As a light skin, white passing Latinx cis male, it’s important for me to call in those of us who unintentionally (and intentionally) cause harm to others. As someone who still has a lot more work to do, I must continue to dismantle my own internalized racism and commit to having the hard conversations with my family and friends. And I must commit to putting myself in situations that are uncomfortable and necessary for my own political development and growth.
As a person committed to our collective liberation, it’s incumbent upon me to center Black people, because I know that I cannot be free until all dark skinned people are free. As a person with proximity to whiteness, and as someone who benefits greatly from the system of whiteness, I know that I have a responsibility to call out anti-blackness within my community so we could better understand our shared and intertwined histories. I also know that there is a long history of Black and Brown partnership and struggle against oppression (thus the image from The Black Panther Party newspaper from June 28, 1969).
As a movement baby, I am clear that rebellion, protest, and the Movement for Black Lives got us to this political moment, and to this unprecedented opportunity. I am clear — and must unequivocally say — that Black women saved our democracy. And in saying this fact, I know that I can also express multiple truths. I know that I can acknowledge and thank Black women, while at the same time thanking indigenous, Asian and Pacific Islanders, and Latinx people in Nevada, Wisconsin, Arizona, and California who helped make the difference in those states. Acknowledging one community does not dismiss the other, but I — and all ethnic communities — must acknowledge that 90+% of Black women voting for Biden/Harris was absolutely instrumental to ending the current fascist administration.
As people of the Latinx diaspora step into our power of being the largest demographic bloc of voters of color in America, we must lock arms with the many Black Latinx members in our communities and learn from the Black community. Black women have provided us, and all communities, with the blueprint for how to drive a majority of our family members out to vote, and we must take heed as this election has shown us that racism is alive and well in our families as well as in half of this country. Let’s remember to continue to work together to ensure that we fight to upend systems of oppression that survive (and thrive) when we are divided. Systems that feed off of our anti-blackness and desire to compete against one another. We have a lot of work to do, and we have to find a way to do it together.
So I THANK the Black women who have educated me and helped me understand my own role in dismantling white supremacy, including dream hampton, Alicia Garza, Aja Monet, Angela Rye, Patrisse Cullors-Brignac, Ashlee Marie Preston, Rosa Clemente, Tia Oso, Desiree Peterkin Bell, Melina Abdullah, Carri Twigg, Amber Goodwin, Tamika Mallory, Guerline Jozef, Opal Tometi and so many others. Thank you. I also want to invite all Latinx leaders, influencers, and anyone else who wants to join me in learning how we can become better allies and continue to organize across multiple identities. Our collective future depends on our willingness to deconstruct our own biases and language so we can fight an empire bent on our co-optation. Our liberation is bound together and the times demand that we settle for nothing less.
Mike de la Rocha, Co-Founder, Revolve Impact