Now, more than ever, it is important for the black community to build itself up as we’ve been doing but now at a more accelerated pace. We are a strong and resilient people and now is the time to build our own structures and institutions while simultaneously fighting to make white dominated structures and institutions more inclusive and equitable for us. In order for us to build internally, we must start with a strong foundation (and the purest energy), which is love. I have compiled a non-exhaustive list of 15 ways the black community can demonstrate love for itself so we can be empowered to build our structures and institutions. They are not ranked in order of importance.
- Say hello – a proper greeting goes a long way whether that is a head nod or actually speaking. When you see another black person acknowledge them, let them you know that you see them.
- Compliment one another – If another black person is doing something that you admire, go out of your way (if you have to) to let them know. Playing it cool will not lend itself to building.
- If appropriate, hug or give some sort of physical touch – Don’t make it weird and make sure its cool first, but greet each other with some sort of physical expression of appreciation for your black brother or sister.
- Support their endeavors – If you see your brother or sister striving toward something, find a way to support them in a meaningful way, even if it is a small gesture.
- Stop gossiping about them – Love them enough to tell them the truth to their face or don’t bring it up to other people at all, especially people outside of the black community.
- Recruit and hire other black people – If you have an opportunity and the position power necessary to hire or recruit another black person, do it.
- Share good information – don’t withhold valuable information from your brother or sister, but share it freely.
- Check on each other – a simple text or DM saying “you ran across my mind, just wanted to say hey” can go a long way. We all are carrying so many burdens in this country and we all need that touch point without any strings attached from time to time.
- Look out for the kids – black children are our treasure and truly our future, make sure they are safe and provided for even if they are not your own.
- Be intentional about spending money with black owned businesses and spread the word about them.
- Protect each other – if you see another black person being mistreated, intervene, whether you know them or not.
- Put your brother or sister in position – introduce them to the people that they need to get their vision off the ground, then move out of the way and don’t expect/require anything in return.
- Celebrate significant accomplishments – run a victory lap for your brother or sister the same way you would if it was your own accomplishment.
- Collaborate, don’t compete – As a community, we must work together and overcome the scarcity mindset that has stemmed from the racist root system of the US. Push your brothers and sisters forward and add to their momentum, don’t detract from it.
- Honor the elders – tap into their wisdom and recognize them for the treasure that they are. To be black and grow old in America is a feat in and of itself. Honor them for it.
Philip “Sharp Skills” Jacobs is a hip-hop artist, author, entrepreneur, and racial equity consultant. He leads workshops on entrepreneurship, life skills, and race. He has spoken/presented at several colleges and universities around the country and is a consultant to Fortune 500 companies who want to create more inclusive workspace. He is the author of You Are the Solution – Awakening the Entrepreneurial Spirit Within and Accuracy – A Guide to Living Skillfully and Successfully in Today’s Crazy Times. He is also host of The Sharp Skills Podcast. Connect with Philip on Twitter .