FRIDAY ROUNDUP WEEK 18 – SEPTEMBER 28, 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 bankfor 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.
As we round out another week in the midst of a global pandemic, climate disaster, some truly unhinged performances by those who are supposed to be our “leaders,” and intense moment of reckoning with our shared history of deep racism and oppression, we wanted to share this resource that showed up in Emily’s inbox yesterday morning and helped her wrap her brain around existing in this strange time.
Instead of dwelling on how deeply heinous the debate was and how deeply heinous the Klansman-in-chief’s emboldening of other hate groups was, we wanted to share some of what we’re reading offline because it’s so good and Emily has no self control. I (Emily) just finished Danielle Sered’s Until We Reckon for the second time and I am just so awestruck with our capacity for harm and for healing, as individual people and as members of greater institutions. Sered, a restorative justice practitioner and founder of Common Justice in NYC, talks a lot about reckoning, not peace, not acceptance, as the opposite of violence.
Sered’s book isn’t explicitly about racism, but rather, violence as a whole and how, if we really wanted to end violence, we would take radically different approaches to address it than those that have become our norm. We’re sharing this here because racism is violence. And how we determine what acts are truly violent is so much predicated upon racism: whose pain is accepted as valid, whose pain is treated as though it’s deserved, whose past crimes (or lack thereof) are listed when we talk about their pain.
Sered calls us to “steer into our reckoning,” to choose to face the harms committed by the generations of white folks before us and the generations to which we are members and hold ourselves accountable to them. Reckon with the way white wealth has been built off of Black exploitation. Reckon with our country’s genocidal actions toward Indigenous people. Reckon with the shame, with the pain, with the chosen ignorance, with the “I don’t see color” as a means of rendering others invisible, with the way we once thought “Black Lives Matter” was “too extreme” to say aloud.
And then she kind of gives us the blueprint for how to reckon through the elements of accountability. Maybe these are common knowledge but I hadn’t ever seen them before and honestly, now I wish I could tattoo them to the insides of my eyelids for all the times I say or do something harmful and then want to crawl into my turtle shell of shame and never deal with it. And since I can’t do that, I figured we would leave them here:
The Elements of Accountability
- Acknowledging responsibility for our own actions (and for the actions of those before us and those to which we have been complicit),
- Acknowledging the impact of our actions on others,
- Expressing (and allowing ourselves to feel) genuine remorse,
- Taking action to repair the harm to the degree possible (and actions that are rooted in the harmed party’s needs and desires, not our own idea of them), and
- No longer committing similar harms.
OUR FAVORITE HEADLINES THIS WEEK
- Ableism is a Racial Justice Issue
- Feuding with Donald Trump is Not Police Reform
- When Police Violence is a Dog Bite
- The Firsts: The Children Who Desegregated America’s Schools – a special project from the Atlantic wherein reporters do deep dives into the lives of the individuals who were the firsts in their communities to integrate schools. The first five are available to read at the link above!
MARK YOUR CALENDAR:
The next speaker in our series will be next Sunday, October 11 at 7PM EST/5PM MDT. Sophonie Pierre-Michel, an organizer with Strategy for Black Lives in NYC, will be speaking to us about the power of protest, how to show up, and what we can do when we’re not in the streets to keep the movement alive. We’ll send more details in Monday’s newsletter!
CALLING ALL SOUTH CAROLINIANS
We’ve mentioned this before but we are big proponents of repealing the South Carolina Heritage Act and all the other equivalent pieces of legislation in our neighboring states. The Heritage Act is a South Carolina law that prohibits local governments from removing any Confederate monuments within our communities without a two-thirds majority vote by the South Carolina General Assembly. This means small towns, public schools, colleges and universities, and any other community who wants to control what their community honors can’t without it passing through the state legislature.
SO, the statewide coalition to Repeal the Heritage Act will be hosting virtual op-ed training sessions to drum up local support through op-eds and letters to the editor to shine a light on why repealing the Heritage Act matters. We believe targeting local newspapers will reach more South Carolinians as we gear up for the legislative session this January, when the General Assembly is expected to vote on repealing the Heritage Act.
Even if you have no experience with op-eds or letter writing, we encourage you to join a virtual training! We will walk through op-eds A to Z, from drafting content to submitting to your local paper. All individuals who have passion about Repealing the Heritage Act are welcome, even if you aren’t a current SC resident!
We are also able to provide specialized trainings if you have a community group that is interested in learning to write op-eds together! Just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.
Let us know what you’re reading (next up we have Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon and Brenda Woods’s Unsung Hero of Birdsong, recommended by our wannabe friend/Whelmed newsletter writer, Bridget, and our favorite elementary school teacher, Mrs. Rennie, respectively). We’ll be back in your inboxes on Monday to talk about protests. Until then, have a great weekend, stay safe & healthy, etc.
Ellie and Emily