Sunday, December 6, 2015

An Example of Living without White Privilege

I just read this post and recommend that you do too: I fit the description….
from "steve locke's blog about art and other stuff":

This is from my sister who let me know about it:
"I read this blog post yesterday about an experience of racial profiling and false accusation. I think it's important to think about what everyone, especially white people, can do to change the practices. What led to this situation? What could the white people in the account have done differently? What would we hope for? I think the blog shows a piece of white privilege."

Today in the anti-racism meeting I am going to, we are talking about White Privilege. One question we will ask and some might answer, is this:
If we do have White Privilege, what can we do about it?

After reading the post linked above, I can say I will be a "woman in the red coat" and be an observer.  I will stand and observe how a P.O.C. is treated by the cops, and record/interrupt if it comes to that.


Blog Map, Why this Blog?

Color-Conscious vs. Color Blind

A neighborhood friend and parent recently shared this with me:
Why I Won’t Teach My Kids To Be ‘Color Blind’ from

This is an excerpt from the article linked above:

"Trying to teach kids to be color blind and that we aren’t different sizes, shapes, talents, experiences and intellects does them the greatest disservice, and making an effort to hide these facts seems disingenuous. Yes, recognizing those traits does put people in groups, but the fact that we’re all different is something to be embraced. The issue is not that we’re different, but how we perceive, treat and live with those differences. Everyone should have equal opportunity, treatment, support and love, but people are different colors; people of the same race are different colors."

Blog Map, Why this Blog?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Anti-racism in the ‘Burbs, December Discussion Group

Second meeting: Sunday 12/6, 2-4 p.m., location: Medfield, MA

We discussed White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh: Knapsack.pdf
What privileges on the list do you have?  Don't have?  Other thoughts? 

My learning from this meeting was that the People of Color who came could not relate to anything on the list. They said they never experience they have any of the privileges on that list.

I asked what they would want, most importantly and they said:

Give me the benefit of the doubt!...a presumption of innocence
That they live in a field of judgement and doubt. They would like not to have to worry...they want that freedom that white people have.
And they would like to not have to wonder, "Is it my race?" why people say and do the things they do with them.

After the meeting, I went back over the list of 50 items and found that all of them can fall under those freedoms. So that is simple enough right? Can't we give People of Color, and everyone including Muslims, those freedoms (listed above)?


See the first meeting for more info about this discussion series.


Blog Map, Why this Blog?

Solidarity and 'Ally Theater'

I read this yesterday:

How to Tell the Difference Between Real Solidarity and ‘Ally Theater’
by Mia McKenzie, read her post here:

As a white person, I think it would be good for everyone trying to be 'allies' of P.O.C. to read the post linked above. It taught me a lesson or two (more really) on what I can do to be more supportive of P.O.C. 

I posted some of the lessons I learned from her below. I posted them as reminders to myself. Please read Mia's post; there is much more to her post, and it is her experience.

1. Just shut up.

When a P.O.C shares about their frustrations/resentments about white people actions/behaviors, don't think I can be supportive with my opinions, experiences, or sharing my own challenges. Listen and learn, but don't say anything.

2. Do no more harm.

Don't tell a P.O.C. what negative thing might have been said about them or other P.O.C. Remember who I am trying to help and don't repeat a hurtful thing.

3. Be self-less. 

Everything I do in support/solidarity with P.O.C, do quietly, secretly, and privately. I am not doing this work to get credit or 'cookies.' 

4. The description "ally" is earned...something a P.O.C. might use for me, someday.

It isn't something I can call organic gardener, artist, English teacher, ally.


I will not be trusted by some P.O.C. until I do these things. Not doing any of them (doing the opposite) is just theatrics= 'ally theater', not real, not solidarity, not helpful.

I hope my blog, and things I put on it, is not 'ally theater' (AT)...I am trying to help myself and other white people with this resource and posting of my learnings. But if you think anything I write is AT, please tell me. I am here to learn. -DG

Blog Map, Why this Blog?

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Jamar Clark

Jamar Clark, who was unarmed, was shot by in the head by a police officer on Sunday, November 15, 2015, sparking protests. (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

What we know about the death of Jamar Clark from

Jamar Clark: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know from, quote from this article below:
"Witnesses say Clark was handcuffed and knocked to the ground before he was shot, the NAACP says. Police have denied claims that Clark was handcuffed before the shooting, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune."

Also on this site is some info about how white supremacists shot five Black activists and about the protesters:

Protesters have said they are willing to stay at the precinct as long as it takes to get justice and have their demands met. According to a Facebook post, they are demanding five things. They want to see footage from the incident, they want an independent investigation (not by another police agency), they want the media to cover eye-witness testimony (not just the police’s point of view), they want full community oversight with full disciplinary power and they want officers to live in the communities they serve.

Shooting at Protests in Minneapolis: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know from

How Did Jamar Clark Die? from, quote from this article below:
"Even if Clark was not handcuffed, there is a separate question of whether the use of deadly force was appropriate in the situation. Just as the death of Freddie Gray brought new scrutiny on a Baltimore Police Department with a long, troubled history with its citizens—and particularly citizens of color—the police in Minneapolis are about to come under new scrutiny.

“We’ve been saying for a long time that Minneapolis was one bullet away from Ferguson. Well, that bullet was fired last night,” Jason Sole, an associate professor of criminal justice at Metropolitan State University and a member of the local NAACP chapter, told the Star Tribune.


Blog Map, Why this Blog?

Laquan McDonald

Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old, was shot 16 times last October by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, fatally killing the youth. A video led to protests in Chicago due to the cover-up.

Here are some links I got from a email:

Chicago Activist: City’s Call for Peace over Laquan McDonald Video Does Not Extend to Police Dept., Democracy Now! 11-24-2015

How Chicago tried to cover up a police execution, Chicago Reporter 11-24-2015, quote from this article below:
"It was just about a year ago that a city whistleblower came to journalist Jamie Kalven and attorney Craig Futterman out of concern that Laquan McDonald’s shooting a few weeks earlier “wasn’t being vigorously investigated,” as Kalven recalls. The source told them “that there was a video and that it was horrific,” he said. Without that whistleblower—and without that video—it’s highly unlikely that Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke would be facing first-degree murder charges today."

Chicago tops in fatal police shootings among big US cities, Chicago Sun-Times 07-26-2015

Journalist on Shooting of Laquan McDonald By Chicago Police Officer: “It Was An Horrific Execution, Democracy Now! 11-24-2015, quote from this article below:
"An autopsy report shows McDonald was shot 16 times on October 20, 2014, including multiple times in the back. Police have said that the teenager lunged at the officer with a small knife. But people who have seen the video from police dashcam footage say it contradicts the police account, instead showing Van Dyke opening fire on the teenager while he was walking away, and continuing to shoot him even after the teenager was lying on the pavement."

The horrifying behavior of Anita Alvarez, Chicago's head prosecutor, Daily Kos 11-24-2015

Blog Map, Why this Blog?

Inspiring Chant about our Duty

I recently went to an event in Boston where Carl Williams from ACLU spoke.  Carl, my activist sister, and two others received a Drylongso award  from CCI for being "ordinary people doing extraordinary things."  

Carl led us in a passionate call-and-response chant that the Black Lives Matter movement uses.  

I found it powerful and moving so I researched and found it to post here.  -DG

This is by Assata Shakur:

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

Carl also said this:
We have two choices: confront racism or ignore racism.

Blog Map, Why this Blog?

Selma and voting rights

I watched the movie Selma last night. I found it very sad, powerful, and informative. As a white person, I think everyone would benefit by seeing this.  I learned about the power and the need for non-violent actions and the sacrifices protesters (including Martin Luther King, Jr.) made, and still make today.

Here is info from wikipedia about the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that was passed due the march from Selma to Montgomery, what this movie is about.

Here is my previous post about voting rights being taken away currently in the U.S.: Alabama restricting non-white registered voters. This shows we still have work to do regarding voting rights.

Here is more information online:
The Almost Forgotten Selma March from

More coming soon:
I am going to do some more research to learn more about what might have expired in 2013...mentioned at the end of the movie. This might be it: Shelby County v. Holder


Blog Map, Why this Blog?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Native Appropriation, Mascots, boycotting

Due to working with a Lakota representative from during the past year, when I watched Jennifer Lopez's opening numbers at the American Music Awards recently, I sensed there was a problem with the outfits she and her dance crew were wearing.

Here are some links I found online to help explain the problem with this for Native Peoples and their supporters:

Jennifer Lopez Wears "Tribal" Outfit for AMA Opening Number

On the site below, Adrienne K. explains why wearing Native "costumes" for Halloween, etc. is a cultural insult and misappropriation:

Nunavut family outraged after fashion label copies sacred Inuit design also has some links about the harmful use of mascots:
See the video on this website to see the face of many Native people.

Money has power: we can do and model what we believe in:
We can "vote" against the use of Native imagery and names in advertisements and mascots by how we spend our money; by boycotting Land of Lakes dairy products (Native People didn't raise cows), by not writing the name of football teams who use derogatory and harmful stereotypes of Native people (the R-word especially)...and more. I will continue to research this and add more as I learn more.

Note added 12/1/15: 
I just learned about this news: Change the Mascot Praises Adidas for Momentous Offer to Help End Offensive Native American Mascots


Blog Map, Why this Blog?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Tamir Rice, 1-yr anniv. since killing

This is from

On a Saturday afternoon last year, Tamir Rice was playing with an air gun at a park on the west side of Cleveland. Someone called the police, mentioning in the process that the gun could be fake. The dispatcher didn't relay the caller's doubts.

Soon afterward, police drove onto the grass within feet of 12-year-old Tamir. Investigators say surveillance shows Tamir reaching toward his waistband and lifting up an outer garment. Within seconds Officer Timothy Loehmann stepped out of the passenger side and fired two shots, striking Tamir once in the abdomen. Tamir Rice died early the next day. (read more:

Blog Map, Why this Blog?

say "White Supremacy" every day

Written by Elizabeth Martínez (info below is from this site:

What is White Supremacy?

White Supremacy is an historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations, and peoples of color by white peoples and nations of the European continent, for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power, and privilege.

What does it mean to say it is a system?

The most common mistake people make when they talk about racism is to think it is a collection of prejudices and individual acts of discrimination. They do not see that it is a system, a web of interlocking, reinforcing institutions: economic, military, legal, educational, religious, and cultural. As a system, racism affects every aspect of life in a country.

By not seeing that racism is systemic (part of a system), people often personalize or individualize racist acts. For example, they will reduce racist police behavior to "a few bad apples" who need to be removed, rather than seeing it exists in police departments all over the country and is basic to the society. This mistake has real consequences: refusing to see police brutality as part of a system, and that the system needs to be changed, means that the brutality will continue.
(continue to get more informed about this:

Suggested Daily Practice:

I recently went to an event in Boston where Carl Williams from ACLU spoke.  Carl, my activist sister, and two others received a Drylongso award  from CCI for being "ordinary people doing extraordinary things."  Carl suggested we practice recognizing 'the water that we swim in' by saying "White Supremacy" every day.


Blog Map, Why this Blog?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Rethinking Thanksgiving

I recently read about the myth and the true history of Thanksgiving: Matthew Hughey’s "On Thanksgiving: Why Myths Matter." Now I wonder, how can we, in good conscience, continue to teach this myth and celebrate an event named after massacres of indigenous people?

The National Day of Mourning is the rightful name for this day in November made as a national holiday. This is the United American Indians of New England's website:  It is full of even more of the history that we often are not taught in schools.

For years, my family has treated Thanksgiving day as a day of gratitude in general, rarely thinking about the history of Thanksgiving...even while believing the convenient and biased myth we were taught while growing up.  Now, we can still do thanksgiving (note lowercase "t") this day and every day, but also discuss the true history of our nation and learn about the current issues for indigenous people.

Rather than dwell on the sins of the past, UAINE hopes the National Day of Mourning brings more awareness to the problems facing Native Americans today. Below examples are from this article:  National Day of Mourning Reflects on Thanksgiving’s Horrific, Bloody History
  • 28 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives live in poverty. 
  • The mortality rate for American Indian children between the ages of 1 and 14 has increased by 15 percent since 2000, despite the average rate in the U.S. having dropped by 9 percent during the same time period. 
  • The suicide rate among native youth ages 15 to 24 is 2.5 times higher than the overall national rate. 
  • Many native people lack access to decent health care; native people have higher rates of diabetes than anybody else in the country. 
  • Inherent racism still plagues American Indians with mascots and advertisements

For ideas about what we can do, we can read the attachment on on the home page about The National Day of Mourning, under: CAN'T ATTEND BUT STILL WANT TO HELP? I found this document very helpful.

I struggle with this now since the history is so unpleasant:  
What do I say to people wishing me a "Happy Thanksgiving!"?

I would like to say:
Do you know that some indigenous people and their supporters call this day a National Day of Mourning?

If there is interest, I can say more about what I have learned:
Many indigenous people and their supporters choose not to celebrate this day that represents invasion of lands and the genocide of Indigenous Peoples...
then point them to for more info.

But at least I will either say:
I don't celebrate Thanksgiving...or Happy Holidays.
Maybe it will lead to a conversation where I can tell them above.


Blog Map, Why this Blog?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

calendar for Criminal Justice...

The Criminal Justice Policy Coalition (CJPC) is a member-based, non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of effective, just, and humane criminal justice policy in Massachusetts. We seek to accomplish this by expanding the public discourse on criminal justice, promoting dialogue and cooperation among diverse stakeholders, and building support for policies that better protect our communities, promote accountability and change for offenders, and provide restitution to victims. We hold occasional networking meetings on a variety of criminal justice issues, sponsor public forums and conferences, organize legislative action, and provide support and coordination to groups engaged in advocacy.

Here is their calendar of Criminal Justice Reform Events in Massachusetts:

Blog Map, Why this Blog?

Friday, October 16, 2015

Anti-racism Discussion Group in the Suburbs

Anti-racism in the ‘Burbs

First meeting: Sunday 11/15, 2-4 p.m.
Location: Medfield, MA  
(talk to me, or join for location details -DG)

"A window of opportunity won't open itself." -Dave Weinbaum

Even those of us living in the suburbs care about, and have a role to play in, the anti-racism movement. From frustration, fear, and anger to empathy, passion, and solidarity, this work can bring up a lot for everyone. Our supportive group discussions can help us get some clarity, perspective, and encouragement through the process. We will focus on a different topic each meeting, sometimes including films and discussions about printed materials …encouraging member feedback to help guide future topics.

The mission of this group discussion series is to promote awareness of inequality, to build community, and to develop skills that address dismantling racism and oppression within a diverse, compassionate, and culturally sensitive environment.

All are welcome: People of Color, Whites…people new to this topic and those involved and active for many years. Come with questions and/or experience to share with others wanting to learn more.

Hosted by Deb and Carlin, members of Boston Knapsack Anti-Racism Group. If interested, please join this group and RSVP on our event page: (with no further obligations). Feel free to post questions there too.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Note: 15 folks came to this meeting. We discussed a page from Waking Up White about dominate white culture behavior...and what can be more helpful behaviors when working on racial healing.

Blog Map, Why this Blog?

Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

This article on White Privilege by Peggy McIntosh can be found here: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh

“I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group.”

I decided to try to work on myself at least by identifying some of the daily effects of white privilege in my life. I have chosen those conditions that I think in my case attach somewhat more to skin-color privilege than to class, religion, ethnic status, or geographic location, though of course all these other factors are intricately intertwined. As far as I can tell, my African American coworkers, friends, and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact in this particular time, place and time of work cannot count on most of these conditions.

Here are just a few of the author's 50 points:

12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.

13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.

15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.

18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.

20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.

35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.

41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.

Blog Map, Why this Blog?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Alabama restricting non-white registered voters

This excerpt is from

Alabama to stop issuing driver’s licenses in counties with 75% black registered voters

The state of Alabama, which requires a photo ID to vote, announced this week that it would stop issuing driver’s licenses in counties where 75 percent of registered voters are black.

Due to budget cuts, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said that 31 satellite DMV offices would no longer have access to driver’s licenses examiners, meaning that residents will need to travel to other counties to apply for licenses. The move comes just one year after the state’s voter photo ID law went into effect.’s John Archibald asserted in a column on Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Justice should open an investigation into the closings.

“Because Alabama just took a giant step backward,” he wrote. “Take a look at the 10 Alabama counties with the highest percentage of non-white registered voters. Alabama, thanks to its budgetary insanity and inanity, just opted to close driver license bureaus in eight of them.”

“Every single county in which blacks make up more than 75 percent of registered voters will see their driver license office closed. Every one,” Archibald explained. “But maybe it’s not racial at all, right? Maybe it’s just political. And let’s face it, it may not be either… But no matter the intent, the consequence is the same.”

“It is an affront to the very notion of justice in a nation where one man one vote is as precious as oxygen,” he insisted. “It is a slap in the face to all who believe the stuff we teach the kids about how all are created equal.”

Blog Map, Why this Blog?

Emmys Speech by Viola Davis (video)

Excerpt below from here...see video here too:

Viola Davis gives a stirring speech after becoming the first woman of color to win the best actress in a drama series award at the 2015 Emmys. Davis, the star of How to Get Away with Murder, speaks out against the difficulties black women have traditionally faced in getting lead roles: ‘You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.’

Blog Map, Why this Blog?

Monday, September 21, 2015

White Silence

I heard about White Silence for the first time last night. Here are some links and things I found just now when researching this online to learn more:

This is an excerpt from The University of Vermont:

White silence is experienced by members of the White culture who, during discussions of racial issues, experience negative emotions including guilt and anger. When these feelings are not addressed, Whites begin to resist certain content areas. This resistance takes on the form of White silence.

I feel called to examine and make sense of White silence because as a White woman I have used my own silence as a mask for my inner thoughts. In addition to observing my own silence, I have become aware of the silence of White colleagues. In these settings our collective silence has created “white [sic] racial bonding” which then emphasizes racial boundaries or we-they boundaries (Sleeter, 1996, p. 261). What part do I play in creating the boundaries and how does this affect those not involved in the bonding? As a student affairs professional I am concerned with my ability to act as a true ally and role model for students when I am silenced by my own prejudices. Also, I cannot challenge my White peers to shed their shield of silence until I have removed my own. (read more here:

Below is and excerpt from an article called:
White Privilege and the Deadly Effect of Silence from the, by Linda Louden, 5/11/15:

When it comes to race, White Americans perform a peculiar, if not predictable dance. You know the steps: A race-related event triggers outrage. We dive into analyzing the fall out. We search for who we can blame, identify the systems we can declare broken, and dissect the participants' lives. We cast our vote for the most-likely-to-blame, and after passing judgement many of us sigh with relief and think, "I'm not like that person; I'm not a racist." Others instead declare, "That wasn't about race. We should quit making everything about color." With the issue resolved in our minds, most of our White American conversation about racism falls silent.

But racism doesn't fall silent. It screams in the latest headlines time after time. And it won't stop screaming until we, as Whites, make our next move in the dance a move toward advancing the national conversation about racism. To do that, Whites need to look past headlines and into ourselves and the near panic that comes over most of us when race becomes the topic of conversation. What many White Americans don't realize is White silence and refusal to closely examine ourselves are two of the most insidious elements that foster the racism that persists in the fabric of our country. We need to make the connection between our silence and its more obvious and often deadly consequences -- the disproportionate incarceration of Black men, the killing of unarmed Black men by police.

For folks like myself, silence on racial issues is a luxury, a privilege and a choice. I am a White, heterosexual, highly educated, upper middle class professional woman. I have more privileges than these, but you get the idea. In my circles, when I talk, people tend to listen. When it comes to social justice issues, I can handpick which issues ignite my passion. I can pick up them up and put them down at my convenience if I decide they aren't mine to live because I have the privileged choice to be silent.  
There are few conversations that elicit more uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure than those about race in this country. White silence shields us from risk by avoiding conflict with our White peers and with others with different racial backgrounds. Silence hides our guilt (or lack of guilt), conceals our racist biases against those who are not like us, and masks our habit of automatically crossing the street when a Black man approaches. Silence insulates us from our fear of being shamed for offending someone. Silence also keeps us from being overwhelmed by how helpless we feel to make a difference. Silence allows us to be blissfully distracted by our privileged day-to-day, and perpetuates our ignorance. With enough days in a row of silence, we can disappear so far behind our choices to keep our mouths tightly shut that we forget how good we've got it in our bubble.
(read more here:

Below is an excerpt from called White Silence Kills 9 in Charleston by Jamilah Lemieux who says it's time to stop acting like Black people can end racism (6/19/15):

White people, know this: your silence is consent. Your silence is complicity. Your silence is violence. 
If White Americans by and large wanted to end racism, they would. Period. Complacency may stymie some (I would imagine it’s hard to sum up the passion to do social justice work on behalf of Black liberation if the only Black people you ever encounter are on a television set); agreement is the culprit for others. But it’s time to acknowledge that White folks have to be the one to stop the future White-supremacist terrorists of the world, because the folks who hate us will never care about our tears.
(read more here:

Why this Blog?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Dominant White Culture Behaviors

I am reading a helpful book called Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving. Below are excerpts from that book. I recommend you read it to get the full context of these points. -DG

The list of dominant white culture behaviors that hold racial barriers in place:
  • conflict avoidance
  • valuing formal education over life experience
  • right to comfort/entitlement
  • sense of urgency
  • competitiveness
  • emotional restraint
  • judgmentalness
  • either/or thinking
  • belief in one right way
  • defensiveness
  • being status oriented
Understanding each is essential if I am to relate to people outside my own culture. The more conscious I become of my cultural adaptations, the more I'm able to choose when they are and are not appropriate. one was saying all white people act this way all the time....or only white people act this way.
...there is no single white culture any more than there is one Asian culture or one black culture.
(excerpts from pages 194, 196)

Why this Blog?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Judge Withdraws Arrest Warrants in Ferguson

This is another sign of hope...of more on, read all or listen

Here are excerpts:

The issue with the Municipal Court in Ferguson was that it was being used to generate money for the city by charging people for all sorts of minor offenses, from driving with a broken headlight or letting the grass grow too long in the front yard. And when poor people couldn't or didn't pay the fines which were usually hundreds of dollars, the money they owed went up. And if they still didn't pay, a warrant was issued for their arrest.

Judge Donald McCullin, a retired St. Louis County Circuit Court judge who, in June, became the new municipal court judge in Ferguson said, "What we'd like to do is alleviate the fear of people coming to court because some people fear coming to court because they fear they're going to be arrested and also to give people a fresh start....We have withdrawn close to 10,000 warrants."

That means people who haven't paid up past fines are not at risk - at least for now - of being arrested and taken to jail. But they still need to come to court and ask that their fines be lowered and pay them or ask for community service instead or to prove that they have no money and that the fines should be dismissed.

Thomas Harvey is an attorney at ArchCity Defenders, which represents the poor and homeless. He's filed a federal lawsuit against Ferguson over these warrants. He praises what the court did yesterday but says it doesn't go far enough. more on, read all or listen

see more signs of hope, a previous post

Why this Blog?

Boston Knapsack Anti-Racism Group

The excerpt below is from this site:

This is a meetup group for folks who see racism as a white problem and/or are interested in learning about the systemic role of whiteness in our society. You'll have the opportunity to peruse the largest collection of anti-racist literature in New England (not to mention, you'll meet some great folks). Sometimes we'll have a reading, a talk, a movie and sometimes, we'll just put up our feet and rest or roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty.

I learned about this meet-up group a while ago (from my sister). But I just this week went to two events, and just today joined the meet-up group to participate in future ones.

Participating in the events this week was meet others who care about this topic, share ideas and experiences, and to learn about ways to be more involved.

I took the train from Riverside. If you would like to go with me to some event...or if you have questions about it...let me know.

Why this Blog?

Minority - Why to Stop Using this Word

I used the word "minority" in my Why this Blog? post and heard from a sister that it isn't the best term to use. The article below was helpful to me to read and learn from. I am glad I now understand the distinction between this word, and other, more informative words. -DG

Isn’t it time to stop using the term “minority” to describe all individuals, racial and ethnic groups who are not White?
by Barry Cross, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer, Elsie Y. Cross Associates, 2009

link to the full article

Here are some excerpts:

Using the term “minority,” and even Hispanic, paints a picture with too broad a brush. This terminology does not distinguish the textures of culture, ethnicity and race, nor does it notice or attempt to understand different experiences, realities and perspectives by social group identity. For example, if we use the term “minority” to describe everyone who is not White, we miss the differences between Arabs, Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans.
This is not about being politically correct. This is about respecting people for who they are and making an effort to acknowledge their heritage, ethnicity, culture, race, and/or experience. Calling everyone who is non–White a “minority” is disrespectful and lazy. Think about it, we don’t call White people the “majority.” Most White people don’t consider themselves a group, however, they experience others as “minority” groups.
The more appropriate way to describe someone or a group when you don’t know their ethnicity, nationality, or race would be as a Person of Color for individuals or People of Color at the group level or for mixed groups. However, if you do know their heritage, it is always best to use that. I would say the same is true for the terms Hispanic and Asian. Both terms cover a wide range of cultures and nationalities. So again, if you do not know that person’s ethnicity then it would more appropriate to be curious and ask what race or ethnicity best represents the person who you are describing. Accept how they self-identify.

While the term “minority” is commonly used by the media, human rights groups and in various government documents and policies, it subordinates groups, places a negative label on people and racializes the term. Let’s move away from creating an “us and them” two-group mentality and get to know who we really are by our social group identity and see, acknowledge, and accept our differences and similarities. Reducing everyone who is not White to a “minority” continues to make individuals and groups invisible.

Why this Blog?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Race Video

This is a video by comedian, Chescaleigh in response to her hearing people complain:

"Just Stop Talking About Race!!"

Why this Blog?

Reverse Racism

This is a link to a video called: Here's Why "Reverse Racism" Isn't Real

Why this Blog?

Highway Action - Petition to Sign

This excerpt is from this site with an easy to use online petition that needs to be signed before 9/24/15:

Take action now to stand with the #Somerville18 and push back against the criminalization of demonstrations in Boston and beyond. Tell DA Ryan that 90 days jail time, 18 months probation, and $14,580 in restitution fine are unreasonable punishments for demonstrations. DA Ryan's hostile punishments set a dangerous precedent that restricts civic participation and violates First Amendment rights. Tell DA Ryan to drop the charges now!

Somerville 18 Court Support
See this site about court support  for either the Somerville 18 or the Quincy blockaders on Thursday, September 24, 2015.

read my first post that talks about this action

Why this Blog?

Friday, September 4, 2015

Ban the Box - Petition to Sign

I got the email below today from ColorOfChange.  
I signed the petition.  Will you too? -DG

President Obama has yet to take meaningful executive action against the illegal employment discrimination that formerly incarcerated individuals face after they have served their time. Federal agencies and the companies they contract with still require job applicants with a criminal record to check a box indicating that they have been convicted. This kind of question on a job application leads to illegal job discrimination by eliminating qualified individuals from jobs that have nothing to do with the crimes they committed in the past. Even the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission has called this employment discrimination. (see 1 below)

Now, thanks to the courage of Black organizers across the country, our national leaders are paying more attention to criminal justice issues than they have in years. People from both sides of the aisle are working towards criminal justice reform, and the President has made it clear that he wants to spend his last years in office working to undo the damage of mass incarceration. Now is the time to escalate on President Obama. (petition link)

Tell President Obama to end the federal government's employment discrimination against formerly incarcerated people. Hiring questions about criminal records harm Black communities the most because of the disproportionately higher rates of arrests and convictions that Black people face. (see 2 below) Even before they have a chance to apply for jobs, people returning to their communities from jail or prison face a range of legalized discrimination that keeps them cut off from mainstream society and the economy. They are denied access to housing assistance, student aid, SNAP benefits and voting. And after experiencing structural racism at every turn within and outside of the criminal justice system, individuals with arrest and conviction records are still stripped of an opportunity to work. Coupled with the employment discrimination that Black job seekers face even without a criminal record, these hiring policies create an insurmountable obstacle for returning citizens.

Laws to “ban the box” asking about criminal history on employment applications are sweeping the country. Currently, 18 states have passed laws or enacted policy to provide a fair chance at employment for formerly incarcerated job seekers. (see 3 below) And these policies don’t just apply to state and local government as employers; nearly half of those states include policies that bar private businesses from asking about a job applicant’s prior arrest or conviction history. Big-box retailers Wal-Mart and Target have adopted an official Ban the Box policy, too. (see 4 below) Even as President Obama talks about reforming the criminal justice system, and giving ex-offenders a second chance, the White House literally stigmatizes these individuals. Visitors to the White House with a conviction are sometimes turned away at the door or given a personal escort. These actions are not consistent with the message that the president is sending on criminal justice reform--that everyone deserves a second chance.

There is a crescendo of calls to ban the box everywhere. Despite the progress at the state level and with private corporations, the current presidential administration has not used its authority to ensure a fair chance at employment for every job seeker. A federal-level Ban the Box policy would create a groundswell of support for enacting this policy everywhere. President Obama can and should take the lead on this by announcing an executive action to Ban the Box on all applications for employment with federal government agencies and the companies it contracts with. Tell the President: Make sure federal agencies Ban the Box.

Will you stand with us to demand action?

Thanks and Peace,
-Rashad, Arisha, Brandi, Brittaney and the rest of the ColorOfChange team.

1. “Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, 4-25-2012 

2. "U.S. Push on Illegal Bias Against Hiring Those With Criminal Records," New York Times, 6-20-12

3. “Ban The Box: U.S. Cities, Counties, And States Adopt Fair Hiring Policies,” National Employment Law Project, 7-1-2015

4. “'Ban the Box’ Movement Spreads Nationwide,” Prison Legal News, 10-10-2014.

(petition link)

Why this Blog?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Why "Black" Lives Matter, not: "All" Lives Matter

Previously in my blog, I wanted to say "all lives matter" instead of black lives matter. I didn't GET why not all?

I recently read an article sent to me by my mother called Why ‘Black lives matter’ resonates that helped to explain that distinction to me. The article is by Leonard Pitts, Jr. from the Miami Herald, August 22, 2015.

Leonard Pitts, Jr. explained the distinction by using a metaphor about somebody going to the emergency room to get help for a very painful wrist. The doctor wanted to examine all the bones, even though only the left wrist hurt, saying "Hey, all bones matter." 

That would very wrong, right?

"All lives matter" is the same. It's not about "elevating some lives" any more than it would be about elevating some bones. Rather, it's about treating where it hurts. (excerpt from the article)

Leonard Pitts, Jr. goes on to say:
...while police abuse is not unknown in other lives, it is disproportionate in black lives.

Later in the article, he said that seeing white protesters in Charleston "chanting "Black lives matter! Black lives matter!" was a soul-filling reminder that at least some of us still realize we all have access to each other's pain and joy by simple virtue of the fact that we all are human...they did not sink guiltily from that connection. Instead, they ran bravely to it." (excerpt from the article)


Why this Blog?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Hope: Law School course

I heard about this on NPR yesterday. It think it is a hopeful opportunity for change. -DG

This is from

The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law will be offering a unique class this fall: a course inspired by the events following the tragic death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. The class, entitled Freddie Gray’s Baltimore: Past, Present, and Moving Forward, will be offered to University of Maryland law and social work students.

According to the course description:

The course will examine the recent unrest itself and then examine the causes of, and possible solutions to, those dislocations, including an examination of problems in policing; criminal justice; housing; health care; education; poverty; and community development and joblessness.

Since the Baltimore riots in April, sparked by the city’s frustration following Freddie Gray’s murder, Baltimore has had a hard time recovering in those areas. This month, the city saw its 200th homicide — a number the city didn’t see until December in 2014. Hopeful the course will pave a path to change, Maryland Carey Law Dean Donald B. Tobin described it as “an opportunity for our students to grapple with important issues in their backyard.”

The class will provide information about opportunities for students to volunteer in the Baltimore community to assist in the recovery of the aforementioned issues.

see my post about the death of Freddie Gray
see my first Signs of Hope post

Why this Blog?


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Petition: Drop ALL Charges Against the MallofAmerica36

This email came from

My name is Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel and in December 2014 I joined fellow clergy to encircle in prayer a group of peaceful, courageous #BlackLivesMatter protesters at the Mall of America. It was one of the most sacred moments of my life.

And yet, in response to faithful witness, the Mall of America and City of Bloomington reacted with a militarized police force – hundreds of police wearing bullet-proof vests, riot helmets, and carrying weapons. Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson then used her great power against those who hold far less power – pressing criminal charges against 36 of the organizers and participants. I started a petition to stand with the Mall of America 36 (#MOA36) to demand that the charges be dropped. Will you add your name to this faithful demand?

We’ll be delivering our petition to the City of Bloomington Attorney Sandra Johnson on Labor Day weekend. 

Our timing is critical. On August 5th, in response to a defense motion and sustained community support, the most serious of the charges were dropped. But there remain offenses which still require costly legal fees to fight. We demand that City Attorney Sandra Johnson drop ALL the charges against the #MOA36.

Our multiracial, peaceful ritual was a witness for justice – a demonstration of Dr. King’s vision of the 'beloved community' – but the Mall of America and the City of Bloomington responded with police in military and riot gear and legal charges.

As people of faith of all races, let us proclaim that Black Lives Matter and stand with the courageous #MOA36. Link to the petition here.

Please join me in signing our petition demanding charges be dropped against the faithful protesters.

Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel
Pastor and Director of The Center for Sustainable Justice, Minneapolis, MN

Why this Blog?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Black Lives Matter

This excerpt describing this movement is from

#BlackLivesMatter was created in 2012 after Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime, and dead 17-year old Trayvon was post-humously placed on trial for his own murder. Rooted in the experiences of Black people in this country who actively resist our de-humanization, #BlackLivesMatter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society. Black Lives Matter is a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes.

When we say Black Lives Matter, we are broadening the conversation around state violence to include all of the ways in which Black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state. We are talking about the ways in which Black lives are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity. How Black poverty and genocide is state violence. How 2.8 million Black people are locked in cages in this country is state violence. How Black women bearing the burden of a relentless assault on our children and our families is state violence. How Black queer and trans folks bear a unique burden from a hetero-patriarchal society that disposes of us like garbage and simultaneously fetishizes us and profits off of us, and that is state violence. How 500,000 Black people in the US are undocumented immigrants and relegated to the shadows. How Black girls are used as negotiating chips during times of conflict and war. How Black folks living with disabilities and different abilities bear the burden of state sponsored Darwinian experiments that attempt to squeeze us into boxes of normality defined by white supremacy, and that is state violence.

#BlackLivesMatter is working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. We affirm our contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression. We have put our sweat equity and love for Black people into creating a political project–taking the hashtag off of social media and into the streets. The call for Black lives to matter is a rallying cry for ALL Black lives striving for liberation.

See my post about Trayvon Martin’s murder

Why this Blog?

Human Limits...Last Straws...

I was at a party the other night and someone asked why so many riots and protests were happening in the last few years. Why now when there has been discrimination and racial profiling for a very long time? I found the video below explains it somewhat.  -DG

Published on Nov 26, 2014: Jay Smooth looks back at the week's events in Ferguson and asks how we can truly apply Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's advice that "riots are the language of the unheard."  5 min. YouTube Video

Why this Blog?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Petition to Help Stop Online Hate Speech

This email came from ColorOfChange:

I just started a petition titled "Don't Fund the Next Dylann Roof: Dump Reddit"

Here's why this is important:

Online hate speech leads to violence in the real world.

Less than two months ago, nine people were killed as they worshipped at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina. The young man who murdered them did so as a result of his indoctrination by various websites espousing racial hatred. The website Stormfront has already been linked to upwards of 100 murders. Despite recently banning CoonTown, its largest "subreddit," or forum, dedicated to anti-Black racism, Reddit still hosts tens of thousands of white nationalists and other racist activists in the many racist subreddits that remain, and CoonTown users have already announced plans to re-form. These users recently began outpacing Stormfront users in measures of engagement like subscriber growth and page views, which spells danger; in its report on murderers linked to Stormfront, the Southern Poverty Law Center noted that more time spent on hate sites was a common characteristic of those who went on to kill.

Reddit validates hate speech by giving it space on one of the largest, best-known websites on the web. White supremacist groups have also recognized the site as a fertile breeding ground for their ideologies, and have provided a template for using Reddit to recruit new blood to their cause. The "containment" strategy that Reddit CEO Steve Huffman announced earlier this month is not keeping hate contained; racist content shows up all over the site, and subscribers to hate subreddits continue to harass other users, particularly users on Black-interest subreddits.

Reddit has repeatedly shown that it will not act to protect women or people of color without public and financial pressure to do so. Child porn and other forms of non-consensual pornography, such as revenge porn, were only recently banned, and only after a barrage of negative media attention and celebrity involvement. Despite publicly announcing a crack down on subreddits that harass others and promote violence, Reddit continues to look the other way as subscribers to its racist subreddits harass users of color, celebrate violence against black and Jewish people, and call for racial holy war.

With the momentum building and in response to pressure from activists and supporters like yourself, Reddit announced August 5th that it would ban some of its racist subreddits, including "CoonTown." However, in doing so, Reddit didn't articulate a clear hate speech policy, and made no moves to stop the violent anti-black racism that dominates the site. They banned CoonTown because it became an "annoyance" to them. Reddit's announcement was so egregious that Gizmodo published a piece titled "Reddit Bans /r/Coontown For All the Wrong Reasons.

Reddit needs to see that they cannot hide their hate problem; if they do not address it head on, their advertisers will face a consumer backlash that will force them to #DumpReddit.

Please join me,
Casey Stevens
go to site to see/sign petition

Here is the petition text:
Audible showed itself to be a good corporate citizen by taking a stand and pulling its ads. I am now asking that you do the same until Reddit bans hate speech entirely. Will you please make a public commitment to cancel your advertising on Reddit until it accomplishes the following:

1) Bans speech intended to dehumanize, demean or degrade a group of people based on inherent personal characteristics like race, gender, sexuality, religion, and the like
2) Prohibits users from forming groups solely devoted to hating other people
3) Bans the rest of the subreddits devoted to hate, not just CoonTown

Your advertising dollars help the site maintain its echo chambers of dangerous white supremacist ideology, and having the support of mainstream advertisers like you validates both Reddit and the hate speech it hosts.

Sign now

Why this Blog?

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Year Later

Presentation: Rest in Power Mike Brown
This is from

I like this part:
..."because of Ferguson protestors, more than 40 policing laws in 24 states have been passed, and we've even seen a few indictments."

I stood with 4 others in downtown Ashland yesterday. It was moving to mourn publicly and with others. Before 12:55, we decided on the words for our sign together:

Honoring the memory of 
Michael Brown Jr. and others
Join us in silence
12:55 pm
for 4 1/2 minutes


Why this Blog?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Langston Hughes' poem “Kids Who Die” in current day video

This is from

In 1938 civil rights activist and poet Langston Hughes wrote his chilling poem “Kids Who Die” which illuminates the horrors of lynchings during the Jim Crow era. Now, Hughes’ vivid poetry is being featured in a three minute video created by Frank Chi and Terrance Green. It is a startling reminder that the assault on Black lives did not end with the Jim Crow era.

As we approach the one year mark of the Ferguson uprising that has sparked a movement of resistance against state violence, we are reminded of our ability to secure real change. This is a matter of life or death and we need collective power to win.

watch the 3 min. video to Langston Hughes' poem “Kids Who Die” 

Why this Blog?

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sandra Bland, Action to Take (2)

Sept. 2015 update: this petition has expired

This email came to me from

Last week, in a remarkable display of solidarity, we joined with partners to deliver more than 500,000 signatures to Attorney General Loretta Lynch urging the Department of Justice to investigate Sandra Bland's tragic death. But we can’t stop here. Over the last 3 weeks, it seems that Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis has done everything in his power to cover up what happened to Sandra. Instead of looking at the illegal stop and violent arrest that unjustly put her in jail in the first place, local officials are trying to blame Sandra for her own death. (see Ref.1)

We've waited long enough for Officer Encinia to be held accountable for his abusive misconduct. Now, we need a groundswell of public pressure to ensure DA Mathis does his job and brings Officer Encinia to justice.

Demand Waller County DA Mathis prosecute Officer Encinia for the illegal arrest and assault and battery of Sandra Bland.  

The truth is, Sandra Bland would still be alive today had it not been for Officer Encinia's brutal racism and violence. Sandra didn't make any traffic violations when Officer Encinia made a u-turn and sped up behind her. She was also not armed and yet Encinia threatened to “light” her up with his taser.(see Ref.2) Sandra was not combative nor resisting and yet Encinia slammed her to the ground while she cried out in pain. Sandra was arrested and charged with assault, even though the video clearly shows Encinia as the aggressor.

In the video and later the police report, we see Officer Encinia spin a web of lies as he quickly attempts to justify his violent behavior and criminalize Sandra to his fellow officers.(see Ref.3) His actions are criminal and he should not be a police officer. We need DA Mathis to do everything in his power to prosecute Officer Encinia with a felony offense in order to keep this killer cop off the streets. In order for Officer Encinia to lose his police license he must be convicted of a felony.

Demand justice for Sandra! We will not remain silent as DA Mathis fails to do his job.

We’ve waited long enough. It's DA Mathis' job to protect Black residents in the area and hold racist and violent police who target Black people — such as Encinia — accountable. And we know accountability is possible. Baltimore DA Marilyn Mosby recently indicted the six police officers involved in the killing of Freddie Gray and just last week Collin County DA Joe Deter indicted Officer Ray Tensing for brutally killing Sam Dubose.(see Ref.4,5) Prolonged delays and silence are not the answer. We need Waller County officials to act now. Waller County officials must come to terms with their violent history of racism and discrimination and stand up for Black lives. This is just as much about Sandra Bland as it is about making sure all Black people in the area don’t have to experience the same unbridled violence and brutality at the hands of the state. And it starts with prosecuting Officer Encinia for the illegal arrest and assault and battery of Sandra Bland. Let's show Waller County officials that we are not going to stop until the killing stops. We need widespread public pressure to bring Officer Encinia to justice. Raise your voice today.

Thanks and peace,
Rashad, Arisha, Shani, Lyla and the rest of the team August 6th, 2015

1. "Marijuana Didn't Kill Sandra Bland," Ebony 07-27-2015

2. "In the video of Sandra Bland’s arrest, the tape doesn’t lie," Boston Globe 07-23-15

3. "Blame the Police," Slate 07-22-2015

4. "Marilyn Mosby: 6 police officers indicted in Freddie Gray death," Washington Times 05-21-15

5. "Prosecutor: UC officer 'purposefully killed' DuBose," Cincinnati Enquirer 07-29-15

See my first post about Sandra Bland's death

Why this Blog? 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

15 Black Women Killed During Police Encounters

This is from  
15 Black Women Were Killed During Police Encounters. Their Lives Matter, Too (

This is from this article:
Some activists, like writer Dream Hampton, intentionally amplify the experiences of other black women. She told HuffPost she was encouraged the country was finally talking about police militarization after years of raising concerns in a “pro-policing culture,” but conversations need to be more inclusive.

“The reason why it’s important to center girls and women in this conversation is because the other narrative, and it’s not a competing narrative, but it’s just not a complete narrative, is that this only happens to black boys and men,” Hampton said. "We have always only framed this as a black male problem, and it is time to tell the entire truth about who police violence and terrorism happens to.”

The more complete narrative includes a small child shot while she was sleeping, as well as women killed while in violation of the law. While an important part of the latters' stories, it doesn’t somehow erase their deaths or mean the actions of police involved shouldn’t receive scrutiny.

This is the list of the 15 black women and girls killed (during police encounters over the last 15 years) from the article:

Tanisha Anderson: Died Nov. 13, 2014, age 37, Cleveland
Yvette Smith: Died Feb. 16, 2014, age 47, Bastrop, Texas
Miriam Carey: Died Oct. 3, 2013, age 34, Washington, D.C.
Shelly Frey: Died Dec. 6, 2012, age 27, Houston
Darnisha Harris: Died Dec. 2, 2012, age 16, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
Malissa Williams: Died Nov. 29, 2012, age 30, Cleveland
Alesia Thomas: Died July 22, 2012, age 35, Los Angeles
Shantel Davis: Died June 14, 2012, age 23, New York City
Rekia Boyd: Died March 22, 2012, age 22, Chicago
Shereese Francis: Died March 15, 2012, age 29, New York City
Aiyana Stanley-Jones: Died May 16, 2010, age 7, Detroit
Tarika Wilson: Died Jan. 4, 2008, age 26, Lima, Ohio
Kathryn Johnston: Died Nov. 21, 2006, age 92, Atlanta
Alberta Spruill: Died May 16, 2003, age 57, New York City
Kendra James: Died May 5, 2003, age 21, Portland

This is from the article too:

Four of the above women were killed during police raids.
Three women had young children with them when they were killed.
Two were children when they were killed.
Two women with mental illnesses were killed after their family members called authorities for help.
Seven of the incidents resulted in charges. Only one woman’s death has led to conviction. Several cases are still open.

There are many more women of color who have died in incidents involving police -- including all-too-frequent encounters with the mentally ill, like Michelle Cusseaux, Aura Rosser, or Margaret Mitchell. These women were armed and considered dangerous according to police, but their deaths point to failings in how police work with with mentally ill individuals.

Why this Blog?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

More Deaths and Names to Know About

The email I got from FergusonAction specifically mentioned the deaths of these people within the past year: Michael Brown, Jr., Sandra Bland, Kayla Moore, Yvette Smith, Kajieme Powell, Dontre Hamilton, Taneisha Anderson, and Vonderrit Myers.

I already have posts about Michael Brown, Jr., Sandra Bland, and Vonderrit Myers

I feel it is important to know what happened to all of them. So I have been doing Internet research, trying to find out about Kayla Moore, Yvette Smith, Kajieme Powell, Dontre Hamilton, Taneisha Anderson.

It is sobering what I found.

February 12, African American transgender woman Kayla Moore died while in the custody of Berkeley police (read more

When looking into the death of Yvette Smith, I found her and Taneisha Anderson in an article that I use in this post: 15 Black Women Killed During Police Encounters

St. Louis Police Release Video Of Kajieme Powell Killing That Appears At Odds With Their Story (, Aug. 2014

Shooting of Dontre Hamilton from wikipedia
No charges for Milwaukee officer who shot man 14 times
Dontre Hamilton Shooting: Fired Milwaukee Cop Won't Get His Job Back


Why this Blog?

Notes on Additions

For those reading this blog for the first time, you don't need these notes. Please go ahead and read through all the posts (listed on the right side) and pages (buttons at the top). If you aren't familiar with blogs, months need to be expanded by clicking on the triangle (or the month) to see the post list for that month.

If you have read through the posts before, and want to know when I add something to them, this will help you. I will date and note only major additions...I am also making tweaks/improvements.

It has been suggested that I add new posts for new things...not adding to posts I already have. That is what I might do going forward now but here this is anyway. -DG

Before Aug. 5, 2015, I added to these posts/pages below (and more):

  • Ways to be Engaged:
    • Facing History and Ourselves
    • Community Change
    • Union of Minority Neighborhoods
    • Haley House
  •  Ferguson, Michael Brown shooting:
    • Timeline for a Body: 4 Hours in the Middle of a Ferguson Street
    • Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson Not Indicted In Michael Brown Shooting


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Jordan Davis shot by white male software developer

This is from

The murder of Jordan Davis occurred on November 23, 2012, at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida, United States. Jordan Russell Davis, a 17-year-old African-American high school student, was fatally shot by Michael David Dunn, a 45-year-old white male software developer from Brevard County who was visiting the city for a wedding. The incident began when Dunn allegedly confronted Davis and his companions because he found the music that was being played in the vehicle in which Davis was a passenger objectionable. A verbal argument ensued to which Dunn responded by retrieving a loaded handgun from his car and shooting 10 rounds into the teenagers' car. This resulted in the fatal injury of Jordan Russel Davis. In closing arguments for the first trial, the defense lawyer for Michael Dunn cited the language of Florida's stand-your-ground law. The jury was unable to return a unanimous verdict on a charge of first-degree murder for the fatal shooting of Jordan Davis, the judge declared a mistrial on that count. Dunn was convicted, however, on three counts of attempted second-degree murder for firing at three other teenagers who were with Davis and one count of firing into a vehicle. The three other teenagers were not injured.

Dunn faced up to 75 years in prison for the four counts on which he was already convicted. Dunn's retrial for first-degree murder began the week of September 22, 2014. He was found guilty October 1, 2014, and was sentenced to a mandatory sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole on October 17, 2014.

Why this Blog?

Trayvon Martin shot by neighborhood watch volunteer, 2012

This is from

Trayvon Benjamin Martin was a 17-year-old African American from Miami Gardens, Florida, who was fatally shot by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, in Sanford, Florida. Martin had gone with his father on a visit to his father's fiancée at her townhouse at The Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford. On the evening of February 26, Martin went to a convenience store and purchased candy and juice. As Martin returned from the store, he walked through a neighborhood that had been victimized by robberies several times that year. Zimmerman, a member of the community watch, spotted him and called the Sanford Police to report him. Moments later, there was an altercation between the two individuals in which Martin was shot in the chest. Zimmerman, who was injured in the altercation, was not charged at the time of the shooting by the Sanford Police, who said that there was no evidence to refute his claim of self-defense and that Florida's stand your ground law prohibited law-enforcement officials from arresting or charging him. Zimmerman was eventually charged and tried in Martin's death and a jury acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree murder and of manslaughter in July 2013.

Why this Blog?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Why Shooting of VonDerrit Myers Matters

October 8, 2014

This is from off-duty St. Louis City Police Officer working in uniform for a secondary security job chased, shot and killed 18 year-old Vonderrit Myers. The officer fired 17 shots, completely unloading his clip.

Police say he was armed and shot at the off-duty officer. No witness saw him carrying anything other than a sandwich or could corroborate the details offered by police. Read more:

Why Vonderrit Myers Matters

Vonderrit Myers is no Michael Brown. Myers, the black 18-year old shot and killed by a St. Louis police officer last week, is also no Trayvon Martin or Jordan Davis or any of the others on a growing list of slain unarmed black men who have invigorated a new generation’s fight for racial justice.

But Myers doesn’t have to be.

Unlike Brown and others who were clearly unarmed during their fatal confrontations with white antagonists, police say Myers shot first, and the officer he shot at returned fire and killed the teen. Lab results found Myers had gun powder residue on his right hand at the time of his death. He was also facing trial on earlier gun charges and was wearing an ankle bracelet as a condition of his bond in that case.

Myers, in other words, may not be the model victim in the ongoing story of police brutality and white violence against young black men. But his death nonetheless has sparked an important wave in the burgeoning movement built around the notion that black lives matter. All black lives – not just those that draw the most public sympathy.

“Vonderitt Myers matters because we are still talking about a fundamental question of the value of black children and the value of black life,” said Brittany Packnett, head of Teach for America in St. Louis. “The circumstances may be different, but there’s the recognition that if we don’t come out early and often to demand justice for African-American children, quite often it doesn’t come.” 

Why this Blog? 

A Helpful White Privilege Metaphor

Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is 
below excerpt is from

Imagine life here in the US — or indeed, pretty much anywhere in the Western world — is a massive role playing game, like World of Warcraft except appallingly mundane, where most quests involve the acquisition of money, cell phones and donuts, although not always at the same time. Let’s call it The Real World. You have installed The Real World on your computer and are about to start playing, but first you go to the settings tab to bind your keys, fiddle with your defaults, and choose the difficulty setting for the game. Got it?

Okay: In the role playing game known as The Real World, “Straight White Male” is the lowest difficulty setting there is.

This means that the default behaviors for almost all the non-player characters in the game are easier on you than they would be otherwise. The default barriers for completions of quests are lower. Your leveling-up thresholds come more quickly. You automatically gain entry to some parts of the map that others have to work for. The game is easier to play, automatically, and when you need help, by default it’s easier to get.

...Remember when I said that you could choose your difficulty setting in The Real World? Well, I lied. In fact, the computer chooses the difficulty setting for you. You don’t get a choice; you just get what gets given to you at the start of the game, and then you have to deal with it.

So that’s “Straight White Male” for you in The Real World (and also, in the real world): The lowest difficulty setting there is. All things being equal, and even when they are not, if the computer — or life — assigns you the “Straight White Male” difficulty setting, then brother, you’ve caught a break. read more

See first post on White Privilege

Why this blog?

White People, documentary

What does it mean to be white? MTV's "White People" is a groundbreaking documentary (41 min.) on race that aims to answer that question from the viewpoint of young white people living in America today.

For more information on "White People" and to join the conversation, head to

I watched the video and found it moving and helpful.  Worth the time to watch. -DG

See first post on White Privilege

Why this blog?

True Colors - Racial Discrimination in Everyday Life

True Colors - Racial Discrimination in Everyday Life 
report by Diane Sawyers:, part 1, 2

Feb 26, 2010
Documentary on the "nature of today's prejudices." Follows two men (equal in all measurable aspects, except skin color) as they participate in a variety of "everyday" life interactions and situations to test levels of prejudice based on skin colors. Shows how two young men in St. Louis, one white, one black, but otherwise similar in background, appearance, etc., are treated differently in various situations as they go about shopping, applying for work, and looking for rental housing.

In the 1960s, black Americans were promised that this country would not judge people by the color of the their skin. Three decades later, this video investigates situations in which blacks and whites continue to be treated differently.

Video raises the question of the relation between discrimination in everyday social exchanges and what sociology calls "structural racism," the systematic exclusion of people of color from full access to social resources. Where does this program root the problem? In the individual bias of a few people? Or are individuals expressions of a society based on white privilege? Does everyone who identifies as white have a stake in upholding the racial hierarchy with its tendency for white preferential treatment? On the other hand, what responsibility do European Americans have for eliminating or helping to eliminate racial preference? How would some of the problems indicated in the film be addressed or remedied?

I watched the video (both parts) and found it moving and helpful.  Worth the time to watch. -DG

See first post on White Privilege

Why this Blog?

Ferguson 1yr. anniv. Moment of Silence

Four and a half minute National Moment of Silence on Sunday, August 9th at 11:55AM CST

Would you join with me in Ashland center at 12:55pm on Sunday 8/9/15? It would be meaningful to mourn together these senseless deaths (see below). Let me know if you will join me. -DG

This idea came from an email (below) that I got from FergusonAction 7/27/15:

It has been almost one year since the murder of Michael Brown, Jr. and the uprising that followed. Our movement has grown immensely and here in Ferguson and St. Louis, we continue to fight for all those who have been lost. From August 7-10th, we will stand together, united in purpose, as we uphold our commitment to this movement for Black Lives.

Over the last year, our movement has made it clear that Ferguson is Everywhere. That’s why we’re using the hashtag #UnitedWeFight — because we lift up and demand justice not just for Michael Brown, Jr., but for Sandra Bland, for Kayla Moore, for Yvette Smith, for Kajieme Powell, for Dontre Hamilton, for Taneisha Anderson, for Vonderrit Myers and for far too many more.

We invite you to join us in St. Louis for the Anniversary Weekend. We have a huge variety of events planned including mass meetings, rallies, concerts and protests. If you can’t join us, we ask that you plan solidarity actions in your own communities. We ask that groups honor Michael Brown Jr by participating in a four and a half minute National Moment of Silence on Sunday, August 9th at 11:55AM CST.

About a year ago: see this post

Why this Blog?