Journaling prompts for activism and antiracism

Dearest friends and community,

Our political landscape is so primed for change right now, and it's important that we continue learning about systemic racism and fighting for the safety and thriving of Black lives. In all areas, we need to find ways to lift up the voices of Black and Indigenous People of Color for the wellbeing and enrichment of all people. I am far from an expert on this topic, but I am responsible for being a part of the change, and the work starts within.
For me, this looks like a humbling and ongoing process of learning, listening and identifying racism in my field, my circles, and even in myself, and finding avenues of change. I've been journaling a lot to explore what activism can look like in my own life right now. Antiracism is a unique journey for every one because the power you have to invoke change is unique to your field, your interests, your surroundings, and your social scene. There are so many amazing ways you can engage in activism and what that looks like for you depends entirely on the tools you have and the audience you're working within. As a business owner and creative director, it's important for me to share environmental justice and antiracism resources on my platform and amplify BIPOC voices.
I have been so inspired by the "social justice hits your lane" series by Diandra Marizet of Intersectional Environmentalist. In this series, she looks at a particular field (engineering, education, etc.) and talks about racism and activism opportunities in that specific career. In the spirit of moving from a place of frustration to a place of action, my business partner Summer and I have compiled a list of questions we can ask ourselves to be used as journal prompts or discussion topics. Here we share the ones that resonated with us. We'd love to hear from you about what you're learning, thinking, talking about and ways we can create change in ourselves and our communities.
A couple of notes: You might find a few of these bring up some resistance for you - I know I did. That's okay. It can be difficult to admit, even to yourself, that you or someone close to you may have done or said something that was racist, but it's all part of learning and doing the work. Journaling is a great place to start since it's a private, judgement-free space, and hopefully it can become a catalyst to start having these conversations with others and begin to experience growth. Please know that when we think about the privileges we have, we're not saying anyone is a bad person for being privileged, but it does matter how you choose to use that privilege. Recognizing privilege doesn't take away from your hard work and achievements, but it does help us recognize that the playing field is uneven. The place you started from may be more or less privileged than someone else, and if we can start to understand that, it will arm us with empathy and compassion to understand that each person's experience is different from our own. Try to begin in a mindset of humility and openness.
Journaling for activism

Journaling prompts and discussion topics for antiracism

  • What are some of your privileges?
    • Examples might include your race, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental health, financial status, or social status. 
    • What’s something you've gotten away with because of your privilege?
      • Think of some things you've done, even by mistake, that a person of color probably wouldn't have gotten away with. Maybe you were given a warning instead of a speeding ticket. Or maybe you forgot your keys one day and had to go through a back window, but no one gave you a second glance. Maybe last time you walked out of a store, your shopping bag accidentally set off the alarms but they waved you through without even checking. Ever gone through security with something that wasn't TSA approved and they let you go through anyway? The list goes on...
      • What’s something you accomplished thanks to privilege?
        • Examples might be graduating various levels of education, receiving training in sports or other hobbies, or landing a hard-to-get job.
        • How can you leverage your privilege and your voice to lift up Black people?
          • There's the somewhat viral story of a woman who paid for her groceries via check without showing ID, but the woman behind her who happened to be Black was required to provide two forms of identification. She spoke up and said if that's your policy, why did you let me leave without showing ID? It's a simple story, but it was an example of speaking up for some one else and using your place of privilege to resist a moment of prejudice or profiling. This woman got angry so that the other woman didn't have to play into the stereotype of an angry Black woman. There are so many ways we can use our privilege, but if we infuse this into our everyday lives in small and large ways, perhaps we'll start to challenge the status quo and influence change.
          • Is there a time you can remember using your privilege to amplify the voice of a Black or Indigenous person of color? Is there a time you wanted to do so but didn’t? Why or why not?
          • How have you tokenized or fetishized Black people or Black culture? How can you appreciate Black culture in a more respectful way?
          • On both a systemic level and in microagressions, what racism have you noticed around you? Where might you have been blind and insensitive to the racism around you? 
          • How can you be more proactive in moving forward?
          • How can you use your career and line of work to dismantle racism?
            • What field are you in? Take a moment to research five examples of racism in your field, whether you're in medicine, marketing, education... Try googling "examples of racism in [your field]". Pick one example to unpack and learn more about, and compare your findings with your own experience. Talk to your coworkers and learn from each other's experiences and vantage points. 
            • Identify concrete ways you can affect change, and pick a place to start. Whether it’s through one of your own projects at work or by challenging your work's policies, hiring process, or marketing strategies, there are so many ways you can be a part of the solution.
          • How you can you use your passions and personal hobbies to elevate Black and Indigenous people of color and decenter white voices?
            • While we're on the topic, diversify the voices in the media you consume. If you're into a certain topic like rock climbing or finance, mix up who you follow on social media, who you listen to on podcasts, the authors of books you read, etc. We all benefit from learning from each other's unique perspectives.
          • Do you regularly shop at or support any Black owned businesses or services?
            • Try making a list of BIPOC owned businesses you support. When you take an honest look at the places you shop, you might be surprised how few you're aware of or regularly patronize. Or, you might already support a bunch in your area and be able to share that knowledge with friends! From where you get your groceries to the bank you invest your money to the stores you buy your clothes, challenge yourself to find new ways to invest in a more diverse range of businesses. What are some ways you can start conversations with people in your own circle about racism, privilege and prejudice?
          • How can you start open and productive conversations with friends, family and colleagues?
            • There are some wonderful resources out there for how to talk to your friends or family about racism. It can be difficult to do so in a way that reserves judgement and inspires a new way of thought, but it's possible and it's important. Let's learn from those who came before us and let's take on some of the burden of educating ourselves and talking openly about racism so that others don't have to.

          We hope these journaling prompts inspire your activism and get you thinking like they did for us. If you're looking for a new journal, we have some lovely recycled paper notebooks and fountain pens in our journaling collection.