Hi Friends,

I hope you’re all doing well now that summer is (almost officially) here. I don’t know about you, but our spring felt like a frenzy of activity even though I try so hard not to overschedule our family. So far, I have been spending more time outside, in the garden or on walks in the neighborhood, identifying our local birds and plants, seeking connections that will help me feel rooted and supported. I hope you also have time and space to slow down and feel connected to your community. Maybe upcoming Juneteenth celebrations are a good opportunity for that.

I started reading Braiding Sweetgrass a while back and then put it down for a time. I picked it back up recently and it has again shifted my perspective so foundationally. Robin Wall Kimmerer writes so beautifully, and her deep beliefs in reciprocity, abundance, respect, and restoration of our relationship with the Earth are so inspiring. She writes,

“We need acts of restoration, not only for polluted waters and degraded lands, but also for our relationship to the world. We need to restore honor to the way we live, so that when we walk through the world we don’t have to avert our eyes with shame, so that we can hold our heads up high and receive the respectful acknowledgement of the rest of the earth’s beings.”

We have lost our relationship with the earth and this isolation and our harmful systems also contribute to the loss of our relationships with each other.

I want to highlight two recent articles about how our culture contributes to the burnout of BIPOC women leadership, even in spaces that work towards inclusion and equity. The first is by Chris Talbot-Heindl, who writes for Community Centric Fundraising, entitled, “Let’s Talk About How Nurturance Culture Can Improve Our Movement.” The second article, by Kerrien Suarez and Whitney Parnell (of Service Never Sleeps), called “‘We Specialize in the Wholly Impossible’: Navigating Three Black Women Tropes in Leadership” is essential reading for anyone who works with Black women in leadership roles (which I hope is most of us!). I recognized every one of these tropes acting upon women who I love and respect and I am grateful for this article for raising awareness and showing us how we can do better.

The 70th anniversary of Brown v Board took place this year and I wanted to amplify a resource shared by Anti-Racism Daily called the Segregation Explorer map. Check out your area (or anywhere in the US) to see trends in race and income by school, district, and state.

I appreciated a reminder from Anti-Racism Daily about the four levels of oppression and how to work to recognize those levels even when what we’re witnessing might feel individual in the moment. These skills take practice.

I have been thinking a lot over the last few months about how to shift beyond acknowledgement to action. Here are two areas in which I encourage you to learn and hopefully take action to engage in shifting the power dynamics in our systems.

Decolonizing and repairing Indigenous communities
- Learn — All My Relations podcast, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States
- Shift Wealth — Decolonizing Wealth Project
- Shift Power — NDN Collective
- Shift Opportunity — Rock the Rez

Legacies of Slavery and Reparations
- Learn — The Cost of Inheritance (PBS special)
- Contribute — The Jamestown FoundationReparations4SlaveryThe Reparations Project
- Raise Your Voice — Redesignate Arlington House as a National Historic Site
- More Ways — Coming to the Table’s (CTTT) Guide to the Reparations Movement

More opportunities to learn:
- Esther A. Armah’s Emotional Justice
- Garrett Bucks’ The Right Kind of White
- James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time
- White Awake is offering “Radical Genealogy: Research Skills for Liberatory Ancestral Recovery” in July

Please continue to engage in advocating for human rights and against genocide. The Catalyst Project (Anti-Racism for Collective Liberation) shared a speech by Lara Kiswani at the People’s Conference for Palestine last month about the importance of organizing. The US Campaign for Palestinian Rights is encouraging a Summer of Resistance. White Awake is running a summer “Study & Action for Palestine” starting June 17 (register by June 16).

My guiding values for all of this work are more and more clearly centering around Humanity. Healing. Belonging. Love. Sending so much love and hope to you during these challenging times.

Listen. Amplify. Follow. In Solidarity.

Distraction From What Matters

Hi Friends,

I hope spring is finding you (it’s slow here in Denver as we just had over a foot of snow last week). I find that March can be a mix of excitement and new growth, coming out of our winter burrows and stretching towards the sun.

I also find a franticness, a rush to do things, to get things done, to push into high gear as though we’ve been lazy or unproductive during the slower winter months. I notice people driving more erratically or impatiently, our schedules filling up with even more activities, a rush to pack everything in before the school year ends and summer arrives. There’s almost this constant push to get all the things done so we can rest…. but do we ever actually rest?

I’m reading Rest Is Resistance by Tricia Hersey, founder of the Nap Ministry, and it is another significantly impactful book. She rightly points out that rest is a human right and is essential to our survival. She notices the way “grind culture” prevents us from resting and is intrinsically part of the way capitalism and white supremacy keep all of us in a state of oppression and distraction and exhaustion.

Have you noticed how exhausted you feel? How distracted and overwhelmed and BUSY you feel? Why do you feel this way? Take a look at what our society asks of you (especially moms out there, and any caregiving person) and how little support you receive. And if you experience intersections of identity that add layers of oppression, society asks even more of you, just to “keep up” and provides even less support.

BUSY is not a badge of honor. It is a distraction, an effort to divide us, a tool of oppressive systems to keep us from having any time or energy to fight against them. Social media and constant access to technology contribute to the distractions we face, creating distance in our relationships and connections to each other even as it supports the illusion of community. Our news cycle and political shenanigans also serve as distractions, overwhelming us and contributing to a feeling of helplessness.

What would happen if you had a truly vulnerable conversation with another person, face to face, about what each of you care about, are affected by, and want to do something about? What if you made that a priority? What if you made a conscious choice to let go of the things external forces are telling you you have to do and made decisions for yourself based on your values and priorities and said NO more often? What if you made time to take action on the things that matter most to you?

We are surrounded by and inundated by a constant flow of do this, buy this, say this, host like this, live like this, look like this, raise your kids like this — all ostensibly to make our lives better, more comfortable, more satisfying, more successful. Is it working? Do you feel fulfilled? Or do you feel frantic and empty and wanting for something real? Listen to that feeling, to that internal knowing. Somewhere deep down, you know the truth of what you value and need. Block out the noise and rest and LISTEN.

Imagine what we could accomplish if we were less distracted, more connected to our communities, more aware of our basic needs and how to meet them. I understand the pull of productivity as self-worth and I can tell you that there really is a better way. What could we accomplish if we rejected the need to be busy and stood up in the streets, in our neighborhoods, in our state houses, in our schools, and fought for improvements to the things that are harming us?

I can hear that this could sound like “DO MORE!” In fact, we need to do less for a time until we can hear our inner knowing and then use our time and energy differently, more intentionally, so that we can maintain momentum and action for the long-term, taking turns to rest and act, rest and act, collectively. Taking time to heal is an essential component of this.

Jessica Valenti wrote recently about abortion rights:

“Anti-abortion lawmakers and activists are counting on us being too overwhelmed to stop them from normalizing this madness. They know that being sad, angry and exhausted all the time is difficult — if not impossible — to keep up. They figure if they can keep hitting us with horror after horror, the next time we read a story of a woman going septic we’ll respond with a resigned head-shake rather than energized outrage.”

The things happening in our country that are further decreasing our rights and putting more people in grave danger is not normal. Despite the fact that many types of oppression have been around since our founding, and that they regularly put people’s lives in danger on a regular basis, the dangers are increasing and our freedoms are decreasing. We must not accept that this is normal or that there is nothing we can do. We must not give up or turn away, thinking we are too busy or too tired or too small to do anything about it.

Naomi Klein wrote in her book Doppelganger about Jewish re-traumatization vs collective grief,

“Remembering puts the shattered pieces of our selves back together again (re-member-ing); it is a quest for wholeness. At its best, it allows us to be changed and transmuted by grief and loss. But retraumatization is about freezing us in a shattered state; it’s a regime of ritualistic reenactments designed to keep the losses as fresh and painful as possible. Our education did not ask us to probe the parts of ourselves that might be capable of inflicting great harm on others, and to figure out how to resist them. It asked us to be as outraged and indignant at what happened to our ancestors as if it had happened to us — and to stay in that state.”

We must have opportunities to heal, to grieve, to find our way to resistance and solidarity. This requires rest, space, time, and each other. We have more choices than we think we do about how we spend our time, energy, and resources. We will be most effective in our quests for a better world if we are rested, healed, and whole.

Being stuck in a trauma or frantic state can be just as damaging as apathy and resignation. Many of us have experienced a heightened state of vigilance during the pandemic, a state that felt unsustainable (and was) and still we did not feel safe resting or letting go of our need to control and prevent. For our community members who experience layers of oppression, this has been even more constant throughout their lives because of the ways our systems threaten them.

And yet, we must find a path in between, a balance of rest and action, to both survive and to thrive, as we change the systems and refuse to allow oppression to be acceptable. Be reminded of such efforts as Revolutionary Love to inspire and guide you. Shelly Tochluk recently shared,

“Amidst the cancelation of sociology as a requirement in Florida’s university system, there is a call for historians to stand up in solidarity. To my mind, we can all be public historians, shining lights on contemporary societal inequities and their link to our nation’s history. To that end, check out this beautiful example of how we can all do something in our local community to push against the far-right’s highly motivated, organized, and well-funded force, as it tries to force the maintenance of a “colorblind” view of the world.”

There are so many people engaged in this work and we need you to join us. Find your niche, make time to rest, and take action.

Listen. Amplify. Follow. In Solidarity.

Inclusion, Belonging, and Genealogy

Hi Friends,

I hope 2024 is treating you well so far. I have spent the last few months really exploring ideas of inclusion and belonging and I have undertaken a lot of family history and genealogy research that has been really revealing for me.

I want to share the training opportunities available from White Awake again with all of you. I did a recent one on genealogy research and it was so great and helpful to understand harm endured, harm caused, and the historical context of these experiences. I also want to reiterate my increasing appreciation for Braver Angels, navigating ways to a less divisive and more inclusive path forward together.

I thought that Michele L. Norris’s reflections on her Race Card Project was brilliant and insightful and painful and all the things. And I want to highlight how Community-Centric Fundraising adjusted their space to better reflect their purpose and who they center as part of their grassroots movement.

Here’s an opportunity to participate in a research study (via Integrated Schools):

“Are you a White mother interested in antiracist parenting?

EmbraceRace is currently seeking volunteers to participate in a research study supporting White antiracist parenting. Please see the description below and fill out the enrollment form if you think you might be eligible and interested, and consider passing this opportunity along to others in your network.

This study is being conducted by Dr. Gail Ferguson and Dr. Melissa Koenig at the University of Minnesota. This is a study for White mothers and White children between the ages of 5 and 8, and it will take place entirely online. CARPE DIEM (Courageous, Antiracist, and Reflective Parenting Efforts: Deepening Intentionality with Each Moment) is a new antiracist parenting intervention for White parents. The goal of the study is to examine how the intervention works and teach us how to best equip and support White parents and their children on their antiracist journeys. This study is for mothers who have an interest in antiracist parenting, whether they have already begun taking steps in this direction or are considering the possibility of taking steps in the future. Moms and kids will each receive e-gift cards of their choice for completing different parts of the study.

If you’re interested in participating in this study, click here to fill out a short enrollment form! You are welcome to email the research team with questions at”

I have been learning about and getting more involved in efforts to support unhoused people here in Denver, particularly as it intersects with the influx of migrants to this area. Here’s a recent report for Denver, as a snapshot of the challenges people face. Please stay aware of a Supreme Court case that could heavily affect how houselessness is handled in this country. This issue is so clearly about how we choose to take care of each other and I encourage you to learn about how unhoused people are treated in your area.

I appreciated the feedback after my last post in November. I’d like to share another resource, “What Jewish Voice for Peace Can Teach White People About Anti-Racism” by David Dean. Please stay engaged on ceasefire efforts as well as local efforts in your area around inclusion and belonging for everyone.

I also appreciated the recent update from Anti-Racism Daily (ARD) about the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, particularly in the way it reframed my understanding of who lived where and how the land that is now the United States was acquired over time. It directly relates to my genealogical work, thinking about patterns of immigration, settler colonialism, and historical narratives that leave out key pieces of the truth.

I was so happy to see that Arlington County is working to memorialize the names of the enslaved in that place. I was intrigued by the story about Asheville, NC pursuing reparations work in the face of statewide resistance. If you’re interested in learning more about reparations efforts, there are many, but in the vein of genealogy work, check out Coming to the Table and the work they are doing.

A friend recently asked about resources I have found particularly helpful around the topics of inclusion and belonging. In the last year, I read two that were truly life-changing: See No Stranger by Valarie Kaur and How We Show Up by Mia Birdsong. I am currently reading A Paradise Built in Hell by Rebecca Solnit, which explores the alternate worlds we create during disaster responses, and the ways in which we respond by building community and taking care of each other and how happy that makes us.

As you might have noticed, genealogy has a lot of my attention these days. I have discovered in my research many examples of harm caused: enslavers, settlers, military involvement in the Confederacy and those fighting Indigenous people, and criminal activity. I have also discovered resisters — people fighting oppression, people speaking up for inclusion and belonging, people building community. I am immersed in the greys of humanity — no person is only good or only bad.

In the process of uncovering these stories, I have grappled with how my research intersects with privilege, oppressive systems, and harm caused; I have felt guilt and shame at times and I have grieved and felt pride and gratitude. I am exploring several themes, including how my ancestors parted from their cultures of origin (mine are mostly in England, Scotland, and Germany), how they built wealth over time, and what my role is in reparative work to promote healing and continue this trajectory in future generations.

If you have researched your family (or if you haven’t, but you’re curious), I’d love to chat about how you have engaged with challenging family history and what mysteries still remain to be solved. I find that challenging work like this is best done in community and I’d love to engage with you on this topic. I’m also happy to help with genealogical research. Please reach out to me if you’re interested.

Listen. Amplify. Follow. In Solidarity.