Acknowledging Our Roots and Our Role in Supporting Change

Hi Friends!
I’d love your feedback on something. In the past, we’ve had a few small group meetings, but they were sparsely attended or I ended up canceling them. I get it. Would a Zoom or other similar online conversation be more accessible to you? You wouldn’t have to leave the house! Please  and I’ll put something together. Also, once school starts, I’ll have more openings in my daytime schedule, so let me know anytime if you’d like to get together to chat. This work is better when you’re in good company, and sometimes you just have to say something out loud to hear it in a new way.
There are many stories about the Virginia commemoration of the “beginning of slavery” 400 years ago and I thought the images and coverage in this one were particularly poignant. Another very detailed story about many of the implications and things left unaddressed was in The Guardian.
One of the goals of this group is to encourage each other to consider more than our own children, our own schools, our own neighborhoods, and to act in the interest of the greater community, the greater good, sometimes even at the (perceived or real) expense of ourselves. Nancy Gibbs wrote an oped related to this. A friend also mentioned Robert D. Putnam’s book called Our Kids:The American Dream in Crisis which touches on the inequality gap and our responsibilities to each other.
Lately I’m reading Dr. Beverly Tatum’s Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? (I started it a while back and have come back to it). I’m finding so much value in everything she writes, but what has jumped out at me is the importance of understanding our own whiteness and racial identity (yes, white people have one, too, even if you’re not aware of it!). I really recommend her book and many of the more recent books on whiteness.
Here are some more resources:
- Courtland Milloy wrote about his father and the legacy of slavery.
- NAACP President Derrick Johnson wrote about a recent visit to the border.
Angela Dorn at BlackHer interviewed Tiffany Loftin, director of the NAACP Youth & College Division, which includes a message of hope about young people, activism, and messages for change.
- The Lakota People’s Law Project is one of many organizations advocating for Native American people, including the fight against oil pipelines across their lands.
- Using historical preservation arguments to hide NIMBY tendencies (so many ways to hide our resistance to change!) has shown up recently in Alexandria related to e-scooters.
- Farmer’s markets can become flash points for addressing racism in a community, like this situation in Bloomington, Indiana.
And some upcoming events:
- Challenging Racism is hosting a book club on Biased by Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt on September 24.
- If you’d like to learn about redlining, the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Commission and Challenging Racism have put together a program on September 12 at Washington-Liberty HS from 7:00–9:00 pm (free) — “This interactive program focuses on the Federal Housing Administration’s mid-20th century use of redlining to prevent loans to Black people in selected areas. Using local maps and stories, Challenging Racism will show how these practices affected Arlington by rules and laws supporting in segregated housing and influencing housing patterns today. Attendees will have opportunities for questions, discussion and reflection. Resources for follow-up reading and discussion will be provided.”
- Also related to housing, “The Color of Housing: The History of Racism in Housing in Arlington” is taking place on September 28 from 1:00–3:00 pm at Wakefield HS (Room A-134) — “League of Women Voters of Arlington (LWVA), Virginia Humanities, NAACP, the Alliance for Housing Solutions, and Challenging Racism are partnering for an event on the history of racism and housing in Arlington.” Register here.
- Busboys and Poets in Shirlington is hosting a monthly discussion series called A.C.T.O.R. (A Continuing Talk on Race) at 5:00 pm starting September 29.
- Another Allyship training by Service Never Sleeps is scheduled for October 19 from 10:00 am-5:00 pm at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC. If you attend, PLEASE donate funds to the organization and/or the facilitator(s). They deserve to be compensated for this very heavy work.
Listen. Amplify. Follow.

Historical Roots and Today's Actions

Hi Friends!
Sorry this update is a bit late today! Our event last week was a wonderful opportunity to speak with Parisa Dehghani-Tafti about her vision for the Commonwealth’s Attorney office and what she has been working on since the primary in June. News flash — she still has to be officially elected in November, so please don’t rest on the success of the primary. Work to get out the vote! You can get connected with the campaign . And if there is interest in putting together another group meeting with her, please let me know!
Follow-up from the Black Parents of Arlington pamphlet and APS’s response includes an , raising more awareness about racial disparities in Arlington’s schools. If you plan to speak at any School Board meetings this year, keep this information in mind and follow their lead.
- Petula Dvorak encourages parents to .
- Prince George’s County is . Ward 7 in DC is also collecting school supplies (see attached).
- New Hampshire , as are many other white people across the country in relation to political candidates and elected officials. I made this an action item because each of us has a role in speaking up and making racial justice something everyone should care about and work to make a reality.
- The NAACP has an initiative called “Power of Five” to help get more people registered to vote. You can  to get involved.
- The NAACP is also gearing up to ensure a fair census in 2020, so if you’re interested in that, .
- Texas law enforcement . For all of the arguments trying to explain why this wasn’t racist, that the members of law enforcement weren’t racist: there is no way they would have done this to a white person.
- Attorney General Barr spoke to the Fraternal Order of Police last week and referred to the dangers posed by district attorneys “who style themselves as ‘social justice’ reformers”. .
- There was a  who had to walk from the Upper South to the Deep South.
- Rebecca Tan highlighted the fact that .
- A group member shared that a recent episode of the  featured an interview with Valerie Wilson, director of the Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy at the Economic Policy Institute, in response to the  regarding the persistence of a racial wealth gap in America. Stephanie Lampkin called into the show and mentioned her company, , which is “developing BlendScore: a proprietary inclusion index that publicly rates companies on how effectively they are supporting diversity, inclusion, and equity across their business. We will not see serious investments in solving these problems until companies experience a cost of inclusion indifference.”
- IntegratedSchools shared a  to keep in mind as we start the new school year.
- The SPLC’s Weekend Read is entitled, “” which seems obvious, but is really worth the read.
- NPR had a recent story about . They also had a story about how  where they are more likely to be deported.
- Christopher Ingraham wrote about the new research that .
- Sarah Holder wrote about city planning and how the public consultation process can be .
- Plans at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) .
- Matthew Desmond wrote as part of the 1619 Project, “
- EmbraceRace shared the video of their conversation about “
- You can read more about Black August , from the San Francisco Bay View, a national black newspaper.
- “
Listen/Believe/Learn/Speak. Every. Day.
Listen. Amplify. Follow.

Plenty of Inspiration for Anti-Racist Work

Hi Friends!
Welcome back to school for those of you at Barcroft! A reminder that our meet and greet event with Parisa is this evening at 7:30 pm. If you haven’t RSVP’d, you can still come! Just let me know.
We’re coming up on two years since this group’s founding (August 22, 2017) and I used to wonder whether I’d have enough content to share on a weekly basis. I don’t wonder that anymore, in fact, I’m trying hard not to fill my weekly updates only with current events! It may be that you wish for the time when racism wasn’t constantly discussed/on display, but consider this — you can’t fix it if you don’t see it. For those of us in the group who are white, we were able to exist in our bubbles of privilege, believing that we had entered a “post racial” era. We can’t believe that anymore, which means that we can now work to be a part of truly ending white supremacy.
I was sorry to hear about Toni Morrison’s death and there have been many lovely tributes and memories shared about her incredible contributions to humanity. Take her words to heart and use what you have to make things better for someone else.
Did anyone attend the listening session last weekend (August 10)? I was out of town and so sorry to miss it — I’d love to hear your thoughts.
- One week ago, ICE arrested nearly 700 people, leaving many children to come home to empty houses. There are many organizations trying to help them and their families — here’s one, which is splitting donations among six different organizations working in Mississippi. VACOLAO is rallying on Friday, August 16 from 12–1 pm in front of ICE headquarters (500 12th St SW, Washington, DC 20536).
- The Black Parents of Arlington advocacy group put together a report on racial disparities in Arlington’s schools. The pamphlet they created is here. There has also been some recent AEM discussion about it. The more we amplify this to APS, the more likely it will be that they take action to address it.
Watch this space for information about the APS Superintendent search and how the community will be engaged in the process.
Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR) is coordinating a backpack drive for children who have a parent incarcerated locally. You can also help them stuff and deliver backpacks by registering here.
- Shaun King’s Flip the Senate campaign has launched and needs volunteers and support.
Ibram X. Kendi has a new book out called How to Be an Antiracist, clarifying that one can either be racist or anti-racist. There is no in-between. I’m making this an action, not a resource because, as his website states, “How to Be an Antiracist promises to become an essential book for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step of contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society.” Sounds like required reading for this group (including me!)!
- Desegregation (integration?) news from California schools proving school district officials kept children of color out of a white area. The settlement could be groundbreaking and many lawsuits are taking place nationally, appealing to state laws to enforce desegregation.
- The Administration again is threatening immigrants with the “public charge” rule, which, of course, has racist origins.
Washington DC and Northern Virginia are pushing back against Administration proposals to build shelters for unaccompanied minors who cross the border. You can also check out Close the Camps.
- A reminder about Race/Related at The New York Times (which you can access for free if you create an account), particularly in its recent coverage of the five year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death (August 10) in Ferguson.
- Please also check out the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project: “The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”
- August 6 was an anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and this article from Nancy Abudu in Essence discusses what steps still need to happen for voting rights to be restored and for suppression to end.
- Two new studies have come out recently about the disparities in the way police treat white and POC suspects.
- The SPLC put together a video tribute, “Two Years After Charlottesville” (August 12).
- Apparently traffic jams are caused by segregation.
- From one of our group members: “After a summer break, The African American Authors Discussion Group will start monthly sessions again on Friday September 20, at 7:30 pm. We will talk about Stamped From the Beginning, The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X Kendi. The book has won several awards and has been described as “A staggering intellectual history of racism in America that is both rigorous…and readable.” New Republic. At 500 pages the book is a commitment, but even if you just read one or two of the five sections, you might like to join the discussion.”
- SURJ DC is hosting a Queer and Trans White People Dismantling White Supremacy series of workshops in September.
- The Black Heritage Museum of Arlington is hosting a discussion on Jennie Dean and Jennie Dean Park on August 27.
- EmbraceRace is hosting a conversation called “‘It’s a Shared Sentence,” Parents, Kids and the Cost of Incarceration” on August 27. Remember, if you register, you can watch the recording later if that date/time don’t work for your schedule.
SURJ National is hosting three event calls:
- Dean Spade — Solidarity Not Charity: Mutual Aid for Survival and Mobilization on Thursday, August 15
- Organizing Men for Collective Liberation with Matt McGorry — Get Active Against White Male Supremacy! on Sunday, August 18
- Mab Segrest — Memoir of a Race Traitor: Fighting Racism in the American South on Monday, August 26
Keep lifting up.
Listen. Amplify. Follow.


We are committed to facing racism in ourselves and our communities and taking anti-racist actions to dismantle white supremacy and systemic racism. Please join us!

If you identify as white, are you conscious of your race and how it affects every moment of your life? Are you willing to do the work to find out?

If you haven’t considered this question before or have no idea what I’m asking you, please read on. I’m white and the mother of three young children. I have been connecting with people in my community to encourage fellow white folks to come to terms with our privilege, identify our own racism and biases, and then leverage our privilege in ways that follow, listen to, and amplify people of color's (POC's) efforts locally and more broadly to dismantle systemic racial and economic discrimination.
Our focus is often on primary and secondary educational equity issues because that is how our community organizing has manifested, but the resources we have compiled over time are relevant to the many ways white supremacy affects our culture and society.
I have been writing updates to my group on a weekly basis since August 23, 2017, and I will be sharing those updates more widely here (edited as needed) to encourage white folks everywhere to do this important work and to trust that many others are also engaged in facing race.
My group is based in the Washington, DC area, so if you are located in our community and you would like to be more involved in person with our meetings or local events, please contact me.

Responding to Hate

Hi Friends!
Happy August. For some, it is known as Black August and this quick history will tell you why.
- William Wan at the Washington Post wrote an article about the detrimental health effects of racism, particularly on children.
- Keep your eyes on Del. Samirah (Fairfax) who spoke up at the Jamestown celebration during the President’s remarks and who is now calling attention to the systemic racism of “The Virginia Way.”
- Also related to the Jamestown celebration, Dana Hedgpeth wrote about Powhatan and his descendants.
- Robin DiAngelo (author of White Fragility), wrote about how white people react to diversity training in the workplace.
- Teen Vogue’s Elly Belle wrote about “How White People Can Hold Each Other Accountable to Stop Institutional Racism.”
- Max Boot wrote “Get a grip, white people. We’re not the victims.” in The Washington Post.
- The National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) is hosting information sessions about a new initiative in the DC area: “This is an opportunity for activists working in progressive organizations to be trained to lead workshops within their organizations that will deepen their understanding of: anti-Semitism, the relationship between anti-Semitism and racism, and the use of anti-Semitism as a weapon to incite internal discord within communities, pit progressive organizations against each other, and undermine the work of building a more inclusive society.” Information sessions are being held on September 18 and 25 and you can RSVP here.
- SURJ NoVa is hosting a screening and discussion of the first installment of “When They See Us” on August 18 at 6:30 pm.
- The Green Valley Civic Association is hosting Green Valley Day on September 21 from 12–6 pm.
- Mijente, La ColectiVA, and Justice for Muslims Collective have started a #CheckYourComplicity campaign. You can sign the petition here and you can read about the campaign launch here.
Shaun King has been on fire in the last week:
- He announced The Action PAC, which is focused on flipping the Senate and directly addressing racism and bigotry in our country. This is also directly relevant to the recent mass white supremacist gun violence we have experienced.
- If you’re looking for a way to volunteer to help elect progressive district attorneys around the country, the Real Justice PAC is accepting volunteers for data entry to help get new candidates on the ballot — a very flexible time commitment!
One foot in front of the other, especially when you’re despairing. Keep moving. Self care. Keep moving.
Listen. Amplify. Follow.
PS. I just found out about a Listening Session — “Everyday White Supremacy” — at UUCA on Saturday, August 10 from 7–9 pm, including some of the same amazing activists who did the listening session after the news about Northam and other VA leadership hit the news. This is not to be missed. (Unfortunately, I will be out of town.) Please make an effort to attend!