In 2019, Juneteenth was honored and acknowledged as an official holiday in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Rightfully so, though far too late. Read up on it, White friends, if you're not up on your history. Spoiler alert: Two years after slavery was officially ended, the Union army finally got around to actually telling the people of Texas that, um, it was time to stop owning humans and that slaves were now free, American citizens.
Check out what the Juneteenth flag, pictured above, means--it's filled with symbolism that you need to learn about. Click on it to get to Clipart-library.com and download your own copy for free.
The Assistant Secretary of State, Mary Elizabeth Taylor, just stepped down in protest because her boss's actions in response to racial tensions "cut sharply against [her] core convictions and values." Good for her, for honoring herself and the American people she represents.
Cities are, at long last, taking seriously the collective calls by protesters to rethink, reimagine and improve the way policing is carried out on the streets of our communities. Learn about what's happening in Minneapolis and what's already been in place in Camden, NJ.
The Supreme Court of the United States decided this week to protect our Dreamers and LGBTQ friends and neighbors rather than turn America's back on them.
White people everywhere (not all, but a lot more of us than ever before) are looking inward, allowing ourselves to get uncomfortable, listening and shutting up for a change, trying to figure out how to do better. This story from Vox questions whether it'll lead to any action, but at least conversations are happening now more openly.
Corporations are even joining the fight to dismantle white supremacy by instilling new policies around race, hiring, inclusion, and education. Have you seen what McKinsey Corp. has put out? A revolution is truly under way.
I hate to speak too soon, but dare I ask: Is this sense hope I'm feeling about the future of this country what patriotism feels like?
Don't add to the noise.
Instead, listen. Read. Learn.
And try to understand. No matter how 'woke' you think you may already be.
Some places to start if you're ready to really, truly hear:
Read books, listen to podcasts and interviews, and sign up for the free Racialized Trauma Home Study course by author and healer Resmaa Menaken
Learn about the Emancipation, the Reconstruction, the Great Migration, the Jim Crow South, redlining and the strategic implementation of institutionalized racism in our country, in The Warmth of Other Suns, a powerful and eye-opening history through the eyes of four Black Americans who lived it, by journalist Isabel Wilkerson.
Gain a deeper understanding behind the call to reform the criminal justice system in legal scholar Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow." Check out this throwback video to 2013, where she speaks to Bill Moyers about how impossible life becomes for people who have been convicted of a felony such as a drug charge.
Absorb the works of Angela Davis, activist and professor, including her books "Are Prisons Obsolete?" and "Abolition Democracy: Beyond Empire, Prisons and Torture"
Explore the breadth of work by Ta Nehisi Coates, including nonfiction like "Between the World and Me," fiction like "The Water Dancer," graphic novels like "The Black Panther, and any of his articles that appear regularly in The Atlantic.
Follow, listen to, read and learn from Stacey Abrams, Georgia democratic leader, NYT bestselling author and voting rights advocate.
Follow Roxane Gay on Twitter and consume her books, like Bad Feminist and How to Be Heard
Watch Jelani Cobb, professor, historian and award-winning journalist, on the foundational racism upon which this country was built. Follow him on Twitter and read his articles in The New Yorker and elsewhere.
Follow, pay attention to, volunteer for and donate to organizations that have, for a very long time, been doing work in Black communities, like these Pittsburgh-based ones: Steel Smiling, Omicelo Cares, Operation Better Block, and BPEP, the Black Political Empowerment Project.
These are just a few of the voices and groups to learn from and listen to. There are sooooo many more. Just remember to allow yourself to feel resistance as you learn. That resistance is okay. In fact, it's good!
Resist the urge to chime in. Seriously. Shut up. Swallow and nod. Allow yourself to feel uncomfortable. Let the difficulty and heaviness course through you.
Because that is when true understanding begins to take place. And that is when you can finally begin to see that Black Lives Really Do, Honest-to-God, Freakin' Obviously, Matter.
I'm Janeen; writer, mother, wife, and full-time, radical Reductionist. I share stupid-easy tips on how to save money while reducing your impact on the environment, & I'm committed to helping others live a life of simple sustainability.
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