“Normal” Is Not Coming Back

 Hi Friends,

Happy weekend! A quick reminder to register for our Allyship Workshop with Service Never Sleeps on October 26. I know that seems a long time from now, but space is limited and we’ll be opening up access to the broader community soon, so if you want to reserve a spot, please do so!

I am coming to the realization that returning to “normal” is not possible. It’s not going to happen. It’s something I need to stop looking for or working towards. Instead, it’s time to see the significant loss and change as an opportunity. This is the time to embrace large-scale systemic change. This is the time to rethink how we feed people, educate people, house people, provide services to people, take care of our environment, transport people, care for and treat people. This is the time. Now. Every day going forward.

This is the time to leave our bubbles of ignorance behind.

So many things are changing around us without our permission or control. This is a time of tremendous upheaval. It’s understandable to hang on to the way things used to be. It’s understandable to try to grab control of anything within reach. You’re not alone in these impulses and desires.

My eldest, now 8 years old, has had a tough week, feeling really strong emotions and having great difficulty controlling her reactions. I watch her follow the pattern of frustration, seeking control, physical flailing, raising her voice, raging against the world. My heart both breaks for her and is energized for her. I recognize all of the emotions she is feeling. I acknowledge that the world is not what she thought it was, and the betrayal of reality and the fear of the unknown are so real. I share my solace in what remains intact — our relationships, our humanity, our resilience. Our ability to adapt and change in new circumstances, to create better things out of loss, to stand up and demand that we all do better.

I hope you will find encouragement in my updates. I hope you will find yourself both better informed and energized to meet the next challenge. Many people and families are struggling and are in harm’s way and there is much work to do. Many people are already stepping up to provide services, food, educational support, information, etc. to support people in need. It’s going to take a community-wide effort to ensure that no one falls through the cracks as we move forward towards recovery. Find your spot in that effort.

I am so energized by recent communications and efforts at APS. Superintendent Dr. Durán addressed APS staff in a kick-off event this past week that I was invited to attend in my role with CCPTA. The event included a video by APS students of color who spoke clearly and forcefully about equity and what that means to them. Dr. Durán built on their voices in his message to APS staff:

- Equity is a verb.
- The goal is an equity mindset, not just an equity lens.
- Equity is more than color or race, it is everything.
- Equity can be a unifier.
- Every student by name and by need.

Our new superintendent is focused on the social-emotional needs of our children during this difficult time. He is creating culture change by being explicit about the improvements APS can make and about taking responsibility for serving every student and meeting each student’s needs. He is approaching equity from a perspective of plenty, not a culture of scarcity. He is creating the change we need in Arlington and I am very encouraged by his work so far.

This is not to say that there won’t be challenges or that we can rest easy. Culture change is difficult and takes time. We each play a role in moving it forward, in our interactions with APS staff and other parents, in our advocacy for change. I love the idea of an equity mindset (rather than a lens, which can be removed) that evolves over time as we learn new things and incorporate better understandings of equity as we do this work.

One of the ways to have an equity mindset is to ask these questions (from the Arlington County Equity Resolution):

- Who benefits?
- Who is burdened?
- Who is missing?
- How do we know?

Practice this — like in your next conversation about who in the house should empty the dishwasher or sweep the floor. Start looking at your everyday decisions and consider them in this light. Start thinking about how people in different circumstances might answer these questions.

Thank you for engaging in this work in everything you do.

- Roge Karma writes about “How cities can tackle violent crime without relying on police” (Vox, 8/7/20)
- Peter Rousselot writes “Peter’s Take: APS, County Should Collaborate on New Instructional and Childcare Options” (ArlNow, 8/12/20)
- Stephen Abbott had a Q&A session with Mark Warren about how to “Dismantle the School-to-Prison Pipeline, Remove Officers from Schools” (Beacon Broadside, 8/4/20)
- Sara Hendren writes about “The Forgotten History of How Accessible Design Reshaped the Streets” (CityLab, 8/5/20)
- Ibram X. Kendi writes “The American Nightmare” (The Atlantic, 6/1/20)
- SURJ NoVA shared “Free Them All Fridays” related to ICE detention centers
- Ibram X. Kendi writes “Patience Is a Dirty Word” (The Atlantic, 7/23/20)
- Alia Wong writes “The simple intervention that could lift kids out of ‘Covid slide’” (The Hechinger Report, 8/10/20)
- Imani Perry writes “Racism Is Terrible. Blackness Is Not.” (The Atlantic, 6/15/20)
- Kriston Capps writes “One-Third of American Renters Expected to Miss Their August Payment” (CityLab, 8/7/20)
- Jennifer A. Richeson writes “Americans Are Determined to Believe in Black Progress” (The Atlantic, September 2020)
- Liz Vinson writes “‘Courage can be Contagious’: Four women lead an impassioned movement to rename schools honoring Confederate leaders” (SPLC, 8/7/20)
- Mychal Denzel Smith writes “Incremental Change Is a Moral Failure” (The Atlantic, September 2020)
- Emily Hanford writes “What the Words Say” (APM Reports, 8/6/20), also available as a podcast.
- Ibran X. Kendi writes “Is This the Beginning of the End of American Racism?” (The Atlantic, September 2020)
- Ryan Songalia writes “How Activists Brought Black Lives Matter to NYC’s Most Conservative Neighborhoods” (Vice, 8/4/20)
- Kate Wagner writes “The Secret History of America’s Worthless Confederate Monuments” (The New Republic, 8/6/20)
- Brentin Mock writes “The City Planners’ Case for Defunding the Police” (CityLab, 8/6/20)
- Bulletin 4 of the Missing Middle Housing Study in Arlington was released on August 4, 2020.
- The Southern Poverty Law Center has a new podcast, “Sounds Like Hate
- Mark Finstrom writes “OPINION: Five ways to achieve equity in remote learning” (The Hechinger Report, 8/10/20)
- Laura Bliss writes “The Disparate Financial Impact of the American Justice System” (CityLab, 8/11/20)
- Jennifer DePaoli, Laura E. Hernández, and Linda Darling-Hammond write “Supporting a Restorative Opening of U.S. Schools” (Learning Policy Institute, 8/5/20)
- The 2020 Inclusive Schools Week Theme is “The Time for Inclusion is Now” (December 7–11)
- Learn from Dr. Joy Angela DeGruy, whose “research focuses on the intersection of racism, trauma, violence and American chattel slavery. She has over thirty years of practical experience as a professional in the field of social work. She conducts workshops and trainings in the areas of intergenerational/historical trauma, mental health, social justice, improvement strategies and evidence based model development.” There are a couple of videos near the bottom of her main page worth watching.

- A reminder of the Buy a Neighbor School Supplies effort happening through Volunteer Arlington.
- The Alliance for Housing Solutions is looking for volunteer assistance in governance/legal review.
- The League of Women Voters is looking for volunteer assistance with voter registration and outreach.
- If you’re looking for local volunteer opportunities for children, youth, and families, check out this listing.
- Mary Papenfuss writes “NAACP Plans Virtual March On Washington To Press For Police Accountability” on August 27–28 (HuffPost, 7/20/20)
- Consider joining the DMV De-Escalation Collective, which has online trainings
- OAR has Community Chats on the first Tuesday of every month. They are also hosting a series of 3-month virtual anti-racism and racial justice cohorts starting in September. The description of the program is worth reading even if you can’t participate!
- Contribute to the Give 8/28 campaign led by the Young, Black & Giving Back Institute (YBGB)
- Participate in An Antiracist Teach-In, August 16–22 (virtually)

- Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (endorsed by Oprah, CBS News, 8/4/20)
Local titles from The Black Heritage Museum of Arlington:
- Dr. Alfred O. Taylor’s Bridge Builders of Green Valley/Nauck
M.J. O’Brian’s We Shall Not Be Moved
- Wilma Jones’ My Halls Hill Family
Robin Stombler’s As We Are
- Charlie Clark’s Hidden History of Arlington County
- Loki Mulholland and Angela Fairwell’s She Stood For Freedom
Buy your books from:
Mahogany Books
Loyalty Bookstores

Listen. Amplify. Follow.

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