Let's Get To Work

Hi Friends,

Welcome to our newest members — the group continues to grow! We are happy to have each and every one of you engaging in this work.

On this last day of June, which is also Pride Month, I’d like to share some specific resources:
GiveOUT Day (TODAY!) — a national day of giving for the LGBTQ+ community.
- Learn about CasaRuby, a local organization dedicated to providing social services and programs and is run and led by transgender women of color.
- Andrew Nguyen writes about “Ways You Can Support the Black LGBTQ+ Community” (The Cut, 6/4/20)

- Sarah Bellamy writes about “Performing Whiteness” (Paris Review, 6/8/20)
- Gene Demby asks “Why Now, White People?” (Code Switch, NPR, 6/16/20)
- American University is hosting a Summer Institute on Education, Equity, and Justice, and you can watch the webinar recordings for free on their website
- Ruth Marcus writes “If you don’t believe systemic racism is real, explain these statistics” (Washington Post, 6/12/20) — especially the quote from Radley Balko, “To declare the system racist is not to brand those who participate in it as intentionally, repugnantly, guilty of prejudice.”
- Sydney Trent writes about “Young Asians and Latinos push their parents to acknowledge racism amid protests” (Washington Post, 6/22/20)
- Benita Talati writes “Marching Will Not End Racism” (Arlington Magazine, 6/23/20)
- Tim Hughes writes “It’s Way Past Time to Step Up, White People” (Arlington Magazine, 6/24/20)

- Perry Stein writes about “In debate over school shuttle, Capitol Hill parents confront race, equity — and their commutes” (Washington Post, 6/17/20) — keep resource hoarding in mind when you read this. Nikole Hannah-Jones talks about this specifically: “What I’m dealing with are public schools which are publicly funded for the public good. Every child should walk into a public school and get the same education. Those are the parents that I’m speaking to. What we are finding are parents who say they believe in a common good but they want a public school that operates like a private school — you can screen out the kids you don’t want, you can hoard resources in the school, you can hoard all the best teachers, you can determine what curriculum you’re going to get. And if that means that two miles down the road, another publicly-funded school doesn’t get any of that, then so be it. That, to me, is the height of hypocrisy.” (The Atlantic, 12/14/17)

- Travis M. Andrews writes about how “These best friends created a wildly popular Google doc about how to be an ally to the black community” (Washington Post, 6/19/20). Their website/organization, Justice in June, is really well organized for anyone new to this work and it’s an amazing resource. Please check it out!

- Jamil Zaki writes about how “Calls for racial justice gained steam with empathy” (Washington Post, 6/20/20) — the dynamic between empathy and power, including “By contrast, high-status individuals don’t have to understand others’ perspective to survive. This is one way privilege works its way into our minds. Not only are privileged people exempt from material struggles, they can comfortably ignore everyone else’s.” Empathy is a learned quality and needs to be exercised regularly, like a muscle. It’s directly connected to white privilege.

- Caitlin Gibson writes about “What five black fathers are saying to their children about this historic moment” (Washington Post, 6/19/20)
- Robert McCartney writes “Police critic says officers need more money and less stress, along with greater accountability” (Washington Post, 6/22/20)
- Jerry Brewer writes “What we see in a flag or a noose or a black racer is telling. We can do better.” (Washington Post, 6/24/20) Also check out Black Lives Matter’s “What Matters” Episode 5 “Talking Activism with Bubba Wallace.”
- Integrated Schools podcast, Episode 22 “I Hope They Hear It In Our Voices” (from 5/15/19)
- Caroline Randall Williams writes “You Want a Confederate Monument? My Body Is a Confederate Monument” (New York Times, 6/26/20)
Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and Stephen Colbert have a conversation (Mashable, 6/26/20)

- Curtiss Sarikey writes about “School-Based Health Centers: Trusted Lifelines in a Time of Crisis” (Learning Policy Institute, 6/18/20) — what if we pushed for this kind of model in Arlington schools, bringing resources to school locations (and community centers and other strategic locations, much like food/supply distribution efforts have emerged during the crisis) to provide ongoing support to residents and families in a cohesive way. One of the things concerning me for the sustainability of our efforts to serve vulnerable residents is the fact that families trying to access support (food, rent assistance, etc.) have to spend significant time and resources accessing these things, traveling to many different sites over the course of a week, and repeat this week after week. Centrally located full-service centers would make a HUGE difference and schools are already a trusted community resource. How do we think about this for Arlington?

- Sergio Peçanha presents clear statistics to illustrate American racism in “These numbers show that black and white people live in two different Americas” (Washington Post, 6/23/20). I’m including this resource in this section because I believe that each one of us has expertise or interest in at least one of the areas illustrated by the article (infant and maternal mortality, housing, poverty, unemployment, education, criminal justice). This means that each of us can take an intentional interest in addressing systemic racism where we are already passionate and/or experienced. And if you don’t have a connection to one of those already, please choose one and commit to learning about it and speaking up about it.

- One on one conversations are often how minds are changed. Integrated Schools offers an “Awkward Conversations Guide” for discussing schools and the choices families make about which ones their children attend.

- The Inclusive Schools Network shares information about the importance of resilience and the difficult challenges facing both students and teachers as we move towards the upcoming school year.

- The Legal Aid Justice Center has a petition for protecting renters in Virginia
- Sign up for and support Arlington for Justice
- Register for and watch “A live Conversation With Pulitzer Prize-Winning Creator of The 1619 Project Nikole Hannah-Jones” on July 7 from 2:00–3:00 pm. Unfortunately, this event will not be recorded.
- VOICE has a petition for preventing evictions during the pandemic
- Integrated Schools has a webinar for families thinking about schools and racial justice on July 13.
- Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR) has a Community Chat on July 7 and other events scheduled throughout the summer.
Hollaback has lots of bystander intervention trainings and resources on their website.
Service Never Sleeps Virtual Allyship Program (5 sessions on Weds from 1–2:30 pm starting July 1)
- VACOLAO is hosting an Information Session for Service Providers on Policies and Issues: Immigration, Housing, and Worker Rights During the Covid-19 Crisis — July 1 from 11–12. Register here.

Please feel free to reach out anytime, if you have questions, are struggling with something in particular, or have resources to share. We’re here to support each of you in your anti-racist journey.

Listen. Amplify. Follow.

Pity and White Saviorism

Hi Friends!
I hope you’re well and healthy and enjoying the mostly mild summer weather we’ve been having!
I want to talk this week about a common detour that white people experience when they are new to anti-racist work. When a person emerges from their bubble of ignorance into the reality of white supremacy and racism, they can experience a range of emotions, from pain to embarrassment to guilt to shame. This is normal. Often, a white person will start reading and learning and trying to understand how they could have been blind to so much discrimination, unaware of the lived realities of many of their community members. Sometimes, this process will lead us down the path of pity and white saviorism. This can easily happen because many of the sources that discuss slavery and the persistent disadvantages people of color experience (because of systemic racism) also portray people of color solely as victims and not as agents of survival, resilience, and change.
You can see pity at work in the recent article about MONA considering expanding into South Arlington. While the intentions of the people raising concerns about the silence around racism in the community and within the group (because nearly all groups have some racism) were good, the white saviorism, the “poor South Arlington families” assumptions, are offensive and misguided.
This is why the self-work must continue. We have to recognize these pitfalls along the road and work to unlearn them, too. White supremacy is not a box of confederate flags and racist imagery that we can just leave behind at the dump. It’s woven into everything, so as we move along the continuum towards anti-racism, we have to keep shedding its influence and keep resisting its attempts to corrupt us anew.
Some great resources for you this week:
- “THE CHARACTERISTICS OF WHITE SUPREMACY CULTURE” from Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups, by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun, ChangeWork, 2001. Get ready. This one will set you back on your heels — I see myself in so much of this. More work to do!
- “Helpful Rebuttals For Racist* Talking Points” from @CharCubed • Inspired by: @sujoy_shah, which sheds a lot of light on how to have these conversations and also undermines a lot of the doubts we might have about these topics.
- “Race and Privilege: An Overdue Conversation” is an incredible guide for having conversations about race with another person. I’m very excited to have this and to be able to model future conversations on this guide.
Listen. Amplify. Follow.

Juneteenth and Opportunities For Action

Hi Friends,
I hope you are safe and healthy. Thank you for all of the interest in having Facing Race in Arlington host a training or two. We’re working on putting that together. We’re also working on facilitating some discussions for our members, so watch for more information about that soon.
There are a few upcoming events that might interest you:
- Thursday, June 18 (TONIGHT) from 6–8 pm, the Arlington County Board is hosting a “Virtual Listening Session on Policing and Racial Justice
- Monday, June 22 from 7–8:30 pm, Arlington Public Schools is hosting a “Let’s Talk: A Community Discussion on Racism
- If you’re interested in joining the Arlington NAACP Chapter, they will have a New Member Orientation on Thursday, June 24
Juneteenth celebrations are happening this weekend, starting Friday! Please check them out:
SixNineteen (organized by Movement for Black Lives)
Juneteenth for Justice (organized by Yolande Kwinana)
Arlington Black Employees Council Juneteenth Peace Rally
NAACP Community Outreach Event in Green Valley
Please share other opportunities if you see them.
Please engage with this image:
- Grace Haley and Ian Karbal write about how “Amid calls for police reform, new dataset shows where police money has flowed in Congress” (OpenSecrets.org, 6/5/20)
- EmbraceRace email update with LOTS of resources and great information including how to engage with your kids about these subjects
- Video “Authors Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi on how to become aware of privilege” (CBS News, 6/5/20)
- Lorraine Berry shared “13 great books about the black experience in America” (LA Times, 6/4/20)
- Devon Kidd suggests “3 Questions White Students Should Ask Themselves Before Checking In On Black Classmates” (HuffPost, 6/14/20)
- Arlington Magazine has a section on Race & Equity with some interesting stories.
- Harvard Business School shared a case study on “African American Inequality in the United States,” available for free (Harvard Business School, 9/30/19, revised 6/15/20)
Listen. Amplify. Follow.

South Arlington Vigil & Call To Action June 13, 2020

I am honored to have been invited to speak at the South Arlington Vigil & Call To Action on June 13, 2020. The link includes information about the speakers, news coverage, photos, and a highlight video.
I include my remarks below, which are nearly contained in this video. Please listen to all of the voices from that event as we all have something to learn from each one of them.
— — — — — — — — — —
Please remember: this is a marathon, not a sprint. This is lifelong work. People have been working to dismantle racism since it started, and they have made progress. I know it feels too slow. But the only way to ensure that change continues to happen is to keep taking steps forward and to never stop.
This will be hard work. Dismantling racism requires acknowledging that this country was born out of deliberate and strategic white supremacy that was designed to disempower people of color and create systems of inequality. We cannot fix something unless we acknowledge that it exists. We cannot address opportunity gaps without understanding their origins and working to disrupt the systemic racism that lies beneath. There is a level of self-examination and self-awareness that white people are not doing that they must do. We have to acknowledge systemic racism and that our families have benefited from it for generations.
Find or create a community of support, of people who are also doing the work, who are also struggling, who can share their experiences and challenges, and who can lift you up when you need it and who will be lifted up by you when they need it. Many advocacy communities already exist. Some are ready to educate you, to motivate you, to validate you, to tear you down and build you back up. Some are ready to accept your volunteer time, your expertise, your passionate voice to amplify their own. All of them need you to do the self-work that comes with recognizing your privilege, your biases, and your power. All of them need you to be willing to look hard within and accept what you see and then work to change it.
White supremacy, and the systemic racism built from it, will try to thwart you at every turn. It will tell you that showing up at a protest is enough, signing an online petition is enough, sharing something on Facebook is enough. It will tell you that you are a good person, so there’s nothing you need to do. White supremacy will tell you that all you have to do is be nice to everyone, to not see color, to not make anyone (especially yourself) uncomfortable. It will tell you that the choices you make don’t harm anyone else. It will reinforce the myths about the American dream and equal opportunity. And it will be wrong about all of it.
Each one of us is breathing in racism every moment. It is in everything we see, touch, hear, experience, and learn. The system is built in a way that makes it nearly invisible to those who benefit the most from it, which is one of the reasons it has endured for so long. Be most attentive to discomfort — that feeling you’ve been taught to avoid — because it tells the truth. If you’re uncomfortable, you’re probably on the right track.
Because, here’s the thing. People of color who do this work have observed a pattern. White people join a movement or a cause, attend protests and events like this one. The short-term energy and passion is high and strong. And over time, those white allies start to walk away, start to abandon the cause, because they get too uncomfortable with the work. White privilege means that we have the ability to walk away, the choice to abandon our neighbors in this work. Being truly anti-racist means that you abandon that privilege instead, and you prove, in everything you do, that you will not walk away from this work. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.
Commit now to listening to our community members and believing them. Commit now to amplifying the voices of people of color and working with them to bring change. Commit now to following in the footsteps of anti-racist activists from all cultures, to dismantle white supremacy and systemic racism piece by piece and to build something better in its place that we can all be proud of.
— — — — — — — — — —
Listen. Amplify. Follow.

Actions and Self-Work. Every Day.

Hi Friends,
There are so many resources flowing right now, even more than normal. I’d like to call attention to some of them for you. This is going to be overwhelming — pick something, then return to this for more. Please do this work, every day.
- Sign the petition from the NAACP Arlington Branch for Arlington County to fund body cameras for Arlington police.
- Listen. Listen. Listen. Black Lives Matter “What Matters
- Learn about and recognize Juneteenth (June 19). Consider participating in actions this coming weekend.
- Connect with local organizations like:
— Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR), “Statement on Deaths by Racism
— Read Early and Daily (READ) which centers and celebrates all children through diverse and inclusive children’s books
— Justice Forward Virginia
— Arlington for Justice — Sign the petition from Arlington For Justice (a new coalition!) called “Rethink Policing: Reform ACPD” and sign up to get involved.
- Jose A. Del Real writes about the misguided acts of white people sending money to black acquaintances. (Washington Post, 6/6/20)
- Samuel Kimbriel writes “White Americans, resist the temptation to disengage” (Washington Post, 6/5/20)
- Kasi Lemmons writes “White Americans, your lack of imagination is killing us” (Washington Post, 6/1/20)
- Nana Efua Mumford asks people to educate themselves, especially before appropriating something from another culture for yourself. (Washington Post, 6/11/20)
- Jennfer Harvey writes “For White Women Learning Calculus in a School Building on Fire” about how white women have historically sided with white supremacy. (Medium, 10/10/18)
- Ron Seoul-Oh shares “What Now? Resources to Educate Ourselves, Fight Racism and Support Black Lives Matter” (POC Culture, 6/4/20)
- Learn about blind spots.
- Watch Oprah’s “Where Do We Go From Here?” interview with “Black thought leaders, activists and artists about systematic racism and the current state of America” (6/9/20)
- Watch “Understanding and Transforming White Womanhood Webinar” by Women’s March (6/10/20)
- Tre Johnson writes “When black people are in pain, white people just join book clubs” (Washington Post, 6/11/20)
- Brian S. Lowery writes “To my white friends, the time for talk has passed. Now is the time for work.” (Washington Post, 6/12/20)
- Consider the graphic created by Tony Ruth.
- Gene Demby on Code Switch focuses on “Making The Case That Discrimination Is Bad For Your Health” including the concept of weathering. (Code Switch, NPR, 1/14/18)
- E.J. Dionne Jr. writes about the importance of protecting our elections to further our racial and economic justice work. (Washington Post, 6/7/20)
- Theresa Vargas writes about Neli Latson, whose life changed when a stranger called the police on him because he seemed suspicious, sitting outside of a library in his neighborhood. (Washington Post, 6/10/20)
- Eugene Robinson writes about the lasting impact of symbols and why the current pushes to remove them are encouraging. (Washington Post, 6/11/20)
- Steve Majors writes about how “I’m a black man with white privilege. I see how it distorts America.” (Washington Post, 6/11/20)
I want to preface this one by asking everyone to focus on LISTENING. The experiences people have with police can vary significantly depending on the color of their skin. Believe people when they describe something completely different from what you have experienced. And then consider how you would feel if you had a similar experience. And THEN think about ways to make the system better for everyone — even better for police officers.
- Sarah Holder writes about “The City That Remade Its Police Department” (Bloomberg, 6/4/20)
- Christy E. Lopez explains what “Defund The Police” really means (Washington Post, 6/7/20)
- Petula Dvorak encourages reimagining the police, especially in light of how their work focuses on social services, but their funding and training focuses on militarization and weaponry. (Washington Post, 6/11/20)
- If you’re interested in learning about police in schools (School Resource Officers, or SROs), let me know and I can connect you to people working on addressing this in Arlington Public Schools. Yes we have them, and yes, there have been efforts for some time working on this already. Here’s a helpful article by Donna St. George and Perry Stein about it. (Washington Post, 6/12/20)
- Marc Fisher, Arelis R. Hernandez, and Frances Stead Sellers write about people experiencing food insecurity for the first time and the shame and difficult feelings that follow. (Washington Post, 6/4/20)
- Dr. Francisco Durán, Superintendent, gave a Return to School Status update at the June 4 School Board meeting.
- A survey open until June 15 about planning for the reopening of the schools.
- An update on Virginia P-EBT cards that families are receiving in the mail.
- A reminder about free breakfasts and lunches being distributed by APS through the summer.
Everyone Can Help flyer
- Plan to attend APS event “Let’s Talk: A Community Discussion on Race,” on Monday, June 22 from 7–8 p.m. Read the joint statement from the APS Superintendent and Arlington School Board.
Listen. Amplify. Follow.