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.

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