Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Charleston church shooting - 9 killed

Below is from Wikipedia:

"The Charleston church shooting (also known as the Charleston church massacre) was a mass shooting that took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, United States, on the evening of June 17, 2015. During a prayer service, nine people were killed by a gunman, including the senior pastor, state senator Clementa C. Pinckney; a tenth victim survived. The morning after the attack, police arrested a suspect, later identified as 21-year-old Dylann Roof, in Shelby, North Carolina. Roof later confessed that he committed the shooting in hopes of igniting a race war."

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a simple list for what some POC want

I talked about this article by Peggy McIntosh before: 
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack: Knapsack.pdf 

I heard from some People of Color that they could not relate to anything on Peggy's list. They said they never experience they have any of those privileges. 

They said they wanted these 5 things:

  • give me the benefit of the doubt!
  • let there be a presumption of innocence
  • 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
  • they would like to not have to wonder, "Is it my race?" why people say and do the things they do with them

I went back over the list of 50 items on the list by Peggy, and found that all of them can fall under those 5 freedoms. So that is simple enough right? Can't we give People of Color, and everyone including Muslims, those 5 freedoms?


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Walter Scott shooting

This is from Wikipedia:

"The shooting of Walter Scott occurred on April 4, 2015, in North Charleston, South Carolina, following a daytime traffic stop for a non-functioning brake light. Scott, a black man, was fatally shot by Michael Slager, a white North Charleston police officer. Slager was charged with murder after a video surfaced contradicting his police report. The video showed him shooting the unarmed Scott from behind while Scott was fleeing."
It looks like this police officer might be brought to justice, but he is out on bail, able to be free for 10 months before trial in Oct. 2016. That doesn't seem just.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Resolve to Do Your Part to Dismantle White Supremacy

This blog post is by Monica Raye Simpson from

A Challenge to White Allies in the New Year: Resolve to Do Your Part to Dismantle White Supremacy 

  • White allies need to get uncomfortable. 
  • Be willing to talk to the people around you. 
  • Take action in the spaces around you. 
  • Don't wait for another life to be lost or for a tragedy to speak out.

This post was helpful to read and be reminded of.  It gives us some specific actions to take. Link to her post above for more details about above and why


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non-racist vs. anti-racist (video)

This is from this link: The Guardian: Are you racist? 'No' isn't a good enough answer: by Marlon James

"Most of us, says Marlon James, are non-racist. While that leaves us with a clear conscience, he argues, it does nothing to help fight injustice in the world. In fact, we can pull off being non-racist by being asleep in bed while black men are killed by police. We need to stop being non-racist, and start being anti-racist."

The link to the 2 minute video is above. 


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Voting Rights Act: petition to sign

This is from CREDO Action:

"It’s time to fix the Voting Rights Act.

"In 2013, the right-wing ideologues on the Supreme Court handed down a shameful decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act, ending decades of protection for minorities against discriminatory and unfair attempts to limit voting on the basis of race."

read more and sign the petition here

I mentioned this in a November 2015 post: Selma and voting rights because I heard about it in Selma. I signed the petition. I hope you will too.


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Muslims: support and education

I got a sign in my inbox from Showing Up for Racial Justice:

I put it on my front door. I do it to be public with my support of my Muslim "neighbors" in my community, my state, my country, and the 50 countries around the world where the Muslim faith is worshiped by the majority of people there. This is in response to a particularly rude and dangerous white man running for presidency of the United States. It is apparent he is a xenophobe.

Just because there are a some Muslim terrorists, extremists and murderers, doesn't mean all Muslims want to do harm to those of us who aren't Muslims. I have a new friend who is smart, kind, an active leader in my Knapsack Antiracism group, and a Muslim. She has read this post and given me some information I will share with you here. (C: her comments are noted below with this)

Here is a link that I appreciated watching: I’m Muslim, But I’m Not... I just watched it again. It brings tears to my eyes. Why is this not obvious to all of us that Muslims are like all of us...they just practice a different religion!

I went to a job training last week and learned about Muslims.
Here are some of my learnings (if you are Muslim and want to add or correct any of this, please do!):
  • 23.4% of the world are Muslim, the largest population for a country is in Indonesia
  • 1% of the U.S. are Muslim, 3.3 million Muslims live here (2016 data)
  • Their God, who they call Allah, is the same God/Lord that Christians and Jewish people worship. C: Allah is just the Arabic word for God.
  • Islam is the religion
  • Muslim is the person who follows that religion
  • Islamic is an adjective for anything that is based on the Islam faith: ie. Islamic dress, calendar, practice, greetings, prayer...but not Islamic culture
  • Muslims pray 5 times a day
  • The Islamic calendar is also 12 months but is based on the moon so it is 11 days shorter each year than the calendar I am familiar with... in Ramadan, the 10th month, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset (no eating, drinking of anything at all, smoking or having sexual relations). At the end of Ramadan, Muslims feast which is called Eid. We can say: "Happy Eid."
    • C: Eid al-Fitr is the breaking of the fast (not to be confused with Eid al-Adha, our only other 'holiday'). Also, it's not exactly sunrise, it is dawn which comes before sunrise.
  • An Imam is an Islamic priest (Wikipedia says: an Islamic leadership position. It is most commonly in the context of a worship leader of a mosque and Muslim community by Sunni Muslims). Their words don't need to be followed exactly. Each Muslim can decide what to follow...following their own heart based on their relationship to Allah. Some countries/cultures require some practices; in the U.S. they have more choices.
    • C: This point is really hard to address because it seems to devalue the word of the imam. The imam is a religious leader (and has a sense of religious authority) that people can go to for questions about the faith/struggles they have/etc. It is true that a person does not have to follow the words of the imam though.
  • I was curious about the name of the head scarf/Islamic dress that my Muslim friend wears (I learned it is a hijab) and ones that cover more, and less than that.  This is a link that shows some information about different countries: How people in Muslim countries prefer women to dress in public. A hijab is #4 in the picture. I learned that a hijab covers all but face and hands in public and that this amount of covering is what the Quran (Koran) says to do. Anything more is required by the government and authority, and is cultural, not Islamic. Anything less is a choice in this country anyway, but is not a problem for those wearing more.
    • Some governments of countries (Afghanistan?, etc.) require all the women there to wear a nekab (see #1 and #2 in the link above)...including Christian and Jewish women too. A nekab covers either all of the body including eyes, or all but the eyes.
  • A Muslim man cannot touch women except to shake hands and visa versa (outside family members, I think).   
    • C: This is not true exactly. As Muslims, touching a person of the opposite gender who isn't related to you (mother/father, wife/husband, sister/brother, daughter/son, etc) is not permissible, this includes hand shaking. This isn't the easiest thing to follow especially in countries like the United States. There are some Muslims comfortable with shaking hands, and others who really try to stay away from doing so. 
  • We can express our openness to learn about Muslims; it is okay to ask questions, but don't insist on hearing an answer in the way we would like as sometimes the answer is complicated and too personal or hard to express (especially if there is a language barrier). 
  • If we are friendly and help Muslims feel welcome and accepted, we offer HOPE. Hope can prevent disengagement and extremism. I personally don't want to add to stereotype threat. I want Muslims to feel they belong here in my society. 
  • What we can do: show your support by your actions, it's ok to say “hello” and make small talk, spread the word, and visit a mosque. 
  • C: Muslims greet each other with salaam alaikum (which means peace be upon you). I learned a while ago that the reply to this is alaikum salaam.
  • My friend also shared this link with me from The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding Dalia Mogahed weighs in on how the media talks about terrorism. (6:12) 
    • I like how Dalia Mogahed responded to the misguided beliefs that "all terrorists are Muslim," and reminded us that fear mongering normalizes bigotry so we need to stand up against it. She helped me understand more about wearing the hijab: it is an act of devotion and it privatizes a woman's sexuality.

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Antiracism Meetings in Medfield

The next (4th) meeting (called: Antiracism in the 'Burbs)
will be Sunday: 2/21/16 2-4 p.m, location: Medfield, MA
(talk to me, or join for location details -DG)

“Equality cannot be achieved under conditions of nearly complete separation...The primary goal must be a single society, in which every citizen will be free to live and work according to his capabilities and desires, not his color.” (from The Kerner Report, 1967)

This February meeting's topic:
Deeper exploration of anti-racism in the suburbs:

*What are some examples of covert and overt racism (in our own suburban communities)?

*What can we do on an individual and community level to oppose these ongoing problems that inhibit our community’s diversity and integration?

*How can we engage our neighbors in acting against some of the micro and macro forms of racism and oppression that continue today? What are barriers to doing this?

*Discuss a goal and plan for a nonviolent action/event we want to do as a group. We started this discussion during our January 2016 meeting.

Please feel free to read this article from The Atlantic: White Flight Never Ended
...and/or post additional ideas/articles that come to mind regarding racism in the suburbs, especially any recent current events.


The third meeting was: Sunday 1/17, 2-4 p.m., same location

Martin Luther King Jr. said: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

This January meeting's topic was: Nonviolent Actions...
and Martin Luther King Jr., the movie Selma, the link below, other nonviolent activists and actions, our nonviolent actions, our barriers to participating in them, and does talking about this together motivate us to participate in them more?

Here is an online article that could be read (in addition to or instead of watching Selma) about the The Almost Forgotten Selma March.


More about this discussion series: the second meeting (I share my important learning from the People of Color who came as we discussed White Privilege), the first meeting about dominate white culture behaviors

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