recommitting to anti-racism
Written by: Editor of Goop
Published on: January 31, 2023
Ask Black Liberation Educator Monique Melton what she does and before she mentions the thousands of people she has provided anti-racism training, she will begin by telling you that she is a whole person. He’s married to his high school sweetheart, has two beautiful kids, loves fashion, lives in Spain, dreams big. And then: that he created a global community of people committed to driving change and reversing oppression in their own communities. We asked him about his work and how we can all take meaningful steps toward a freer, more just world.
If you’re reading this on January 31st, Melton’s 21-day Pursuit Black Liberation Challenge starts tomorrow. This is one way to develop an anti-racism practice that you can maintain in the long run. And you’ll come out on the other side feeling empowered to do something real. You can sign up at the link below. (If you’re here at a later date, you can start the challenge at any time—you’ll go through it individually instead of as a group.)
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A Q&A with Monique Melton
It starts with Black Liberation for me: I’m working to identify the ways that anti-Blackness, white supremacy, and other systems of oppression affect my life — not just the harm they cause me. but also the ways in which I participate in and perpetuate various systems of oppression. This is what healing and reclaiming my own humanity looks like: creating a confidence practice, a relaxation practice, a joy practice. And it also shows in how I look at my relationships and get involved in my community.
It is also reflected in the work I do as the founder of Shine Bright School, a global community of people committed to working for liberation from the inside out. We have many learning experiences, opportunities, and resources for people to learn about a variety of topics centered around anti-racism and Black Liberation.
For those just getting started with the job and want to learn anti-racism on a basic level, there’s Anti-Racism 101. From there, we cover oppression and racism touches like perfectionism, diet culture, feminism, boundaries, self-confidence. , and relationships. We cover anti-racist parenting. We also do anti-racism within the workplace, helping people commit to it as a daily practice in their corporate environment.
We take an inside-out approach. We have a framework where we encourage people to work within themselves, within their relationships, and within their systems and communities.
Our courses range in length, from self-paced classes that you can listen to in just one sitting to immersive learning experiences that last more than a year. It really depends on what people want to learn, their level of interest and their commitment to dig deep.
Too often, people are reactive and guilt-driven when it comes to conversations about racism and systems of oppression. I like this, OK, this was a mass shooting, let’s make a phone call. And then it’s nothing. either I’m going to bet on this thing for onceAnd then nothing more.
Being a self-motivated learner means that your motivation is not coming from things happening and you reacting, but from an internal commitment. and so it is: I am inspired by liberation. That is something that guides me everyday. I don’t have to wait for something really bad to happen to react. I have inspiration that comes from my desire to live freely and fully in our humanity. And then that’s your fuel.
If the Black Death is what drives you to do this work, what’s keeping it going? more black death This is very inhumane. Instead, salvation should be our motivation. Happiness should be our motivation. Love should be our inspiration. It’s sustainable, it’s in tune with our humanity, and it’s what can pull us through when the going gets really tough.
We tell people to start with what you have. So let’s say you’re really good at administrative tasks or you’re really connected to your community—you know a lot of people or you’re really good at spreading the word. Can you find organizations that already exist that can use your skills and talents? And can you volunteer your skills and talents to those organizations? It really starts with a simple search on the Internet for organizations led by whatever group you want to support. So maybe it’s Indigenous people, Black people—whatever group, you search for “fill in the blanks organizations” and your zip code or your community.
Social media isn’t everything: It’s not all bad, and it’s not all good. But what happens with being active on social media is that people use social media only for consumption. And many times people feel that the job is to consume information and become enlightened.
I equate this to a recipe: If I read a recipe for sourdough bread, but I only read the recipe, I certainly can’t expect bread in the next hour. Without buying the ingredients, following the steps, and perfecting the recipe, you can’t enjoy bread. Sometimes people remember those steps and think, Oh, I followed the black people, I’m working. I am studying, I am learning. This is the job. No, it is preparation for action. Learning is an important aspect of work, but application is what is really being realized. And I think social media sometimes blurs that line for people.
Feminista Jones has a really great book, reclaim our space, Jones does a powerful and nuanced job of explaining the impact of social media. I would encourage anyone who wants to dig more into that conversation to locate his book.
In 2020, there were a lot of people asking for information about anti-racism protests—more than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. But soon after that, we saw such a huge drop in interest and engagement. I call it the pseudo-white-awakening of 2020. Because when it’s reactive and bigoted, you fizzle out.
I created the 21-Day Pursuing Black Liberation Challenge as something practical, accessible and sustainable that people can do at their own pace as a daily practice to help build anti-racism. It creates something that can really be felt in the black community. As I say all the time: If it ain’t feel work By we, so it’s not for we.
The challenge is divided into sections where people can learn about different ways to get involved in Black Liberation. There is an emphasis on your local community. A lot of times, people don’t realize that there are things right around the corner for you to connect with and support and learn more about. Even if it’s just learning the history of your community for better awareness and engagement.
We give people different prompts to explore every day. Some signs may last only a few moments. But you can go on as long as you want—some people say they’ve spent hours on just one thing. But that’s the cool thing about it: You have your own pace.
We also have community check-ins where we invite people to come by at a set time and discuss the challenges, progress and insights we’ve gained through the process.
One thing about this work is that it can often seem too theoretical or too big to be true. you may feel like, well what can i do? I’m just a person. Like, is it going to matter? And we find that challenge helps people feel really equipped to say, Wait a minute, there are things I can literally do every day based on where I am and what I need to do to affect change, and I’m going to do them.
You can complete the challenge at any time—it’s available on our site for people to enroll. But in February, in honor of Black History Month, and then again in June, in honor of Juneteenth, we say, “Hey, everybody and their moms, let’s do this together.”
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