SWO|Thoughts

HuffPost Live: MTV, SamWhiteout & Martese Johnson On Allyship

Honored & humbled to join such amazing journalists and activists earlier today on HuffPost Live. Hosts Marc Lamont Hill and Zerlina Maxwell facilitated a profoundly important conversation on how to be a good ally in social justice movements. This discussion was imperative as a follow up to what MTV sparked with Jose Antonio Vargas’ documentary “White People.”

Navigating the fine line between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation & participation can be difficult. However, white people cannot shy away from these issues simply because it can be uncomfortable or difficult to engage.

My good friend Martese Johnson joined the discussion to share his story of being assaulted by officers and slammed face down into concrete. Unlike those who’ve been taken, Martese lives to share his story and continue his work as an activist.

There is no neutral when people’s lives are at stake. Whether it’s in reference to survivors like Martese or killed while black cases like Mike Brown in Ferguson (or the scores of other black people killed by police), there is no standing idly by. Silence is violence.

Police brutality, predatory lending practices, lack of access to education, everyday discrimination…the list goes on. Whatever the specific issue is, talk about it. Get the conversation going or absolutely nothing will change but the names in the hashtags.

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