Whitney Parnell is a rising black millennial activist, and the co-founder and CEO of Service Never Sleeps (SNS), a nonprofit that mobilizes communities to promote “Allyship” — an active way of life that exercises bridge-building to ensure equality, opportunity, and inclusion for everyone. Whitney is also releasing social justice album this fall, titled What Will You Do. The album uses empathy as a call to action, and all proceeds will go toward SNS.
Whitney is excited to create a movement of service and Allyship by igniting social change through mass civic engagement, bridge-building, and empathy.
Posts By This Author
Please Stop Calling the Police on Us
Despite the frequency, I have made the decision to allow myself to feel the anger and pain that comes with every example of community profiling, because desensitization feels far more dangerous to me. While this is just a reality for black and brown people, these examples of back-to-back national headlines help provide justification for our outrage and fear. They demonstrate that nowhere seems safe for people of color, and instances like these happen everywhere — including in our own neighborhoods. What cannot be denied is that there is a common thread behind these encounters: A scared white person. For all who feel threatened by even the mere presence of people of color, I have one simple request: Please stop calling the police on us.
Please Stop Telling Me to Be a 'Good Little Black Girl'
As a black woman, my confidence is not just perceived as arrogance, but as intimidating and angry.
We Should Not Run from Burden
While casting our troubles onto God is a critical aspect of our faith, I fear that we often interpret burden as one-directional, particularly with how we react to social injustice. These days, it is hard to miss the consistent threat to human rights on multiple levels, but it is still possible to avoid responding to them. Particularly during the past year, I have heard so many colleagues verbalize their decisions to avoid watching or reading the news because it’s too distressing. Furthermore, common responses from Christian colleagues to my (admitted) rants about the world’s concerning state include “It’s not of God to worry,” and “All of this is a part of God’s master plan.” The feedback that strikes and disturbs me most is when I hear that we should ultimately go to God to comfort our distress over the world’s injustice, often insinuating self-soothing over action.
To Our White Friends: Empathy Is Not Enough
As I attempt to navigate my new normal after the traumatizing experience of standing up for love against white supremacy in Charlottesville, I am certain that empathy alone is not enough. True empathy, particularly in relation to social justice, must be followed by action. Otherwise, the cycle of marginalization, oppression, discrimination, and pain will continue.