Moving from Allyship to Solidarity Actions Look Like

By Heidi Schillinger

Editor’s Note: Originally the blog was planning on taking the week off, but Heidi came in clutch and sent in this blog post. The blog is off for a few weeks, unless we get another guest post or I have a burning desire to write. See you in mid-late July. -erin

Graphic of Moving from Allyship to Solidarity. Text of the graphic is in the post below. Copyright Heidi Schillinger, Equity Matters

Over the past month, I have received a high volume of inquiries for racial equity support. As non-Black person of color, specifically Asian, I have been reflecting on what it means to support individuals and organizations right now. How do I justly respond to an increased interest in our racial equity consulting services due to the amplified attention to systemic racism because of the continued death and murder of Black people? I have been sitting with this question. And, trying not to just react without first considering my role during this moment in the movement for Black Liberation. 

One thing I know is, this is the time for me to follow the lead of Black people, specifically Black women. I like lists and I have been collecting articles by journalists of color reporting on COVID-19 since March, and then begin collecting articles by Black journalists covering the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Manuel Ellis, and too many more.

In this long collection of articles, I noticed there are so many Black writers offering concrete actions for white people (and non-Black POC) who want to be allies. Lucky for us because this is a lot of continued Black labor. Compensate Black folks for their labor. If you appreciate the graphic or this blog post, please donate to Black journalists and artists. If you can’t think of any to support, I recommend Converge Media, South Seattle Emerald, Wear Your Voice, Wa Na Wari, and the Octavia’s Parables Podcast.

The action ideas here are based on 20 articles specifically on “allyship.” All the articles are written by Black authors, and it appears around 75% of the authors are Black women. I counted 142 specific action idea suggestions and noticed some clear themes emerge. After a few long bike rides and the latest episodes of the All My Relations Podcast (Native American), here are the four themes I want to center myself around. If you feel so inclined, join me in making these actions a daily practice.

Why am I here?

First things first, “allyship” frames our work as a solo act, when this is about joining a movement. Remember, we are joining a long Black-led movement striving for Black Liberation. This is why we are here. To paraphrase author Ibram Kendi: If you are only here because of guilt, once you do something to relieve that guilt are you done? We need to frame our work here as being in solidarity with a larger movement. Follow collective Black leadership.

Healing from White Supremacy

How do we continue to heal from white supremacy? As an international transracial adoptee, healing from white supremacy is familiar to me. I spent most of my 20’s, healing from narratives that I swallowed but poisoned my soul; Just be American. You’re so lucky to have been adopted to the U.S. If you were still in Korea, you’d be an orphan. You aren’t really Korean. Returning to Korea – especially where I was born and my life fractured – where it became something different. That has been part of my healing. Without that piece of healing, I do not know if I would be in position to repair, follow, and act. I know I need to continue to heal. I know as a community we need to continue to heal. I know we need to support spaces where Black folks can heal without the gaze of whiteness and non-Black people of color.

Here are four suggestions from the articles to support our healing process. Yes, this is purposely written in the present continuous tense. Because, hey, this work is continuous, not a one-time action. We need to continuously engage in –

  • Learning Black and Native History; Including Abolition Efforts 
  • Learning About Colonization & Systemic Racism
  • Learning about Our Personal Racialization Processes
  • Tapping into Creativity, Hope, Joy, Self-Care, Community Care

Repairing from the Harm of Anti-Blackness.

If you are looking for a new podcast, I highly recommend Octavia’s Parables. It is full of deep questions. Questions that make you stop moving, so your whole body can decide how it wants to answer. One of the questions from the second episode I am still thinking about is – what am I willing to let go of? What am I willing to let go of to repair from the harm of anti-Blackness? I keep asking myself this question. 

How do I look at the ideas I have consumed and bought into and how they manifest anti-Blackness? One example is my love for crime shows. Both embarrassing and true. I used to watch marathon episodes of Law and Order SVU. Mariska Hargitay, Mariska Hargitay. And, more recently true crime podcasts are my default filler podcasts. A month ago, as I thought about how I engage in repairing from the harm of anti-Blackness, I realized I have to give up listening to true crime. Goodbye, Dateline. Goodbye, Crime Junkies. I cannot continue to consume anti-Black and pro law enforcement narratives. Damn this is hard. I am realizing how internalized anti-Blackness is to what I am interested in and what I feed into. I need to do better. I am committed to reading and listening to more fiction by Black and Native authors and spending time with those I love, including my demanding but darling puppy.

Here are four suggestions from the articles to support repairing from the harm of anti-Blackness. We need to continuously engage in –

  • Acknowledging Anti-Blackness; Be Wrong & Genuinely Apologize
  • Unlearning Anti-Blackness; Work to Be In ‘Just Relationships’
  • Honoring Black Grief, Rage, Labor, Joy, Healing, Dreaming
  • Supporting Reparations; Individual, Organizational, National

If you balk at reparations, you need to dig deeper into the layers of white supremacy and anti-Blackness that are enveloping your consciousness. This place we now call the United States of America was built on 10-12 generations of enslavement and 4 generations of legal segregation of Black people (in comparison there have only been about 3 generations of “freedom”). To even begin to repair from generations of stolen labor and stolen lives, we need to acknowledge and compensate Black people. And, yes, our country was also built on the colonization of Indigenous Peoples. We need to be talking about what we owe Indigenous Peoples as well. If you are in Seattle, are you paying Real Rent to the Duwamish Tribe? If you live in other places, learn about the Indigenous people whose lands you are on and make restitution.

I spent a lot of time focused on healing and repair because I believe they are foundational to guiding our actions and staying in alignment with Black-led collective demands. If you want to argue against reparations or abolition, are you really here for Black Liberation or do you want to cherry pick ideas and actions that allow you to stay comfortable. In Seattle standing in solidarity with Black collective leadership demands: “Defund SPD. Invest in community health and safety. Drop all charges against protesters.” This is not about you, or me.

Here are the final two themes and actions suggestions to move us from allyship to solidarity.

Following Intersectional Black Womxn (P.S. Black Trans Womxn are Womxn)

  • Listening to and Trusting Black Voices & Perspectives
  • Amplifying Black Voices & Perspectives; Not White Saviors
  • Participating in Black-Led Collective Actions; Know Our Roles
  • Centering Black-Led Collective Demands; Decenter Ourselves

Acting in Solidarity with Black Communities’ Demands

  • Committing to Ongoing Action; Join the Movement, Not the Moment
  • Speaking Up (But Not Over); Engage Our Communities
  • Resourcing Black Liberation; Black Businesses, Efforts, Orgs.
  • Paying Reparations; Redistribute and Reinvest Resources

Here are some of my organizational commitments to action –

  • Offer the first opportunity to take on new inquiries to the two fabulous Black women on our team, CiKeithia Pugh (she/her/hers) and Chalon Ervin (she/her/hers).
  • Refer training inquiries to Black womxn and non-binary consultants taking on new clients. We are currently referring people to ChrisTiana ObeySumner (They/Them/Theirs/Mx.) and Ti’esh Harper (she/her/hers). Please email me if you would like to be added to our Black womxn and non-binary consultant referral list.
  • Require organizations requesting “Allyship” workshops for White and non-Black POC staff to offer Black employees opportunities and resources to engage in Black centered spaces (through things like time off, funds to participate in other community events or workshops, etc.).
  • Pay forward 50% of all fees for any “Allyship” workshop to Black collective organizations and efforts.
  • Continue to purchase nearly all of my books from Mahogany Books.
  • Continue to pay forward the profit from the Color Brave Space licensing to Black and Indigenous organizations and efforts.
  • Write this blog post and other blog posts.

Many thanks to Victoria Benson, from Movement Strategy Center, for sending me notes from our recent conversation for this blog post.


Thank you for your Patreon support: This month we’ll be paying a portion of the support forward to POC led and embedded organizations and individuals directly impacted by COVID19 and Black led organizations.

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Undoing my Anti-Blackness

Editor’s Note: The blog is taking a short hiatus next week for the long-weekend (if that is even a thing these days) and the following week off. We’ll be back in mid or late July.


This week’s post is personal. I often share bits and pieces about myself and my life in the blog, but this one is more personal than other post. I am sharing it for a few reasons, one is so I can be honest with myself and accountable to others, and maybe in small way it can help others, especially my Asian relations be better allies. The is also a rare moment to talk about this because the twin moments of anti-Asian racism surrounding COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter movement in response to too many deaths of Black people make it an important time to reflect and grow.

Artwork in Seattle’s Childtown International District.

I grew up in Hawaii. It is a great place to be from and it formed my racial self-identity. I knew from an early age I am Japanese American, I knew the word Asian, and race was talked about openly in many settings. Our neighborhoods are diverse and I grew up escaping a lot of overt Asian racism and microaggressions others told me they experienced in other places. That said it wasn’t a utopia or a land of racial inclusion. Now as an adult I can look back and see where racism and othering still occurred, including anti-Blackness.

Hawaii, like many other places, has a class system. Asians, and in particular East Asians, are often perceived to be near the top. White people have a funny place of being on the top but also othered – sometimes accepted especially if they are part of the community, but also criticized because of the colonizer history of Hawaii. Hawaii is a place where how you treat others is how they will treat you back. If you act too uppity or behave like a jerk, people will let you know. Being a POC doesn’t mean you get a pass or automatic social inclusion. Through this social hierarchy I learned to navigate the world and how I see race.

I didn’t grow up with a lot of African American or Black people in my schools, playgroups, teen groups, etc. I remember looking at demographics of the population as a teen and wondering where the Black people lived. They were in the demographic charts but I didn’t see them in my neighborhood. I remember someone telling me many of them were part of the military. This may be true, but also maybe we just saw them as part of the general POC community, which is unfair and erased much of their identity. For the Black people who were in my schools and part of the community, we never stopped to understand their Black and African American identities.

Leaving Hawaii for college and landing in Seattle, I’ve had to learn about race through a new context, including the Black and African American communities here. As an example, I probably learned some about slavery, the plantations, and emancipation as part of American history classes, but we glossed over a lot of the deeper and more nuanced Black history. I know I didn’t learn about the rich African immigrant cultures I see in Seattle. Immigration from African nations to Hawaii isn’t very populous. I went to a few reggae concerts in Hawaii, but the music and culture is so intertwined with island music than linked to Black culture.

As a result of the absence of Black and African American people and cultural references I’ve had to unpack a lot of anti-Blackness over time. I’m grateful to many Black people, especially Black friends, who helped me understand the Black experience, institutional racism, and what I need to do to unpack my own racism. I know this will be a lifelong journey to learn about race and how to be in more just relations with Black people.  

Part of my learning and undoing around anti-Blackness is learning about historical racism. I grew up watching TV and movies portraying Black people that shaped stereotypes. I also grew up around many Asians who would say they weren’t racist, but then speak ill of Black people. I can see how my upbringing in Hawaii taught me anti-Blackness beliefs, but also gave me tools to now undo it.

Learning about historical racism and history from the Black perspective have been important ways for me to understand racism. I’ve sat with many friends and colleagues and listened to their stories. In the beginning I heard their stories but couldn’t fully comprehend them. I would make excuses and tell myself their experience of being followed in a store, being passed over for jobs, or even more blatant racism weren’t because of race. Being socialized in Hawaii I was taught we were equal because we were all part of the POC majority. If you didn’t get what you wanted it wasn’t because of your race or skin color, it was because you didn’t work hard, not being a team player, or being too uppity and pushing too hard – very Asian values. I had to learn about historical racism and how our histories in America give white people advantages and white privileges and hold back Black and Brown people, and how Asians are many times part of upholding the racialized hierarchy. As Ta-Nehisi Coates, wrote in Between the World and Me, “But race is the child of racism, not the father. And the process of naming ‘the people’ has never been a matter of genealogy and physiognomy so much as one of hierarchy.”

As an Asian American I see anti-Asian racism, but at the same time it is important to recognize the privileges we have and how we’ve benefited from the hard work many Black and African American people before us. The Civil Rights Movement led by many Black leaders and communities put many structural changes in place that benefit us as an Asian community. Acting in solidarity with our Black kin is important now and always.

I know I have more learning and work to do to be in a more justice based relationship with Black people and to show up as an ally. I know I will mess up, and I hope my Black friends and colleagues will trust me enough to call me out and it and set me straight. Some of them have over the years and I am grateful for their counsel. I also know the work isn’t on them to teach me, it is for me to humble myself and to practice self-reflection, learning, and reckoning with my biases, internalized racism, and remembering this is about Black liberation, not me.


Thank you for your Patreon support: This month we’ll be paying a portion of the support forward to POC led and embedded organizations and individuals directly impacted by COVID19 and Black led organizations.

Thank you to our Patreon subscribers who help to keep the blog going and ad-free:

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The Need for Moral Imagination

Art from Amplifer:  “What is politically, socially and economically possible has always been about will. When ‘This is all over’ we cannot go back to normal, we the people need to demand and do better. Our collective trauma needs collective healing, out of this darkness we can imagine the revolution.” – Emma Ismawi
Artist IG: https://www.instagram.com/em_swami/

Editor’s note: Friday, 19 June 2020 is Juneteenth. It is the oldest commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Read more here.

For White and Non-Black POCS: What are you doing today to act in solidarity with Black folx?

Black folx: Sending you joy and rest.


I’ve spent the past several weeks in too many Zoom video meetings listening to presenters about reopening programs, schools, and attempting to return to ‘business as usual.’ I understand the desire to go back to what is known and comfortable. The social relationships many thrived on are now fraying and there is a desire to return to life as we knew it. But we can’t and shouldn’t return to what we had before. We have a rare, one-in-a-lifetime (I don’t use those words lightly), opportunity to morally reimagine the way our society operates. We shouldn’t go back to just what we knew — it didn’t work for many pocs.

Inclusion Instead of Charity

What if we stopped and said instead of providing programs and schooling, we paused to ask families what has worked since COVID19 abruptly closed much of society what would we hear? A lot of the closure experiences has sucked like bitter sour li hing mui (sour plums), but at the same time there have been bright spots. Some of the brightest spots have been places where people have seen potential, morally imagined a solution, and made it happen. I use the term moral imagination to say people act with morality. There is a desire to bring partnerships and morals to the solution.

As an example a friend, Selam, who is bilingual in Amharic and English, saw many in her Ethiopian immigrant community had questions about COVID19. In the early days of the COVID19 shutdown (just a few weeks ago in March) information was coming out rapidly and not much of it was translated or interpreted into languages other than English. My friend took it upon herself to organize a weekly Zoom call for the Amharic speaking community to join in, ask questions, and share information. The calls have reached several thousand people. While it may not feel like it took a lot of imagination to start a call it did – Selam saw a way to fix a problem with the resources she had and made it happen. She is embedded in the Ethiopian community and was able to analyze the situation and come up with a solution that worked for her community, a morally just solution. She also didn’t look for a charity model of begging others to take on the problem, she used what was available to start and along the way welcomed help from others led to this new way of working.

High Expectations, Even during a Crisis

As we start returning to pre-COVID19 activities we also need to hold each other and institutions to high expectations. The current COVID19 crisis and the failures of police and other government institutions to keep people safe equally show us we need to morally reimagine systems with higher degrees of accountability and expectations to pocs.

As an example, I’ve listened in on state and local education calls about reopening schools. One of the common themes of these calls is the desire, maybe even mandate, we return to school buildings and education in some form as we previously knew it. I am not naive in thinking we can reimagine education in the next three-months, but I am frustrated so many of these calls default to providing education in traditional models.

Such as, we know school buildings were not designed to keep people six-feet apart. In many urban schools the buildings are already packed and overflowing with students which won’t work in the coming months. In response to this we’ve seen people suggest staggering schedules so only half of the students are in the building at one time. It is a failure of imagination to ask where does education take place and where could education take place that centers poc students. If we listen we might hear education takes place in churches, outdoor nature spaces, gardens, community kitchens, etc. which all of a sudden gives us more physical spaces to conduct education. When we do this we dignify community voices in different ways. I totally understand there will be millions of logistical and regulatory red-tape to make these things happen, but if there was ever a time to force systems to confront themselves as ask what is important it is during a crisis.

We also need to hack other processes, like elections. There is no better time to reimagine these processes. What would it look like if we held to the standard of 100% voluntary voting rate? If we think about it from a morally justice based perspective, don’t we owe it to ourselves to have a high voter participation rate? Too often we make excuses and don’t think we can fully accomplish goals. Holding ourselves to a higher standard pushes the burdens of non-participation back where it belongs on systems and institutions. It would also force us to really evaluate what the election process is about and stripping it down to its essence of civic engagement and designing from there. When we design with racial equity principles we get more equitable results.

Humble and Audacious

Now is the time to be audacious with morally reimagining our ways of life. If we approach these problems humbly and say “We’ve screwed up,” and ask “how can we work with you to fix it,” we might find some daring and bold answers in the simplest of ways. Selam’s call didn’t take a lot of resources – a computer, a Zoom line, and a community who had questions. In reimagining schools the problems get a little more complex but it isn’t at the same time – education takes place all around us, we just need to stretch our thinking to be more inclusive of community views and values.  


Thank you for your Patreon support: This month we’ll be paying a portion of the support forward to POC led and embedded organizations and individuals directly impacted by COVID19 and Black led organizations.

Thank you to our Patreon subscribers who help to keep the blog going and ad-free:

Abby, Adrienne, Agent OO1, Aimie, Alessandra P., Alessandra Z., Ali, Aline, Allison, Amber, Amira, Amy H., Amy P., Amy R., Andrea, Angelica, Angie, Avery, Barb, Barrett, Beth, Betsy, Brad, Brian, Brooke B., Brooke D.W., Cadence, Caitlin, Calandra, Cari, Carmen, Carolyn C., Carolyn M., Carrie B., Carrie S., Catherine, Cedra, Chandra, Chelsea, Clara, Clark, Claudia, Colleen, Colleen, Crystal, Dan, Daniel, Danielle, Danya, Darcy, Darcy E., Dawnnesha, Debbie, Denyse, Diana, Dick, Don, Ed, Edith, Elizabeth, emily, Erica L., Erica R.B., Erin, Evan, Francis, Hannah L., Hayden, Heather H.x2, Heather M., Heidi, Heidi H., Heidi N. and Laura P., Heidi S., Hilary B.A., Ivy, J Elizabeth, Jady, Jaime, Jake, Jean, Jeanne, Jena, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M., Jennifer T., Jessa, Jessica F, Jessica G. Jessica R., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon G., Jon P., Julia, Karen, Kari, Kate C., Kate G., Kathryn A., Kathryn O.D., Katie, Kawai, Keisha, Kelli, Kellie H., Kellie M., Kelly, Kimberly, Kirsten C., Kirsten W., Krista, Kristen D., Kristen R., Kristy, Kumar, Kyla, Laura B T., Laura G., Lauren, Laurie B., Laurie K., Leah, Lisa C., Lisa P.W., Lisa S., Liz, Lori G., Lynn, Maka, Marc, Mark K., Matias, Matthew, Maura, Megan, Melissa, Meredith, Michael, Migee, Mikaela, Mike Q., Milo, Miranda W., Misha, Molly, Nat, Natasha, Nathan, Norah, Norrie, Peggy, PMM, Polly, Rachel, Raquel, Raquel S., Rebecca, Risa, Rise Up for Students, Ruby, Sarah B., Sarah L., Sarah S., Sarita, Seam Ripper, Sean W., SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Shelley, Sierra, Siobhan, Skyler, Steph, Stephanie, Stephen, Susan C., Susan L.M., Susan U., Tana, Tania, Tania T.D., Tara, TerraCorps, Terri, Tracy, Vanessa, virginia, Vivian, Yoko, Yvette

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Me and a Glass of Rose′: Reflections on Race, White Women and Friendship

FRIENDS White Girls Hoodie - WHITE - 339608150 | Tillys
White sweatshirt with word Friends, TV show logo

By CiKeithia Pugh

If you had asked me what was in store for 2020, I couldn’t have predicted it would be like this. And to think it is only June. I don’t know about you, but I am weary of the next few months.

The last few weeks have been particularly difficult. I’ve always been aware of race; I have no choice as a Black women. People and systems remind me daily of my race and place. Something about these past few months have been different. I cannot point to one thing because I think it is multiple things happening at once, but I noticed it was a week where I questioned a lot of my friendships. To explicitly name it, I thought a lot about my friendships with white women. 

Tonight, over a bottle of rosé I reminisced and said goodbye. Me, my laptop, and a glass of rose՛. I am leaning into this emotional tug at my heart and letting go of relationships that have not served me well, specifically my relationships with some white women.

It is funny when I think about how we became friends. Some of you I’ve known since the days of big hair and study groups in high school. Others it was our kids that brought us together, they were friends so naturally we got to know each other. Finally, there are some of you who I got to know through work, the good and bad jobs.

I look back fondly on our times together. Annual girls’ trips, milestone birthdays, and even the death of parents. We have been through a lot together which is why this has been so tough to understand. As I stroll down memory lane, I cannot point to a time where we explicitly talked about race. Obviously, we talked about a lot of things over the years, but I honestly cannot think of a time where race was the topic. I mean there was that one time where you told me you didn’t see color, but I got you straight on that so that popular narrative quickly went away.

How in the world did we never discuss race? I am feeling some sort of way about this, but I am also reminding myself that it is not my job to teach. I learned whiteness very early on. Were you ever curious? Were you ever interested in understanding more about my experiences? What did you think when I talked about how scared I was for my Black son? How about those times when I shared an all too familiar stories of being treated horribly in a store?

I guess what I am trying to ask is did you forget I was Black. Seems silly I know, but what story did you tell yourself? 

Your silence was not surprising sadly. I know you were probably struggling to find the right words to say. I was holding out hope you would come through. But the call didn’t come, and I found myself waiting. Where in the hell have you been? With everything happening in the country and across the world now how could you not think of me? My son, my family, my community?

It wasn’t one thing you said. It wasn’t just the “one call” or one conversation. Don’t replay our last conversation over and over again in your head, like the rest of the world and nation this has been building over time. We’re both feeling something, but the pain is different.

So here we are at this moment in time where I am taking stock of my life and those around me. If you are not actively fighting for justice, equity and Black Lives, we need to say goodbye.

Seems drastic right? Well drastic times call for drastic measures. When you didn’t call you confirmed for me that perhaps you never saw me in my full spirit and humanity as a Black woman. I am not angry though, disappointed yes, but not angry. I am saving my anger for the fight for justice.

I do believe when you know better you do better, so consider this my parting gift to you. White women friends y’all got some work to do.

The ‘work’ isn’t reading one book or listening to one podcast. Another white person told me he started reading Ijeoma Oluo’s book, So You Want to Learn About Race, and had a hard time connecting with it because she was “too angry,” halfway through he finally realized she wasn’t angry- she was telling a truth he didn’t want to see. Your anger, sadness, uncertainty are feelings you need to have. You need to learn about race and whiteness, but not from me. You also need to do some healing, again not with me. Find some other white people who understand race and whiteness. Sit and have your feelings, process them and heal, maybe drink some wine. I’ll be drinking my rosé too.

Sincerely,
CiKeithia
(Your only Black friend)


Thank you for your Patreon support: This month we’ll be paying a portion of the support forward to POC led and embedded organizations and individuals directly impacted by COVID19 and Black led organizations.

Thank you to our Patreon subscribers who help to keep the blog going and ad-free:

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Your Prayers are Now Empty – A Parable

Picture of names of Black people killed by police. Photo credit Heidi Schillinger, Equity Matters

You prayed “Help us end this racial strife. Help us find peace.” What I heard between your prayers was “help me go back to my version of normal, where I can feel ‘safe.’” Your safety is not my concern. You are safe. You are safely isolated from the experiences of others. But if you must pray this let me share some history.

If children are our hope and future, you had your prayers answered in 1960. I said, “You shall have integrated schools, where children can learn beside each other and from each other.” I provided you with legislation, Brown v. Board of Education. A brave child, Ruby Bridges, stepped forward to integrate a school, and many other brave children followed. You continue to use education as a weapon and separator. You create special schools, youth programs and sports teams that are segregated – but you still say “But I’m a good person because there are two Black children in my school and we donate to the PTA.”

Picture people protesting with Black Lives Matter and “How Many Weren’t on Video” signs. Photo credit Heidi Schillinger, Equity Matters

“How can this be! Help us,” you prayed when a 17 year old Black teen was murdered wearing a hoodie and walking. You prayed, “How did that happen? Why? He was a kid.” You didn’t listen as Black people rallied, protested, sent petitions calling for gun reform laws. The President of the United States (the real one not the current one) even spoke up saying “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.” He even gave you suggestions about how to change local laws – one person, even the President couldn’t do the heavy lifting – you needed to step up but didn’t. You explained it away as “it was one bad person who shot him.” You didn’t listen again and again as more Black people were killed, many at the hands of law enforcement — Eric Garner, Charlena Lyles, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile. The list of names continues to grow, Say Their Names is more than a hashtag. How many more deaths will it take for meaningful change to happen?

“Protect us ALL,” you cried because “All Lives Matter.” The Black Lives Matter movement started and you worried about giving up your comfort and sense of protection. You got down on your knees, some of you prayed upward to heaven, others bowed their heads and said “I believe in Black people. I like them. But what about my life? Do I not matter to them too?” As the one you pray to in times of need, I was disheartened at your and inability to independently think – do you only watch FOX News? Black creators are out there to counter the hatred and myopic views spewed by a few, but you only listened to your inner circle. Black authors and artist explained anti-Black racism over and over again — Ibram X. Kendi, Ijeoma Oluo, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jesmyn Ward, Oprah Winfrey, John Legend, and so many others. Heaven help us, even Michelle Obama wrote and narrated her own book to help you understand the Black experience.

In 2016 America had an election. I gave you ample warning. There were many who stepped forward to run for office. You had choices. You chose the one who showed the most hatred towards everyone, especially Black and Brown people, immigrants, LGTBQ, Muslims, and on. Some of you will say, but I didn’t vote for him. You may not have, but ask yourself how did you allow him to become President? What have you done recently to condemn his words? You have another chance in 2020 to make better choices, will you use them?

I heard your prayers and now you must hear my words – Black Lives Matter. Black people are your neighbors, your colleagues, your teachers and doctors, your children’s classmates. Value their lives as much as you value your own. Stop praying for answers, you have the answers all around you. Instead of praying for someone else to solve your problems, be reflective and think for yourself. Stop wasting time and energy with things that make only you feel good. This is about the prayers from Black mamas and their children, not you and your petty Instagramable documentation that you were there or you put up a yard sign declaring your allegiance but on the side you allow racism to prevail.

No one can make you value or believe in Black lives, only you can. If you value Black lives, you must act – put your body on the line for Black people, put your money where it matters by investing in Black people and Black owned businesses, teach your children to be anti-racist, call out others who preach anti-Black hatred, vote because Black breath depends on it.


With thanks and apologies to McSweeney’s Internet Tendency piece: GOD HAS HEARD YOUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS AND HE THINKS THEY ARE FUCKING BULLSHIT, by CHAS GILLESPIE


Thank you for your Patreon support: This month we’ll be paying a portion of the support forward to POC led and embedded organizations and individuals directly impacted by COVID19 and Black led organizations.

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Pacific Islander Heritage Month

fundraiser: Black Lives Matter - imagine gnats
Black Lives Matter

There is a lot going on in the world and on social media right now. Recently Black men were killed by white men, for existing in the wrong spaces at the wrong time. All of this tragedy on top of living through a global pandemic is unconscionable. Check in with your Black and Brown friends, but do it on their terms – this is about their needs not ours.


May is Asian Pacific American Heritage month. Since it is almost the end of May, I want to spend some time talking about our Pacific Islander relations. According to the US Census 1.6 million Pacific Islanders live in the US. Native Hawaiians were the largest sub-group with over 620,000. The Pacific Islander ethnic group, like other race and ethnic groups, is not monolithic. Within the Pacific Islander category are many different ethnic and cultural groups including:

Carolinian
Chamorro
Chuukese
Fijian
i-Kiribati / Gilbertese
Kosraean
Maori
Marshallese
Native Hawaiian
Ni-Vanuatu
Palauan
Papuan
Pohnpeian
Samoan
Solomon Islander
Tahitian
Tokelauan
Tongan
Tuvaluan
Yapese
List from OSPI Race & Ethnicity Student Data Task Force

I grew up in Hawaii, but I’m not Hawaiian. When I talk to people outside of Hawaii this confuses them. Native Hawaiians are indigenous to Hawaii. As an Asian of Japanese and Okinawan descent, I do not say I am Hawaiian. For me to say I’m Hawaiian would be disingenuous and take away from the richness of Native Hawaiian people. The same can be said for many of the other Pacific Islander groups. Such as in college I was friends with people from Guam. Some of them were Chamorro, while others were from Guam but of other race groups.

Each of these ethnic groups have different cultural backgrounds – some may be similar to each other, but still different, different languages, food, traditions, migration stories. When it comes to data, often times systems fail to see these differences and lump them together. There is strength in numbers, but at the same time we need to do the deeper work of understanding who is in our community.

Too often our Pacific Islander communities are overlooked, not fairly represented, their data is lumped with Asian which overshadows needs or strengths. Politically many Pacific Islander communities are still fighting for basic rights and needs. In Washington, the Marshallese community has been fighting for food access, medical and dental access, and other basic needs. In the 1950s the US government used the Republic of Marshall Islands for nuclear testing. As a result many of the residents had to leave to escape the radioactive contamination. Some of the residents have relocated to the continental US at the invitation of the US Government, but have not been provided with medical coverage even though they were exposed to high levels of radioactivity due to the US government using their homeland as a nuclear testing ground. Other Pacific Islands, including Nauru, are now threated with flooding due to climate change. These needs and stories are often overlooked, but if we are to be in just relations with our Pacific Islander communities we need to listen, learn, and be allies in their fights for recognition and justice. Thankfully some of the Pacific Islands have been spared COVID19 because of strict measures to keep the virus out. American Samoa so far has zero cases (y’all don’t think about going there to escape).

Learn About Pacific Islander Culture and History

Since our local library is closed due to COVID19 stay-at-home orders, our normal flow of new books has dropped. About a week ago I finished reading our e-book from the library, my kid and I couldn’t find another e-book we both agreed on. I decided to check our bookshelf to see what we had on hand. I pulled out the book Hawaii’s Story by Queen Lili’uokalani. I bought it a while ago while in Hawaii, but never read it. Now seemed like the perfect time to do so. I’ve been reading it to my kid, who would much rather I read one of his choices, but he is slowly learning to enjoy the biography. As I read it, I’m putting into deeper context a lot of what I learned growing up in Hawaii. For my kid he’s getting his first doses of Hawaiian and Pacific Islander history.

For the younger one, I was fortunate to pick up Maui’s Taonga Tales, a treasury of stories from Aotearoa and the Pacific, from the library before the library closed due to coronavirus. This means we’ve had the book in our house for weeks now. The book has short stories with gorgeous artwork. I plan on putting this on my list of books for next year’s birthday book drive.  

In Puget Sound the Pacific Islander community is strong. During the summer (probably not this year) I love stumbling upon the Samoan Cricket League playing at Jefferson Park in Seattle. Watching and listening to them narrate the game in Samoan is great. There are also other organizations supporting the Pacific Islander communities:

As we close out Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, please take time to learn more and be an ally to our Pacific Islander neighbors and communities.


Thank you for your Patreon support: This month we’ll be paying a portion of the support forward to POC led and embedded organizations and individuals directly impacted by COVID19. 

Thank you to our Patreon subscribers who help to keep the blog going and ad-free: Abby, Adrienne, Aimie, Alessandra, Ali, Aline, Alissa, Amber, Amira, Amy, Amy R., Andrea, Andrea J.B., Angie, Angelica, Anh-Chi, Annie, Annie G., Ashlie, Barb, Barrett, Ben, Betsy, Brooke, Brooke B., Brian, C+C, Caitlin, Calandra, Cadence, Carmen, Carolyn C., Carolyn M., Carrie, Carrie S., Casey, Catherine, Cedra, Chandra, Chelsea, Chicxs Happy Brownies, Christine, Claudia, Cierra, Clara, Clark, Colleen, Colleen K-S, Colleen L., Corey, Crystal, Dan, Daniel, Danielle, Danya, Darcie, Dawnnesha, Dean, Debbie (x2), Denise, Denyse, Diana, Dick, Donald, Ed, Edith, Elena, Elizabeth, emily, Erica (2), Erica R.B., Erin, Evan, eve, Francis, Freedom, Greg, Hannah, Heather, Heidi, Heidi and Laura, Heidi S., Jake, Jaime, Janis, Jean, Jena, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M.x2, Jennifer T., Jessa, Jessica, Jessica F., Jessica G., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon, Julia, Julie Anne, K.T., Kari, Karen, Katheryn, Kathryn A., Kathi, Katie, Keisha, Kelli, Kellie, Kellie H., Keshia, Kimberly, Krista, Kristen, Kristen C., Kristen D., Kumar, Laura, Laurel, Lauren, Laurie, Laurie K., Leah, Lisa, Lisa C., Liz, Lori, Lynn, Lynn D., Maile, Maka, Makeba, Marc, Maria, Mary, Matthew, Maura, McKenzie, Megan, Melissa, Michael, Michelle, Mikaela, Mike, Milo, Minesh, Miranda, Miriam, Misha, Molly, Natasha, Nathan, Nathan H. (x2), Nicole, Norah, Norrie, Paola, Patrick, PMM, Priya, Rachel, Rebecca, Risa, Rise Up for Students, Robin, Ruby, Sarah, Sarah S., Seam, Sean, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Siobhan, Stephen, Stephanie, Stephanie O., Stephanie S., Susan, Tana, Tania, Tania T.-D,Tara, Terri, Tracy, Vanessa, Vanessa V., Virginia, Vivian, and Yvette. If I missed anyone my apologies and thank you for your support. Support the blog by becoming a Patreon supporter.

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COVID19– Family Engagement Fail Bingo

By Erin and Carrie Basas, guest blogger

Time for another BINGO board. With many schools and programs not convening in person, family engagement has taken on new meaning. The new COVID19 ways of working is also heightening the inequality we’ve known exist but was masked or held together when programs were in-person session. Now with stay-at-home orders to keep the transmission of COVID19 at bay we are seeing family engagement by schools and programs take on new practices, some of them not helpful.

Below is a BINGO board partially put together out of jest, a dash of frustration, and mostly shared to remind people to continue to look for better ways of engaging with families — especially families of color.

Notes: The term parent is shorthand for parents and caregivers, inclusive of kinship care providers, and anyone helping to raise children or heavily involved in children’s lives. Families is inclusive of whomever you consider family.

BINGO
Assuming families aren’t engaged in schools’ effortsBlaming families for technology failures Blaming families for attendance issues during this time, aka kid not online during assigned timesFailing to simplify multiple technology platformsProviding support only in English OR providing it only online
Treating disability (either for student or parent) as pitiableAssuming parents’ concerns are too emotionalWaiting for parents to reach out to share concernsOnly communicating with parents about students’ downfalls and weaknessesSending long, complicated, jargon-filled emails to parents and doing so only in English
Not including families in district or state-level decision-making of any kind (Don’t limit your efforts to silo-ed “family engagement” committees.)Talking about SEL* for kids while not realizing the SEL impacts on families and students right now (as well as on teachers)FREE SPACE: 
Stay home, stay safe
Inferring parents do not value academics because they haven’t sent in online work, video clips, etc.Asking about academics only, not asking families about their basic needs during COVID19 (e.g. housing, food, health, etc.)
Partnering with only larger organizations to speak for families of colorListening to majority white parents and not reaching out to families of colorAssumes children have their own dedicated devices (e.g. laptops, tablets, etc.)Makes busy work for families to keep them “engaged” with the school or programSending surveys to parents online as family engagement; nevermind families without internet access won’t be able to take the survey
Tells families to practice “self-care.” Self-care is important but saying this to a family in crisis because of COVID19 stress can be condescendingInvalidates family’s concerns “Don’t worry, your child will be fine next school year,” “Look at the bright side, you get to spend time with your child,” etc.Demanding parents participate “Please make sure you and your child are online at 1.00 p.m.”Uses the word equity as a proxy for another word (e.g. students of color, poverty, Black/African American, POC, etc.)Forgetting child development and racial equity principles, etc. and expecting kids to want to engage in what adults plan online

*SEL — Social Emotional Learning

Here is a list of the BINGO board square text in list form, with some additional explainations:

  • Assuming families aren’t engaged in schools’ efforts
  • Blaming families for technology failures 
  • Blaming families for attendance issues during this time, aka kid not online during assigned times
  • Failing to simplify multiple technology platforms
  • Providing support only in English OR providing it only online
  • Treating disability (either for student or parent) as pitiable
  • Assuming parents’ concerns are too emotional
  • Waiting for parents to reach out to share concerns
  • Only communicating with parents about students’ downfalls and weaknesses
  • Sending long, complicated, jargon-filled emails to parents and doing so only in English
  • Not including families in district or state-level decision-making of any kind (Don’t limit your efforts to silo-ed “family engagement” committees.)
  • Talking about SEL* for kids while not realizing the SEL impacts on families and students right now (as well as on teachers)
  • FREE SPACE: Stay home, stay safe
  • Inferring parents do not value academics because they haven’t sent in online work, video clips, etc.
  • Asking about academics only, not asking families about their basic needs during COVID19 (e.g. housing, food, health, etc.)
  • Partnering with only larger organizations to speak for families of color
  • Listening to majority white parents and not reaching out to families of color
  • Assumes children have their own dedicated devices (e.g. laptops, tablets, etc.)
  • Makes busy work for families to keep them “engaged” with the school or program
  • Sending surveys to parents online as family engagement; nevermind families without internet access won’t be able to take the survey
  • Tells families to practice “self-care.” Self-care is important but saying this to a family in crisis because of COVID19 stress can be condescending
  • Invalidates family’s concerns “Don’t worry, your child will be fine next school year,” “Look at the bright side, you get to spend time with your child,” etc.
  • Demanding parents participate, ex. “Please make sure you and your child are online at 1.00 p.m.”
  • Uses the word equity as a proxy for another word (e.g. students of color, poverty, Black/African American, POC, etc.)
  • Forgetting child development and racial equity principles, etc. and expecting kids to want to engage in what adults plan online

We can do better when we slow down and remember racial equity principles and work to include families of color in informing our work, including students. If you have questions about why some of these may be on the BINGO board please ask a friend to talk it through.


Guest blogger: Carrie Basas works in education advocacy and formerly in civil rights law, specializing in disabilities rights. Formerly she was a law professor impressing upon law students the importance of understanding race and its impact on people. Carrie has a MEd in Education Policy, Organizations and Leadership from the University of Washington. She earned a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School and an Honors B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology/Anthropology from Swarthmore College. However, her biggest claim to fame is her fashion weekend wear while hanging with her family and dog.


Thank you for your Patreon support: This month we’ll be paying a portion of the support forward to POC led and embedded organizations and individuals directly impacted by COVID19. 

Thank you to our Patreon subscribers who help to keep the blog going and ad-free: Abby, Adrienne, Aimie, Alessandra, Ali, Aline, Alissa, Amber, Amira, Amy, Amy R., Andrea, Andrea J.B., Angie, Angelica, Anh-Chi, Annie, Annie G., Ashlie, Barb, Barrett, Ben, Betsy, Brooke, Brooke B., Brian, C+C, Caitlin, Calandra, Cadence, Carmen, Carolyn C., Carolyn M., Carrie, Carrie S., Casey, Catherine, Cedra, Chandra, Chelsea, Chicxs Happy Brownies, Christine, Claudia, Cierra, Clara, Clark, Colleen, Colleen K-S, Colleen L., Corey, Crystal, Dan, Daniel, Danielle, Danya, Darcie, Dawnnesha, Dean, Debbie (x2), Denise, Denyse, Diana, Dick, Donald, Ed, Edith, Elena, Elizabeth, emily, Erica (2), Erica R.B., Erin, Evan, eve, Francis, Freedom, Greg, Hannah, Heather, Heidi, Heidi and Laura, Heidi S., Jake, Jaime, Janis, Jean, Jena, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M.x2, Jennifer T., Jessa, Jessica, Jessica F., Jessica G., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon, Julia, Julie Anne, K.T., Kari, Karen, Katheryn, Kathryn A., Kathi, Katie, Keisha, Kelli, Kellie, Kellie H., Keshia, Kimberly, Krista, Kristen, Kristen C., Kristen D., Kumar, Laura, Laurel, Lauren, Laurie, Laurie K., Leah, Lisa, Lisa C., Liz, Lori, Lynn, Lynn D., Maile, Maka, Makeba, Marc, Maria, Mary, Matthew, Maura, McKenzie, Megan, Melissa, Michael, Michelle, Mikaela, Mike, Milo, Minesh, Miranda, Miriam, Misha, Molly, Natasha, Nathan, Nathan H. (x2), Nicole, Norah, Norrie, Paola, Patrick, PMM, Priya, Rachel, Rebecca, Risa, Rise Up for Students, Robin, Ruby, Sarah, Sarah S., Seam, Sean, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Siobhan, Stephen, Stephanie, Stephanie O., Stephanie S., Susan, Tana, Tania, Tania T.-D,Tara, Terri, Tracy, Vanessa, Vanessa V., Virginia, Vivian, and Yvette. If I missed anyone my apologies and thank you for your support. Support the blog by becoming a Patreon supporter.

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COVID19 – Organizations Stepping In

skye-sturm_spread-love_hi-res-credits (1)
“In response to COVID-19, Amplifier launched an emergency campaign with top art curators and public-health advisors from around the world looking for public health and safety messages that can help flatten the curve through education and symbols that help promote mental health, well-being, and social change work during these stressful times.” Artwork by Skye Strum

I’ve been in a funk this week. To get through the funk I decided to ask others what overlooked causes need some love. My friends didn’t disappoint me, they shared many causes and community spirit happening right now.

Listed below are POC groups and organizations doing great things to serve their community during COVID19. Many of these are in Seattle. For those of you outside of Seattle, I hope you will take some time to research and learn about community groups and small nonprofits serving the community during COVID19. It is easy to overlook smaller groups who are often very in touch with community members and coming up with community solutions to problems.

Before I get to the list, I want to share a few other highlights that might have gotten overshadowed because of COVID19. First, it is Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Earlier this month was also the Japanese celebration kodomo no hi, Children’s day, May 5. Normally I’d take my kids to the Japanese Community Cultural Center for their children’s day festival. My youngest asked about it and was bummed she wouldn’t get to fish for a balloon yo-yo (a fave activity at the festival) like she has in the past. Instead, we read a Jasmine Toguchi book by Debbi Michiko Florence featuring a Japanese girl and talked about Japanese traditions, and attempted to fold origami creations.

May 5 was National Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Day. Take a moment to learn about our stolen sisters. Just because COVID19 is in the headlines shouldn’t take away from this longstanding injustice to Native and Indigenous women.

POC Led and Embedded Organizations Helping Out

UTOPIA (United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance) is a queer and trans people of color-led, grassroots organization working to build resilience in the Queer and Trans Pacific Islander (QTPI – “Q-T-pie”) community in South King County. During COVID19 they put together a relief fund to support QTPI community, virtual support groups, and even shifted their luau into a virtual event.

Pacific Islander Health Board put together a relief fund to support their community. They also have been sharing information about COVID19 with the Pacific Islander community.

Interim CDA has been delivering food to seniors. It started as a grassroots effort to make sure seniors living in the Seattle International District didn’t have to put their health at risk to get food. Make sure to watch the video.

Kandelia (formerly Vietnamese Friendship Association) quickly reached out to many of their students, all refugees or immigrants, and learned about the great needs within their school community. Kandelia quickly set up food delivery, rent assistance and other services.

While many of us are increasingly conscious about how we get food into our homes with COVID19 out there HUG – Hilltop Urban Gardens in Tacoma, WA has been working on this for years. My friend Mijo shared this: “[A] lot of us are learning about food supply chains, food deserts, neighborhood mutual aid, and food sovereignty for the first time. HUG has BEEN organizing around those issues for years, in a firmly anti-racist, pro-Black/queer/trans way. In skills and knowledge and relationships, they’re exceptionally well-equipped to feed and care for the Hilltop community – they just need more financial resources.”

Na’ah Ilahee Fund is a Native American youth serving program around STEM. I recently had a video chat with a friend who works there. She shared how they have stepped into the space of providing emergency aid to their families, including food deliveries, at-home activities for youth, and also continuing their work around food sovereignty and other programs. Their Native Community Crisis Response Fund: Covid19 is led by the Native community for the Native community which has been hard hit by coronavirus.

Somali Parent Education Board and African Community Housing Development support the Somali and East African immigrant communities in South King County. During COVID19 they quickly heard from families who were struggling to feed their families – especially with kids home from school, provide educational activities, and help families with rent.

Open Arms Perinatal Services provides doula and other support to birthing people which helps to promote a healthy start to life. Birth is normally a time of high-touch as well as vulnerability. Open Arms has adapted their services to continue to remain as high-touch as possible with phone check-ins, and now adapting to providing delivery services to families of food, baby supplies, etc. The challenges remain on securing personal protective equipment (PPE) for their doulas to use during delivery and post-partum services. People have generously donated cloth masks, but PPE is still needed.

Allies Stepping In

When schools closed WA-BLOC (Washington Building Leaders of Change) quickly set up a meal site. Twice a week they partner with local POC owned restaurants to provide about 150 meals to community members in Rainier Beach. Anyone can walk up to receive a meal. By partnering with restaurants they are helping to keep small businesses going too. (WA-BLOC is embedded in the Rainier Beach community. The organization leadership is cross-racial.)

I hope you’ll take some time to find and share organizations in your community that are stepping in. Give them a boost – donate if you can, share their good work on social media, advocate for their causes, write a letter to the editor talking about the need for small organizations to be supported during COVID19 recovery. All of these actions help.


Thank you for your Patreon support: This month we’ll be paying a portion of the support forward to POC led and embedded organizations and individuals directly impacted by COVID19. 

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5 Ways to be an Ally during COVID19

Artwork from Amplifer — Aaron Humby

Before we get started, I want to send a special thank you to all of the teachers and educators. It is Teacher Appreciation Week. I am joining the chorus of people sending you my thanks. Teachers from early learning, K-12, higher education, formal and informal teachers – THANK YOU! Thank you for teaching others how to think about race, thank you for attending to the social and emotional wellbeing of students and families, and thank you for your service. 

How to be an Ally During COVID19

COVID19 is happening to all of us. It is a global pandemic and I can’t think of anyone who is wholly immune to its effects. That said many of us are experiencing the pandemic differently than others and there are ways we can act to help support each other right now.

1. Realize your white and other privileges – White people you still have white privilege. You can walk down the street and not get told “Go home!” because you’re Asian. For many white people, you have the privilege afforded and amassed of having access to a strong(er) network of support because of white birth privileges – networks that can help you attain food, information, shelter, jobs, etc. Use your white privilege to hold other white people accountable for their actions.

If you’re not white realize your privileges – we all have at least a few privileges. Such as you have the privilege of being English literate, access to the internet since this is written in English and published online. Recognizing our privileges also reminds us when we need to use them to support others.

2. Don’t Hoard Opportunities – Earlier this week Equity Matters shared a Facebook post encouraging POCs, especially Black and Brown people, to participate in SCAN (a community-wide scientific effort to assess where asymptomatic people). In the post, which Fakequity reposted, Heidi mentioned asking white people to step back and wait before signing up for a test kit since they need more Black and Brown people in the sample size. A white person commented we were denying white children the opportunity to get tested. Nope, not what we said.

When white people step forward first to ask for testing or other amenities, intentional or unintentional opportunity hoarding happens. Systems don’t discriminate so we need white allies to realize when they are hoarding opportunities and to step back to make room for POCs first. White people can get their turn as well or do a little more work (e.g. travel farther, take a less desirable time slot, etc.) to make sure POCs get what they need first.

Artwork from Amplifer art by Nana Daye

3. Share – Along with not hoarding opportunities, now is a great time to be an ally by sharing. If you have disposable income or some savings you can share, please do. Give as much as you’re comfortable. Right now, needs are acute. Many POCs facing job losses, furloughs, or other financial challenges. POC families who were ok a few weeks ago are now stressing out about how to pay the rent, provide food for families, and survive. Along with this many undocumented families and people with disabilities do not qualify for the US government’s stimulus checks. In many ways, these are people who need the funds the most. If you would like to donate to efforts to get money to people with disabilities and undocumented immigrants, click the links to do so.

Sharing doesn’t just mean money. Share resources, time, information, and share by not buying everything at the store. A friend who is connected to the Somali community called me to say her Somali families were stretched because their local Safeway was running low on staples (e.g. dried beans, lentils, flour, rice, etc.). She said her families didn’t have a lot of extra money or time to drive around to multiple stores to shop. Buying just what you need and not hoarding helps POCs too.

If you can give blood, please make an appointment at the blood bank. I know several people who needed blood transfusion and platelets since COVID19 stay at home orders – thanks to the donors who gave.

4. Realize Safety Looks Different for POCs – Safety looks and feels different for different people. For some safety, if found through social distancing and only essential trips and visits out. For others, culturally or because of disabilities, safety may look different. With the video released of Ahmed Arbury, a Black man who was shot while jogging, safety feels very different right now. A Black friend posted he’s afraid of going out on his runs now and shared a picture of what he looks like wearing a facemask as he runs – I shudder. There are basics to safety, but we shouldn’t judge others based on our own definition of safety.

5. Be an ally – Be an ally by being an ally.


Thank you for your Patreon support: This month we’ll be paying a portion of the support forward to POC led and embedded organizations and individuals directly impacted by COVID19. 

Thank you to our Patreon subscribers who help to keep the blog going and ad-free: Abby, Adrienne, Aimie, Alessandra, Ali, Aline, Alissa, Amber, Amira, Amy, Amy R., Andrea, Andrea J.B., Angie, Angelica, Anh-Chi, Annie, Annie G., Ashlie, Barb, Ben, Betsy, Brooke, Brooke B., Brian, C+C, Caitlin, Calandra, Cadence, Carmen, Carolyn C., Carolyn M., Carrie, Carrie S., Casey, Catherine, Cedra, Chandra, Chelsea, Chicxs Happy Brownies, Christine, Claudia, Cierra, Clara, Clark, Colleen, Colleen K-S, Colleen L., Crystal, Dan, Daniel, Danielle, Danya, Darcie, Dawnnesha, Dean, Debbie (x2), Denise, Denyse, Diana, Dick, Donald, Ed, Edith, Elena, Elizabeth, emily, Erica (2), Erica R.B., Erin, Evan, eve, Freedom, Greg, Hannah, Heather, Heidi, Heidi and Laura, Heidi S., Jake, Jaime, Janis, Jean, Jena, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M.x2, Jennifer T., Jessa, Jessica, Jessica F., Jessica G., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon, Julia, Julie Anne, K.T., Kari, Karen, Katheryn, Kathryn A., Kathi, Katie, Keisha, Kelli, Kellie, Kellie H., Keshia, Kimberly, Krista, Kristen, Kristen C., Kristen D., Kumar, Laura, Laurel, Lauren, Laurie, Laurie K., Leah, Lisa, Lisa C., Liz, Lori, Lynn, Lynn D., Maile, Maka, Makeba, Marc, Maria, Mary, Matthew, Maura, McKenzie, Megan, Melissa, Michael, Michelle, Mikaela, Mike, Milo, Minesh, Miranda, Miriam, Misha, Molly, Natasha, Nathan, Nathan H. (x2), Nicole, Norah, Norrie, Paola, Patrick, PMM, Priya, Rachel, Rebecca, Risa, Rise Up for Students, Robin, Ruby, Sarah, Sarah S., Seam, Sean, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Siobhan, Stephen, Stephanie, Stephanie O., Stephanie S., Susan, Tana, Tania, Tania T.-D,Tara, Terri, Tracy, Vanessa, Vanessa V., Virginia, Vivian, and Yvette. If I missed anyone my apologies and thank you for your support. Support the blog by becoming a Patreon supporter.

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COVID19 — Signs of Going Back (to normal)

By Carrie Basas with additions from Erin

Artwork from Amplifer, by Rohan Bhatia
The New Normal(Design Fights Covid)
“A reminder so people realise that normal got us here in the first place.”

While we still haven’t cut our own hair, mastered that new coffee drink, or become extroverts, we are seeing those around us look for signs that we will go back soon– to work, date nights, graduations, and shearing of our COVID19 locks. Many people are seeking some reassurance that this state of uncertainty will be over soon. What will be some of the signs of going back? 

When we’ve become uncomfortable with staying home, we will argue that only the vulnerable should stay home– or we will send even more vulnerable people into harm’s way with the argument this period has been too hard or long for those of us who can stay home and keep our jobs.

We will begin to question communities’ concerns that their children were not adequately educated– particularly, students most in opportunity gaps and oppressed by structural racism, ableism, and other injustices. When people ask for more support or make-up learning opportunities, they will be told, “It was hard for everyone. These were difficult times. What do you expect?” Or rather, it will be implied that “those kids” will always be behind. Everyone is returning to school under the same awful circumstances, but we know the pandemic wasn’t an ‘equal’ experience for all.

We will cut public programs and nonprofit resources when they are most needed post-emergency and were before we experienced this situation, such as investments in racial equity, early learning, family engagement programs, special education, and student mental health. These things will be seen as extra. “Core programs” must be supported, even if these programs reify the disparities that existed before COVID19. The irony is before the pandemic, we needed to expand these programs to allow them to serve more of our community’s most vulnerable. Now they will be told they are lucky to maintain funding, when they need expansion funds the most.

Our children will be better at selecting Zoom backgrounds than we are because we are preparing them for the tech-revolution and corporate jobs where they must always excel, especially in a global crisis.

Our teachers will begin to leave the profession, feeling powerless and concerned they are holding spaces and upholding practices that undermine relationships.

Our efforts focused on rebuilding the economy or jumpstarting schools will include familiar voices of those people viewed as reasonable, unemotional experts. They will be centered in whiteness with token nods to people of color and people with disabilities. 

As we pack our bags for the golf course, tennis court, or summer concert series, we will close one eye as we read headlines that fatalities are centered in institutions supporting or confining our elders, disabled community members, prisoners, factory workers, and people who are house-less. They were vulnerable already, right? We put in enough time to show our solidarity, but then it got old and we resent it. The curve is flattening and the risk is now manageable, especially if we tell others to wear masks and stay out of our way.

The announcements of the liberation will be in English and online. Tell your neighbors or don’t– somehow, others will figure it out — if they stay at home it is safer for you since fewer people will be out. In the meantime, we’ll continue to use social media to rant about how others aren’t complying with social distancing or public health guidance.

But, you’re saying by now, “Wait, you haven’t given me signs of my liberation!” Yes, what we’ve given you are signs of going back– going back to the ways we’ve always done things. Many of us have been looking for signs that this crisis could be prompt to revisit the injustices that already exist– they would be in such relief that no one could deny them. Yet, as days pass, we wonder if it is even possible. From education to health announcements, we’ve continued to focus on the majority. If you are looking for signs of when we are going back, you’ve got them. Just wait for more signs or commit to using your power to refuse the “normal” that hasn’t worked for so many of us. Ask how far we’ve come, if at all, and how much time we have left to see progress.

Is this the “liberation” we want? This isn’t the justice many people of color and disabled people want. Going back to ‘normal’ shouldn’t be the desired response. 


Guest blogger Carrie Basas works in education advocacy and formerly in civil rights law, specializing in disability rights. During her time as a law professor, she focused on issues of racial discrimination, ableism, health justice, and workers’ rights. Carrie has a MEd in Education Policy, Organizations, and Leadership from the University of Washington. She earned a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School and an Honors B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology/Anthropology from Swarthmore College. However, her recent claim to fame and self-help is attempting to cover graying hair with pink dye.  Like her pet bunnies, all opinions are her own to take care of and sustain.


Thank you for your Patreon support: This month we’ll be paying a portion of the support forward to POC led and embedded organizations and individuals directly impacted by COVID19. 

Thank you to our Patreon subscribers who help to keep the blog going and ad-free: Abby, Adrienne, Aimie, Alessandra, Ali, Aline, Alissa, Amber, Amira, Amy, Amy R., Andrea, Andrea J.B., Angie, Angelica, Anh-Chi, Annie, Annie G., Ashlie, Barb, Ben, Betsy, Brooke, Brooke B., Brian, C+C, Caitlin, Calandra, Cadence, Carmen, Carolyn C., Carolyn M., Carrie, Carrie S., Casey, Catherine, Cedra, Chandra, Chelsea, Chicxs Happy Brownies, Christine, Claudia, Cierra, Clara, Clark, Colleen, Colleen K-S, Colleen L., Crystal, Dan, Daniel, Danielle, Danya, Darcie, Dawnnesha, Dean, Debbie (x2), Denise, Denyse, Diana, Dick, Donald, Ed, Edith, Elena, Elizabeth, emily, Erica (2), Erica R.B., Erin, Evan, eve, Freedom, Greg, Hannah, Heather, Heidi, Heidi and Laura, Heidi S., Jake, Jaime, Janis, Jean, Jena, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M.x2, Jennifer T., Jessa, Jessica, Jessica F., Jessica G., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon, Julia, Julie Anne, K.T., Kari, Karen, Katheryn, Kathryn A., Kathi, Katie, Keisha, Kelli, Kellie, Kellie H., Keshia, Kimberly, Krista, Kristen, Kristen C., Kristen D., Kumar, Laura, Laurel, Lauren, Laurie, Laurie K., Leah, Lisa, Lisa C., Liz, Lori, Lynn, Lynn D., Maile, Maka, Makeba, Marc, Maria, Mary, Matthew, Maura, McKenzie, Megan, Melissa, Michael, Michelle, Mikaela, Mike, Milo, Minesh, Miranda, Miriam, Misha, Molly, Natasha, Nathan, Nathan H. (x2), Nicole, Norah, Norrie, Paola, Patrick, PMM, Priya, Rachel, Rebecca, Risa, Rise Up for Students, Robin, Ruby, Sarah, Sarah S., Seam, Sean, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Siobhan, Stephen, Stephanie, Stephanie O., Stephanie S., Susan, Tana, Tania, Tania T.-D,,Tara, Terri, Tracy, Vanessa, Virginia, Vivian, and Yvette. If I missed anyone my apologies and thank you for your support. Support the blog by becoming a Patreon supporter.

If you subscribe to the blog, thank you. Please check fakequity.com for the most up to date version of the post. We often make grammatical and stylistic corrections after the first publishing which shows up in your inbox. Please subscribe, the sign-up box on the right sidebar (desktop version).