2017 – Make Fakequity Great(er) Again

Last year I wrote an end of year post with predictions. My predictions were mostly wrong – Trump was elected was the biggest one I got wrong. I’m not going to try again this year, screw that thing they call grit and sticking with something until you get it right. Nah, I’m taking the other path and will write something timely – Make Fakequity Great in 2017. Too soon to poke fun at 2017?

Let’s face it the end of 2016 is a bust

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I’m writing this in the waning days of 2016. 2016 is feeling like a bust. Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia in Star Wars died of a heart attack, her mother followed her dying of a broken heart. Both women charted their own paths and did so with humor and grace, much like what we need to do. Muhamad Ali, Gwen Ifill, Prince, Bob Santos and many other leaders of color preceded them. Donald Trump is our president elect. He won on a platform of womanizing, hate, and racism. We witnessed a mass shooting in Orlando that killed too many Latinx LGQBTIA. There were too many other racialized hate events targeting African Americans and other people of color.

While 2016 was a tough year, we had victories at Standing Rock and have seen the inter-sectionalities of movements come together. Asians stood up and said no to the Muslim registry recalling the horrors of the US government forcing Japanese Americans into internment, or what some refer to as America’s Concentration Camps. We’ve also heard of individuals stepping forward and protecting others or disrupt hatred in action. We need more of these things coming together in 2017.

“Let’s make 2017 Great(er) Again,” Time poke at that tagline

2017 is going to take all of us to hold the line and fight for incremental gains. Here is our action list, join us.

Stop the echo chambers, especially the white echo chambers: The most popular Fakequity post of the year talked about why Heidi doesn’t believe in cultural competency training anymore. Part of the problem with cultural competency trainings is the echo chamber, white orgs with white people talking about culture — duh, of course the conversation will go towards what they know — their own culture. We need to break up white and/or powered (if the case of poc centered but still maintaining power dynamics – it happens and we need to acknowledge it) spaces.

Action Step for 2017: Force open tables, call it out and say we won’t participate or our participation is conditional upon having a more inclusive space. As an example, I recently joined a board of a mainstream policy organization. Before I joined I said “I’ll give you one year, and within that year the board needs to add at least three people of color.” They agreed and we’re on our way to breaking the white echo chamber. In other cases push your organization to stipend people of color to participate, if people push back tell them to look at their consulting budget and evaluate how much of those funds are going to white ‘professionals,’ time to reallocate some of those funds.

Work to build movements, not isolated actions: The victory at Standing Rock over the Dakota access oil pipeline didn’t just happen, it was a confluence of events that built over time. Native American tribes stood with each other and learned from each other. The environmental movement supported the Native Americans and Veterans got involved too. I’m sure there was backroom politics and criticism, but overall it was about showing up together. In the current political landscape, we need to build for the long-term, not just for the quick incremental wins. Movement building is harder than working fast, it means slowing down and thinking about long-term outcomes. It also means we give up or share a lot of power and control and looking for parallels.

Action Step for 2017: An easy step if find a coalition related to your cause and check it out, also attend a few coalition meetings from other sectors to hear what the conversation is and look for parallels. I prioritize attending the Asian Pacific Directors Coalition (APDC) meetings even though they start at 7.30 a.m., brutal time, I enjoy the meetings because I’m not very tapped into the Asian community, although I’m Asian, and I learn about what is happening in public health, immigration, civics, etc., the parallels between sectors is so important to supporting each other.

Call out bad behavior: Can we agree to step up and call out bad behavior?  Those little comments and jabs that have underlying tones of racism need to be called out and questioned. We also need to push back online and share our own narratives.

Action Step for 2017: We need to get quicker at thinking about racism and disrupting racism as it happens. If you aren’t a fast thinker in a moment, then commit to calling out inaccuracies in comments made online. Push back on commentators on blogs or the news, tell people to produce evidence, inject counter narratives, breakup the echo chambers that form in Facebook groups and in the blogosphere. It is hard to compete with people who are out to comment to comment, but offering one counter narrative is important. Don’t get drawn into an exasperating long online conversation but one comment will help to offer new views. I’m enjoying White Nonsense Roundup, they do this very well on Facebook, tag them when conversations get weird and they will have a white ally volunteer to help alleviate the burden on people of color of explaining why something is racist.

Run for office: Out of the 35 people (36 if you count my mom) reading this, I’m hoping at least one of you will consider running for office. We need to break down institutional and systemic racism at multiple levels including from the inside. If we’re building a movement we need people to push from the inside, while advocates work from the outside. Diversifying and getting new voices into office will help to challenge mainstream thinking. In a few bright spots Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), the first Somali American to be elected to office, and Pramila Jayapal (Washington) an Indian-American headed to Congress, and we need more a lot more voices. My friend Leslie said it takes asking a person seven times before they agree to run, consider this your first ask. Leslie already asked me once and I said no thanks, so I’m sharing her ask with all of you — who’s up for running for office?

See you in 2017.

Posted by Erin Okuno

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How Not to Apologize

This week I’ve been thinking about how not to apologize. Caprice Hollins, a fabulous racial equity trainer in Seattle, says in her trainings “If you’re doing this work you’re going to screw up in 20-minutes.” She’s right when wade into conversations around race someone else will say something that raises an eyebrow. The question isn’t if you offend, you will, it is how you apologize and move forward that counts.

Note: I’m using the Skeptical OB’s posts as an example because it was shared publicly on Facebook. Had it been a private conversation or on a personal Facebook page I would respect the author’s privacy. I’m also sharing screenshots versus linking to the post because I don’t want to drive traffic to her site or page since she’s bragged about this as related to the post, and since she’s already taken down one post I wouldn’t be surprised if she removes this post as well.

Lesson 1 – Don’t Blame the Victim

I15578081_626297997566660_2803089298718672083_o’ve been following a Facebook thread by The Skeptical OB. A friend posted a picture from the Skeptical OB’s Facebook page of a mother breastfeeding side-by-side with the Confederate flag making a comparison. Huh?

original-postAfter posting the picture she wrote a “I’m sorry I got caught, but I’m not really apologizing post.” The apology noted she took down the original post because of the pain it caused others. Lesson 1 – when you apologize don’t blame the victim. In her apology post she didn’t name that she perpetuated racism. Instead she underhandedly said “I’m sorry you feel bad for seeing my post,” classic blame the victim versus accepting responsibility for a racist act.

In another example my brother used to work for a video game store. A customer came in to buy some game with a lot of shooting that takes place in the Pacific. Customer dude says: “Oh, this is the one where you get to shoot Japs. Oh, no it’s okay for me to say it because I’m part Japanese too.” Um, still not ok to say “Japs,” highly offensive to say it to anyone. He didn’t apologize but his reaction was another version of ‘blame the victim’ for being offended rather than realizing opp, you said something racist and offensive.

Lesson 2 – Don’t Copy and Paste an Apology or gaslight your way out

1-1The drama on the Skeptical OB’s Facebook apology continued as the day went on. Several people called her out on her non-apology apology. Where it got interesting was when someone wrote an apology and the Skeptical OB copy and pasted it into her post. Smack forehead. Lesson 2 – don’t have someone else write your apology for you, do your own damn work and think about what you did. Copy and pasting someone else’s apology is insincere.

Lilliann shared she once had someone apologize for not standing up for her in a meeting by saying “I’d take a bullet for you,” but moments before in a heated meeting didn’t defend her when the conversation got tough. This is no different than a copy-and-paste apology. Both say, well I want you to think I’m a good person, but I don’t want to do the work of being a good ally. Being a good ally means you stick your neck out and take some of the heat or think about why something you did was wrong and write your own damn apology.

Lesson 3 – Know When to Quit

9The Skeptical OB author didn’t know when to quit. It was an epic episode of white fragility and white superiority playing out online. She kept posting and posting, and her posts 11were demonstrating more and more of her white superiority attitude. Her followers, many of them white, begged her to stop but she wouldn’t (and as of this writing she still hasn’t). She even boasted about how that thread has sent Facebook traffic through the roof; nothing to be proud about: “Hey Ma, I’m famous for making an asinine comparison about breastfeeding to a hate group, and now I’m more famous ‘cause I keep saying racist things!”12

Engaging in a debate when you’re trying to apologize isn’t the best timing. Be contrite and reflective, your apology should say you are here to learn, not prove you were right. Marquita, a friend who’s a teacher, shared a story about a dad apologizing by saying: “I’m sorry it took us so long to find you. I thought you were white.” While not perfect, probably better he stopped rather than trying to explain race theory, get defensive about the situation, or ask Marquita to explain why she has a ‘white sounding name.’

How to apologize better

We all mess up when it comes to race. Learning about race, privilege, and power are personal and it is a journey. Like most journeys there are times where we look and feel like crap. Unfortunately, when it comes to learning about race we must ‘walk-the-walk’ and part of that walk means doing some deep processing and personal reconciliation. Realizing we’ve said or done hurtful things is part of the ‘walk’ and learning how to apologize with grace and equanimity is part of the journey.

Since people like shortcuts, and really there aren’t any shortcuts, but since it’s the holidays I’ll give you a few bullet points:

  • Stop and shut up: Shut up and listen to what others are saying. Don’t get defensive, it isn’t about you in that moment, it is about you learning from others.
  • Don’t fake an apology: If you’re not ready to apologize then don’t. When my kid messes up I sometimes ask him “Are you sorry because you did it, or are you sorry you got caught?” If you’re sorry you got caught saying something racist, then only apologize when you realize what you did was wrong.
  • Don’t cut and paste an apology or get someone else to write it for you: You may want to get help apologizing. I just learned about the White Nonsense Roundup. If you tag them on Facebook a white volunteer will step forward and offer help in explaining the inherent racism involved in the post or situation. This is appropriate help. What isn’t appropriate is posting a fake apology if you don’t mean it or just going through the motions, save us your tears.
  • Cry with your close friends: It is ok to get frustrate and feel the need to vent, but do it with your trusted circle of friends. Let your friends help you understand what happened, hopefully they’ve walked the journey and can help you they know you best and can help you better than a stranger.

Keep engaging and keep apologizing – it means we’re learning and working through things together. Finally, a white friend told me her African American grandmother-in-law called her on a Sunday morning to ask her “You woke?” What a gift it is to say “Yes Gramma, I’m woke.” That means we’ve learned, probably apologized quite a bit, learned from our elders, and we’re still learning how to be ‘woke.’

Posted by Erin Okuno

How White Privilege is Taught

enhanced-buzz-17808-1382919326-3Last Saturday, I saw how privilege is taught to young white children. I don’t think the parent who carried out the offense even knew she was doing it, it was unconscious and entitled. She probably see herself as “a good [white] person.” These privileged offenses happen all the time in little things that whites don’t even think about and people of color don’t always call out.

How Privilege is Taught

My kids and I were waiting to catch the monorail. We were crowded around the platform towards the front of the train because my son wanted to ride in the very front next to the driver – it’s a great view. After a few minutes, we figured out the train we were waiting in front of wasn’t the one in use and switched platform sides. My son was excited and waiting patiently since he was now in the front. As people started moving over two older white kids were angling to get in the front too and their mother came and stood behind me and says in a tone of disapproval “Our kids are really excited and they’ve been waiting. They’d like the front seat.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, she was saying her kids deserved something even though they were set to lose because of chance. The same chance that gave my son a temporary advantage. I was appalled at the mother for asking, but because I was caught off-guard and fuming on the inside, I lost my resolve to stand up for my own son and told him to step aside – I wish I hadn’t.

In that moment, I crushed my son. I had to explain to him we stepped aside because the other kids were waiting longer and life isn’t always fair. I used the word privilege and made up some lie they were from out of town. I also said we rose above the situation, rather than starting a fight or making a public scene (as a Japanese American child I was conditioned to do this). We do what too many people of color are asked and acquiesce to doing which is putting our own needs and desires aside and give to white people because it is easier than making a scene or justifying why we aren’t giving in. He accepted my explanation and stopped moping a little but was still disappointed. The incident ruined part of the afternoon.

Someone reading this will say I’m making this about race when it isn’t. I can’t help but think it is about race. The situation taught those white kids they deserve something more than my Asian son. They were taught they are privileged and someone, another white person, will stand up for them and others will step back to give them an advantage. Their mother also taught them they don’t have to say please, just state what you want and it is given to you. This is how white privilege is passed down generation to generation. This is also why people of color continue to say we are literally held back and pushed back and some say oppressed. As I write this I think about Rosa Park and how African Americans were told/forced to ride in the back of the bus. We haven’t really progressed in attitudes and beliefs.

Someone is also saying I shouldn’t have stepped aside and we should have held on to being first in line. In some ways, I wish we had stood up to the white mother. I know why I didn’t stand up to her, if we had held onto to the front seat the other mother would have made the ride uncomfortable for my family. She would have labeled us as being rude, she would have said we cut in line even though it was chance and luck – the same chance and luck she was entitled to. In the end, she would have taught her kids Asians are rude or Asian kids are pushy instead of realizing the power play she used. I own I’m stereotyping her white privileged behavior, and I feel if I don’t label it and call it out I’m complicit in allowing privilege to continue unchecked.

I’ve seen this white privilege play out before, this isn’t the first time a white person has used their privilege to push their own needs and agendas. Once in Hawaii a white tourist told my aunt and me we were cutting in line when we weren’t. When confronted on his attitude he said “fine just go,” I said “no because then you’re going to think we’re cutting. We’ll just stay right here, where you want us.” He was all habuteru (Japanese for grouchy and annoyed) because we called him on his attitude of superiority. The lady behind us encouraged us to move forward but my aunt said politely but loud enough for him to hear “No can, the haole (white) said we’re cutting in front of him.” He really pouted on being called out again. It’s funny how white people like to be in the front of the line, but only on their terms.

Proving You’re Good, Doing Good, and Being Uncomfortable

If I had met the white mother in another setting with leveled power dynamics such as work, she probably would have tried to prove she’s a good white person. She would tell me how her kids are generous and donate to the food bank, or better yet use part of their allowance to buy toys for poor kids. I would nod and say “that is great.” She would want me to validate her as a good person and affirm her status as an ally. Giving in this manner is nice and makes white people feel good, but it teaches charity rather than personal empathy and connection. It allows white kids to dictate the terms of giving rather than realizing their white privilege: “oh we decided to give because those people are poor, and its not fair,” a.k.a. tokenism and savior syndrome. The mother also probably would have told me she didn’t realize my kid is Asian. Colorblindness is a form of racism, it says they only see people of color as people of color when it suits them. What all of this teaches white children is they are privileged and they don’t have to be uncomfortable to give. This isn’t a lesson children should learn. White children need to learn it is ok to feel discomfort, it is ok to give up something that didn’t belong to them to begin with — they will be ok.

What I want to tell that white mother is instead of proving how good you are, teach your kids how to be aware of their own privileges in everyday settings. Instead of telling me to step back and give up my spot in line, accept chance and luck are a part of life, and your kids will be ok without being at the front of a line – would sitting a few seats back diminish their chance of attending Harvard or Princeton, probably not. Instead of trying to prove you are a good white person, be a good white person and step back – you and your kids will be ok. Your white child doesn’t have to fight for every advantage especially when it is at the expense of people of color.

Posted by Erin Okuno

Oh, those Fakequity Emails

2016-12-08-14-27-46This week we’re sharing a collection of emails colleagues have shared with us and fake responses we’ve come up with. These are the responses we can’t write back because they are a bit brusque and people would probably stop talking to us. The messages are heavily altered so if you think we’re writing about you, rest assured no one will know it is you unless you out yourself. Feel free to send me your favorite emails about race and equity, they might make a future post: fakequity@gmail.com.

Email 1: “Save the Date for the Brain Trust on Housing for Refugees and Immigrants Please join us in creating a unified vision for supporting housing for immigrants and refugees in a way that that honors families, provides culturally responsive practice and is informed by national best practice.” Attendee invite list are academics, government agency reps, and elected officials. No one from the community, let alone newly arrived immigrants and refugees living in low income housing.

Email 2: Response when asked why the invite list didn’t include immigrants and refugees: “We have space limitations but we are hoping to get some names of folks that would be interested in being a part of future work that comes out of this meeting.” Smack forehead.

Dear Dipstick,

How do you expect to have a conversation about immigrants and refugee’s housing needs and their assets if the room is stacked with people who look and sound like you. That is called institutional racism. You may be shutting down and ready to delete this email because you don’t like admitting you work for a racist organization and are perpetuating racist practices, but you are. When we do things like have meetings to talk about others, which is code for people of color, without them in the room it is a form of racism and white supremacy.

You are probably thinking “they won’t come,” or “we don’t want to inconvenience people who say they are busy,” both are true but that means you need to change the system for which you are inviting them. Reallocate your resources and pay them to be there to give technical assistance. Now you’re probably saying we don’t have a budget — then stop paying so many white consultants who talk about the community and give it to people of color who are doing the work.

I’m refusing to participate because I can already predict how the conversation will go without immigrant and refugees there or in token roles. Good luck. Call me when you’re ready to change.

—-

During a staff meeting the group worked on organizational values. This email exchange came out after one white leader objected to the word ‘diversity’ even though majority of the staff and all of the people of color voted on diversity:

“Respect is a more appropriate choice than diversity because it’s more applicable by definition than diversity. Diversity is such a loaded term, I don’t think there is a definition for diversity that will satisfy everyone in the organization.”

Dear Respectful Dipstick,

What is up with your resistance and white superiority? Are you afraid of ‘loaded’ terms like diversity? Is the word doing something to you that makes you feel unease? If so that unease is called White Superiority, with a touch of fragility. You are feeling the discomfort of realizing that others are different and its ok to be different.  Why does everything have to cater to you and make you feel ok? I’m not ok with you being ok.

Respect is one value and diversity is another. Why can’t we have both? Your insisting we drop diversity and roll it into respect is disrespectful. If we must drop a value to appease the group’s artificial limit of values please drop joy, cause I’m not finding joy in this tone policing.

P.S. If you think diversity is controversial you should hear what my friends are talking about — racial equity, race, racism, anti-bias work, and topics you’re so not ready for. Diversity is so 1990s, get with it we’re going to leave you and your diversity work behind.

—-

Dear Fakequity,

I’m on the board of Children Matter a Lot to Us nonprofit and we’re hoping to do more equity work. Since I know you from the golf team I’m hoping you’ll do some pro bono consulting work for us.

Dear Children Matter a Lot to Us,

Thank you for emailing and inquiring if I would like to work with you and the board. The short answer is no. I’ve met with your leadership team three times to ‘bid’ for contracts and you want to meet with me again? You guys seem to think I like hanging out with covertly racist people who think they are doing God’s work or something like that. No, this is a business for me and if I meet with you again, you can pay me my hourly rate of $500/hr, I’m charging you double because I know I’m not going to enjoy this meeting and to recoup part of my losses from the other three meetings with you.

I also have a practice of doing pro bono work for clients that align to my personal and professional values. If your organization is led by a person of color and your work is embedded and centered in communities of color let’s talk, otherwise pay up. You’re probably thinking “we don’t have money.” You do, you’ll find the money for things you prioritize and find important. How about stopping your payments to consultants who aren’t helping you reach communities of color and refocusing your dollars toward this or other efforts closer to communities of color. Good luck with your work.

—-

Dear Fakequity,

I hope you are well and had a Happy Thanksgiving. I would like to meet up with you before Christmas, I have some thoughts I’d like to bounce off you during coffee or lunch. Please send me some dates and times you’re free.
Sent from an iPhone

Dear Dipstick who Wants Free Advice,

Thanks for the email. I see you sent this email from your iPhone, is it an iPhone 7? My Samsung 7 might blow up at any moment so let me be equally brief: No, I don’t want to meet with you.

You’ll get more out of meeting with than I will even with free food. I’m a sucker for free food, but you didn’t say where we’re eating so it could be anywhere from Columbia Tower Club to Chick-Fil-A where my people are not really welcomed.

The real reason I don’t want to meet is I don’t want to hear your ideas — I’ve heard them before from other rich people trying to get ‘woke.’ I feel like you’re using me to validate your ideas or you want some free information. This isn’t a tit-for-tat but I don’t feel like you’ve invested in me or my causes the way you’re asking me to support you. If you want to meet my hourly consulting rate is $250+that ‘free’ lunch. I looked you up on LinkedIn you can afford my rate and if you can’t then go do your own racial equity work. I only do pro-bono work for partners who are authentically from communities of color; being a poc sista ain’t gonna cut it either. Go do some work on getting woke and check your privilege then we’ll talk.

And finally if you want to meet with me, you do the harder work of checking your calendar to suggest dates. Don’t you know scheduling protocol? The first to extend an invite also sends dates and times – get with it.

P.S. Say please if you want me to do something, your email didn’t say please. A please and humility goes a long way.

—-

If you think we’re writing about you, simmer down– we’re not lots of people are still stuck in writing these emails. But if you think it is you maybe you should ask yourself if you’re guilt of practicing fakequity. It is ok to feel the discomfort and work to change. Heidi got an email from someone telling her she asked people to feel things too many times in one hour. I would have said “Feel? Do you feel my blood pressure rising?” or “Ok, I’ll turn off my feelings if you turn off your covert racism.” Heidi is much calmer and social work smart, she said we need to feel the discomfort so we’re motivated to change.

Posted by Erin Okuno

Jaded – yes, but time to be grateful

I’m jaded, I admit it. Lately I’ve been more jaded and crabby when it comes to equity and fakequity. A lot of people took the election hard, I was already annoyed and jaded so in some ways I wasn’t as devastated as maybe I should have been. This week was no different; yesterday I spent the day listening to the recast of a school board meeting. It’s amazing how much coded and blatant racism comes through at these meetings. Everything from public comments to language said by elected officials, wow – maybe one day the fakequity team will unpack it in a blog post. I need to pull myself out of that jaded-ness, it’s time to find the not fake-equity and focus on the little things that equal bigger gains. Here are a few things I’m grateful for:

Books

1-2016-12-02-09-29-36Tonight, I stopped by the library to return Rad Women A-Z and picked up my three holds. We enjoyed Rad Women or as my kid called it Women Rad. He surprised me by listing it as a favorite book. When I first brought it home and tried to read it my kids they whined and said they wanted to read Star Wars and some book with a pony with a stamp on its ass. He decided to write about the book for his homework assignment and tonight we used the companion book Rad Women Worldwide for tonight’s homework. He even asked what does ‘rad’ mean. Being young he wants equality, he asked “Where is the Men Rad book?” We talked about why women need their own book and men don’t it as much – the beginnings of understanding equity versus equality. I can’t be jaded when a seven-year-old boy is beginning to understand feminism.

When I picked up my holds from the library I smiled. The three book covers featured children of color – yes! My youngest and her dad read the new book Little Professor Skye. Skye, an African American, sees herself in different professions everything from a swimmer to a scientist. It’s a little wordy for a four-year-old (and her tired parents) to read every word but we looked at every page and talked about the pictures.

The other book in the pile we’ve been reading is a book of Japanese folk tales. I’m excited to share it with my kids since it was a book I read when I was their age. The tales of Little One Inch and later Momotaro will be passed one more generation forward.

Diversifying the books and media my kids see is so important to helping them understand who they are and their valued place in the world. They belong to a community with many different voices and stories and seeing books with children of color featured helps them learn about other narratives. It is also helping to give my children a cultural identity and connecting them to family and friends.

Thanks Seattle Public Library for constantly filling our book requests and adding my purchase suggestions to the collection. I hope you’ll go check out some author of color books from your library.

Chicken and Waffles

This week I’m thankful for chicken and waffles. Last night I had a delightful meeting with a funder and we met at Nate’s Chicken and Waffles – a Black owned business in a heavily gentrifying neighborhood. It was sooooo good. The conversation was even better. My cholesterol is probably soaring today, but I ate a carrot today to neutralize it — that is how it works, right? Kidding, only sort of. I’ll let my cholesterol take a temporary hit in the hopes we can get more funding to communities of color.

Spending time catching up and investing in relationships makes the harder racial equity stuff easier in the long run. Over chicken, waffles, and mac-n-cheese, we shared what we’re working on, traded notes, I rolled my eyes she politely nodded and was nice (cause she’s a better human than me), and we walked away stuffed and with deeper and richer networks to support each other’s work. We need to take time to build networks so we can push each other forward. I’m also grateful a funder is willing to meet at a neighborhood joint versus a stuffy coffee shop.

Network of Supporters and More Food!

Tuesday my not-boss-bosses reminded me it is almost the end of the year and if I want to get reimbursed for my two-inch pile of receipts I better file an expense report. Looking through reams of receipts it is clear I spend a lot of time drinking tea and eating on the job – this week I’m extremely grateful for all the eating I’ve done over the year.

Last week and most of this week I’ve been contact with colleagues around the projected $74-million budget shortfall at Seattle Public School. It will be painful, for now I’m grateful our organization has invested in building strong relationships with both Seattle Public Schools and our community partners. In the coming weeks, many of the relationships and the trust built over tea and beer, French fries, and bowls of pho will be used to navigate this crisis and try to hold the line on the gains we’ve made to close opportunity and achievement gaps for students of color. I’m also reminded students of color don’t need us to just ‘hold the line’ they need us to make bigger and strategic gains, holding the line isn’t enough we need to see gains even with the conservative nature of where we are nationally and when in crisis. We can do this if we leverage our networks and push for sharing and redistribution of resources and power.

Not Fakequity, and Not Jaded

This week I’m going to double down on being active. Part of getting jaded is sitting on the side and watching as things explode and then needing to go in and drop equity bombs – the comments where we tell people why they are being jack asses and not practicing equity. Being active could lead to being jaded, but at least my jaded-ness will be justified — righteous jadedness vs. just passive jaded-ness, and I tried.

Here is my “I will try not to be jaded” action plan:

  • Lunch with Heidi – because we all need our people and I owe her a favor because she unpacked coded racism for me. Investing in the relationship over food goes a long way.
  • Read at least one author of color book before the end of the year.
  • Watch an anime show about baking bread, a new friend explained it was the best show he’s watched. We had a great conversation about culture and art between Native Americans and Asian influences. Action is doing something different and slowing down.
  • Write another email to my Congressional representatives to tell them cut off the Dakota Access Pipeline. To understand the situation in a few minutes, watch this Trevor Noah clip from The Daily Show, and go read more articles preferably by Native American’s most impacted and from reputable sources, cause we all know social media is filled with fake stories, and there is a lot of double speak like saying alt-right vs. white supremacy, so go to the source and understand there are multiple truths and sides to every story.
  • Mobilize and get messages out to protect high poverty schools and programs supporting students of color. We need to speak up it is how shit gets done.
  • Say thank you more. I will say thank you more. Saying thank you is an action, saying thank you slows us down to care. It is simple and hard to do at times.
  • I’m also going to work on spending time making my kid’s wishes come true because it is the holidays. Kid #1 wants to understand how Santa transcends time zones and physics, and #2 wants to know how to put pillows on the roof so Santa doesn’t make noise. We need to play and spend time together to un-jade ourselves.

Posted by Erin