How Individuals Can Contribute to Combating Systemic Racism

Combating systemic racism may seem like a lofty goal that an average person cannot tackle. But even individuals can make a difference if they have the right tools and engage with their surroundings. 

Anyone can contribute toward the cause of a better and more inclusive world. Keep reading to learn strategies for fighting back against systemic racism!

Recognize Bias and Privilege 

Taking stock of your personal situation is one of the best places to start when you want to combat racism. What privileges does your race or gender afford you? On top of that, how has your financial status and family background given you access to opportunities others may not have?

Recognizing the privileges you have can help you see more clearly what others lack and must overcome. This process also can help you see the biases you hold. For instance, maybe you grew up in a predominantly white area. As a result, you own a set of biases informed by the words and thoughts of the adults and kids around you. By reflecting on your biases, you’ll build awareness to help shift your reactions. And with awareness, you can begin to take action.

Be Mindful of Your Actions

How you use your time and where you put your resources can help combat systemic racism. Be intentional about getting involved with nonprofits that support anti-racist efforts and education, for instance. You can do this through financial support, but you also can engage as a volunteer

Advocate for causes that combat racism. Join marches and demonstrations that push back against injustices. Vote for candidates whose agendas include anti-racist efforts. And take the time to listen when individuals who have faced discrimination voice their concerns. 

In the workplace, support programming to create stronger awareness of prejudices and develop more respectful communication skills. Host or participate in reading groups and panel discussions on inequality. And push for training sessions and other efforts to support a climate of inclusivity that makes everyone feel comfortable. 

Start Combating Systemic Racism

Indications of systemic racism can pop up in casual conversations, formal events, and educational settings. Individuals motivated to combat it must speak up when they see it. Choosing to ignore blatant forms of exclusion or stereotyping, or even more subtle microaggressions, just allows racism to continue. 

Individuals should use constructive language to avoid escalating situations. This can include taking someone aside to address a concern rather than airing that concern more publicly. Additionally, individuals can ask for clarification when they hear something racist. This allows a person making the statement to reassess their remarks, or the individual questioning them to point out a statement’s prejudice or bias.

OhanaHC engages in work to create an inclusive community where all individuals feel welcome and seen. Our efforts start with the young people we serve, and we are always eager to have more volunteers to help. Please fill out the contact form on our website or email us at info@ohanahc.org to learn more about how you can get involved!

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Ohana of Howard County, Inc. is following the CDC, Maryland, and Howard County recommendations to ensure the safety of students, volunteers, and staff. At this time, we will be moving to in-person programming and masks are optional. When appropriate, we will provide hybrid or virtual options for engagement.

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