We are Leanna Sun and Karen Mai, and the article below is part of a three-part series on resources for joining the movement for racial justice from home.
In the last couple of months, we have taken the time to reflect on our own privileges and how to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Coming from Asian families, we’ve realized that the idea of POC supporting each other in the fight against racism is ideal and expected; however, this is not currently the case. This is due to a history of white oppressors pitting minority groups against each other — the purpose behind the phrase “model minority” that is commonly attributed to the Asian community.
As Asian Americans, we don’t face the same brutality that the Black community faces daily, but we have to try and educate ourselves in order to be allies. We have attended webinars, donated, educated and marched in protests to support the movement. In addition, over the last ten weeks, social media has played a prominent role in our developing views and how we choose to communicate with others about the Black Lives Matter movement.
On Instagram, bite-sized informational posts created by activists have shown up on stories, our feeds and the explore page. Whether accounts post about statistics, organizations, events or other topics, these posts have helped us in three overarching ways.
One, we’ve used the information from the posts as guidelines on what to further research in order to prepare for conversations with our families. Conveying our points through well-researched facts has been extremely important, especially when we’ve tried to help educate others. Combined with our research, the social media accounts that we view as credible and authoritative sources have helped our parents grasp our views.
Two, these posts, which are commonly shared by many of our peers, have helped us realize that we need to hold important conversations with our friends as well. Whenever someone shares a post that we find extremely thought-provoking, we message them to discuss the points made in the posts. Truthfully, when we saw an influx of people using the acronym “A. C. A. B.,” (All Cops Are Bastards) we were initially hit with confusion and disbelief. This was due to our lack of understanding behind the acronym, and after talking to our friends and doing our own research, we now comprehend the sentiment behind the phrase. Through these dialogues, we’ve learned how to be open-minded when talking to others.
Third, after reading through the posts and the comments others leave, we’ve learned to be more conscious of the information that we digest online. Whether it’s refuting a friend’s beliefs or fact-checking something seen on social media, we need to learn how to find the correct information. Through discussions with our friends and our personal experiences, here are some social media accounts, organizations and tips that we’ve compiled if you’re looking to replicate our experience! Admittedly, one of the first things that we notice when we come across informational social media posts is the visually aesthetic formatting, and while this is an understandable first impression, the most crucial part of the posts will always be the information.
Social media accounts to follow
Holding meaningful conversations with our own families and friends is definitely not easy, especially if their beliefs stem from what we believe to be misinterpretations of facts and statistics. As journalists and Asian Americans, we did not feel that we could be actually united with other POC — specifically the Black community — until we began actively working to diminish our racial biases and prejudices, especially those that are prevalent in the Asian American community.
The following Instagram accounts below have helped guide us through conversations we’ve had through their posts, stories and social media presence. We personally do not read the news enough, but with social media, we have become more aware of the movements that are occurring around us. Even though most of the world is sheltered in place, there have been many organizations out there trying to make a change from home, and they’ve started by educating the public. If it weren’t for these social media accounts that have been in our feeds — via posts and stories — we would not know what is going on outside. However, we have also found that it is important to assess the reliability of accounts we are following. A lot of the posts from these accounts have been made for users to scroll through easily, and the graphics make the posts more visually organized, which has greatly helped us retain the information we read.
@AntiracismCtr works to “bring knowledge for change’s sake.” It was created by the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. They provide factual information that helps readers to understand the present situations by educating the public about racial inequality and injustice. Prior to learning about this account, we had extremely limited knowledge about the racial disparities in COVID-19 rates, specifically related to the Black community. Fortunately, we came across a post with a captivating color scheme of purple, yellow and white. However, the text that went along with the post highlighted racial data that was collected, focusing on the cases. From there on, scrolling through the blurbs and visuals was made easy thanks to the organization and neatness of the account.
Black Women’s Blueprint “take[s] actions to secure American social, economic, and political equality for #EveryBlackWoman in American Society now.” In their stories, they have tabs including “toolkits,” “take action” and “black history month.” We’ve been grateful to have toolkits serve as a low barrier for entry into racial justice advocacy and education.
Color Of Change, a nonprofit organization, has live virtual events, videos and articles that are shared often. Recently they had a live FaceBook event, “Wayne County For The People Prosecutor Forum,” and it brought over 500 guests. The largely printed words “Black. Queer. Proud.” were on the cover of the first post we saw from the account, and one of the first posts we came across listed the names of Black queer activists involved in the Tulsa race massacre and the Stonewall Uprisings. This post reminded us that the Black Lives Matter movement is not the only topic that needs to be addressed in our families, and that we have to remain diligent on educating ourselves about the LGBTQ+ community and other groups. The account has a mix of informational posts, article suggestions, features on Black activists, educational videos and more, making it such a valuable resource to learn from.
Other organizations on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram: Colorlines, Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), Families Belong Together, The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, NAACP, RAICES, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), National Urban League
Following these accounts, we’ve often found petitions attempting to gain traction, and we’ve seen that by resharing even a simple graphic or link, information gets exponentially more well-distributed. Even when we saw many petition promotions and other educational posts in our feed and assumed that others had already seen them, we knew that it is still valuable to share yourself even if you only get one extra person to see.
Oftentimes, we refrain from acting because we assume others will. However, just because knowledge and resources are available does not mean they will be used. We are trying to do our part by extending our story in order to encourage community action.
Contact Leanna Sun at leannaxsel ‘at’ gmail.com and Karen Mai at kmai4 ‘at’ bostonk12.org.