White Folks Facing Race: How We Take Care of Each Other
[This is part of my White Folks Facing Race series, originally written on October 28, 2020 to an email group created for community members in the Washington, DC area.]
I’m sorry I have been delayed in my updates this month. As I’m sure you can identify with, some weeks are just too hectic to get everything done. I have tried to get caught up here, without overwhelming you with too many resources!
I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how a community chooses to meet the needs of its most vulnerable community members. I’ve been wondering what would happen if we approached the challenge by creating a baseline of access and opportunity that we think every community member should have (things like clean water, reliable internet, safe and secure housing, a certain quality of education, food access, etc.). And if we created that baseline and saw that some of our community members were not receiving that access or those opportunities, that we would then allocate resources to address that disparity by prioritizing those needs first.
In the last seven months, I’ve been learning more and more about food insecurity in our community. I’m very concerned that Arlington County has not addressed this need more systematically. They are supposed to be posting a Food Security Coordinator position on October 30, and while that may help, one person cannot do this work alone. I’m very much hoping that a robust network of organizations and government entities will work together to address not only the immediate needs of people who are hungry, but also to address the systemic changes that are needed and to go “upstream” to the causes of food insecurity and empower our communities.
Related to that, Alison Conrad at the Duke World Food Policy Center wrote a research brief called “Identifying and Countering White Supremacy Culture in Food Systems” (PDF) and this document is another that set me back and had me looking hard at my role in this. I hope you can read it and do the same, even if the closest you get to food systems is donating items to AFAC. Our efforts come from the heart, and we can make changes to do better in a systematic way.
I want to highlight a series from The Washington Post called “George Floyd’s America” which highlights systemic racism and racial injustice during the course of George Floyd’s life, tying systemic discrimination with personal points in his life.
Congratulations to Service Never Sleeps on celebrating five years of service! We had an amazing Allyship Workshop session for our members this week and I hope more of you will sign up for these life-changing experiences. Whitney Parnell has had a significant influence on my own perspective of my role in this work and I strongly encourage every one of our group members to engage with her efforts.
BOOKS (recommended by Whitney Parnell):
- On the Other Side of Freedom, DeRay McKesson
- Biased, Jennifer Eberhardt
- So You Want to Talk about Race, Ijeoma Oluo
- Unapologetic, Charlene Carruthers
- Decolonizing Wealth, Edgar Villanueva
- All of the Real Indians Died Off, Dina Gilio-Whitaker and Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz
- Me & white supremacy, Layla F. Saad
- From the Washington Post, Ruby Hamad’s White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color.
- I’m very pleased to share my endorsement of Symone Walker for Arlington County School Board.
- The Arlington County Civic Federation (ACCF) held a meeting on October 20, which included the Legislative Committee’s report and recommendation to create a Civil Rights Working Group. You can review the meeting here (the item on the agenda is near the beginning).
- Arlington County has announced its “Dialogues on Race & Equity (DRE)” to further its work on racial equity. Please complete the questionnaire (and share it) and consider joining a community discussion session or encouraging the organizations you are connected to to become a partner in this process.
- The Alliance for Housing Solutions released a video called “Race and Housing in Arlington” about “some of the history of discrimination and segregation in housing in Arlington” (October 3, 2020) and Jo DeVoe writes “New Video Tackles Arlington’s History of Race and Housing” (ArlNow, 10/8/20).
- Wilma Jones is hosting “Untold: Stories of Black Arlington Virginia” on Arlington Independent Media.
- The Working Group on Renaming Lee Highway is accepting feedback about the list of name suggestions until November 30.
- Arlington Public Schools is now accepting applications for the Work Group on School Resource Officers (SROs) through November 9. Please apply!
- Arlington County is presenting the Missing Middle Housing Study in a Kick-Off Event on October 28.
- A reminder about the 11th Virginia Immigrant Advocates Summit on November 17–18.
- From SURJ DC, “This past summer, Samantha Fletcher and Jason Biel, two DC anti-racist educators, held a race education series, Becoming an Antiracist. They will be rolling out the fall version for 5 Wednesdays starting on Nov. 4th.
This series is intended for those who:
• Understand that racism exists but find themselves uncertain about their role in it or what to do
• Want to intercede when they see racism happening
• Want to make the workplace, schools, etc. safer places for colleagues, students, and others who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color).
• Don’t want to simply put a sign in their yard, make a donation, and move on in their privilege
• Are prepared to be challenged
• Are at varying levels of their racial literacy
• Want to better understand whiteness historically and presently
• Wish to continue becoming actively anti-racist
To participate in any part of this series, you must commit to attend all five sessions. The series will take place via Zoom from 6:00–8:00 pm EST on the following dates: Nov. 4, 11, 18, Dec. 2 & 9. The cost for the 5-session series is $225. Click here for registration and payment.
- The Southern Poverty Law Center has a very useful “Whose Heritage? Community Action Guide” to address hateful symbols that persist in our communities.
- Cory Turner writes “Homeless Families Struggle With Impossible Choices As School Closures Continue” (NPR, 10/7/20)
- Anya Kamenetz, Marco A. Treviño, and Jessica Bakeman write “Enrollment Is Dropping In Public Schools Around the Country” (NPR, 10/9/20)
- Jackie Mader writes “Some child care centers have become more than places that provide care” (The Hechinger Report, 10/15/20)
- Saili S. Kulkarni writes “OPINION: Why we need a new generation of special education teachers” (The Hechinger Report, 10/15/20)
- Eric S. Singer writes “OPINION: Why we need a new pedagogy for our post-Covid future” (The Hechinger Report, 10/20/20)
- Rachel Blustain writes “Getting rid of gifted programs: Trying to teach students at all levels together in one class” (The Hechinger Report, 10/14/20)
- Danielle Dreilinger writes “Why decades of trying to end racial segregation in gifted education haven’t worked” (The Hechinger Report, 10/14/20)
- The Learning Policy Institute has organized its “Restarting and Reinventing School” resources by topic.
- Peter W. Cookson, Jr. writes “A World of Hardship: Deep Poverty and the Struggle for Educational Equity” (Learning Policy Institute, 10/6/20)
- Azure Gilman writes “Remote learning has been a disaster for many students. But some kids have thrived” (The Hechinger Report, 10/3/20)
- Christopher Flavelle writes “Hotter Days Widen Racial Gap in U.S. Schools, Data Shows” (New York Times, 10/5/20)
- The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Program published a report written by a group member called “Algebra I and College Preparatory Diploma Outcomes among Virginia Students Who Completed Algebra I in Grades 7–9.”
- Belinda Luscombe writes “The Rise of the ‘Carebnb’: Is This Home-Based Model the Future of the Childcare Industry?”
- Changes are happening at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, reported recently by Hannah Natanson in “Didi’s voice” (Washington Post, 10/19/20) and “Fairfax County School Board directs superintendent to develop a more equitable ‘talent development’ program for Thomas Jefferson High School” (Washington Post, 10/22/20).
- If you’ve been following the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) news, here are a few of the latest stories, from Ian Shapira in “At VMI, Black cadets endure lynching threats, Klan memories and Confederacy veneration” and “VMI cadets attack Black students, women on anonymous chat app as furor over racism grows” (Washington Post, 10/27/20).
- I’m very glad to see that Arlington County chose to recognize Indigenous People’s Day instead of Columbus Day this year. Karim Doumar writes “Goodbye, Columbus Day” (CityLab, 10/8/18).
- The U.S. House of Representatives is considering H.R.8420 — Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policy Act. For context, you can read about the Carlisle Indian Industrial School.
- Dina Gilio-Whitaker writes “American Settler Colonialism 101” for better context and historical understanding of the ways in which indigenous territories and resources were stolen and indigenous peoples were assimilated.
- You can also learn more from the NDN Collective.
- Kriston Capps writes “Here’s D.C.’s Memorial For Native American Veterans” (CityLab, 6/26/18)
- Matt Vasilogambros and Carrie Levine write “How One Tribe Is Fighting To Vote Early” (The Center for Public Integrity, 10/8/20)
- The National Low Income Housing Coalition shared “New Research Documents Gentrification-Related Evictions” (10/19/20)
- Kriston Capps writes “Inside the $1 Billion Bid to Rescue Affordable Housing” (CityLab, 10/7/20)
LAW ENFORCEMENT/CRIMINAL “JUSTICE”:
- Channon Hodge writes “Filmmakers unearth a long trail of racism in ‘Driving While Black’” (CNN, 10/12/20)
- Project NIA shared a very helpful video explaining what the “Defund Police” campaign is about (10/13/20) and they provided “Discussion Questions and Prompts” for responding to the video.
- Dana Suskind writes “OPINION: The invisible toll of mass incarceration on childhood development” (The Hechinger Report, 10/16/20)
- A new report is available regarding the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center. The next virtual community meeting is November 5.
- Sarah Holder writes “After a Season of Protest, Police Reform Is on the Ballot” (CityLab, 10/23/20)
- Lori Rozsa writes “Most Florida felons kept from registering to vote by fines, fees or fears, activists say” (Washington Post, 10/5/20)
- Hannah Knowles writes “A domestic violence shelter put up Black Lives Matter signs, and law enforcement revolted” (Washington Post, 10/17/20)
- Dismantling Racism Works Web Workbook has many helpful resources.
- The Conscious Kid has great book recommendations and other resources for “promoting healthy racial identity development in youth.”
- Bernard Meyer writes “The Basics of Black Lives Matter — and Why You Need to Act Today” (Abstract Stylist)
- Consider supporting Families Belong Together by purchasing their Coloring Without Borders coloring book.
- The Atlantic created a feature documentary called “White Noise: Inside the Racist Right”
- Alexis Brouwer-Ancher writes “Still I Ride” about the recent Ride for Black Lives in Arlington and the actions we still need to take (Arlington Magazine, 9/30/20).
- Antonio Olivo and Lola Fadulu write “Surge of early voting in Va.’s largest county means a long wait for some voters” (Washington Post, 10/22/20)
- Karina Michel Feld writes “Jennifer Blatz: ‘Dismantling systemic racism’” (Thrive Global, 9/24/20) “Jennifer Blatz is the president and CEO of StriveTogether, a national nonprofit working in 70 communities across the United States to enable more than 12 million young people to succeed in school and life.” Strive Together also has an “Equitable Recovery Pledge” related to the need to plan for post-pandemic change with a focus on dismantling systemic racism.
- Heather Long, Andrew Van Dam, Alyssa Fowers, and Leslie Shapiro write “The covid-19 recession is the most unequal in modern U.S. history” (Washington Post, 9/30/20)
- Theresa Vargas writes “‘How will we survive this?’: People are making heartbreaking pleas to strangers for help while Trump turns stimulus talks into a political show” (Washington Post, 10/7/20)
- Sarah Ellison writes “How the 1619 Project took over 2020” (Washington Post, 10/13/20)
- Courtland Milloy writes “A documentary looks at America’s ‘lows’ — its legacy of white supremacy” (Washington Post, 10/20/20)
This is lifelong work. Keep at it!
Listen. Amplify. Follow.