What can you do to help support people of color in our community?

Posted at 10:08 AM, Jun 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-03 14:56:00-04

BOISE — 'Not doing something is unacceptable, but also doing something counterproductive to what we are dealing with currently is equally destructive," said the Director of the Black History Museum, Phillip Thompson.

As rallies and protests took place around the world, Boise held a peaceful vigil, and people dropped flowers and handwritten notes on the Black History Museum's steps to show their support.

"When we walked up and saw the flowers and the signs, my heart was very touched," said Senator Cherie Buckner-Webb. "It feels like the home that I want us to be, and the Boise, Idaho that I grew up in."

These acts of kindness are touching lives in our community, but there's more that can be done.

"Protesting on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday is a beautiful thing as the catalyst and the initial step, but that is not the end all be all if you don't actually implement some systemic changes, and actively engage in the fight long term," said Thompson.

Beyond protesting and vigils, Buckner-Webb says the best thing you can do is get educated.

"To make the most profound impact on our community right now, the best thing you can do is get educated. Find out what you don't know that you don't know," said Buckner-Webb. "Start talking to people of color, read a little, start making a conscious effort to make contact with people that are different than you."

She says the best place to start is visiting the museum or using materials in the library to read about the history of people of color.

"It all starts with taking a risk to speak to those that you might not have before, to take a risk and say 'I don't know,' but I am going to learn," said Buckner-Webb. "And I don't mean for the minute I mean people have to be in it for the long haul. Change won't happen overnight."

But, after seeing what is happening around the world, Thompson says that there's more than protesting and rallying that needs to happen.

"Yes, there have been acts of violence and injustice, and you want to participate in making that right and rectifying that wrong, but we are still amid a pandemic," said Thompson.

He encourages people to look into organizations in their communities that have a history of helping people of color. Some of those organizations include making donations or supporting the ACLU, the Black History Museum and the Art Museum.

But, it's also important to be mindful of who the person leading the protest or organization is and what their motive is.

"That means not my friend, Fred, who started X Y Z non-profit, that says he is going to fix this," says Thompson. "We don't want to duplicate the actions of people that are already doing it, and we also don't want to invest in those that are for self-gain or a little more nefarious. You have to be a little more prudent with what you're doing."