“Wear Out The Silence” is a campaign asking white people to wear Black Lives Matter t-shirts every Friday as a way for us to bring the racial-justice conversation deeper into our daily lives. We want to use these conversations to move more white people into action, and to make visible the many people supporting the Movement For Black Lives.
We have heard the leaders of this movement call upon white people to “break white silence.” While this campaign specifically asks white people to answer this call, we encourage and welcome people of any race who want to participate.
We believe that Black Lives Matter is a statement of inclusion, not exclusion. When we say Black Lives Matter, we are saying black lives matter, too. No one is questioning whether white lives or police lives matter. But in a society where black people are shot with impunity by police; in which black children disproportionately attend under-resourced schools and are targeted by the school to prison pipeline; in which black people are harmed every day by the systemic inequities within our society, we have to say Black Lives Matter, until they do.
We envision a campaign that asks white people to grow their capacities to have meaningful everyday conversations about race, racism, and racial identity. We believe that as white people we have been taught to avoid and fear conversations about race, and in our discomfort, we remain silent. This turning away and lack of urgency taught us, and teaches our white children generation after generation, that the racial inequities that plague our society are not our problems. This silence reproduces white supremacy year after year, harms black people in real and horrifying ways, and fractures white people deep in the soul and hurts us in ways that we don’t even recognize.
Yet this conversation between white folks is exactly the one we have been asked to have.
Our goal is to be in conversation with folks–asking questions, learning, and connecting: with our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers, and yes, the supermarket check-out person. Wearing this shirt every Friday will help start these conversations, give us practice and opportunity to deepen our own racial capacities, and ultimately grow and bring more people into a multi-racial movement for racial justice.
Wear Out The Silence is a partnership with Bay Area Showing Up For Racial Justice.