|The only way to keep the ball rolling is to actively push for Black and brown journalists to be in your newsroom, holding leadership positions outside of the culture or diversity roles.
We need to focus on building up current college journalists of color. Many students I’ve spoken to cannot take on an unpaid internship, causing them to miss out on fundamental experience — and widening the gap between journalists of color and their white counterparts. Networking and interning are essential for emerging journalists, but having access to resources is always a huge problem.
Black and brown journalists also need support for the emotional labor they perform. Lately, I’ve had more and more white colleagues reach out to “learn” or “understand” how they can be better. It is already a lot to be carrying this emotion around with us. It is not Black people’s job to also educate. White and non-Black people need to take the time to do the research themselves instead of depending on Black people to tell them how they’ve hurt them.
As I’m noticing from current Black and brown journalists telling their stories, it is not enough to simply not be racist — to really be an “ally,” you must be anti-racist. That means sticking up for others even when it’s uncomfortable or against the grain. This isn’t a one-and-done type of movement; it’s a lifelong commitment to supporting, championing and defending Black people. You cannot preach allyship and not love it every day.