Monday, October 9, 2017

lynching history in map and memorials

I posted before about lynching. I recently found the sites below. They are informative and useful for understanding this despicable history of our country:

EJI's Alabama lynching memorial to confront U.S. history of slavery:

The Origins of Lynching Culture in the United States:

Explore EJI's site about Lynching in America:

This interactive map is so informative:
(see more history here:

cultural appropriation

A neighbor/friend recently shared this link with me:

In this article, Brianha Joy Gray writes: It’s more helpful to think about exploitation and disrespect than to define cultural “ownership.” 

I had learned and posted about this topic before. I found this article helpful in Gray's further distinctions on profiting, exploitation, respect, and understanding.

Indigenous Peoples Day (holiday name change needed)

"Indigenous Peoples Day is about more than a name change; it’s a refusal to allow the genocide of millions of Indigenous peoples to go unnoticed, and a demand for recognition of Indigenous humanity. Recognizing this day in place of what’s currently known as “Columbus Day” is a way to correct false histories, honor Indigenous peoples, and begin to correct some of the countless wrongs committed against Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island (what’s now known as the Americas)."

Above, and more, from

I found this link on the site above8 Myths and Atrocities About Christopher Columbus and Columbus

I was astounded by how very different and wrong the history was, that I was taught about Columbus "discovering America." Reading that history link above was not easy. The truth is not easy.

I hope we can teach our children better than what I was taught.

We have an opportunity to do some right for the many wrongs done to Indigenous Peoples by changing the name of this holiday today, and changing what history is taught. Sign the petition here and support this cause:

Cambridge, MA, did it in 2016! Read about it here.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

good black news

I learned of this website with Good Black News from this article:
What I Told My White Friend When He Asked For My Black Opinion On White Privilege

Our mass media has a bias towards white supremacy culture. This website shares with us other info to help us understand and know about Good Black News too.

implicit bias

This is another helpful video:

Vernā Myers’, How Can We Have A More Candid Conversation About Race?


Implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. source
We have a bias when, rather than being neutral, we have a preference for (or aversion to) a person or group of people. Thus, we use the term “implicit bias” to describe when we have attitudes towards people or associate stereotypes with them without our conscious knowledge. source

Related videos: 

The Talk: (go to July 28)
My Black is Beautiful

Bryan Stevenson on ways to fight injustice

This is a short article by Death row attorney Bryan Stevenson on 4 ways to fight against injustice.

I was helped by reading it, being reminded to “protect your hope quotient" AND "position ourselves in uncomfortable places and be a witness." Sometimes when I get uncomfortable with how difficult conversations and making a change is, I lose hope. That is how I felt recently (feeling some white fragility after a meeting in Maynard last week). Bryan's words brought some clarity.

Friday, September 29, 2017

White Supremacy is not new

Author Ijeoma Oluo says this and more in her article So You Want To Fight White Supremacy:

"White supremacy is in our workplace, our school system, our government and our prisons. It is in our books and movies and television. White supremacy has been woven into the fabric of our nation from the moment that white settlers decided that their claim to land was more important than the lives of indigenous people. This is not a new problem. This is America."

Ijeoma Oluo lists many suggestions in various areas of our lives where we can work to dismantle White Supremacy.

Here is a 2 page pdf I made (you can print two-sided on one page) with key excerpts from this article and I bulleted the list of suggestions for easier reading and noting: what I am doing now, want to do more of...etc. Shared on my google drive.

I highly suggest this reading and use of her list of ideas.

Battalora talks with Matthews about where white people come from

Philippe SHOCK Matthews talks with Dr. Jacqueline Battalora: Dismantling #WhiteSuperiority in a #Trump Administration from Feb 24, 2017

Dr. Jacqueline Battalora has a 5-Day Free Ecourse: Where Did “White People” Come From?

I haven't listened to the Ecourse (yet) but appreciated listening to their conversation and the key points they discussed from it.

Claudia Rankine's talk on whiteness

This talk by Claudia Rankine: "On Whiteness" is very good.

I learned about the term "internalized dominance" to discuss "white privilege" in a different way. I will watch more talks by Dr. Robin DiAngelo to learn more about this alternative wording.

Eric Foner on confederate monuments and history

Eric Foner, historian and author of “Battles for Freedom: The Use and Abuse of American History”  discusses confederate monuments, the role of the historian and the lie of omission with Chris Hedges.

These are my notes from this video:
On Contact: Creative Forgetfulness with Eric Foner
  • landscape of denial
  • historical amnesia
  • mythology
  • history that doesn't help us understand the present
  • critical historian
  • we have an obligation as a citizen to take a stand
  • be an active citizen not a bystander

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Act to Increase Diversity in Books

On my first Movement for Black Lives call (8/14 evening), I volunteered to organize an action of some sort in my local community on the one week anniversary of the protests by white supremacists in Charlottesville. The leaders reminded us that we need to focus a light on local symbols and institutions that support/celebrate white supremacy to show what side we are on…to show we support/need POC and other marginalized show white supremacy is not the world that we want.

I decided to focus on books. We need more diversity in books! Here are great resources that explain why, give us suggestions of what to do, how we can help, and reading suggestions:

3 Ways Readers Can Increase Diversity in Publishing

Diversity: What Can We Do About It? from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

Children’s Book Council

We Need Diverse Books

Please comment below if you will do some action on your own on 8/19...and you can comment on what you will do/did. It can include contacting your town library's head librarian and asking her/him to buy more books by authors of color. It can include buying a book that centers on the experience of POC (People of Color). It can include reading a book to your child that centers on the experience of children of color. You get the idea. Do something new that you haven't tried yet. And then let us know about it. Okay?

I hope this helps us start/continue a trend that will continue every day we use and think about books.

Here is my list of favorite books for adult readers who want to learn more about racial justice:

Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum

• The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward Baptist

• The New Jim Crow (Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness) by Michelle Alexander

• The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

• The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

• Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

• Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Letter I Wrote to My Family Sharing My Thoughts about Saturday

Last weekend, I was out-of-town spending time with 13 family members...while some heavy stuff was happening in another state. We had the TV on, so we saw what was happening, but we went about our normal activities without much discussion of the scary events on the news, including a violent death of an innocent woman and injury of many more. Two days later, I wrote a letter to my family trying to explain my feelings. Maybe you had similar experiences/feelings...maybe my sharing will help you share with your family/friends. (I removed names for the privacy of my family members.)
Dear family,

While driving home yesterday, I started to process feelings I didn’t process on Saturday during the protests and counter-protests in Charlottesville. I want to share some thoughts with you.

As most of you know, I am an active anti-racist. I am daily talking with folks, thinking, planning, reading, listening, learning, and organizing meetings that happen at least once a week. You’d think I would know how to deal with the events on Saturday. But I didn’t. I shut down, compartmentalized, participated in silence, avoided…so now I feel regret and shame that I didn’t say more.

I didn’t even hear any talk on the news, or from you all, about the upcoming white supremacists coming to Boston on Saturday to protest there. I didn’t know this was happening until I heard from my co-facilitators on my way home. P___ told me then, that it was being talked about while we were together. How I didn’t hear that, I can’t explain. I just think I shut down.

I am trying to understand why I shut down.

One thing I can think of, is that I was trying to take a vacation away from the work I do (work also being done by many others, including M___ and N___). This is something white folks can do (take a vacation away). I feel ashamed that I could do that, and did that.

Another thing I can think of, is that I was compartmentalizing…as a family, we like to play games while together…I (and others of you apparently) didn’t want to lose out on that time…so we kept playing while all the events were going on (seen on the TV). I know I felt stress but couldn't process that, or say that even. I wish I could have been aware enough to say: “let’s stop and talk about this.”

Instead, I didn’t, and no else did either. Yes, I know we talked here and there, but not with a lot of depth. I think that is a part of white silence…not wanting to make things uncomfortable…and why should we ruin our vacation/fun time with something that doesn’t relate to us? But it does!

Another thing I can think of, was the elephant in the room: opposing-political-views-that-we-shouldn’t-talk-about-so-the-minority-in-our-family-who-voted-for-Trump-won’t-feel-attacked-or-ganged-up-on. We love all of our family members and don’t want anyone to feel attached or ganged-up on. So we were silent. But I can’t be silent now. Trump said terribly racist things while running for his presidency. Because he won anyway, these empower white supremacists to protest now. But I can’t believe that my family members who voted for Trump are white supremacists. So why couldn’t we talk together more freely? We avoidedat least I avoided.

Anyway, I am going to go as a counter-protester to the upcoming white-supremacist protest coming to Boston on Saturday. I am organizing/inviting others to join me. I am changing three upcoming meetings because of the Charlottesville protest. If my co-facilitator in Maynard agrees, we will discuss this speech so folks can get one perspective on why the Lee statue is an issue: Mayor Mitch Landrieu's Remarkable Speech About Removing Confederate Monuments.

I got an email from Shaun King today. He led the Injustice Boycott that I was a part of this year. Below is some of what he said:

Like thousands of you, I was following Charlottesville very closely. In almost real-time I saw the white supremacist deliberately drive his car, using it as a brutal weapon, directly into a diverse crowd of men and women who were literally just crossing the street. Soon we learned that one amazing woman, Heather Heyer, was killed in this attack.

I learned that Heather was “one of us” far more than I ever understood. Heather Heyer was actually a part of the Injustice Boycott and participated in our direct actions against police brutality and mass incarceration here in New York. The world is already small, but the world of activists and people willing to use their time and privilege to fight back against oppression is even smaller. Learning that Heather was a part of our tribe, and fought against injustice alongside us, made her loss all the more real for me.

I see Heather as a martyr in this modern day movement against injustice and oppression. I’ve said it many times, but if you ever wondered what it would be like to be alive in the Civil Rights Movement, you are living in that time right now! And if you ever wondered who you would be or what you would do in those circumstances, the best indication is what you did this weekend. If you watched and said nothing, if you normally watch and say nothing, if you only share an occasional Facebook post here and there, and that is the extent of your activism, then that is an indicator of who you’d be if you were alive in the 1960s. Because we are LIVING IN THAT TIME right here, right now.

We cannot allow Heather’s death to be in vain. She was a brave, generous, courageous soul and we would do well to mimic her life. I am convinced that this nation is far more unstable and problematic than most of us are willing to admit, but it appears things may grow worse before they get better. But I want you to hear this from me – they will get better because we will fight for them to get better. And we will win. I believe that with all of my heart.

(FYI: Injustice Boycott members helped play an essential role in Raise The Age in New York….helped play an essential role in New York announcing it is going to shut down Rikers Island…played an important role in Seattle announcing it would divest from Wells Fargo…together, have raised millions of dollars for causes and families and victims to give them all the support they need.)

I am taking the time to share these thoughts with you, my family, because if I can’t be truthful with you, I am a hypocrite. I hope we can share our feelings openly with courage in the future, and put aside game playing.

Love and hugs.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Dr. Robin DiAngelo's Talks

I recommend these informative and helpful YouTube videos to watch/hear...all with Dr. Robin DiAngelo:

I cried listening to this comprehensive and powerful one...about loss due to living segregated from POC as significant influences in my life.

Dr. DiAngelo leaves us with: it would be a revolutionary change: to receive feedback, reflect, and try to change behavior.

More if you are interested:

Why do white people insist race doesn't matter? What’s it mean to be white?

How Not to Be Racist

No, I Won’t Stop Saying “White Supremacy”, June 30, 2017

Informative Roxbury Film Festival

I saw many moving independent films at the MFA during this year's Roxbury Film Festival. Quoted text below is from the festival site.

On 6/23 and 6/30 I saw all available those days. All films were informative and good.

I was deeply moved by I Am Still Here. "Directed by Mischa Marcus (USA, 2016, 104 min.). This is the story of 10-year old Layla, who was stolen from her family and thrown into America’s child sex industry. Stories of courage drawn from interviews with trafficking survivors are the foundation for the fictionalized account of Layla’s journey as she confronts the monsters of her past and embraces the hope of her future." This might be available on Netflix soon. I highly recommend watching it.

My Black Is Beautiful: "Directed by Brandon German and Lovely Hoffman (USA, 2016, 17 min.). My Black Is Beautiful serves as positive reinforcement that black skin is beautiful and aims to embolden young girls of color. It follows a young girl who struggles with low self-esteem but who is ultimately empowered and uplifted by her peers and encouraged to love herself and embrace her blackness." See this musical film here!

Fireflies: "Directed by Raouf Zaki (USA, 2017, 17 min.). In this silent film, when a withdrawn Middle Eastern man begins frequenting a Boston café, the headwaiter grows increasingly suspicious about the true nature of his visits." See trailer here.

America, I Too: "Directed by Anike Tourse (USA, 2016, 20 min.). The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), presents its second Know Your Rights film: America; I Too, starring Academy Award nominee Barkhad Abdi and featuring the music from Grammy winners Quetzal. Writer and first time Director Anike Tourse shares the interconnected stories of three arrested and detained immigrants who navigate the system as they attempt to prevent their deportation. While the film has a narrative trajectory it is based on real testimonies and experiences." See the film here in English and Spanish. Other languages might be available at some point in the future.

Little Boxes: "Directed by Rob Meyer (USA, 2017, 84 min.). It’s the summer before 6th grade, and Clark is the new biracial kid in a very white town. Discovering that to be cool he needs to act ‘more black’, he fumbles to meet expectations. Meanwhile, his urban intellectual parents Mack and Gina try to adjust to small-town living. Accustomed to life in New York, the tight-knit family is ill-prepared for the drastically different set of obstacles that their new community presents. They soon find themselves struggling to understand themselves and each other in this new context."

Not Black Enough: "Documentary directed by Tracey Anarella (USA, 2016, 83 min.). Not Black Enough is a film about class warfare and the cross-tides that African Americans are dealing with in the black community. The film takes a sometimes humorous, always personal, brutally honest and insightful look into a seldom-explored phenomenon that is pervasive in black culture: the ostracizing of blacks for not being “black enough.” This documentary explores the reasons behind this practice of fear and loathing within the black community."

My BFF: "Directed by Greg Carter (USA, 2016, 110 min.). When five-year-old Marni Wilkins, a white girl, lost her mother, she was left with an unfulfilled soul, but her best friend, Gemma Brown, an African American girl, was always by her side. Now ten years later, Marni has the opportunity to find that lost connection when she learns that her mother’s favorite poet will be teaching at a distinguished magnet school for the arts in her area. The two friends are both excited to apply. Gemma gets accepted, but Marni’s father has missed the registration deadline and the school now only has seats left for “diverse” candidates. Realizing that Marni’s dreams of getting to know her mother may disappear, Gemma convinces her friend to do something drastic. Things don’t quite go as planned, but the two girls learn a valuable lesson about race, identity, politics, and friendship in this poignant coming-of-age comedy written, directed, and produced by African American filmmaker Greg Carter and based on a true story."

Removing Confederate Monuments Speech

This speech is very good and a sign of hope: New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu's Remarkable Speech About Removing Confederate Monuments

I like his words: "It is not just about statues, it is about attitudes."

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Water is Life: support is still needed for Water Protectors

Last night I went to a fundraiser to support the Standing Rock protesters. It was a moving and informative event. My biggest take away was a reminder about how very very important the earth and fresh water is for our survival. Water is life! Indigenous Peoples have always been in close relationship with Grandmother Earth and are fighting to protect her and her water every day.

Dr. Maria Michael, an eastern and western healer and Lakota, led the event last night. She shared with us some stories from the Standing Rock camps, and shared with us 4 places to donate to now. The needs are still there even if the protestors at Standing Rock were made to stop. They haven't stopped their actions elsewhere and legal help is still needed. Please help as much as you can.

I added links for us to use to become further educated about the important work these groups are doing:

1. Water Protector Legal Collective (501c3)
P.O. Box 69, Mandan, ND

2. Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (501c3)
Attn. Benita Clarke
Tribal Chairman-Harold Frazier
CRST Wakpa Waste Donation
Acct# 11703
P.O. Box 590, Eagle Butte, South Dakota 57625

3. Indigenous Environmental Network (501c3)
Attn. Tom Goldtooth
Bemidjii Main Office
P.O. Box 485, Bemidjii, MN 56619

4. Lakota Law Project 
(links also to petition to send to your representatives in the House and Senate)
Attn. Dan Sheehan
740 Front Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Thank you!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

updated list on the blog map, victims of police shootings

I did some research and added names to my blog map. I found a link for info on each of these folks, so you can do your own research too.

Charles Kinsey, N. Miami, FL, July 2016
Delrawn Small, New York, July 2016
Alva Braziel, Houston, July 2016

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Flip the Switch: podcast from NPR

"In this episode we look at situations where someone flips the script – does the opposite of what their natural instinct is – and in this way, transforms a situation.":

I could see this working with race relations.

Human Family, poem by Maya Angelou

I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.

The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.

I've sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I've seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
but I've not seen any two
who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,
we weep on England's moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we're the same.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Beyond Ally is Accomplice

For white people in the fight for racial justice...explore the distinction between actors, allies, and accomplices in 12 ways: This challenges us to go beyond our comfort level.

For example, I went to a protest last Saturday, in Framingham. Supporting Immigrants, Muslims, and Jews. I read the protest section of that link before going, and learned this which helped me when I went:

Engage in or support civil disobedience organized by Black People and People of Color. One of the most important things that can be done as an Ally and Accomplice is be cautious on how you take up space at direct actions and protests. Ask yourself these series of questions before and while attending such events: 
Am I following what the leadership is asking of me? 
Am I directing media to designated Black, Brown or Indigenous People? 
Am I being cautious not to control or criticize the actions of Black, Brown, or Indigenous Peoples? 
Am I checking other White People for not being good accomplices?

All of the folks at the protest were white except the organizer who I think identifies as a South Asian or Indian man. When a fellow white protester started to question his plans and leadership, I shared with this protester what I had learned. Later when I felt uncomfortable with the ending time of the protest (as the church service in the church hosting us was starting and I thought our group was being disruptive), I decided to leave instead of suggesting to him that we should leave. I am not sure this is what that site was suggesting, but I felt it was the best way to deal with my personal opinion.

Lynching History

I have been moved to learn more about the untold truth of the many thousands of folks killed in lynchings ever since I saw a photo in the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) calendar from their Community Remembrance Project:"part of our campaign to recognize the victims of lynching by collecting soil from lynching sites and creating a memorial that acknowledges the horrors of racial injustice." 

I am making donations to EJI and getting calendars to share with folks who are interested. Ask me for more info.

This site has extensive information, an interactive map, eight heroes...and more:

EJI Dedicates Marker for Lynching Victims in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama March 07, 2017