Educating Ourselves

Hi Friends!
So many resources and bits of information for all of you this time! I’m working through a backlog of wonderful resources I’ve been collecting (thank you to those of you who send me things to share!), so please bear with me and the length of this email.
First, we need to settle on a date for the Integrated Schools presentation. We had planned on a weekend in January before the Kindergarten Information Night currently scheduled for January 28. I believe January 12 or 13 would be our best opportunity. I’ll be booking a library location, I think, unless anyone has a better venue suggestion. We’ll need an internet connection and ideally a projection screen/laptop connection for the live feed.
(1) Do you have a date/time preference?
(2) Can you help during the event? (setup/cleanup, refreshments, supplies)
(3) Can you help get the word out beforehand, either to email lists or otherwise?
(4) Do you have any questions/concerns about this event?
I recently had the opportunity to speak with a consultant who is working with the school district to address its diversity and inclusion. If you would like to contribute to the data and feedback he is collecting, I will happily pass it along to him.
I spoke at the School Board Elementary School Boundary Process hearing last night, and there were quite a few of our group members there, too! Thank you for taking the time to advocate. It was very interesting hearing so many parents in the room talk about segregation and preventing Columbia Pike from becoming another Route 50. No matter your perspective on individual opinions, the number of people willing to name segregation and speaking about keeping diverse communities together was encouraging.
One of our group members has a student at W-L and is interested in advocating with the principal about the pending name change (or at least taking down the Lee portraits while it’s being discussed). If anyone would like to join her in this effort, let me know and I’ll connect you.
Some community events:
(1) Challenging Racism is hosting Table Topics on Thursday, November 29 at 7:30 pm at the Central Library (Quincy Room). All are welcome.
(2) Leslie Mac is hosting an Allies in Action Bootcamp from March 28–31 in the Highlands of North Carolina.
(3) None of Us is Free Until All of Us Are Free workshop series, December 12 at 7 pm.
(4) Wilma Jones is speaking at the Black History Museum of Arlington on Wednesday, December 5 at 7:00 pm about her book My Halls Hill Family: More Than a Neighborhood.
Updates and resources:
(1) One of the first four black students to integrate Arlington’s schools died in October and this write-up about that moment in Arlington’s history is worth reading.
(2) After the Philadelphia Starbucks incident, two witnesses created an organization called From Privilege to Progress, which has some wonderful resources and suggestions for how to show up against racism.
(3) A few of our members let me know about the New York Times Race/Related newsletter edited by Lauretta Charlton. It’s free!
(4) The FBI recently released its latest hate crime count for 2017. The SPLC countered quickly to describe the ways in which that report (which has significantly increased numbers over past years) is not even close to counting all of the incidents of hate crime in our country.
(5) Color of Change, SURJ, and Matt McGorry teamed up for Bold Conversations to encourage white people to talk to white people about racism (language heads up for the video). SURJ Families also has resources around the holidays (sorry I didn’t get these out before Thanksgiving!). And here’s some encouragement — people can change their views!
Thank you for reading, listening, and speaking up.
Listen. Amplify. Follow.

Recognizing White Privilege

Hi Friends!
I’m sending this update early because I’m very excited to share a few recent developments with you.
First, I’d like to welcome a significant number of new members to our group. Last week I sent an email to my neighborhood about some recent expressions of racism towards our fellow neighbors (people of color) and I received a wonderfully positive response from many, who have subsequently joined our group. If you want to see a copy of what I wrote, I’m happy to share it. It can be nerve-wracking to speak up, so having an example and hearing from others who have done it can be helpful.
Also, if you’re new (or even if you’re not), please peruse our resource list here to see articles and other resources that might be useful as you engage in this work. There is also a list of organizations, many of which have email lists, if you want to start getting updates from those working in the public sphere for change.
A recent study in Virginia shows that eviction rates in our state are significantly affected by race, even after controlling for poverty and income rates.
As always, if anyone in the group is interested in a particular topic or event or relevant resource, please feel free to share it with the group. I’m always open to ideas and suggestions. I’m also actively seeking accountability partners, so if you know of community members of color who might be open to consulting/guiding our progress, please let me know.
Our friends at the Legal Aid Justice Center’s Immigrant Advocacy Program and VACOLAO have organized an information session about the proposed changes to the Public Charge Rule on Tuesday, November 27 from 9–11 am at UUCA.
For school district updates, the elementary boundary process is moving quickly. There is a Public Hearing on Tuesday, November 27 starting at 7 pm. The final vote will be on Thursday, December 6, which will start at 6 pm to allow time for public comment.
I wanted to share a couple of recent useful resources about the celebration of Thanksgiving.
(1) “Do Native Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving and Should You?”
(2) “How to Enjoy Thanksgiving Without Swallowing the Stereotypes”
One of the things you can do, for those of you with school-age children, is to think about the Thanksgiving story you tell them (or that they learn in school). Find ways to incorporate elements of the truth (age appropriate) and help them question the myths we have created around the holiday and share your own family’s values around the holiday and how they might differ.
For our white group members, please engage with the news story about the black security guard in Chicago who apprehended a shooting suspect and then was was killed by police responding to the shooting. If you have any hesitation about believing the significantly higher risk posed to people of color by police, this is just one of so many examples. It’s obviously being investigated, but that won’t bring him back and won’t bring lasting change. We don’t focus as much on criminal justice in this group, but there are direct ties to our educational system and our justice system. This is also a clear example of a white supremacist system working the way it is intended to work.
One of our group members shared this clip from the Daily Show after the election, an interview with Rebecca Traister, author of Good and Mad. The relevant part for this group is mostly in the second half when she talks about how white women have historically supported the white patriarchy and that those white women who are “waking up” need to follow the cues and leadership of Black women, who have been doing this work much longer.
And that connects perfectly with this video from Red Table Talk (hosted by Jada Pinkett-Smith) about the divide between women of color and white women (you don’t have to log in to Facebook to see it). It’s candid and compelling and also includes Jane Elliott who has been working on anti-racism work for a lifetime.
The Washington Post included an article about racial bias in online mortgage lending (much has been researched before about mortgage discrimination by banks). This means that computer algorithms are biased, too.
As news circulates about the horrific fires in California, it turns out that vulnerability to fires is higher for communities of color.
I wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving holiday. Thank you for engaging in this important work!
Listen. Amplify. Follow.

Resources for Parents

Hi Friends,
What an election. Good signs, especially related to voters’ rights. Shaun King wrote about the Ocoee, FL election day massacre in 1920, which is just one example of the ways in which people of color have been deterred from voting over time. The recent examples of voter suppression may be less violent, but they are no less effective. I’m glad to see many people standing up to protect voters’ rights all over the country.
Thank you all for the recent discussions and sharing of events and resources. I love seeing group members taking action and sharing their experiences and perspectives!
This Saturday, November 10, SURJ NoVa is hosting “Talking to Kids About Race”. This is one of the first anti-racism events I attended a couple of years ago and I highly recommend it.
Integrated Schools released their new podcasts. You can listen to them here. They describe it as “Parents talking with parents about school segregation & integration, the choices we parents make and the ways we think about them, the struggles and surprises, the joys and mistakes.”
Also from Integrated Schools is this focus on Pittsburgh and its experiences of school integration and segregation. There are overlaps and connections for white supremacy between people of color and people of Jewish faith. The experiences are not all the same, but there is common ground.
I wanted to share Hold the Line Magazine again because they have such great resources (and t-shirts now!). It’s all about supporting caregivers so we can raise our kids to make even bigger change than we can.
I’m amplifying a request from the local NAACP branch to support the Alexandria Domestic Violence Program and its upcoming Children’s Holiday Party. More information is here.
Thank you all for your continued work on yourselves and in your community.
Listen. Amplify. Follow.