AUSTIN, Texas -- Protests across the country over the death of George Floyd have sparked a call to action for reforms, but it’s also triggered a conversation about how white and non-black people can be better allies in the fight for racial justice.
“I think a good ally listens, really listens to those at the forefront of the struggle,” said Ya-ke Smith, a filmmaker and the first associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion at the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin. “And they don’t try to get out front and dictate to those who have been most impacted by injustice and racism and white supremacy.”
Smith recently completed a short film called “Dear Bruh” and describes it as a eulogy, a baptism and a call to action.
“I wrote that poem, “Dear Bruh,” during the Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown situations and for me, it was just my way of processing the severe trauma that I felt and still feel every time I see a black body being brutalized and ultimately taken out on a camera phone…I’m really offering this up to other black people to give them a space, to not only mourn, but to almost baptize themselves because you do need to find ways, to find a space from those images…It’s also a call to action. I want people who are not black to really look at that and understand that pain if they can and find ways to really become and ally in this fight.”
Click the video link above to watch our full interview with Smith.