Love Anyway

Put Your Bodies On The Line

Showing up on the frontlines where you live is a phrase we use often at Preemptive Love. And in this special episode, we ask: What does it look like to put our bodies on the line in the US today? In the midst of a wave of protests sweeping all 50 states, and on at least four continents, declaring the truth that Black Lives Matter, we have a chance to make our presence matter.

Showing up on the frontlines where you live is a phrase we use often at Preemptive Love. And in this special episode, we ask: What does it look like to put our bodies on the line in the US today? In the midst of a wave of protests sweeping all 50 states, and on at least four continents, declaring the truth that Black Lives Matter, we have a chance to make our presence matter.


Show Notes

Showing up on the frontlines where you live is a phrase we use often at Preemptive Love. And in this special episode, we ask: What does it look like to put our bodies on the line in the US today?

Nick Mahlstadt, shown here with his family at a protest in Iowa, is a friend and supporter of Preemptive Love. On this episode, he explores what he’s learning about anti-racism in very tangible ways. Photo courtesy of Nick Mahlstadt

In the US, our Black brothers and sisters, whose forced physical, mental, and emotional labor built so many of our communities, are asking for presence from those of us who aren’t Black. And this isn’t new. They’ve been asking. They’ve been fighting for their lives for four hundred years—four hundred years too long.

As host Erin Wilson shares in this episode: Throughout the war with ISIS, Preemptive Love chose to stay in Iraq. We chose to travel to the frontlines and stand with the people being crushed by violence and oppression. We did it out of love… and for some, that mattered. It mattered that we chose to stay. It mattered that we put our bodies on the line with theirs.

" I want to know that you’re willing to put your body on the line for me. – Faith Brooks "

And now we, all of us, need to show up on the frontlines in the US, too. 

In the midst of a wave of protests sweeping all 50 states, and on at least four continents, declaring the truth that Black Lives Matter, we have a chance to make our presence matter.

In this breaking episode, we hear from:

Faitth Brooks, director of programs for Be The Bridge and co-host of Melantated Faith podcast. Faitth shares what it looks like to be a co-conspirator by stepping behind the marginalized and supporting the work without co-opting or centering.

For those of us who aren’t Black, it means stepping behind the marginalized—women like Faitth—to support without co-opting. It means shutting our mouths and lifting up voices like hers. 

Nick Mahlstadt, friend of Preemptive Love and father of seven, shares what he’s learned about stepping out in front not to co-opt or take over— but to literally stand between the oppressed and their oppressor.

He explores what he learned from being hit in the chest with a tear gas canister at a recent protest.

Both Faitth and Nick also share the idea that being anti-racist means showing up to do the everyday, unglamorous work of justice.

Quotes from this episode:

“We have to have a conversation about why is it difficult to follow the leadership of Black people, other people of color, and why we need to, we need to talk about why it’s critical and important that people do, especially in this work. We need people to follow and listen to our voices because we have a lived experience that most people do not in majority culture.” — Faitth Brooks

“If you want to be a part of this work, you’re going to be uncomfortable, you’re going to be tested, you’re not gonna agree with, you know, with everything. And I just think it’s really important to make sure that you actually lean into this work and you start doing it.”  — Faitth Brooks

“If you heard about the civil rights movement and you said to yourself, “oh, well, I would have been I would have done this or I would have done that.” Now is the moment. What are you doing right now? Because this is that moment, and this is the moment for you to choose how you’re going to respond.” — Faitth Brooks

I like to say co-conspirator because I want to know if something happens, you’re willing to just jump in front of me, and protect me if somebody is trying to hurt me for the color of my skin. I want to know that you’re willing to put your body on the line for me.” — Faitth Brooks

There are so many instances in our everyday life where you can literally put yourself in front as a shield and disrupt those things. Whether it be the way someone talks, the images they share, the comments they make. So for me, moving out of the reading and disrupting it right in my circle of influence was almost as hard as being physically present at the demonstration on the frontline.” —Nick Mahlstadt

Links from this episode:
Faitth’s Book Recommendations:
Faitth’s Podcast Recommendations:

Text “love anyway pod” to 72000 to stay connected.

Love Anyway is a podcast by Preemptive Love. It’s written and produced by Erin Wilson, Kayla Craig, and Ben Irwin. Sean Gabrielson is our audio editor. Skip Matheny is Preemptive Love’s director of digital. Executive producers are Jeremy Courtney, Jessica Courtney, and JR Pershall. Our theme music is by Roman Candle.

Producer’s Note: In this episode, Nick shares his protest experience. Below, you’ll find his unedited photo and unfiltered thoughts (with some PG-13 language in the last paragraph).

View this post on Instagram

This wasn’t an accident. #BlackLivesMatter On Saturday night my oldest son, myself, and a swim teammate of his were at the protest in Des Moines, IA. We were peacefully protesting police brutality and the loss of Black lives in our country at the hands of the police. #HandsUpDontShoot At one point in the night, the three of us formed a line between the riot police formation and a number of protesters (maybe 300ish). I read from a number of Black activists that one way white people can demonstrate allyship is to help protect Black protestors by creating a barrier in which they can lead the protest with a little less fear of unnecessary arrest or death. So, that’s what we did. #justiceforgeorgefloyd While standing peacefully in a line I was shot directly in center mass by a tear gas canister. This was no accident. It was only three of us and the police decided to shoot one directly at me. No warning was given, no command, and even if there was they are not trained to shoot tear gas canisters directly at people. Nor did an officer shoot “into a crowd” and I was inadvertently hit. This was no accident. We were not intimidated. #icantbreathe We held the line. Even when peaceful protestors were rushed by police hiding in alleys, we held the line. But, I never feared my life would be taken. My whiteness was at work. When Black peaceful protestors were rushed and ripped to the ground, I was left alone. My actions were the same yet my body was left untouched. That’s why I held the line. I could without dying, or being beaten, or arrested. My whiteness was working. #saytheirnames So, yeah it hurt like hell to take a tear gas canister in the chest but it didn’t take my life. Yeah tear gas burns like hell, but it’s worth it. Yes, rubber bullets and bean bags sting like a bitch, but my Black brothers and sisters are worth it. Their lives matter and I will not stand for state sanctioned violence against them any longer. ✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽✊🏼✊🏻 See you in the streets

A post shared by Nick Mahlstadt (@nickmahlstadt) on

Additional Resources

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After Ahmaud Arbery’s Killing, Will We Change?

Ahmaud Arbery’s life is more than a hashtag. The story is all too familiar—men and boys losing their lives for no other reason than that they are Black. In this special episode, we hear from Toni, Preemptive Love’s director of gathering, and her husband Sam Collier about their lived experiences as African American peacemakers living in Georgia, the very state where Ahmaud was murdered. Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, the Colliers act as candid guides helping us confront the violence in our own hearts.

Love Anyway

Season 2 | Episode 5: Talking to Kids About Race

Join us for a candid conversation about talking to kids about race. Rapper and Preemptive Love's artist-in-residence Propaganda, and his wife, university professor Dr. Alma Zaragoza-Petty, share their experiences growing up as people of color, explore how they've talked about racism with their children, and speak into what they want white parents to know about humility and allyship.

2+2 Will Always Be 4

It's simple math—a long history of institutional racism paired with unrequited violence on the communities by the people who were charged to protect them.

Full Transcript

Faitth: We’re trained to believe a certain narrative, right? And so there was this narrative of like, ‘Oh, they’re just crying out. Racism is over. They’re just making a big deal. You know, they don’t know what they’re talking about.’ 

But now it’s like, no, this is on screen. This is happening right now. This is in your face, you cannot ignore this, you cannot deny this, this is an issue. We have to address it.

MUSIC

Erin: That’s Faitth Brooks. You’ll hear more from her in a minute. In the US, our Black brothers and sisters, whose forced physical, mental, and emotional labor built so many of our communities, are asking for presence from those of us who aren’t Black. And this isn’t new. They’ve been asking. They’ve been fighting for their lives for four hundred years—four hundred years too long.

In the midst of a wave of protests sweeping all 50 states, and on at least four continents, declaring the truth that Black Lives Matter, we have a chance to make our presence matter, and to change the future following leaders like Faitth.

I’m Erin Wilson, Preemptive Love’s senior field editor in Iraq. And this is a special episode of the Love Anyway podcast.

MUSIC

Erin: A phrase that is baked into Preemptive Love’s DNA got its start in Iraq – “Show up on the frontlines where you live” – Showing up on the frontlines is a phrase founder Jeremy Courtney uses often. And we need to ask: What does that look like in the US today?

Throughout the war with ISIS, we chose to stay here. We chose to travel to the front lines and to stand with the people being crushed by violence and oppression. We did it out of love…and for some here, that mattered. It mattered that we chose to stay. It mattered that we put our bodies on the line with theirs. Our presence mattered.

And now we, all of us, need to show up on the frontlines in the US, too.

Faitth: Hey everyone. My name is Faitth Brooks, and I am the director of programs for Be The Bridge and also one part a co-host of Melanated Faith, which is a podcast about faith and race and culture. We like to say it’s a place where you’re going to hear the truth spoken, the tea spilled and pop culture explored.

Yeah, so with Be The Bridge, we have a broad reach. So we have programs for transracial adoption. For our we call it BTB 101 for white people. And we have a program for people of color. So we really want to be able to provide people of color a space where they can have really a brave space That is protected, where we can talk about trauma where we can talk about ways to take care of ourselves in this work where we can lament together, that’s really important to us. And it’s a very, very protected space because we need that. 

This is the work that I feel called to, and our team is, you know, willing to give their life for this work. 

MUSIC

Erin: Love Anyway producer Kayla Craig sat down with Faitth for a conversation exploring what it can look like to step behind the marginalized, to support without co-opting their struggle for liberation. And the conversation begins by confronting our ideas of who we listen to in matters of race; whose voices we seek out.

Kayla: Something I have been hearing so much of is that Black women are often are erased from the narrative and the work that they do. I wonder if you could talk about that at all if you’re comfortable.

Faitth: Yeah, I think it’s a conversation that we need to have. It’s something that Katherine and I, on Melanated Faith have started to talk about even more. Because far too often, black women are, just like the civil rights movement, we’re the orchestrators and the architects of it. But many people do not know their names. And we have to ask ourselves why. 

And so I think that we are getting to a point to where if we are willing to organize movements, and put our lives on the line, and really help benefit the black community and help us get to where we need to be…we need to be seen, and recognized, and acknowledged, and we should not be erased. 

And we’ve seen that with Breonna Taylor’s case, right? She was wrongfully killed, but because there was no video there was no widespread outrage. And we feel this burden. I personally feel this burden—do not forget Breonna Taylor. We can’t forget her.

And it’s so often that black women are forgotten and overlooked. And it is something that I am grateful is coming to the forefront to talk about more because we need to. Because far too often, black women have really just been in a position to where people haven’t wanted to honor our leadership, respect our voices, and uplift them. And so now we are at a turning point. Will we trust black women truly? And I hope that we are going to move into a place where we will, and where when a Breonna Taylor–which I don’t want this to happen again–but should something like that happen again, we say her name and we don’t forget it.

Kayla: We’ve been exploring this idea of what it can tangibly look like and why it’s important to step behind the marginalized to support without co-opting the struggle and not erasing and not you know, me as a white woman making it about me and centering myself but stepping behind the leadership.

Faitth: I would say, it’s so important to listen to our voices. Far too often, because sometimes I just think people just haven’t paid attention, people in majority culture, and when I say majority culture, I mean the majority of the people in this country, which is white people, have not had to pay attention to the fact that many black people and other people of color, have had to navigate a very white world and have had to not say certain things or try to, you know, try to keep the peace or whatever the case may be for so long that people have not truly followed our leadership. 

We’ve followed a lot of other people in majority cultures’ leadership. But we have to have a conversation about why is it difficult to follow the leadership of black people, other people of color, and why we need to, we need to talk about why it’s critical and important that people do, especially in this work. 

We need people to follow and listen to our voices because we have a lived experience that most people do not in majority culture. And if you don’t, if you don’t, think critically about it, if you don’t have these lived experiences, if you don’t have to think about if somebody’s going to blame me for shoplifting, or if the police pull you over is your life in danger. If you don’t have to consciously like, think about that stuff, it’s gonna take a lot of work for you to start to open up your eyes and say, “Oh, wow. Like your lived experience is way different than mine.” 

And I think that we are seeing some people open up their eyes and say, “Okay, I am starting to see that there’s a difference. But when you are in a world where everyone looks like you, thinks like you, believes like you, you’re gonna be really hard-pressed to imagine a world where somebody else is oppressed, when you don’t see oppression in front of you, because you’ve not been conditioned to see it.

And so, yeah, I mean, it’s the truth, right? We’re trained to believe a certain narrative, right? And so there was this narrative of like, ‘Oh, they’re just crying out. Racism is over. They’re just making a big deal. You know, like, you know, it’s just, they don’t know what they’re talking about.’ 

But now it’s like, no, this is on screen. This is happening right now. This is in your face, you cannot ignore this, you cannot deny this, this is an issue. We have to address it. And I think more people are beginning to see that their eyes are opening. And now what we need them to do is to listen to us. To listen to our voices and to read, because what’s going to happen is is what you’ve been conditioned to know and believe and think is going to change once you read, and you educate yourself, and you do the work. 

MUSIC

Faitth: To me, learning and growing and educating is so crucial. Because once you do, you’ll see the world in a different light. And you will be able to make an impact on your family, on your children, on your community or on your friends. And I think sometimes people think I need to do something grand, “I need to do something crazy significant to make an impact”, but simply changing your life and changing the way that you think will impact a generation and we cannot underestimate the importance of that.

Kayla: You mentioned reading. Are there a couple books that for people that are just kind of paying attention and want to become a co-conspirator but don’t know where to start? A couple that you would recommend?

Faitth: Yes, so I have a few favorites. So I’m gonna recommend How To Be An Antiracist. It’s a really good book. Definitely grab that. I’m Still Here, by Austin Channing. Be The Bridge, by Latasha Morrison. White Rage, by Carol Anderson. I really enjoyed that book. There’s also another book called White Fragility, and that one’s by Robin DiAngelo. It’s a very good book as well. These are good starting points as you’re learning and getting an onramp into this conversation. And you want to know “Okay, like where should I get started? What should I read?” Those are some of the books that I recommend to people and encourage you to read. 

And some for some of you like you know, the title might be off-putting, you’re like “Ah, like, I don’t I want to read that” but I’m telling you dig into the book. You have to give these books a chance. And if you want to be a part of this work, you’re going to be uncomfortable, you’re going to be tested, you’re not gonna agree with, you know, with everything. And I just think it’s really important to make sure that you actually lean into this work and you start doing it. 

And they listen to podcasts, like, the 1619 podcast is incredible. You know, so definitely check out things like the ‘1619’ podcast, Code Switch. By Scene On Radio, they did a series called Seeing White. It’s really good. So definitely like check out some other podcasts and ways where you can listen as well. 

Some people, some of the most of those people have audiobooks. So if you’re more of like a listener, to books definitely do that. There’s all kinds of ways for you to learn some things and get connected, and your eyes begin to be opened, and it’s a good thing. It’s a positive thing. It’s a good moment to be in. And my hope is that as you’re reading through these books, it’s like, “Oh my goodness, I didn’t know.” 

Erin: If you didn’t get those recommendations jotted down, don’t worry. A full list including links can be found in our show notes at loveanyway.org/podcast.

Faitth:  But now that you know, and your eyes are opened, you’re willing to be out there following the leadership of black people, specifically. Even black women doing the work, orchestrating these movements. And being willing to support us—lift up our arms. And put your body on the line for this movement and for what we’re doing because we are fighting inequity, and inequality and justice and we are saying that just because our skin color is different does not mean we are inferior, and the whole world—we all need to get to a place to where that is not an issue. And that is something that many of us are willing to fight for, and die for, and tear down systemic racism and oppression that has really put down communities for over 400 years. 

And we are ready to see change and I think this is the time to really lean into what feels uncomfortable. And ask yourself, if you heard about the civil rights movement and you said to yourself, “oh, well, I would have been I would have done this or I would have done that.” That now is the moment. What are you doing right now? Because this is that moment, and this is the moment for you to choose how you’re going to respond.

MUSIC

Kayla: I hear a lot of people say I’m afraid of saying the wrong thing. I want to do this work of supporting, but I’m afraid of saying the wrong thing.

Faitth:  Yeah, I think it’s perfectly fine just to say “Racism is wrong”, “White supremacy is wrong. It’s evil. I’m denouncing that I do not have all of the answers. I don’t know, the full way forward. But I know that this is wrong. And I’m committed to learning.” I think it can be as simple as that.

We don’t have to have all the answers, you know. Just the simple acknowledgement of, I don’t know everything. I really don’t have all of the answers. But I know that this is wrong, and I’m going to be committed to learning. I’m going to be committed to speaking up. I’m going to be committed even though I don’t understand everything. 

And this is where you amplify the voices that do know. So you don’t know everything that’s okay. Share with your friends, repost our stuff, support our work. We are a lot of us are doing some hard work and have language that you don’t, so uplift us, and speak to people in your community. Just saying that it’s wrong, I mean, that starts some conversations that need to have happen. And I think we can’t underestimate the significance of that.

Kayla:  So this podcast is called love anyway and I think about you know, kind of what we’re talking about to support and step behind without co-opting and centering. What does love anyway in this context mean to you?

Faitth: We’re at a real crossroads as a nation. But for somebody to love anyway to me, feels like somebody who is willing to be uncomfortable to lose friends, to lose some of the things that they maybe have known and loved because they believe that myself life is valuable, that my life matters, that my life is worth fighting for. And they will do whatever they can to make sure that the world and their community knows the same. Which makes my life matter. Which means that black lives matter in loving anyways, is speaking the truth so loud, even when you know you might lose something.

Faitth: That’s why so many activists are saying “Please do the work.” We can’t just be here telling you every little thing. You have to study, you have to look at history, you have to be willing, like if you’re saying you’re an ally, which I like to say co-conspirator because I want to know if something happens, you’re willing to just In front of jump in front of me, and protect me, if somebody is trying to hurt me for the color of my skin. I want to know that you’re willing to put your body on the line for me. 

MUSIC

Erin: “I want to know that you’re willing to put your body on the line for me.” Putting our bodies on the line, that’s surely just a figure of speech. 

No, no it’s not. 

For those of us who aren’t Black, it means stepping behind the marginalized–women like Faitth Brooks–to support without co-opting their struggle for liberation. It means shutting our mouths and lifting up voices like hers. 

And sometimes putting our bodies on the line means stepping out in front—not to co-opt or take over, but to literally stand between the oppressed and their oppressor.

I’d like you to meet our friend Nick…right after the break.

[MUSIC]

[MIDROLL AD—Gathering Workshops]

[MUSIC] 

Nick: My name is Nick Mahlstadt. And I live in Indianola, Iowa. 

Erin: Nick is a friend of Preemptive Love, and someone with a high capacity for caring. Kayla Craig spoke with Nick about a particular experience he had at a recent protest, but she started out asking him to describe his life.

Nick: As a day job, I work for an insurance company but my passion and a lot of my focus is centered on the nonprofit that my brother and I co-founded called The Move Project. And we do work in Ghana. We have multi-ethnic family, seven kids total, and four biological and three that we adopted from Ghana. So, yeah, it’s never a dull, never a dull moment in our house. That’s for sure. 

Kayla: Somebody might see you and just think, okay, it’s the white guy who lives in small-town Iowa works for an insurance company. Take me back to a few nights ago and what life looks like for you then.

Nick: Yeah, so I, I was actively participating in the protest and demonstrations in Des Moines back on Saturday, May 30. And it took me a number of years to do something like that. I got involved in self-educating on racism, racism in America, what it’s like to be black in America. 

Really the tipping point for me to start that work was when Trayvon Martin was killed back in 2012. That got me out of sort of this complacency, I guess. And it culminated for me most physically on Saturday. So there was a march on Saturday, it actually started the night before. All-day Saturday, I had been reading from black activists on social media, how to engage, and really I was reading specifically on how to engage as a white person. 

And there seemed to be this recurring theme that most everybody was, if not explicitly talking about noting it as an aside, and that was the idea of having white allies show up. Predominantly showing up to show solidarity, not to over talk or to lead, but rather just as, as a sign of solidarity that this is a, this is a major problem. And it’s not just left up to the black community to demonstrate and protests against. 

And so I did that. And another theme to that was recurring, at least in the articles in the posts that I was reading was using your privilege, to demand justice. And the whole idea of whiteness privilege is something I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about over the last couple of years. And it really pushed me and moved me and made me very uncomfortable.

Erin:  Nick had done his homework, not only into the issues surrounding white privilege and anti-black racism in America. But he studied what was happening in his local community, and what leadership to look for.

Nick: One thing too, that I was really trying to be sensitive about is putting my body on the front line, at frontline as a shield, not as any type of leadership or talking or acting over those that were centered in the protest. So for a lot of the evening, just hung back distributed water, held signs, marched, demonstrated.

SOUNDS FROM PROTEST

But then as the crowd began to get agitated, and I could see some black brothers and sisters being physically harmed, that’s when I decided okay, this is what they must be talking about in the articles that I had been reading. 

And so, me and two others, took ourselves up to the frontline, and stood in between the police that were completely outfitted in riot gear. It created as much of a barrier as three people can do between the riot police and the protesters. And the thing that was going through my head the entire time was standing here so that the people leading the protests could continue to lead the protest without fear of being shot with rubber bullets. You know, choking on tear gas canisters. 

And when we got up there, all of that for, I’d say about an hour, ceased. And when I say all of that, I mean the shooting of tear gas canisters, and the rubber bullets and other projectiles that were being launched into the crowd. And my hope was in doing that, that I’m putting my body as a shield. But then it also dawned on me that I was also putting my whiteness and my privilege to work.

I was shot directly in the chest with a tear gas canister. So when that happened, I was angry, obviously. But I was just constantly thinking about this is what our black and brown brothers and sisters go through all the time, whether it’s in protest, or whether it’s in a march or whether it’s just going to the grocery store or being in predominantly white spaces. 

And it just kept dawning on me like time and time and time again, as these hours we’re going through the night that this must be at least some semblance of what it feels like to be either physically attacked, or, or know that it could happen at any moment’s notice. And I don’t have to go through that in my life. I can go to the store without being stared down. I can have encounters with policemen and never worry about what the outcome is going to be, whether I’m going to survive it or not. 

And so that night was amazingly powerful just in and of itself. But that experience and taking on that physical harm, so that the leaders of the protests behind me could continue to do the work, the very important work that they were doing, and in hopes that my body could shield at least that one tear gas canister in that moment, from reaching them and disrupting the message that they were trying to get to.

KAYLA: You shared a photo where it was like, it wasn’t just a little thing that kind of bounced on you and fell to the ground and it wasn’t like that. Left a mark. I assume it hurt.

Nick: Yeah. It hurt a lot. And you know, I was feeling it a lot later, more so than when it hit me originally. But we were probably 30 feet maybe from the line of police that we’re in riot gear and so it hit me really, really hard and for anybody who’s never seen or been around it tear gas canister, it actually the top of it starts on fire and that’s how the smoke is dispensed through the top of it. And so when it hit me it was already lit and so not only left a bruise, but it burned me. And not to mention the fact that it hurt because I was pretty close to the officer that, that shot at me.

Kayla: You also brought your son right, your teenage son?

Nick: I did. Yep. My oldest.

Kayla: What was your reasoning behind bringing your son with you?

Nick: We talk in the house a lot about activism and we’re trying to navigate what that looks like, with kids as old as 19, and as young as five, and all ages in between. And we had sort of reached a point with George Floyd being killed, that, you know, just talking about it inside the house, this time wasn’t going to be enough. 

Kayla:  We’ve talked a little bit about how when you showing up and putting yourself on the frontline, as a person of privilege who is not being oppressed, it’s going to cost you something. 

Nick: I mean, it’s true, it does cost you something and you know, it’s a silly example but I got after I’ve made the post about taking that canister to the chest and showed the picture. I kept referring to this idea of my whiteness working. And what I meant by that was I could stand you know, 20-30 feet away from the frontline of the riot police, and I knew it was going to cost something, I didn’t know, what but I never feared in this circumstance, because of my whiteness, I never fear losing my life. 

I might get injured, I might get arrested. But as I thought about the reason we were there, it was inconsequential. It didn’t matter to me, the cost because I was thinking about all of the things the hundreds of years and all the lives lost that led up to Saturday, May 30. And having the ability to stand in there in that moment in solidarity, it did cost. It not only cost in physical pain, but just the looking around and participating emotionally. It costs something emotionally.

And then it continues to cost something today, I mean we actually had an incident with our children in our town that very afternoon. And so I’ve, I’ve been very outspoken and that made me even more so. We’ve had threats against our family. My chest is still very swollen and burned. But in light of the reason we’re there, it doesn’t matter to me. I felt we were required to be there. You know, if I truly desire to be an ally, it costs. And it can be painful in all sorts of ways. And it can linger and the work, the work takes a long time. And so I don’t expect it to really go away. But, you know, that’s what I personally feel just needs to happen. 

Kayla: This isn’t like a one and done thing for you.

Nick: No, it’s not. And, you know, at this can be agitating, especially in the white spaces that are predominantly where I’m at, by way of where I live and where I work. And so this kind of simple activism is very troubling for people. And you know, one of the things that I really try to do is put this in front of people so there’s no ability to deny or to look away and it is agitating. Participating physically, you do experience repercussions. But I would also say on the other side of that the support has been amazing. Again, I just keep thinking about the reason that in my case Saturday happened and that won’t any pain or cost won’t stop me from continuing on. So any you know sometimes just one act has a cost and in most of the times it continues to linger because there’s agitation there.

Kayla: Not everybody needs to necessarily do exactly what you did in the way that you did it, but what would you say to somebody who is wanting to go from reading to doing in a more physical, embodied way?

Nick: Yeah. And that’s a really good question. The first thing I would say is put yourself physically at the front, in your, in your circle. In your circle of influence. Whether that be your family, your friends, your co-workers. There is such a tremendous opportunity and tremendous need to disrupt, whether it be casual racism, overt racism, other isms, other phobias, other you know, negative depictions of people. 

There are so many instances in our everyday life where you can literally put yourself in front as a shield and disrupt those things. Whether it be the way someone talks, the images they share, the comments they make. So for me moving out of the reading, and disrupting it right in my circle of influence was almost as hard as being physically present at the demonstration on the front line.

MUSIC 

Nick: Just because you wouldn’t necessarily identify as a racist, that’s something completely different than taking the next step and actively being anti-racist. You know, and I think it was Desmond Tutu that’s credited with the quote that says “if you’re neutral in situations of injustice, you’ve chosen the side of the oppressor.” And for me that really makes me uncomfortable because that makes you think about what you’re doing and in this case, what you’re not doing. 

Use your voice. Use your privilege. You know, we have benefited from white privilege for hundreds of years. And most people don’t even think about that in their normal days. But we’re at a moment now where we have to make a decision to step forward and use our voice and really do the hard work of anti-racism. 

And then also, I secondly, I would implore self-education. Please never stop learning. Always be reading. Follow people of color. Follow activists of color. Listen to what they’re saying. And don’t interject and don’t minimize their experience. Just because it may not be my experience doesn’t make it untrue for them. So listen, listen carefully, and follow what they’re saying, suggesting, recommending, and always keep learning.

MUSIC

Erin:  And a last word from Faitth Brooks, on one more way we can stand with the Black community going forward.

Faitth: One thing I would say is that it’s really important not just to read, listen, learn and consume content, but also to financially support organizations led by people of color doing this work. It’s not very popular thing for people to want to fundraise or donate to. And so it’s really important to financially back the work of people of color. 

And I would even say specifically Black women. Just starting a business, and the actual percentage of people who invest in Black women in business is so low. So to have communities of people who are dedicated and committed to uplifting our arms and not just in our voices, but also just being able to make our work sustainable. That is something that we need. It is something that our community would benefit from. And I am telling you, black women are helping to change the world. We are leading the way in so much of this work and we will continue to fight and we are a worthwhile people to invest in.

MUSIC

Erin: That’s it for today. Thank you for joining us for this bonus episode of the Love Anyway podcast. Find show notes for all seasons at preemptivelove.org/podcast, or you can text “love anyway pod” to 72000 to stay connected.

We’ll be back again soon for Season Five. Until next time, I’m Erin Wilson. Thanks for listening.

END MUSIC

Kayla: Love Anyway is a podcast by Preemptive Love. It’s written and produced by Erin Wilson, Kayla Craig, and Ben Irwin. Sean Gabrielson is our audio editor. Skip Matheny is Preemptive Love’s director of digital. Executive producers are Jeremy Courtney, Jessica Courtney, and JR Pershall. Our theme music is by Roman Candle.


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Love Anway

Pursuing Peace Through Podcasts: Season 4 Episode Round-Up

In season four of our Love Anyway podcast, we hear from people around the world who push us to see our neighbors—and ourselves—in new ways. From peacemakers in Atlanta to friends receiving emergency food in Venezuela, the real voices on these episodes allow us to experience new ideas and perspectives, all without leaving our homes.

In season four of our Love Anyway podcast, we hear from people around the world who push us to see our neighbors—and ourselves—in new ways. From peacemakers in Atlanta to friends receiving emergency food in Venezuela, the real voices on these episodes allow us to experience new ideas and perspectives, all without leaving our homes.