Demonstrations continue all around the world as protestors believe that there is still a lot left worth fighting for to create change. We all have a voice that should be used wisely when it comes to historical and continuous injustices. However, listening can be just as powerful of a tool. Deciding to listen rather than speak so that those who have been oppressed have an opportunity to tell their stories and express their feelings is crucial during a time like this. Listening is an action we can consciously continuously take, and it has valuable practical, social, and personal development benefits. The RMCAD Library has put together some of the do’s and don’ts of active listening that can contribute to learning and activism, and is promoting the voices of Black authors with an interactive book giveaway detailed below.
- Be open to listening vs simply hearing.
- Be aware of your implicit biases.
- The inner work to figure out a way to acknowledge how you may participate in oppressive systems.
- The outer work and figure out how to constructively contribute to the change of oppressive systems.
- Amplify the voices of those without privilege not only online, but when physically present.
- Learn how to accept criticism with grace, even if it feels uncomfortable.
- Expect to be taught or shown. Take it upon yourself to use the tools around you to learn and answer your questions.
- Compare how your struggle is “just as bad.” It’s not a competition in the “oppression Olympics”
- Behave as though you know what’s best.
- Take credit for the labor of those who are marginalized and did the work before you stepped into the picture.
To this end, the RMCAD Library is promoting Black voices by offering a book giveaway. They have identified five books by Black authors that will be given away to someone who creates a piece of art in response to recent events. Themes of the artwork submitted could explore topics like racial injustice, activism, allyship, the need for community, and more. The books being given away will include fiction and non-fiction as well as classic and contemporary works. Book titles and authors are as follows:
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
- Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine by Adrian Miller
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
As far as the guidelines for the giveaway, submissions should be uploaded to the RMCAD App with the hashtag #librarybookgiveaway, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. No more than one entry per day for students, the last day to submit artwork is June 30, 2020. The winner of the challenge will receive an email and be sent all five of the above-mentioned books.
For information about getting involved through different forms of activism, check out these links:
This article was written by Martha Neth, head of the Learning Commons at RMCAD.