Supporting as a Peer/Coworker/Supervisor

Send an email/teams message/text to those affected 

  • Be sincere and use phrases like: 
    • I want to acknowledge what is happening in our country... 
    • I am devastated by what happened over the weekend... 
    • There's a lot going on politically right now... 
  • History: 
    • What's happening isn't just about a recent eruption but more of a re-awareness 
  • Specific and Accurate:
    • Name the direct individuals/populations that are being affected: 
      • Ex: Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Dreasjon Reed, George Floyd, Tony McDade, David McAtee. These are not all of the names, just some of the individuals we know about 
  • Hold different Experiences & journeys: 
    • Some may be intimately familiar while others are just starting to see the contours. Some are tired of (or maybe charged by) talking about it 
  • Acknowledge what's happening: 
    • Name the issue 
    • Acknowledge the History 
    • Be Specific and accurate 
  • Keep in mind how gradualism affects folx 

Offer flexibility 

  • Reprioritize: Talk about what's on peoples' plates. What truly needs to be worked on during this time? 
  • Ask things like: 
    • Would it be helpful to push back a deadline? 
    • Would it be helpful to cancel class(es) today/this week? 
  • Offer time off, no questions asked 
    • Some people may use work as a coping mechanism, be more frustrated, offer to help others, want to leave, or may just be disconnected 
  • Option to work from home 

 Hold Space 

  • Be protective of their – or your – labor and energy: 
    • Black-folx: choose when and how you'd like to engage so you can preserve your energy 
    • Non-Black Folx: don't ask affected concerns or ask them to educate other staff on allyship. If they are interested in this, pay them for their efforts 
  • Ask what people need; share options: Ask what you can do to support them 
    • Some folx are thinking of taking x amount of time to process through things. Would this be helpful for you? 
    • If folx have requests, ask if they want it announced/who they'd like to announce this (i.e. themself/you)
  • Leverage your 1:1s: Use that as a check-in space to ask how they’re actually feeling 
  • Get outside: Get out of the office with those affected. Go on excursions outside/around your building/virtually 

 Offer Space 

  • Affinity Spaces: 
    • It may be helpful for folx to be in community with each other 
    • Create spaces for non-affected folx to examine their role in combating oppression 
  • Brave space discussions: 
    • A space to talk through concerns with accountability 
  • Stop sharing/asking impacted folx if they've seen videos of Police Violence, Murders, etc. 
    • This continuously de-humanizes Black folx 
    • Causes the re-traumatization 
    • Think through what is the purpose of sharing this: 
    • Can that goal be achieved in another way? 
    • Will this cause someone to relive the trauma they're already trying to manage? 
  • Pay Impacted Staff Hazard pay: 
    • Having to worry about getting paid in a time of grief should not be an added layer of stress. 

Create and Maintain Change 

  • Research 
    • What are some potential ways the office/department can be changed to provide support/equity? 
  • Be People For and With Others 
    • Don't force BIPOC to come up with solutions for the office/department to heal their own trauma 
    • Come up with solutions and ask "Is this something that would help you feel supported in this space?" 
    • Do not do this in a savior complex manner! 
    • A great peer once told me, "If suggestions are offered, don't treat these items like checklists. Treat these as the foundations to create more change moving forward" 
  • Listen to learn, not to respond/understand 
    • Responses should be given but not in a defensive matter of "this is what we already do" or "I don't think that's how that happened or will happen" 
    • It's important to note these lists are not exhaustive. Find ways to make this a live-action plan where folx can submit things anonymously moving forward. 

Get Support for Yourself! You can’t pour from an empty cup 

  • Determine: Do you feel supported by your leader? 
    • What do you need from your leader to feel supported? 
    • How do you plan on communicating that? 
    • If there are cross-cultural concerns, who else can you get to support you as you ask for help? 
  • What do you need to feel grounded and whole? 
    • Think of your Love Languages 
  • Collaborate 
    • Connect with other departments/offices and see what they have in play 
    • Coalitions are even MORE important during these times 

Finally, here is a (non-comprehensive) list of resources outside of LMU: 

For Black folks: 

On leadership: 

· On allyship and anti-racism:

 Compiled by Jamal Epperson