Commitment

Many large organizations and businesses have released statements of solidarity in recent weeks. Others have remained conspicuously silent. I’ve also witnessed a frequent challenge to such supportive statements, along the lines of “yes, I hear your white words. But what are you doing, specifically, to remedy wrongs and support our Black communities?”

In other words, is this performative allyship while #Black Lives Matter is trending?

In the years leading up to the germination of The SAVOR Project, I’ve shared frequently about my passion for mindful eating practices, and more recently, how exploration into my own Jewish heritage intersected with raising my Black daughter. I’ve followed the food justice movement, particularly within my local community, and sought to center – or at minimum, at least to include BIPOC voices. However, I must acknowledge that I’ve already fallen short of my most cherished goals, even in these early months of program development.

The current manifestations of long-standing systemic racism and white privilege didn’t start last month, and they won’t disappear anytime soon. I am not unique in my complicity and I won’t be using this space to process my anguish. Recognizing now what I do, moving forward, I will continue to identify and pull out the noxious influences of my own racist tendencies rooted even in this new business (and throughout other areas of my life). I won’t make empty promises. However, I will commit to the following:

  • an ongoing, unflinching survey of the current fields, professional identities, and organizations with which I associate, to identify areas in which cultural appropriation, racism, and/or marginalization of BIPOC community members occur.
  • A divesting from organizations that do not show a clear plan to engage in antiracism work, with demonstratable, meaningful action.
  • an investing in BIPOC-lead organizations, leaders, and businesses, both in terms of public and professional support but also importantly, financial compensation.
  • an ongoing engagement in personal antiracism work, to include challenging racism in my own professional and personal networks while checking tendencies to ask BIPOC individuals to engage in unpaid emotional labor.

I’ll be reporting on some of these efforts, and others will go on quietly behind the scenes, in terms of relationships built and choices I make about what educational projects to pursue (or not).

We are headed into summer, friends – a season we all look forward to in the agricultural and gardening community. While I am seeing positive shifts as a result of these recent weeks of protests and activism, I’m also witnessing social feeds switching back to business-as-usual as folks burn out, check out, or become overwhelmed by the long trajectory of justice.

Looking into the open wound of racism and engaging in antiracism work, especially in the midst of a pandemic, is deeply painful work. Please do take breaks for self-care, self-compassion, and nature. Let’s support one another. Let’s also commit to showing up, on sunny and dark days, in small and meaningful ways.

Here’s just a few actions to consider, for this week:

Support Black authors – buy two books from Black authors (better yet, order from a Black-owned bookstore)

Educate yourself about Juneteenth – and engage in antiracism action on that day, to benefit the Black community (consider reparations as one option)

Give to support the ongoing efforts of Black Lives Matter and the NAACP

Commit publicly to spending a designated percentage of your summer recreation budget (if you have the means to afford such non-essential expenditures during the pandemic) to support Black-owned businesses