MICRO-BLOG: Honoring our Ancestors

June 16, 2022 2 Comments

When I am feeling overwhelmed or disheartened, I remind myself that amidst the violence, many people are leading gorgeous campaigns for change. I also remind myself that there are white people who have done the work for freedom and anti-racist futures over the last 200 years. As white activists and consultants, we don’t always acknowledge or see our own lineages. So, here I name here a few, including some women and Jews, my ancestors, who stood up and took risks for their beliefs, acting in their historical context, often against the grain.  

Peter Norman stood with John Carlos and Tommie Smith while they raised their fists and donned black clothing in support of Black Americans and Black power, and they all wore Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR) badges (also calling out white supremacy and indigenous policies in his native Australia) at the 1968 Olympics.  

Vito Marcantonio, an Italian-American congressperson from NY in the 1930s and 40s who stood with Blacks and Jews and against anti-communism.

August Bondi, an Austro-Hungarian Jew who was a close associate of John Brown and helped to liberate slaves

Lydia Maria Child, an author who wrote “An Appeal in Favor of that Class of Americans Called Africans” where she raised the complicity of the north in maintaining slavery and was a member of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society, which called for the immediate abolition of slavery (as some call for the immediate abolition of prisons).

Ernestine Louise Rose (early 1800s) who was a Jewish abolitionist and suffragette and (from a short reading of Wikipedia) a general badass who won a court case against a forced betrothal, traveled the world, married a non-Jew and sold perfumed paper.

These are just a few white anti-racists who I found online or had heard stories about. Who would you add to the list? Either white activists or people from one of your ancestries?

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