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

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