Austin Channing Brown is being called one of the most important voices in America.
Brown is a best-selling author who is educating and inspiring many people about racial justice. Her book is called “I’m Still Here.” The book has been a catalyst for many conversations.
“There can be a tendency for people to be so focused on being perceived as not racist. They want to get the language right, make sure they don’t say the wrong things, have their Black Lives Matter bumper sticker,” Brown said. “In the book, I talk about how that performance can be harmful if it’s not backed up by actual acts of justice.”
Brown said that choosing justice is really vital if we, as a society, can move forward.
“You have to choose anti-racism work ... Which means learning more, reading more, having hard conversations, supporting policies locally, nationally, globally, who lift up people who are oppressed,” Brown said.
Brown focuses on the importance of allyship. The practice of emphasizing social justice and inclusion by members of an ingroup to advance the interests of an oppressed group.
“They’re a lot of allies that say, ' I want to disrupt the system but do it nicely.’ ... Allies have to be more focused on being courageous and say something, being willing to disrupt these conversations to show their allyship,” Brown said.
Brown also talks about the wage gap. She explains how the ways people communicating can be isolating and they may not even realize it.
“If the whole conversation is about your vacation home up north, what you did on the beach, that means I can’t participate because I don’t have that experience ... I don’t have a house up north ... So there are ways we converse with one another and the ways we assume normality that can be really isolating,” Brown said. “One of the first questions I get, ‘If I care about racial justice -- What should I do?’ And you’re already doing it. You have found what you are passionate about and you are leaning into it ... You should be teaching your kids and having new conversations with them.”
One place to start is Brown’s book. Or, she suggests, a book by a Black author to explain racial injustice and what can be done in hopes for a better future.