Relevant Context for Productive Conversations

I hope you’re all staying dry in another week full of nothing but rain. If you’re looking for some reading while you stay indoors and relax, I’m including some new resources for you at the end of this email.
Please keep considering whether you are able to attend a few School Board meetings over the coming school year. If you can, please let me know.
I had a meeting with the recently elected Democratic candidate for County Board last week to talk about equity issues, which he has been involved in for a long time in various ways. He’s interested in meeting with our group (not necessarily election-related), so please let me know if you have interest in attending this and I’ll try to set something up. Please note that this is not a political endorsement, just more networking with people working on these issues in our community.
I was really interested in Monica Hesse’s article in the Washington Post last week in which she had a productive conversation with a person who was assuming his feelings were facts, something many of us do to varying degrees. What was particularly interesting to me was that she was able to engage with him in a way that validated his feelings, led him to be open to being wrong, and to change his perceptions when faced with facts from an experiment they conducted together. It made me think about all of these biases we have in ourselves and how we might find ways to challenge those assumptions we make about other people and stay open to seeking out the truth and accepting what we find.
I also had some time to go back to some of the links I had saved to read and I found some really interesting resources:
(1) The Economic Policy Institute wrote a comparison of the state of things when the Kerner Commission clearly identified “white racism” as the source of inequalities between white and black Americans in 1968 and today’s challenges. “While African Americans are in many ways better off in absolute terms than they were in 1968, they are still disadvantaged in important ways relative to whites. In several important respects, African Americans have actually lost ground relative to whites, and, in a few cases, even relative to African Americans in 1968.”
(2) Shaun King wrote in The Intercept about Larry Krasner, a longtime civil rights attorney who was elected DA in Philadelphia and the amazing policies and progress he’s making.
(3) Tom Jacobs wrote in CityLab about white flight persisting in suburban neighborhoods, saying “Whites continue to leave neighborhoods with significant levels of non-white residential growth.”
(4) Also related to the justice system, and in light of the recent executive order from the administration, Lauren-Brooke Eisen and Miriam Aroni Krinsky wrote in CityLab about the importance of US attorneys and prosecutors in playing a role in reducing incarceration.
(5) If you’re interested in affordable housing efforts, the term “inclusionary zoning” might be particularly of interest — check out CityLab’s take.
For those of you involved in PTA efforts in our communities as you plan for the coming school year, please keep equity in mind as you participate in these spaces, asking questions, thinking about who is not at the table or being considered, and pushing your school community to improve. If you want more ideas, you can refer to the Diversity and Inclusion toolkit at National PTA.
Listen, Amplify, Follow.

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