Fair Compensation for POC Educating White People

Hi Friends!
Happy September!
In case you missed it, I have expanded our group to my new website, White Folks Facing Race, which includes the Resource List. Please feel free to share this with anyone and everyone to spread the movement beyond the DC area. I’ll still post updates as usual to the email group, which will also be posted to Medium and this new website. The email list will still serve as a way to find out about local events and opportunities that might not get posted to the website. Additionally, any meetings I organize in Arlington for group members will only be shared via the email group.
I recently connected with the Program Director for Race, Equity and Leadership (REAL) Program with the National League of Cities and told her about my work. She suggested adding Undoing Racism — The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond to my Resource List and will keep me posted as she finds more resources to share.
Our group has an opportunity for a special listening session with VOICE related to how we can make Amazon’s arrival an opportunity to work towards and/or mitigate the detrimental affects that can come with tech companies’ presence. VOICE has a focus on the “whole community” and would like to hear from Facing Race in Arlington members your thoughts and priorities. We could meet on Sunday afternoon, October 6, or Tuesday evening, October 15. Please let me know your interest and/or date preference.
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One of our group members went to last month’s listening session at UUCA about white supremacist violence and shared with me some poignant and wonderful observations, which I am sharing with her permission:
- “My first big moment was reacting to Danny’s [Cendejas] first words (he opened after the prompt to share his thoughts/feelings about the recent terrorism at the hands of white supremacists) which were very quietly stated “Just believe us already.” Several of them responded to the prompt with how deep the wound still was from having been in Charlottesville and this recent wave of terrorism happening on the anniversary of that date. It made me wonder how they stay so strong in the face of years of adversity and continue to show up to help white people get it at an event like this. Tracey’s [L. Rogers] response to the first and other prompts was about how tired she was, maybe commenting on this exact idea.[…] She said on several occasions that she did her best to avoid predominantly white spaces and interacting with white people whenever she could because of the exhaustion. That was really sad to hear, but of course understandable.”
- “One thing that surfaced at this one was that Reparations must include cash to impacted families. Whitney [Parnell] told a story about how recently she was at a speaking event where Reparations was brought up and a white woman said to the crowd that Reparations didn’t have to mean money, it could mean an apology, which of course elicited a lot of head-shaking and disgusted laughter from the panel. It was made clear by all three black women that Reparations must mean money. Azza [Altirafi] brought up the point that black people’s bodies and labor brought direct cash to white people as capital and that there is no end to white supremacy without the end of capitalism (and reparations in the form of cash).”
- “Another thing that got brought up was how difficult it was to be paid for the work they were there doing. Whitney mentioned how hard it is for her to get paid for her professional work in her day job, because she gets pressured to offer up her services for the greater good, despite that work being her means of income. They took up a collection at the end, but who knows if they were compensated fairly.”
I want to point out some key things here. First, any people of color who choose to engage in the work of educating white people about racism and white supremacy deserve to be fairly compensated for their work. Whitney Parnell, for example, founded and runs Service Never Sleeps, which offers Allyship workshops that last six hours each and are amazing. She offers these for free because she cares so much about the work. While this is her choice, it should be the choice of those accepting her labor to compensate her anyway.
This also ties into reparations. I know that this can mean all sorts of things and it’s going to take a long time before something happens on a national level. So in the meantime, consider taking steps to redistribute your wealth through donations or becoming a customer or member with POC-led organizations and POC-run businesses. SURJ NoVa has offered in the past to pass along any donations they receive to these activists who have participated in these listening sessions and I’m sure they would again. This is heavy, vulnerable work and they deserve to be compensated accordingly. Go to the SURJ NoVa website and donate via PayPal, then email them to let them know your name and donation amount and that you want the funds to be designated to the activist listening session that took place on August 10.
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- An affordable housing effort is receiving regionwide attention.
- The Cherokee Nation Seeks to Send its First Delegate to Congress.
- Adeel Hassan interviewed Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s son and reflected on the 56th anniversary of his “I Have a Dream” speech.
- The Washington Post created “Teaching America’s truth” about education and how slavery is taught.
- Jessica Horan-Block wrote about how common childhood accidents are treated differently when the child is of color versus when the child is white (parents of color get accused of abuse).
- A reminder about Teaching Tolerance, especially now that school is back in session.
- Brentin Mock writes about the economic divide between whites and people of color and how systems were created to maintain and deepen that gap.
- Please support Sheila Bynum-Coleman in her delegate race for HD-66 in Virginia this Saturday, September 7th at 6:30 pm.
- Registration is open for White Awake’s “Roots Deeper Than Whiteness” online course. It will be recorded, so you don’t have to be available at a particular date/time.
- Sign up for EmbraceRace’s September 24 webinar called “Breaking Hate: Supporting children to push back against white nationalism” — it will be recorded and you can access it later if you register.
- SURJ NoVa shared a #UnitedAndFree Community Meeting on Sunday, September 8 at 5 pm related to the detention of migrant children.
Keep moving.
Listen. Amplify. Follow.

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