways to show support, combat hatred, and stand up for what we believe is right. In times of social distancing, physical protests may be hard or impossible for certain people. With this in mind, there are many other ways that you can advocate and stand in alliance.
Make or buy lawn signs, bumper stickers, or Tee shirts that show support and alliance.
Come Together Virtually:
Many online groups are looking for members and community involvement. Abigail Amoako Kayser, an Associate Proffessor at the University of Virginia, is working closely with her students to create a database of educational tools to help combat racism and promote equality. To contribute educational materials or offer suggestions for recources, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ask for Justice:
Write your senators or congressmen and tell them how you feel. Ask for change. Ask for justice. Ask them to do what’s right, right now.