White Folks Facing Race: Resilience and Acting Now for a Brighter Future

[This is part of my White Folks Facing Race series, originally written on October 3, 2020 to an email group created for community members in the Washington, DC area.]

Hi Friends!

Please sign up to participate in our discussion group in four parts of So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo.

I’m not sure about you, but I feel like I’ve been going flat out since schools closed in mid-March, and I’m starting to feel it. This article really helped me understand why, gave me permission to be more forgiving of my flagging energy, and I imagine that I’m not alone in feeling this way. Self-care helps us keep up this difficult work even in the best of times. Constant uncertainty is very difficult to manage. Build your resilience one day (of kindness) at a time.

The lack of charges against the officers who murdered Breonna Taylor has caused a significant amount of grief for many. Keep her in mind as you re-commit to doing this work. Say her name.

This is so good that I’m pulling it to the beginning for your attention: The Wisconsin Public Education Network has released “Equity in Pandemic Schooling: An Action Guide” (7/31/20), including “Keep your child enrolled in your local public school. Enrollment and attendance are central to determining funding for public schools. The loss of substantial enrollments and funding will further diminish public schools’ ability to serve the most marginalized students and keep staff employed. The closure of public schools leaves children and their families afloat and reduces their opportunities to learn and to do so safely during the pandemic.”

If you experience any hesitation calling white supremacist groups domestic terrorist organizations, consider that there has been an increase in white supremacist drivers using their vehicles to drive into crowds of protesters. White supremacist groups have been terrorizing portions of communities for hundreds of years. If the word “terrorist” brings to mind only memories of 9/11, please redefine it for yourself. Use this understanding of our implicit bias and the assumptions we make about people to retrain our brains into an anti-racist mindset. You can learn more about domestic extremist groups from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

LOCAL INFO:
- Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol was recently named an UNUM Fellow. Hopefully this means that Arlington County can look forward to building “a more just, equitable, and inclusive South, uprooting the barriers that have long divided the region by race and class.” I welcome decisive action in this direction.
- ArlNow reports that the Arlington Democrats have pushed out a local precinct captain for supporting School Board candidate Symone Walker, who was required to run as an independent candidate because the Democrats annually insert themselves in a non-partisan race by holding a partisan School Board caucus. Ms. Keppler’s words speak for themselves. Can anyone please share with me why the Dems are allowed to do this? The practice is discriminatory at best.
- The NAACP and the League of Women Voters hosted a County Board and School Board Candidate Forum on September 26.
- Symone Walker writes “The Miseducation of Black Students in Arlington Public Schools” (9/26/20)

BASIC SAFETY:
- Michele L. Norris writes “I keep a family photo at my front door. It’ll stay there until toxic attitudes toward Black lives go away.” (Washington Post, 9/28/20)
- Serena Solomon writes “In New Zealand, Police Work and Social Work Can Go Together” (CityLab, 9/22/20)

CHILDREN AND EDUCATION:
- William Wan writes “Coronavirus kills far more Hispanic and Black children than White youths, CDC study finds” (Washington Post, 9/15/20)
- Moriah Balingit writes “New York City is reopening its schools for working families. But many students of color are staying home.” (Washington Post, 9/25/20)
- Courtland Milloy writes “For one D.C. couple, education doesn’t stop with just their son” (Washington Post, 9/22/20)
- Rainier Harris writes “This Is the Casual Racism That I Face at My Elite High School” (NY Times, 9/24/20) — and the restorative justice practices that were implemented.
- Adam Harris writes “The Limits of Desegregation in Washington, D.C.” (The Atlantic, 9/29/20)
- Jayden Cummings writes “STUDENT VOICE: A new normal from the bottom up” (Hechinger Report, 9/24/20)
- Cory Collins writes “Schools Confronting Racism and Community Pushback: Three Lessons from ‘Sounds Like Hate’” (Teaching Tolerance, 9/14/20)
- Zach Mortice writes “How America’s Schools Got So Sick” (CityLab, 9/25/20)
- Colin Groth writes “Advancing mobility from poverty: A toolkit for housing and education partnerships” (Strive Together, 9/8/20)

ECONOMIC RACISM:
- Michelle Singletary writes “Stop telling Black people we could close the wealth gap if we valued education more” (Washington Post, 9/25/20)
- Rachel Siegel writes “Wealth gaps between Black and White families persisted even at the height of the economic expansion” (Washington Post, 9/28/20)

HEALTH:
- Brentin Mock writes “Dozens of City Governments Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis” (CityLab, 7/13/20)
- Jeremy Deaton and Gloria Oladipo write “Mapping the Disparities That Bred an Unequal Pandemic” (CityLab, 9/30/20)

HOUSING:
- The National Low Income Housing Coalition has a series called Tenant Talk to connect with residents about housing advocacy.
- Arlington County is adjusting its Missing Middle Housing Study scope and charge.
- Chat Travesio writes “A Nation of Walls” (Places Journal, September 2020).

RESOURCES:
- Arlington County released an “Open Data Portal” — a new data tool that includes a huge amount of information and detail — dig in!
- A friend told me about FrameWorks Institute, which is a really cool organization that can help us re-frame our advocacy in a way that is more likely to have a meaningful impact. For example, check out “Talking about what young people need during the pandemic” and as you read through, see how the way we talk about these things can be uplifting to those talking as well as those listening. It’s meaningful community engagement at its best. Try to incorporate this into your work and change the way you communicate.
- K.A. Dilday writes “How to Make Sure City Budgets Prioritize Racial Equity” (CityLab, 9/28/20)
- The Lakota People’s Law Project released a video “What Really Happened at Standing Rock, Featuring Chase Iron Eyes

ACTIONS/EVENTS:
- Learn more about the Internet Is Essential campaign.
- The Learning Policy Institute is hosting a webinar called “Restarting and Reinventing School for Equitable and Empowering Learning” on October 6 and a webinar called “State and Federal Opportunities to Support More Diverse and Inclusive School Systems” on October 22.
- Support the mutual aid effort for La ColectiVA.
- Check out the Justice for Muslims Collective and their work for collective liberation.
- Embrace Race is hosting a webinar on “Building Solidarity among Black & Latinx Kids & Families” on October 8
- Leslie Mac is offering ResistU courses on October 8 and November 5.
- Service Never Sleeps is hosting Allyship Workshops on November 23 and 24 and is starting another Virtual Allyship Program on October 22. (Facing Race in Arlington’s event on October 26 is still happening — the class is now full.)
- Arlington’s The Sycamore School is hosting “Impact vs. Intention: The Importance of Collaboration When Dismantling Structural Racism” on October 12.
- SURJ is hosting “Community Safety for All: Launching the Congregational Action Toolkit” on October 14.
- VACOLAO is hosting the “11th Virginia Immigrant Advocates Summit” on November 17 and 18.

Hang in there.

Emily
Listen. Amplify. Follow.