Learn How to Be a Better Ally to the Black Community Through These Five Resources and Events

“All Things Being Equal” exhibit by Hank Willis Thomas

Photograph courtesy of Cincinnati Art Museum

The death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer has sparked outrage across the nation, with hundreds of thousands of people publicly protesting systemic racism in all 50 states—and even internationally. This leaves many white people asking themselves, What can I do? How can I help? We suggest starting with educating yourself on systemic racism and the Black Lives Matter movement to become a better ally to the black community. Here are five resources and events that offer a solid place to start.

Cincinnati Goddamn

This documentary by filmmakers April Martin and Paul Hill was released in 2015, two years after the Black Lives Matter movement took hold in the United States. The film provides a look at the city’s history with police brutality and racism. The Wexner Center for the Arts at the Ohio State University is streaming Cincinnati Goddamn for free now through June 18.

Cincinnati Juneteenth Festival

This year’s celebration, from June 19 to 21, will be hosted virtually and include a series of one-hour concerts broadcast on cable, YouTube, and Vimeo. The festival will also include history lessons from buffalo soldiers, Miss Black Ohio Mikayla Chess, the 105th Colored Regiment, and more.

Short for June 19, Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, when Major General Gordon Granger announced to Galveston, Texas, that the war had ended and slaves were free on June 19, 1865. Although President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation two and a half years earlier, a lack of Union troops in Texas meant this wasn’t enforced until Granger showed up two months following General Robert E. Lee’s surrender.

All Things Being Equal

Conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas addresses issues including inequality, racism, and bias. His work, ranging from photographs and video to sculpture and collaborative public art projects, will be on display from September 4 to November 8 at the Cincinnati Art Museum. The exhibit, rescheduled from July, includes roughly 100 pieces from the last 20 years.

“I Am A Man” exhibit by Hank Willis Thomas

Photograph courtesy of Cincinnati Art Museum

Smith & Hannon Bookstore

Located in Over-the-Rhine, Smith & Hannon is a black-owned bookstore that specializes in literature by black authors. A customer-favorite, the Who Was? book series features biographies for children about influential people, including Rosa Parks, George Washington Carver, and Sojourner Truth. Located next door on Vine Street, Over-the-Rhine women’s clothing store Continuum is partnering with Smith & Hannon to sell its books online here.

Tiffany Bowden’s Ted Talk

Tiffany Bowden, a diversity specialist, poet, and Cincinnati native, gave a brief TedXCincinnati talk in 2018 called “How My Coloring Book Taught Me About Racism.” The speech includes a reading of her poem “Coloring Book,” which, she says, “is an ode to the day I became black.” As a poet, Bowden’s work often discusses race, gender, and class, giving a voice to black women’s experience in the United States.

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