Unlearning Racism Newsletter: Week 15/16 – We Missed You!

WEEK 16 – SEPTEMBER 18, 2020

Before we forget here’s our website of past newsletters, here’s a link to subscribe to our Patreon, here’s an anonymous question bank for anyone who wants to keep their questions private, and here’s the link to sign up to receive these newsletters if someone has forwarded them to you.

Hi friends,

We never meant to go two weeks without a newsletter but sometimes life gets away from you. We hope you didn’t forget about us. We certainly didn’t forget about you! We want to build a space to be upfront about the tragedies (and JOYS, when we can highlight them) of living in 2020, while still having ample resources about the systems around them. There has been SO MUCH we wanted to cover the past few weeks, that we just didn’t have words to fully express (fires ravaging the west coast, floods in the Gulf, forced hysterectomies at ICE Detention Centers, to name a few), but know that we have been processing them, and we are here to chat with anyone who needs space to process aloud, too. 

The past few weeks have felt heavy, and we want to acknowledge that, but not overwhelm our readers with 10 page newsletters once a week that try to address all of that heaviness but really just add to the noise. To remedy this, we’re changing things up just a little bit in the next few weeks!


For starters: big, big, big thanks to everyone who has pledged to support us on Patreon! Like we said in our last email, we’re relying on Patreon subscriptions to help pay our monthly speakers the money they’re owed for the work of teaching us about their topic areas of choice. We want to emphasize, we (Ellie and Emily) will be taking 0% of the money for ourselves. Even if you can’t make it to dialogues, we’ll be posting audio recordings of our speakers exclusively to our Patreon subscribers. You can learn more or opt in to a monthly subscription here and, for the sake of complete transparency, we will be logging our contributions and where we pay in a public spreadsheet that we’ll send in these emails as we go. 


That’s right, all you students whose semesters look different than you’d planned, we need your help! As Fall is approaching, and our jobs and schoolwork are in full swing, we’ve realized we need help maintaining this platform for which we are so grateful. We want to avoid going on several week hiatuses (like the one we took these past two weeks–sorry everyone!) when our workload and life changes overwhelm us, so we think having an intern would assist us with our goal to streamline our work and deliver Newsletters to you at a consistent time and day of the week!  

We’re looking for anyone who is committed to anti-racism in their daily lives to help us grow our resource hub and opportunities for dialogue. This internship would be 6-10 hours per week (depending on your schedule + that week’s needs) and would start (roughly) October 1 and run through early December. Is it you? Is it your child or grandchild? Is it your roommate or best friend? Send them this application!!!

Imperative skills for our intern to have: 

  • A commitment to anti-racism in their own life and a willingness to constantly challenge their own biases and assumptions
  • Good communication + a willingness to challenge Ellie and Emily when they might be missing the mark + a growth mindset 

*Helpful* skills for our intern to have: 

  • Social Media Expertise — can navigate instagram, twitter, and/or serve as a moderator for a Facebook group (to build community with all of you!). We are open to TikTok, too, but we are not in Gen Z (and clearly not very techy) so admittedly a lot of this would be wholly at the discretion of our intern. 
  • Web Design — help us make our archive of newsletters more attractive and more accessible. Help us embed an events calendar into our website. Help us upload audio and video files in a format that makes sense. 
  • Graphic Design  –– we’re hoping to translate the general messages of the newsletters (past and future) into shareable, aesthetically-pleasing graphics. 
  • Logistics — help us plan all the steps of our speaker series, connect with future speakers, and keep track of where every single cent of our Patreon funds are going so that we can maintain full transparency. 
  • Fresh ideas! 

This opportunity is available to all ages and all skillsets! If you know someone who is looking for the chance to build the technical skills or resume in this strange season, particularly if they don’t already read our newsletter, PLEASE encourage them to apply! 

For transparency’s sake, here is the con of this internship: it would have to be unpaid. We know, we hate that too. BUT what we can’t pay in money, we would love to provide in experiences, letters of recommendation, professional networking opportunities with people doing #cool #stuff, and the chance to help build a website, a social media presence, and a Teach-In series. 



We’ll start our speaker series Sunday, September 27 at 7PM EST. Lyric Swinton, cofounder of CityBright LLC and Secure the Ballot will be giving us a full rundown of what different positions on our ballots mean, what various political roles do in our communities, and how to best support Black, Indigenous, immigrant, and communities of color on your ballot. Reminder: Patreon subscribers will have video/audio access to these calls even if they can’t attend!

NEWS ROUNDUP: the past two weeks have brought a lot of tragedy of varying kinds. Here are some of the headlines that we thought were important to share. 

  • Whistleblower reports non-consensual hysterectomies at Immigration Detention Centerwe want to make two real points with this: 1) we are so, so impressed with Dawn Wooten, the nurse who leaked this information to shed light on this absolute human rights abuse. You can donate to her legal defense fund here. 2) This is a form of genocide. 
  • Evictions are on the rise across the US. Despite the September 1 eviction moratorium issued by the CDC, evictions have still been contributing to broader loss of housing, NPR’s Chris Arnold found. Because the ban on evictions isn’t automatic, “renters have to know their rights in order to fight their case, particularly in places with weak renters’ protection.”
    • If you’re interested in reading more about housing justice, we recommend this report by Matthew Desmond and his book Evicted. – “Incarceration locks men up, while evictions lock women out.”
  • As schools opened back up, white students were more likely to be able to attend in person than Black or Brown students. There are a number of factors at play here: varying severities of outbreaks in different parts of the country, differences in concern by parents regarding virus exposure, and conservative political ideologies among local school boards, to name a few. Experts fear the discrepancy portends further divides in educational outcomes for students of color in an already segregated system.
  • Oregon faces a ‘once in a generation’ crisis as fires rage on – to our west coast readers, we are holding you in our hearts this week. This sucks, to put it lightly. PLEASE let us know how we can support you, your loved ones, your neighbors, or your favorite anti-racist, pro-community organizations (Californians, Oregonians, Washingtonians, and everyone else, too!)
    • For the rest of us, whose lungs are not filled with smoke each time we step outside, consider donating to @feedthemass, who’s making sure those left in Portland during evacuation orders stay fed. Donate here, or CashAPP $feedthemass, Paypal feedthemass@gmail.com, Venmo @feedthemass
    • Migrant farmworkers in Jackson County, OR were extremely  affected by the fires, while providing the rest of us with the food we need to survive. In their honor, consider donating to Unete, an organization collecting money to distribute back to farmworker families to help with basic needs like food, gas, housing costs or other essentials. 


  • For the First Time, America May Have an Anti-Racist Majority – Adam Serwer (of our beloved Covid-racism text America’s Racial Contract Is Showing),  
  • Ear Hustle Season 6 launched its first episode of the season last week – of all the podcasts Emily loves, this one is her absolute favorite (a hard choice but a worthy one). Ear Hustle is recorded from within the walls of San Quentin State Prison. 
  • Sex Education on Netflix – okay, wow. Just watch it. It’s so good. Not explicitly about anti-racism but not-not about it, either. Soundtrack is incredible, casting is incredible, script is INCREDIBLE, truly the coming of age story we all deserve. 
  • This CityLab assessment of Where Calling the Police Isn’t the Only Option. More of this. In every city. Please. — “Skeptics of the movement to defund or abolish police departments often invoke the threat of a 911 call in the middle of the night that goes unanswered. But a lot of 911 calls could be answered by someone who’s not an officer in a uniform with a gun: Medical concerns about unhoused people, reports about individuals in the throes of a mental health crisis, and complaints about minor nuisances like loud music dominate the 911 wires… In the quest to build a more equitable and responsive public safety model, proponents of police abolition or defunding are seeking to remove the police from these daily interactions, layer by layer.”

We’ll be switching up our newsletter format to make them more digestible (sorry fam, Emily is wordy by nature), so we’ll be back in your inboxes Mondays with the theme + primary resource for the week, and Fridays with a weekly news roundup and questions for further consideration heading into the weekend. We’re so thankful you’re on this journey with us and we’re so excited to branch out all together to continue this unlearning.

In solidarity,

Ellie and Emily

PS – seriously! Do you know anyone looking for an internship? Are they committed to dismantling racism and the systems that uphold it? Encourage them to apply!!! 

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