Meet Anti-Racism Writer Devon J. Hall
And learn about her vision for Black people to take up space unapologetically
One of the joys - yes joys - of anti-racism work is connecting with other people doing the same work. Devon J. Hall is one of those people. I first came across her work on Medium, then went to her website where I found fearless and fascinating articles. Once I had the chance to chat with her a couple months back, I knew she’d be a great person to feature here. Please meet Devon.
Devon, what made you become an anti-racism writer?
I don't know that I "chose" to become an anti-racism writer. I just realized that I had some things that I wanted to get off my chest, and they happened to be about the issues that I personally have faced or witnessed, and simultaneously, they revolve around racism.
What response have you had?
It's been weird honestly because a lot of Black women support me in various ways, but that took a lot of effort. It took a lot of me saying "I'm here, and I am not going away," before Black women started to embrace me, whereas white women were more open to what I had to say. I got a lot of people thanking me for educating them, which is also weird because that's NOT my job, but by the same token, if not those of us discussing racism, then who?
In relation to racism, what is your vision for the future?
I just want Black and BIPOC people to be allowed to exist, without worrying that existing is going to get them killed, raped, tortured, or otherwise injured by people who hate them, for existing.
What are your top three anti-racism articles you have written?
Oh my gosh. This is really tough because I really like my own writing, but also because some of these are super important to me.
I chose this one because I am so tired of seeing people on Twitter, specifically, who are not BIPOC or Black, accepting apologies on our behalf. Like if you're not the injured party, it's not your job to offer forgiveness.
This was one of my favorite articles - not specifically on racism, but on the systemic trauma that comes with being a Black woman in Canada. This post is entirely about mental health. Which is something we in the Black community don't discuss. We don't seek out help, we don't go to therapy, we don't find healthy coping mechanisms, because then we might have to admit that we can't carry it all. That we're not strong enough because the world "needs" us to be strong enough right? Because if the Black woman can't do it, then no one can, so the Black woman has to do it and she has to do it all, without complaining.
We need to start complaining. We need to start asking for help, we need to start admitting that we're tired, we're wiped out, and we don't have the energy to be the superheroes of the world. We need help. There should be no shame in asking for help, but BIPOC people - specifically - are constantly made to feel like we are less human if we reach out for help. That shit has to end asap.
I really like this one because it's about Meghan Markle, and she's just been through so much. There have been terrible rumors about her, and horrendous lies spread by people who wanted to destroy her, for no other reason than the fact that she committed the crime of being born brown. That's something that I understand deeply, each of us is told that we're allowed to have our say, but then once we do, we're supposed to go back to making ourselves small to make our white counterparts more comfortable. I hate that, I hate that so many young girls are starting to realize that they are hated for the color of their skin because it has such a huge effect on their entire lives. I want Brown and Black girls everywhere to raise their voices, to be loud, and to take up space, unapologetically.
Share one anti-racism article you've read written by someone else that resonated with you.
This is a really hard read, but it's about a true story in which a white man died, and the Vietnamese people had to defend themselves against an actual mini civil war, started by the KKK. So many people around the world, be them, Black, Mexican, Latinx, Asian, suffer from racism, and as much as I would love to shine a light on all the great articles on racism against Black people, I think this is a really important piece. I have two nieces that are Vietnamese, and I love them very much, they are also half-Black, and so when I look at them and I see their Blackness, I also see their struggle, because I know that they didn't get the best end of the stick. They are hated because they are "other", and that's something that all people of color can recognize regardless of where we come from. Reading just this one article, can and will teach you, that racism is not just an American problem, it's a global problem. It's something that people across this entire planet, can understand, and for it to end, we must learn to come together.
Thanks, Devon. Folks, it’s worth trawling through Devon’s site for unapologetic articles on racism, mental health, cannabis and much more. Please follow her on Medium and Twitter to continue the conversation.
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