At Soulful Cannabis, we feel the need to speak up at this time of extreme social unrest. Sparked by a series of recent, devastating attacks against African Americans (Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Christian Cooper, George Floyd) and countless others captured on video, the current social unrest is a magnification of repeated crimes and injustices against marginalized people.
Born out of the original sin of racism, it has shifted from slavery to the Jim Crow era to the militarization of law enforcement and the Mass Incarceration era that we live in today, denigrating and sucking the soul out of communities of color and enriching (mostly white) communities of privilege.
Soulful Cannabis was largely formed as a response to injustice and inequity, and we actively work to counteract this paradigm and offer solutions based on corporate social responsibility because we believe that a healing plant deserves a healing industry.
Social Justice reform lies at the heart of our work.
We seek to:
- expose the bias implicit in our language (Language Matters Series)
- provide access to education through events and online content (website, community involvement)
- provide access to legal medicine for patients through our Soulful Caregivers Program
- hold the cannabis industry accountable for creating a more transparent, equitable and charitable industry (education, support, and advocacy)
We see our cities burning, our fellow Americans crying out in despair and frustration, and our society reaching the breaking point. Yet, our America and her government, industries, criminal justice and healthcare systems continue to perpetuate racism through structural and inherent cultural bias and white privilege.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. warned us that we will not escape this ever-deepening vortex of conflict so long as we allow these atrocities to continue.
“I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.” – Martin Luther King Jr
In the spirit of education on social equity and justice, we provide resources today that help to answer common questions that people are raising:
What good does rioting do? or Isn’t racism dead?
This video from Trevor Noah, host of the Daily Show and survivor of South African Apartheid, shares an important view on topics of racism and riots:
What is structural racism? What evidence exists that our society is built on structural racism?
Are you new to the idea of structural racism? If so, there are many resources available on the Internet to learn more. Start out with this overview of systemic racism from Ben & Jerry’s (yes – the ice cream company). Make sure you watch the four minute video at the end.
Looking for numbers? This review by the National Academy of Sciences provides the hard data demonstrating systemic racism in action in our criminal justice system. Inequities like this can be found in healthcare, corporate hiring practices, education, environmental quality and so many other aspects of day to day life.
If you are a white person with black colleagues, consider this perspective on how they might be feeling and how you can show up at this painful time.
If you are in the cannabis industry, please speak up! Consider supporting the petition from MM4M to support the protestors and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Other ideas on ways you can be an ally:
- Demonstrate empathy for people of color. Stop discrediting people’s pain, anger and frustration. Start listening instead.
- Use your privilege to be heard. Help make the structural changes necessary to unwind structural racism.
- If you are at a protest and things are going sideways, stand at the front of the line. White people are less likely to be attacked by police.
For people who wish to protest, MCBA offers some helpful guidelines.
Minorities for Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) published their powerful statement which includes guidelines for persons of color who intend to protest.
For all who wish to work toward change
Consider joining the 8 can’t wait campaign to encourage reforms in local policing policies right now.
Let this be a moment of punctuated evolution, a tipping-point that opens the floodgates to structural change – so we can move this nation to a more perfect union for every person living under her wing. It will take courage. It will take empathy. It will take all we have to give … and then some. But it will be worth it.