White Folks Facing Race: Don’t Stop Now

[This is part of my White Folks Facing Race series, originally written on November 10, 2020 to an email group created for community members in the Washington, DC area.]

Hi Friends,

I hope you’re all making time for self-care during this very anxious and stressful time. And while this is certainly a time to hope that many things will be better than they have been in the last four years, it is vitally important for us to continue our work. New national leadership will not fix systemic racism. That work still takes each and every one of us, engaging with the work on a regular basis, focusing on ourselves as well as our communities. Particularly with the new year approaching, pledge to take actions toward an antiracist future.

ENCOURAGEMENT TO ACTION:
- Service Never Sleeps is hosting its next Allyship Workshop in two 2.5 hour sessions on November 23 and 24.
- Embrace Race is hosting a webinar called “Lights, cameras, representation! Raising racially just kids in today’s media environment.” on November 11.
- SURJ DC’s “Ask Anne” columns from October 27, 2020: “Unsure on Upshur: Should I stop posting about racial justice until I am better equipped to handle racist remarks?” and from September 4, 2020: “Wondering about the L in BIPOC
- Brentin Mock writes “Pittsburgh’s Suburbs Try to De-Karen the 2020 Election” (CityLab, 11/3/20) — which discusses white womens’ roles in fighting racism and the need to do the self-reflecting work as well.
- SURJ has “Post-Election Calls to Action” updated frequently.
- The Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) Margaret Huang shared “Our Vision for a Just Future: An urgent, transformative action agenda for a more equitable and compassionate nation” (9/28/20)
- Sign up for Arlington County’s Dialogues on Race and Equity (DRE) and take the Community Assessment about perspectives on race and equity in Arlington. You can also review the current draft of the Restorative Arlington Strategic Plan (restorative justice).

Tara Garcia Mathewson writes “New data: Even within the same district some wealthy schools get millions more than poor ones” (The Hechinger Report, 10/31/20).
“School officials are often surprised by their own spending trends, once they see them. While it is widely known that 80 percent of education budgets go to personnel costs, school leaders don’t always realize the outsize effect teacher placement has on budgets when more experienced teachers cluster at schools serving wealthier kids or the disparate impact of raises that are a percentage of teacher salaries. And the additional costs of small schools and magnet programs can fly under the radar.”
This includes Arlington County, Fairfax County, and others. We can advocate about this, particularly since it is budget season and significant cuts are expected this year and next year. How do we ensure that funds are allocated equitably, even with tight budgets?

SYSTEMIC RACISM:
- Monica Hesse writes “The fantasy of repudiating Trumpism is dead” (Washington Post, 11/4/20), particularly “The Black women who wrote to me, meanwhile, were exhausted and often worried. To them, 2016 didn’t feel like a blip. It felt like the America they’d already been living in for decades was finally made visible to the rest of the country. Yes, it had always been racist. Yes, it had always been sexist. Yes, yes, yes. If you, like Biden, have had the recurring privilege of sadly shaking your head and saying, ‘This isn’t who we are,’ what you really meant was, ‘This isn’t who I’ve ever had to see us be.’ What you really meant was, ‘This isn’t my America. . . . Crap, is it yours?’”
- Philip Kennicott writes “Trumpism is a lifestyle disease, chronic in America” (Washington Post, 11/6/20)
- Jenny Sullivan and Adrienne Wichard-Edds write “Race and Rebuilding” (Arlington Magazine, 10/26/20)
- Lynette Guastaferro writes “Why racial inequities in America’s schools are rooted in housing policies of the past” (USA Today, 11/2/20)

HOUSING/NEIGHBORHOODS/PUBLIC SPACES:
- Justin Wm. Moyer writes “Racist housing covenants haunt property records across the country. New laws make them easier to remove.” (Washington Post, 10/22/20) This is something we could each take action on — there are plenty of racist housing covenants in Arlington County.
- Elissaveta M. Brandon writes “Houston’s bid for park equity” (City Monitor, 10/20/20) Is Arlington’s park system created and maintained equitably?
- Kriston Capps, Marie Patino, and Dave Merrill write “In the U.S., City Rents Are Falling, and Suburban Rents Are Climbing” (CityLab, 10/30/20)
- Kriston Capps writes “Inside the $1 Billion Bid to Rescue Affordable Housing” (CityLab, 10/7/20)
- John Eligon writes “Residents Feared Low-Income Housing Would Ruin Their Suburb. It Didn’t.” (New York Times, 11/5/20)

Dr. Lyra D. Monteiro writes “Power Structures: White Columns, White Marble, White Supremacy” (Medium, 10/27/20) Please read this whole thing because it is so clear about heritage, public spaces, and belonging.
For example, “The Western concept of heritage is thus inherently one of possession. In order for one person to own something, they must have rights to it that others do not have. When that heritage is materialized in public space, it also conveys a sense of ownership rights over that public space. Indeed, the materialization of white heritage has been one of the primary mechanisms of upholding white supremacy since the founding era of the United States.”
And, related importantly to Arlington County’s current logo, “The white men who built these mansions also spread the stylistic marker of their racial superiority throughout the country, where we recognize it today as the standard style employed for locations of power, such as court houses, banks, museums, and of course government buildings throughout Washington, DC.”

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE:
- Nick Martin writes “The Native Vote Is Crucial This Election — and Under Threat” (The New Republic, 10/22/20)
- The content below is from The Integrator, an Integrated Schools e-newsletter received on October 30, 2020.
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Our next book club selection, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese.

This book is a little different than our usual picks (I.e., not explicitly about education or integration) and we wanted to share our reasoning behind choosing it. We hope by focusing on unlearning some of our settler-focused colonial history and investigating the Indigenous perspective of this land and its history, we can show up better in our communities and with our kids.

White supremacy culture has to obscure the true history of our country in order to survive. Part of dismantling White supremacy culture in ourselves (and thus being better prepared to show up in multiracial integrated spaces) is unlearning the history we were taught in school and replacing it with the truth. If we do not know our history, we will repeat it. Most of us who grew up in the United States are woefully ignorant when it comes to the history of Native people in this country, and so we present this as a space for us come together and begin to educate ourselves on this topic. We chose the Young Peoples’ version as we want to make it conducive for our community to share the knowledge they gain with the young people in their lives.

As November is Native American Heritage Month, we hope you will join us in reading this book over the month of November and then gathering to discuss it in the first week of December. You can sign up for one of the following sessions here:

We have a partnership with IndieBound — a community of local, independent bookstores. If you use our affiliate link to buy the book or any other books, not only will you be supporting a local, independent book store, but a portion of the proceeds will also come back to Integrated Schools.
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EDUCATION/SCHOOLS:
- Laura Meckler writes “‘Nation’s report card’ shows declines for lowest-performing students” (Washington Post, 10/28/20)
- Hannah Natanson writes “Fairfax families sue over changes to Thomas Jefferson High’s admissions” (Washington Post, 11/5/20)
- Integrated Schools released a podcast called “Family Engagement and Equity” on October 7: “For decades, the dominant model of parent or caregiver involvement in schools has been one that emphasizes a set of normative, White, middle-class behaviors. What would it look like to transform power through solidarity, in order to improve our schools for ALL kids?”
- Ema O’Connor writes “Homeless Shelter Staff Are Saving New York’s School System” (BuzzFeed News, 10/29/20)
- A group member shared a presentation by Dr. Tracy Weeden on literacy, “Beginning at the 24:00 min mark, Dr. Weeden presents the most compelling case for structured literacy and gives a powerful narrative of why literacy is a civil right.”
- Stephanie Knezz writes “OPINION: Why it’s time to diversify and modernize science teaching” (The Hechinger Report, 10/26/20)
- Sarah Butrymowicz, Jeff Amy, and Larry Fenn write “How career and technical education shuts out Black and Latino students from high-paying professions” (The Hechinger Report, 10/22/20)
- Channa Cook-Harvey, Lisa Flook, Emily Efland, and Linda Darling-Hammond write “Teaching for Powerful Learning: Lessons from Gateway Public Schools” (Learning Policy Institute, 10/23/20)
- Jill Barshay writes “PROOF POINTS: White and female teachers show racial bias in evaluating second grade writing” (The Hechinger Report, 11/2/20)
- Magdalena Slapik writes “How to improve schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to students” (The Hechinger Report, 11/2/20)
- Jim Ryan and Janet Carlson write “OPINION: Distrust of science in the coronavirus era reminds us why we must boost elementary science education” (The Hechinger Report, 9/8/20)

DIGITAL DIVIDE:
- George Mason University is hosting a webinar called “The Digital Divide: How COVID-19 Exposed Disparity in Communities and What We Can Do About It” on November 17.

GENDER:
- Sarah Holder writes “Why There’s a Homelessness Crisis Among Transgender Teens” (CityLab, 8/20/19)
- Sarah Holder writes “How Transgender Voters Are Fighting to Make Their Votes Count” (CityLab, 10/27/20)
- Equality Virginia and many other organizations are recognizing Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) on November 20.
- Side By Side has very useful information about how family and caregivers can protect transgender students (scroll down below the town hall events, which are over now, for resources).
- Heather Long writes “Virtual schooling has largely forced moms, not dads, to quit work. It will hurt the economy for years.” (Washington Post, 11/6/20)

VOTING:
- Fiona Flaherty writes “For Voters with Disabilities, Another Barrier to the Polls” (Arlington Magazine, 11/2/20)

POLICING AND JUSTICE:
- Kenny Jacoby writes “How Cops Who Use Force and Even Kill Can Hide Their Names From the Public” (ProPublica, 10/29/20)
- Fola Akinnibi writes “Lawsuits Over Protest Brutality Pile Up, Adding to Cities’ Police Costs” (CityLab, 10/28/20)
- Sarah Holder, Rachael Dottle, and Marie Patino write “Police Response Slowed. The Community Stepped In.” (CityLab, 10/30/20)
- The Arlington County Police Practices Work Group has concluded its Community Learning Series, which you can watch recorded sessions of if you weren’t able to participate.
- The Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center Study Meeting was held on November 5, 2020.

Thank you for continuing to engage in this work.

Emily
Listen. Amplify. Follow.

Mom, Activist, Community Organizer