Silence is Complicity

Black Lives Matter

When watching the video of George Floyd’s murder, I heard him call for his mother. My heart sank and broke into pieces. And, then the rage ensued, again. Four-hundred-years-of-injustice kind of rage. 

Since the more prominent murder of 14-year-old Emmett Louis Till by brutal, public lynching in 1955, thousands of Black boys and men, and Black girls and women have also been murdered at the hands of white racists— and systemic racism.  Each of their Black lives mattered. They were loved. Loved by their families, friends and communities. 

While much in the world has changed since 1955, the blatant disregard for Black lives has not. The difference is that today it is increasingly captured on film. Our children and young people are watching. The whole world is watching, and this weekend's protests are another sign that people are tired of waiting for justice, as anger and frustration at a broken system boils over. 


Many white parents avoid talking about race, particularly with their kids. They might believe that leading by example, with kindness and compassion, is enough. It is not enough.  Children and young people deserve to unpack and understand their privilege in society. On the other hand, parents of color are forced to have the conversation with their children, over and over and over. Conversations about racism are vital for all families.

Without conversation, our kids see silence and are themselves ill equipped to confront racism. And, silence is complicity. 

As the scholar Ibram X. Kendi reminds us, “the opposite of 'racist' isn't 'not racist.' It is 'antiracist.'” Racism attacks every facet of our society, creating horrific disparities in education, health, criminal justice and our economy.  We need to talk explicitly about racism as the through-line in these inequalities, and we need that talk to lead to anti-racist action.

We also need more than just kind words from our elected officials. DC is in the midst of passing a historic budget that will have long lasting repercussions for the future of the District. This is their moral document, and their opportunity to rise to the occasion and show their commitment to anti-racist principles and policy priorities. 

Here are several actions you can take to educate yourself, have productive conversations about dismantling racism, and help to change the status quo.

If you want to take local action: Vote  |  Black Lives Matter DC  |  Testify to the DC Council about the Metropolitan Police Department

If you want to learn: How to become an anti-racist reading list

If you want to talk to your kids: Children's books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance

If you want to donate: Black Lives Matter DCBlack Visions Collective (Minneapolis)Reclaim the Block (Minneapolis)

Our team at DC Action for Children stands in solidarity with you. Let's keep fighting together to ensure every one of our young people grows up safe, resilient, powerful and heard. 

In Solidarity,

Kimberly Perry and the entire DC Action for Children Team

June 1, 2020