Categories
Allyship Black Lives Matter

Allyship Check-In: No 8

Hello, lovelies.

I hope you’re hanging in there and staying healthy. Please make sure you’re also paying extra special attention to your mental health, now that we’re nearing the day of the election. Continue to do the work, of course, but don’t forget to take care of yourself!

This month, of course, I’m sharing more resources to help with each of our own anti-racist journeys. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the fact that many of the resources I’m linking down below come from the hard work of those on the Anti-Racist Daily team, to which I subscribe for daily email updates. Many of the readings, actions and donation links come from what I learn from their articles. As such, I have become a monthly patreon donor, because you need to pay BIPOC people for the work they do in helping dismantle racism, not just take what you can for free. I hope you consider subscribing and supporting them, too, especially if you are a white reader.

Like I mentioned before, while a lot of these resources are tied and focused to the Black Lives Matter movement, I have started to incorporate other resources about more global events, as well.

Oh, and while I hope this doesn’t need to be said, let’s please keep the comments kind and constructive–though, please never hesitate to call me out if I’ve misstep, if you are comfortable doing that emotional labor you shouldn’t have to do in the first place. I appreciate your assistance in helping me learn and continue to grow into the actual ally I want to be.

Last caveat: I listed a bunch of resources, because I hope you will click on the links and listen to the Black voices who are speaking up, instead of hearing my take. I’m using this as a space to amplify their voices–not add my own commentary to the mix.

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Readings

In recent months, the coronavirus pandemic has offered a test run on whether humanity has the capacity to avert a predictable — and predicted — catastrophe. Some countries have fared better. But the United States has failed. The climate crisis will test the developed world again, on a larger scale, with higher stakes. The only way to mitigate the most destabilizing aspects of mass migration is to prepare for it, and preparation demands a sharper imagining of where people are likely to go, and when.

Videos and Podcasts

Petitions to Sign

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Actions

Places to Donate

Books

On Activism

To Read For Fun

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Thank you for taking the time to read through such a lengthy post. I hope some of these resources have been helpful for you! And, if you found something you enjoyed and learned something from, consider supporting that creator, whether it’s through sharing, donating to them, signing up for a mailing list, purchasing their works. It is important that we amplify and share Black voices, but also that we support them and pay them, especially when they are educating us about racism.

Cheers.

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Categories
Random Musings

Why I Am Voting for Biden–And You Should Be, Too!

Hello, lovelies!

I apologize to all of my international readers, as this post is very US-centric today (yet, unfortunately, the results of this election are going to have a rippling affect on everyone, I fear, so perhaps not as irrelevant as it may seem). But, I wanted to use this post to explain to any Republican family members, friends or followers why this year, it is more important than ever to not vote according to your party, but to vote for Joe Biden. This is also an open invitation to have CIVIL discussions with any of those people about this. If you’re still on the fence about who to vote for (I’m not sure how you could be, but, just in case), planning to NOT vote (please, PLEASE don’t do that) or plan to vote for Trump, I hope this post will change your mind.

My main focus, in choosing who to vote for, is their stance on climate change and their plan to combat it. Let’s be honest with ourselves for a second: there is a lot going on in the world right now. There are human health crises, a global pandemic, racial injustice, unchecked white supremacy, a failing economy, staggering unemployment, amongst so much else. These are all VERY valid concerns that we should be actively learning about and included in our decision to vote.

However.

We will not be able to combat the things that need to be combated (poverty, social and racial injustice, systemic racism) or fight for basic human rights (like LGBTQIA+ rights, womxn’s rights, immigrant rights, and the right to healthcare access) or dismantle unjust and corrupt aspects in society (like the police system, the electoral college, lack of affordable healthcare, existence of billionaires and more); we cannot do ANY of this if our planet overheats and becomes unlivable and destroyed; if we kill it because we aren’t wiling to vote in those who are going to put laws in place to stop companies from emitting so much carbon and raising our sea levels and temperatures.

Our window is closing to fight climate change and make a positive impact for our country, let alone our planet. That, amongst so many other reasons, is why this presidential election is so important. Because Donald Trump not only doesn’t have a platform or a plan to fight against climate change, but he doesn’t even in believe in it.

Which, if you’re in that camp, may I direct you to many different sources proving not only it’s validty, but also its tragectory and its pressing need to be combated ASAP:

I think we should be able to move pass arguing if it exists, instead recognizing that it’s a global pandemic even worse than COVID-19, which has claimed the lives of over a 1 million deaths globally (210,000 on US soil alone). Scientists project that climate change will continue to worsen over next 30-50 years–meaning, even if you are old enough that you don’t think you’ll be be alive in 2060 or 2070, you know someone alive right now who will be. Anyone under the age of 40 has a high chance of living through global catastrophe: a rise in temperatures, a shortened growth season, more intense hurricanes, droughts, flooding, and more. Anyone not born yet will currently inherit a dying Earth, if we don’t stop this. We have already seen the affects this year, with the increased activity of hurricane seasons and the California wildfires.

This fantastic resource by ProPublica reflects not only how climate change will change our temperatures, but also how it will result in a great migration of people traveling north in attempts to find habitable places to live. To those who are against migration, seems like supporting a climate change plan would be in your best interest, if you don’t want a) other people to live in America or b) you don’t want to have to try and leave it, because it’s become inhabitable. 🤷‍♀️

To me, it should be blatantly obvious that we need to vote for a president who not only believes and trust in the scientists that research and study climate change, but a president who has a plan on how to address it. If you don’t believe it, not only am I’m not sure how, but is that a chance you’re willing to take? For, if you’re wrong and we don’t take these steps now, it will result in the destruction of OUR PLANET.

To combat climate change, Biden’s plan includes:

  • Investment in clean energy and climate research
  • Recommitting to the Paris Agreement, which Trump pulled us out of
  • Taking action against fossil fuel companies and other major polluters
  • Create jobs in clean energy that will help support the economy and save the planet

You can read in-depth about his plan and how he will put it into action here.

Trump doesn’t have a plan, because he doesn’t believe it exists.

On top of that, other reasons why I want to vote for Biden include campaign promises to:

Many of these things are not only not part of Trump’s plan, but he has planned the opposite: to continue to create a country that serves only the white elite, the straight, the Christian, the male, the powerful.

You can see some differences in their platforms here:

And, if seeing those platforms and recognizing that this election determines the fate of our PLANET isn’t enough, I also will not vote for a man who is a racist, who is sexist, who is a rapist, who is a white supremacist, who is misogynistic, a tax-fraud, and a science-denier, who set up concentration camps in America, who is actively trying to to turn America in a fascist regime, considering he isn’t sure if he will “accept” the results of the election if they do not favor him.

If that STILL isn’t enough to convince you not vote for him and vote for Biden, keep in mind that, if you don’t vote for Biden and Trumps wins, we may never have an election again, let alone a fair one. There have already been numerous accounts of Trump’s attempts for voter suppression and a campaign against voting-by-mail–something he himself does and something everyone should be allowed to do, DURING A PANDEMIC. If he’s able to continue for a second term, I’m not sure he will ever give up power, ending our democracy as we know it.

Biden sure as hell isn’t my first choice. But I am voting for Biden so that I will have a choice in the future, to vote for a president who truly represents what I believe in. A president will who help dismantle systemic racism, offer reparations to Black and Indigenous communities, protect our BIPOC, immigrant and LGBTQIA+ communities, erase student debt, raise the minimum raise to at least $15 dollars an hour, create universal free healthcare, protect women and, most importantly (becoming most important because we can’t address any of these other issues without a planet to live on, mind), fight climate change and combat environmental injustice.

Biden is a first step towards making that reality.

If we allow Trump to remain in power, democracy in America will fall and the fate of our planet will fall with it.

Personally, if Trump remains in power, then my partner and I will be leaving the United States and seeking to become immigrants elsewhere–continuing the fight for justice here, ofc, but we want our future child(ren) to grow up in a country where they will be protected, valued, respected and cared for; through having access to healthcare, regardless of our paycheck amounts or job status; through making a living wage regardless of their career; to having access to affordable education where active shooter drills aren’t the norm, because there are gun protections in place; to being respected and being able to live without the color of their skin, the religion they follow (or don’t), the gender they identify as or their sexual orientation used against them.

I will always fight to make America better. But I will not subject my children to living in a country built on the values of Donald Trump. To give them a better life, I will leave my country and immigrate elsewhere, unless we can save our democracy.

No country is perfect and no country has this reality, where all of the above are true. But currently, in the United States of America with Donald Trump is president, NONE of that is true. It will only worsen the longer he holds power.

Please, use your voice. Register to vote, if you haven’t yet. Have a voting plan. Vote early, if you plan to vote-by-mail. Don’t leave the polls, if you vote in-person.

Please, for the sake of our communities, for the sake of our country, for the sake of our planet: vote for Joe Biden.

Cheers.

Categories
Allyship Black Lives Matter

Allyship Check In: No 7

Hello, lovelies.

I hope you’re hanging in there and staying healthy. At this point, that’s all you can do.

This should have went live on Monday, but on Sunday, my back spasmed and I was indisposed for a few days–and now doing physical therapy to try and correct whatever issue is causing this painful mobility and hopefully strengthen these muscles so this stops happening. So, I’m a bit behind on everything (don’t even get me started how behind I am on blog hopping and responding to comments; this weekend, I hope!), but I appreciate the understanding and the patience.

This month, of course, I’m sharing more resources to help with each of our own anti-racist journeys. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the fact that many of the resources I’m linking down below come from the hard work of those on the Anti-Racist Daily team, to which I subscribe for daily email updates. Many of the readings, actions and donation links come from what I learn from their articles. As such, I have become a monthly patreon donor, because you need to pay BIPOC people for the work they do in helping dismantle racism, not just take what you can for free. I hope you consider subscribing and supporting them, too, especially if you are a white reader.

Like I mentioned before, while a lot of these resources are tied and focused to the Black Lives Matter movement, I have started to incorporate other resources about more global events, as well.

Oh, and while I hope this doesn’t need to be said, let’s please keep the comments kind and constructive–though, please never hesitate to call me out if I’ve misstep, if you are comfortable doing that emotional labor you shouldn’t have to do in the first place. I appreciate your assistance in helping me learn and continue to grow into the actual ally I want to be.

Last caveat: I listed a bunch of resources, because I hope you will click on the links and listen to the Black voices who are speaking up, instead of hearing my take. I’m using this as a space to amplify their voices–not add my own commentary to the mix.

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Readings

Videos and Podcasts

Petitions to Sign

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Actions

Places to Donate

Books

On Activism

To Read For Fun

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Thank you for taking the time to read through such a lengthy post. I hope some of these resources have been helpful for you! And, if you found something you enjoyed and learned something from, consider supporting that creator, whether it’s through sharing, donating to them, signing up for a mailing list, purchasing their works. It is important that we amplify and share Black voices, but also that we support them and pay them, especially when they are educating us about racism.

Cheers.post signature

Categories
Allyship Black Lives Matter

Allyship Check-In: No 6

Hello, lovelies.

I hope you’re hanging in there and staying healthy. At this point, that’s all you can do.

Since I really liked I how I wrote this before, I’m going to quote it again, in case this is your first time reading this type of “wrap-up”:

Like I mentioned before, I wanted to compile different resources and actions to post here once a month. Many of the resources below, I’ve either already read/watched/listen to or plan to. I’ll share petitions to sign and donation links (which, while I can’t donate to everything, due to my own financial situation, I’d like to continue sharing and hope to at least donate to one thing, once a month, if I can).

I realize this is a blog you may have followed to read my book reviews, my writing rants, my mental health oversharing or any other plethora of posts that I usually write, so having activism and allyship resources also being added to the mix might surprise you or feel “off-brand”. That says a lot more about myself and the lack of work I should have been doing before, but this is something I will continue doing, going forward. If that makes you want to unsubscribe, I want to ask yourself why. Perhaps it can help you start your own journey dismantling white privilege, if you are a white reader.

And while a lot of these resources are tied and focused to the Black Lives Matter movement, I have started to incorporate other resources about more global events, as well.

Oh, and while I hope this doesn’t need to be said, let’s please keep the comments kind and constructive–though, please never hesitate to call me out if I’ve misstep, if you are comfortable doing that emotional labor you shouldn’t have to do in the first place. I appreciate your assistance in helping me learn and continue to grow into the actual ally I want to be.

Last caveat: I listed a bunch of resources, because I hope you will click on the links and listen to the Black voices who are speaking up, instead of hearing my take. I’m using this as a space to amplify their voices–not add my own commentary to the mix.

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Readings

  • Block the Vote: Voter Suppression in 2020
    • “Suppression efforts range from the seemingly unobstructive, like voter ID laws and cuts to early voting, to mass purges of voter rolls and systemic disenfranchisement. And long before election cycles even begin, legislators can redraw district lines that determine the weight of your vote. Certain communities are particularly susceptible to suppression and in some cases, outright targeted — people of color, students, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

      Below, we’ve listed some of the most rampant methods of voter suppression across the country — and the advocacy and litigation efforts aimed at protecting our fundamental right to vote.”

  • Explore the website End Adultification Bias and read stories about how adultification has harmed and stereotyped young black girls.
  • Read about the Junk Terror Law happening in the Philippines right now

Videos and Podcasts

Petitions to Sign

  • Support New Orleans Sanitation Workers: This petition advocates of raising the minimum pay of New Orleans Sanitation Workers (working in a place where $26 per hour is the living wage to support a family of four) at least $15 an hour, instead of the $10.25, without benefits, include hazard pay and provide PPE equipment.
  • Racism, not race, is killing Black, Brown and Indigenous people in our health care system: Discusses the actions we need to take (like passing laws in Congress and “transforming training requirements for health care officials for all health professionals to deliver anti-racist, culturally humble care rooted in human rights”) in order to protect BIPOC women from dying during or after pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Demand Justice for Breonna Taylor: Her killers, Louisville Metro Police Department officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove, are still walking free. Please don’t be silent and continue to fight for her justice.
  • Demand Justice for Emmett Till: Emmett was kidnapped, tortured, lynched and killed 65 years ago and he’s never received justice. Please read this petition on ways you can help change that.
  • Save the USPS: I can’t believe this is something we even need to fight over, but here we are.
  • Demand DA Dave Young’s Resignation over the handling of Elijah McClain’s case: “Elijah McClain was a 23 year old vegetarian. He died after suffering a heart attack en route to hospital after being bludgeoned by the police, placed in a choke hold, and then forcefully injected with ketamine. His death was not an accident. If Dave Young cannot recognize that the actions of the police and fire department lead to the death of Elijah McClain then he is not fit to serve the people of Aurora.”
  • Stop Shooting Our Children: Waycross Police Officer Jesse Shook and Lt. Scott Rowell shot at four black children in Waycross, Georgia this past weekend, after they were going home from a football game. Sign the petition to demand these officers are held accountable for these actions.
  • Cancel Student Debt: “Canceling student debt in response to the Coronavirus crisis will help the 45 million people with student loans and stimulate the economy when it is needed most. It will allow borrowers to purchase the necessities their families depend on: food on their table, a roof over their head, and critical healthcare.”

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Actions

Places to Donate

Books

On Activism

To Read For Fun

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Thank you for taking the time to read through such a lengthy post. I hope some of these resources have been helpful for you! And, if you found something you enjoyed and learned something from, consider supporting that creator, whether it’s through sharing, donating to them, signing up for a mailing list, purchasing their works. It is important that we amplify and share Black voices, but also that we support them and pay them, especially when they are educating us about racism.

Cheers.post signature

Categories
Allyship Black Lives Matter

Allyship Check-In: No 4

Hello, lovelies.

(Sorry for the same intro, but it sums it up well, so honestly, I figured I’d just keep it!)

This is part of a new “blog series,” though I don’t like to call it that, because this is so much more than just a blog series. This is something I want to make part of my daily routine, something that I actively improve throughout my entire life: being a better ally towards groups who I’ve claimed to be an ally since college, yet never did anything to actually make that true.

So, as I spoke about before, I am following the Justice in June monthly guide to help make confronting my own white privilege and the racist system we’re built upon part of my day; to help build a foundation to start my lifelong journey as an actual ally. And I’m sharing this to make sure that a) readers of this platform know where I stand, b) that I use my voice to share what I’ve learned and share resources and c) encourage discussion and discourse and further learning with my readers.

Read past weeks here and here and here.

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Day Twenty Two: The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Having been enslaved for 250 years, black people were not left to their own devices. They were terrorized. In the Deep South, a second slavery ruled. In the North, legislatures, mayors, civic associations, banks, and citizens all colluded to pin black people into ghettos, where they were overcrowded, overcharged, and undereducated. Businesses discriminated against them, awarding them the worst jobs and the worst wages. Police brutalized them in the streets. And the notion that black lives, black bodies, and black wealth were rightful targets remained deeply rooted in the broader society.

Now we have half-stepped away from our long centuries of despoilment, promising, “Never again.” But still we are haunted. It is as though we have run up a credit-card bill and, having pledged to charge no more, remain befuddled that the balance does not disappear. The effects of that balance, interest accruing daily, are all around us.

[…]

By the dawn of the Civil War, the enslavement of black America was thought to be so foundational to the country that those who sought to end it were branded heretics worthy of death.

[…]

The federal government is premised on equal fealty from all its citizens, who in return are to receive equal treatment. But as late as the mid-20th century, this bargain was not granted to black people, who repeatedly paid a higher price for citizenship and received less in return. Plunder had been the essential feature of slavery, of the society described by Calhoun. But practically a full century after the end of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, the plunder—quiet, systemic, submerged—continued even amidst the aims and achievements of New Deal liberals.

What I learned: I learned about redlining in Chicago in the 1940s. I learned about the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA). I read about the immoral segregation of blacks that kept them from owning homes and read lengthy descriptions of some of the acts of violence and cruelty that blacks have faced over decades of enslavement after being seen a lesser. Is it any wonder that, during the Cold War Era, when a white family was once concerned that a black family moving into their neighborhood suddenly decreased the value of their home by $2,000; that white people today are still devaluing black lives by refusing to wear masks against a virus that affects and kills blacks dis-proportionality from whites?

This article helped drive the fact home that racism isn’t only seen in police brutality and the deaths of black people. It’s woven into every aspect of our society, from education, to housing, to opportunities to the workforce, to the media, to sports and everything in-between.

Perhaps no statistic better illustrates the enduring legacy of our country’s shameful history of treating black people as sub-citizens, sub-Americans, and sub-humans than the wealth gap. Reparations would seek to close this chasm. But as surely as the creation of the wealth gap required the cooperation of every aspect of the society, bridging it will require the same.

Perhaps after a serious discussion and debate—the kind that HR 40 proposes—we may find that the country can never fully repay African Americans. But we stand to discover much about ourselves in such a discussion—and that is perhaps what scares us. The idea of reparations is frightening not simply because we might lack the ability to pay. The idea of reparations threatens something much deeper—America’s heritage, history, and standing in the world.

The early american economy was built on slave labor. The Capitol and the White House were built by slaves. President James K. Polk traded slaves from the Oval Office. The laments about “black pathology,” the criticism of black family structures by pundits and intellectuals, ring hollow in a country whose existence was predicated on the torture of black fathers, on the rape of black mothers, on the sale of black children. An honest assessment of America’s relationship to the black family reveals the country to be not its nurturer but its destroyer.

What I’m talking about is more than recompense for past injustices—more than a handout, a payoff, hush money, or a reluctant bribe. What I’m talking about is a national reckoning that would lead to spiritual renewal. Reparations would mean the end of scarfing hot dogs on the Fourth of July while denying the facts of our heritage. Reparations would mean the end of yelling “patriotism” while waving a Confederate flag. Reparations would mean a revolution of the American consciousness, a reconciling of our self-image as the great democratizer with the facts of our history.

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Day Twenty Three and Twenty Four: Tips for Creating Effective White Caucus Groups by Dr. Craig Elliott

White Caucuses are an important mechanism for people who identify as white and/or have white skin privilege to do our own work. It provides us an environment and intention to authentically and critically engage in whiteness, white privilege, and hold each other accountable for change. We explore how to recognize whiteness and white privilege, identify and interrupt our internalized dominance, and collectively develop strategies for liberation and change.

Caucuses are our group-level work (building upon our individual self work) so that we individually and collectively can be effective partners for change.

What I Learned: This was a really great tool of how to start your own group to discuss and critically engage in discussing white privilege and what we can do about it. I forwarded it onto a work group I am hoping to be a part of, being lead by another white woman in my department, as I think we will definitely use this guide a lot. I also really appreciated page 17, it was really helpful.

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Day Twenty Five: My Father Stood for the Anthem, for the Same Reason that Colin Kaepernick Sits by Keith Woods and When Calling the Po-Po is a No-No by Karen Grigsby Bates

Love of country can’t be accurately measured by whether someone sits or stands or slouches or sings. It’s not that simple.”

What I Learned: The article discusses how you cannot condemn Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem, though so many did, because you cannot tell how someone feels for America by how they respond to listening to the national anthem. Instead, we should be looking at why he knelt and what we can do to fix a system that makes it to where some Americans feel they cannot stand proudly when singing about their country.

In the past few months, several white people have been recorded calling police on black people who are going about their legitimate business in myriad ways: mowing the lawnusing the poolsleeping in the dorm common room.

“You have an alarming tendency of white people starting to use 911 as their kind of customer service line when they have any friction with a black person,” notes Professor Jody Armour, who teaches at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law.

[…]

But Melissa DePino says her fellow white people need to understand something crucial: “calling the police on a person of color for just going about their life is extremely dangerous, given how our police and criminal justice systems work.”

[…]

If white people don’t speak up when racist behaviors towards blacks and other people of color are manifested, she says, “our silence is complicity.”

What I learned: In the second article, it discusses how two black men were arrested at Starbucks because it was claimed that they were using the space without purchasing anything, which was against policy–despite the fact that witnesses saw at least two white people use the space–one an older white man who sat for 45 minutes without purchasing anything–and yet, the cops were called on them, but not the white people doing the same thing. It shows just one example of the racial injustice that blacks must deal with every day, especially as white people will call to report them just living their lives–something that could be a true threat to their lives, given police brutality in America. We must do better.

divider 3Day Twenty Six: Donate to anti-white supremacy work

The National Council is committed to abolishing incarceration for women and girls. As formerly incarcerated women, we believe a prison will never be the place for a woman or girl to heal and advance her life. Prison most often causes further social and economic harm and does not result in an increase in public safety. The prison experience increases trauma in women and, if they are mothers, to the children they are separated from. It deepens poverty in the individual lives of incarcerated people and the overall economic stability of their communities. We believe that the current criminal legal system has failed and needs to be dismantled. We have better solutions. Join us in our work to end incarceration of women and girls.

What I Learned: I donated $25 to The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls.

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Day Twenty Seven and Twenty Eight: How We Are Preparing Some Kids for College–and Others for Prison by Alice Goffman

There are more and more kids on this journey to adulthood than ever before in the United States and that’s because in the past 40 years, our incarceration rate has grown by 700 percent.

[…]

But Chuck and Tim, kids like them, they’re committing crimes! Don’t they deserve to be in prison? Don’t they deserve to be living in fear of arrest? Well, my answer would be no. They don’t. And certainly not for the same things that other young people with more privilege are doing with impunity.

[…]

What I Learned: This discusses how the jail system is set up specifically to jail young black people, when they already have so much of the world set up against them, instead of setting them for success, as we do for young white people. As Alice says at the end of her talk, we need to end mass incarnation and build a new criminal justice system, but where the emphasis is placed on justice, not on criminal.

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Day Twenty Nine and Thirty: Buy books, materials and supplies for educators

What I Learned: I chose to buy books for my friend’s classroom from the book bundles offered through Mahognany Books, a place where they focus on all black books. She teaches kindergartners and I’m going to surprise her with a package of them to utilize in her classroom.

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And with this week, I’ve wrapped up the Justice in June series, a resource compiled by Autumn Gupta with Bryanna Wallace’s oversight. It was incredibly eye-opening, moving, heartbreaking, uncomfortable and needed. It’s an amazing first step for you to take, if you’re looking how to be a better ally.

For me, it shows just how much harm my silence and inaction has done in my first 27 years of my life, but it allow provides guidance and a stepping stone to do better–which is a lifelong journey, btw.

For me, I don’t want to stop talking about this on my platform, because I hope what I learn can help others, as well. So, now, once a month, I’ll have a new allyship post, which will detail some of the resources I’ve read (or want to), videos to watch, petitions to sign, actions to take and places to donate. I hope these posts are helpful and will help give you ideas of what you can do as well.

Together, let’s make this world a place where every person can be free and have the rights that a straight, rich cis white man gets automatically.

Cheers.post signature

Categories
Allyship Black Lives Matter

Allyship Check-In: No 3

Hello, lovelies.

This is part of a new “blog series,” though I don’t like to call it that, because this is so much more than just a blog series that I’ll do temporarily. This is something I want to make part of my daily routine, something that I actively improve throughout my entire life: being a better ally towards groups who I’ve claimed to be an ally since college, yet never did anything to actually make that true.

So, as I spoke about before, I am following the Justice in June monthly guide to help make confronting my own white privilege and the racist system we’re built upon part of my day; to help build a foundation to start my lifelong journey as an actual ally. And I’m sharing this to make sure that a) readers of this platform know where I stand, b) that I use my voice to share what I’ve learned and share resources and c) encourage discussion and discourse and further learning with my readers.

Read past weeks here and here.

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Day Fifteen: The Intersectionality Wars by Jane Coaston

…intersectionality as “not really concerned with shallow questions of identity and representation but…more interested in the deep structural and systemic questions about discrimination and inequality.”

[…]

“There have always been people, from the very beginning of the civil rights movement, who had denounced the creation of equality rights on the grounds that it takes something away from them.”

What I learned: I learned that Intersectionality is first coined by Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw. I learned how it evolved from something she worked on as a matter of law and form of discrimination in courts that suddenly took flight and become a widespread phenomena, becoming defined as, “the idea that people experience discrimination differently depending on their overlapping identities,” — which absolutely makes sense to me.

However, intersectionality isn’t arguing for trying to create a “new caste system” where the straight white male goes from the top to the bottom, as many conservatives fear. Instead, it is trying to destroy the system that allowed this discrimination and inequality in the first place. It is summed up best in the article, so I’m going to offer the quote here:

But Crenshaw said that contrary to her critics’ objections, intersectionality isn’t “an effort to create the world in an inverted image of what it is now.” Rather, she said, the point of intersectionality is to make room “for more advocacy and remedial practices” to create a more egalitarian system.

In short, Crenshaw doesn’t want to replicate existing power dynamics and cultural structures just to give people of color power over white people, for example. She wants to get rid of those existing power dynamics altogether — changing the very structures that undergird our politics, law, and culture in order to level the playing field.

Follow-Up Reading

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Day Sixteen and Seventeen: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh 

As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.
[…]
 In my class and place, I did not see myself as a racist because I was taught to recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my group, never in invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on my group from birth.”

What I Learned: I really loved how McIntosh brings to light that racism isn’t just a purposeful act of meanness or discrimination, but how it is also failing to recognize that the very systems we’ve built our country upon are racist and needs to be addressed at the root. Our silence against racism is just as important to recognize as a racist part of ourselves as actually a purposeful act of meanness.

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Day Eighteen: The Power of Martin Luther King Jr’s Anger by NPR’s All Things Considered

 Martin Luther King, Jr. realized that non-violent resistance offered a way to channel anger into positive forms of protest.”

What I Learned: This article and podcast recording discuss the anger of Martin Luther King Jr and how we learned to channel that anger in the positive force of protest that we’ve learned about today and continue to demonstrate as a way to express anger at the injustices that still remain. It is okay, and natural, to feel anger, especially when looking through the lens of racism and seeing all of the atrocities committed because of it. But it’s also important to know how to channel and use that anger to create change, like through peaceful protesting, voting and amplifying the own voices of those truly affected by what you’re fighting against.

divider 3Day Nineteen: Advocate for police de-escalation training to your local PD and government

Hello Chief Officer Burns,
My name is Nicole Evans and I am one of the residents here in Lawrence. In light of the recent public focus on police brutality against black residents, I wanted to reach out and advocate that our police force here in Lawrence not only require mandatory de-escalation training, but make that the mandatory first response when handling civil disputes.
I know on Twitter, it has been confirmed that this is already implemented. However, in your Policy Training Manual, under Section 428.3, it quotes that “Civil disputes tend to be confrontational and members should be alert that they can escalate to violence very quickly. De-escalation techniques should be used when appropriate.”
I would like to advocate that the LPD policies be updated so that de-escalation becomes a mandatory response, instead of an encouraged option.
I also ask that all members of the department are trained in racial justice and anti-racism, as part of your training, and that this training is updated and revisited often.
I know that this work has already started, according to the District Attorney, but I ask that the LPD continue to not only do this work, but let our city and people know how this work is being done and keep us updated, so that we as a town, can continue to come together to fight systemic racial injustice.
Thank you so much for your time.
Cheers,
Nicole

What I Learned: Honestly, this was a bit terrifying to do, because reaching out directly to our police force directly made me feel like I was putting myself directly in the line of fire. Am I going to be targeted for speaking out? Will be be arrested for using my voice? But, of course, isn’t that what black people do every day, by simply existing? That’s wrong on so many levels and I don’t even have an inkling of the terror a black person must feel, living in an white-dominated society and system.

Educating myself is great, but it means nothing if I’m not willing to act, which is why I sent that email today.

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Day Twenty and Twenty One: How to Overcome Biases; Walk Boldly Towards Them by Vernā Myers

…help us reform our images of young black men, three things I am hoping that will not only protect them, but also open the world so they can thrive.
Can you imagine that?
Can you imagine our country embracing black young men, seeing them as part of our future?”

What I Learned: That quote above gave me chills. Her three tips:

  1. Get out of denial. What is your default? Who are you afraid of? Who do you trust?
  2. Move toward young black men instead of away from them, i.e., walk towards your discomfort
  3. Be willing to act out against those who speak in racist ways–including your family

Confront your associations. Confront your biases. Recognize them. And then do the work to unlearn them and do better.

Cheers.post signature

Categories
Allyship Black Lives Matter

Allyship Check-In: No 2

Hello, lovelies.

This is part of a new “blog series,” though I don’t like to call it that, because this is so much more than just a blog series that I’ll do temporarily. This is something I want to make part of my daily routine, something that I actively improve throughout my entire life: being a better ally towards groups who I’ve claimed to be an ally since college, yet never did anything to actually make that true.

So, as I spoke about last week, I am following the Justice in June monthly guide to help make confronting my own white privilege and the racist system we’re built upon part of my day; to help build a foundation to start my lifelong journey as an actual ally. And I’m sharing this to make sure that a) readers of this platform know where I stand, b) that I use my voice to share what I’ve learned and share resources and c) encourage discussion and discourse and further learning with my readers.

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Day Eight, Nine and Ten: The 1619 Project

The 1619 Project is a series of essays that set out to reframe the way we’ve been taught history and highlight how much racism and the foundation of slavery paved the paths that make out our society today.

This is a quote from the introduction:

“Out of slavery — and the anti-black racism it required — grew nearly everything that has truly made America exceptional: its economic might, its industrial power, its electoral system, its diet and popular music, the inequities of its public health and education, its astonishing penchant for violence, its income inequality, the example it sets for the world as a land of freedom and equality, its slang, its legal system and the endemic racial fears and hatreds that continue to plague it to this day. The seeds of all that were planted long before our official birth date, in 1776, when the men known as our founders formally declared independence from Britain.

The goal of The 1619 Project is to reframe American history by considering what it would mean to regard 1619 as our nation’s birth year. Doing so requires us to place the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are as a country.”

And this is a quote that summarizes just how important it is that we not only acknowledge that history has been warped to shine positive light on the white man when the reality is much darker, but we also much recognize what black people have gone through historically, so we can better understand what they are going through currently:

A word of warning: There is gruesome material in these stories, material that readers will find disturbing. That is, unfortunately, as it must be. American history cannot be told truthfully without a clear vision of how inhuman and immoral the treatment of black Americans has been. By acknowledging this shameful history, by trying hard to understand its powerful influence on the present, perhaps we can prepare ourselves for a more just future.

That is the hope of this project.

I only read two articles so far, but I plan to continue reading until I’ve read all of them. The following points stood out the most, which are quotes from each article, as I want you to read from the authors’ voices themselves.

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America Wasn’t a Democracy, Until Black Americans Made it One by Nikole Hannah-Jones

  • “They were among the 12.5 million Africans who would be kidnapped from their homes and brought in chains across the Atlantic Ocean in the largest forced migration in human history until the Second World War. Almost two million did not survive the grueling journey, known as the Middle Passage.”
  • “The United States is a nation founded on both an ideal and a lie. Our Declaration of Independence, approved on July 4, 1776, proclaims that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” But the white men who drafted those words did not believe them to be true for the hundreds of thousands of black people in their midst. “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” did not apply to fully one-fifth of the country. Yet despite being violently denied the freedom and justice promised to all, black Americans believed fervently in the American creed. Through centuries of black resistance and protest, we have helped the country live up to its founding ideals. And not only for ourselves — black rights struggles paved the way for every other rights struggle, including women’s and gay rights, immigrant and disability rights.”
  • “Conveniently left out of our founding mythology is the fact that one of the primary reasons some of the colonists decided to declare their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery.”
  • “Just a few months earlier, they had families, and farms, and lives and dreams. They were free. They had names, of course, but their enslavers did not bother to record them. They had been made black by those people who believed that they were white, and where they were heading, black equaled “slave,” and slavery in America required turning human beings into property by stripping them of every element that made them individuals. This process was called seasoning, in which people stolen from western and central Africa were forced, often through torture, to stop speaking their native tongues and practicing their native religions.”
  • “Black people suffered under slavery for 250 years; we have been legally “free” for just 50. Yet in that briefest of spans, despite continuing to face rampant discrimination, and despite there never having been a genuine effort to redress the wrongs of slavery and the century of racial apartheid that followed, black Americans have made astounding progress, not only for ourselves but also for all Americans.”
  • “What if America understood, finally, in this 400th year, that we have never been the problem but the solution?”

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Why Doesn’t America Have Universal Health Care? It has everything to do with race by Jeneen Interlandi

  • “That fight put the National Medical Association (the leading black medical society) into direct conflict with the A.M.A., which was opposed to any nationalized health plan. In the late 1930s and the 1940s, the group helped defeat two such proposals with a vitriolic campaign that informs present-day debates: They called the idea socialist and un-American and warned of government intervention in the doctor-patient relationship. The group used the same arguments in the mid-’60s, when proponents of national health insurance introduced Medicare. This time, the N.M.A. developed a countermessage: Health care was a basic human right.”
  • “The 1964 Civil Rights Act outlawed segregation for any entity receiving federal funds, and the new health care programs soon placed every hospital in the country in that category. But they still excluded millions of Americans. Those who did not fit into specific age, employment or income groups had little to no access to health care.”
  • “One hundred and fifty years after the freed people of the South first petitioned the government for basic medical care, the United States remains the only high-income country in the world where such care is not guaranteed to every citizen. In the United States, racial health disparities have proved as foundational as democracy itself. “There has never been any period in American history where the health of blacks was equal to that of whites,” Evelynn Hammonds, a historian of science at Harvard University, says. “Disparity is built into the system.” Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act have helped shrink those disparities. But no federal health policy yet has eradicated them.”

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What I learned: I was reminded that our own history lessons are tailored and pandered by white privilege. I didn’t know that 12.5 million Africans were kidnapped and enslaved, with 400,000 sold to America. I learned who Robert Hemings was–someone who’s name never made it to my history books I was taught from, yet Thomas Jefferson’s certainly did. I learned about how slavery impacted the reasons why the colonists wanted to be independent from Britain–a nation that was beginning to question the slave trade in 1776, while America was discovering ways we could profit from it.

I learned about President Lincoln’s plan to ship off those who were previously enslaved, since they had “no place in a country of white men”. I learned about the Equal Rights League. It wasn’t until the ratification of the 14th amendment, in 1868, that the claim “all men are created equal” actually had a chance to ring true. I learned about the beating of Isaac Woodard. I read about the false ideology of black people belonging to an inferior, subhuman race that was used as a way of thinking to forgive white guilt and used as permission to promote and forgive grotesque white violence against black people in both the present and the past.

I learned about Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the nation’s first black female doctor. It wasn’t until 1964 that the Civil Rights Act finally ended hospital segregation–only 60 years ago.

I learned so much that I should have already known, but it wasn’t taught in our schools. It’s something I want to start pushing back on and something I definitely will be ensuring isn’t something my children go through, even if that means self-teaching them, if the curriculum isn’t updated by then.

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Day Eleven: When Civility is Used as a Cudgel Against People of Color from NPR’s All Things Considered 

That belief would indicate that some people are innately civil, while others need to have civility taught to — or imposed upon — them. Johnson says this is part of the underlying rationale for the enslavement of Africans imported into America and the genocide of Native peoples.

“People of color don’t get to orchestrate the terms of civility,” she explains. “Instead, we’re always responding to what civility is supposed to be.”

What I Learned: How civility is a term that we love to throw around in politics, yet it’s something where we expect black people need to be taught how to be civil, yet when they are protesting for their right to sit and eat amongst white people at the same table in the 1960s or their right to not be killed by kneeling on a football field, it is these calm demonstrations of fighting for their rights that are met with physical violence and verbal abuse by their white peers, begging the question: who’s civility should we be questioning, here? And, reminding us to acknowledge that civil unrest is necessary and required when so many are unequal, harmed and killed in our country because of the color of their skin.

I also added Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper to my reading list.

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Day Twelve: Register to vote!

What I Learned: I was already registered to vote, but I double checked again using the website linked above. Please make sure you are also registered, make sure your friends are and do your research before you vote this November!

divider 3Day Thirteen and Fourteen: Let’s get to the root of racial injustice by Megan Ming Francis on TedTalks

“It shouldn’t take a university website profile to be viewed as non-threatening.

We must pay closer attention to the treatment of black people.”

What I Learned: She focused on instead of fixating on how to fix the problem of police brutality, we must focus instead on the root causes on why policy brutality against blacks–because “fixes that don’t address the root causes aren’t fixes at all.” For yes, we can fire a police officer who kills an unarmed black man takes away that one police officer who should never have been in that position before, but it doesn’t solve the issue that police officers are set up in a system that allows for intense brutality and death against blackness–something our system equates to criminality.

She also shares how her brother was cuffed and shoved against the ground and the walls when searched for drugs he didn’t have and only was released when he could prove when he was in college. Or how she has detained at an airport for bringing a weapon–a ring that covered two fingers instead of one, which the TSA agent saw as threatening brass knuckles–and only her college professorship got her out “so quickly,” as apparently this TSA agent did this all of the time.

Black people SHOULD NOT only be viewed as people through their credentials. Black people shouldn’t be automatically viewed as a threat. As she states, we must acknowledge this problem isn’t just with police, but how every white person is complicit and helps support, even through unconscious microaggression to silence, a system that supports us treating black people differently–often as lesser or dangerous–due to the color of their skin. And we must treat that system, before we can truly understand and tackle police brutality against black people.

Please also look at the 8toAbolition campaign about the steps we can take against police bruality, but also, please do the personal work of understanding what we can do to break down the system that created this possibility in the first place.

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Thank you for reading through such a lengthy post! I hope it helped teach you something new, found a new resource for you to share so you can continue to speak up about the rampant racism in our country and helped you reflect on your failings and ways you can improve, to be an ally in a movement which, at it’s crux, is just asking the world to see black people as people, and treat them as such.

Cheers.post signature