Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Month Reading

It is Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Please note the month is not called Asian Pacific Islander month or API or AAPI. The extended name brings more recognition and value to Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. While there are many shared bonds between Asians, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, we cannot lump ourselves together and know we are equal. Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders deserve recognition and the support of Asian and other communities.

Since it is AA/NHPI month I will share some of my favorite books by Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders. You can start to prep your summer reading list and for those of you who play Seattle Public Library and Seattle Arts & Lectures Summer Book BINGO this post is especially for you.

I aim to include authors of many different ethnicities. Some of these are books I’ve shared in other posts, but resharing them because they are wonderful and deserve to be read.

Children’s books

Tu Youyou’s Discovery Finding a Cure for Malaria – I just read this today and learned more about how a Chinese scientist, Tu Youyou, took Chinese herbal medicine, combined it with Western medicine and found a treatment for malaria. Her contribution to medicine has saved over 6.8-million people. This is a good non-fiction biography for elementary school kids.  

A Map Into the World – This is such a tender book to share with children who need reassurance that change is scary, but they can also anchor onto something known. It is by Hmong author Kao Kalia Yang. Make sure to check out her other books too, many of them are favorites.

Fauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run a Marathon – Fauja Singh, a Sikh from Punjab, is a lonely elder, then discovers running as his passion in his 80s. He went on to become the first centenarian to complete a marathon.

From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea – This is the book I recommend when people tell me they like the Julian is a Mermaid books, no thanks to cultural appropriation in those books. From the Stars is written by a trans-Asian who is also a performing artist and psychotherapist. The story allows for wonderful conversations about identity and self-identity.

Yasmin series – This is one of my favorite beginning readers. Yasmin is a second-grade Pakistani American who shares her life with readers. Read all of her adventures.

Ohana Means Family – Sharing Native Hawaiian culture and lessons through the story of community in verse. “This is the land that’s never been sold, where work the hands, so wise and old, that reach through the water, clear and cold, into the mud to pick the taro to make the poi for our ohana’s luau.” This is a delightful read-aloud book.

Graphic Novels and Short Stories

Superman Smashes the Klan – This fictionalized retelling of WWII American history is a great way to talk about anti-Asian racism during WWII and now.

Where’s Halmoni – My friend Heidi gave this book to my kid for Christmas several years ago. It is still a favorite. Two children go looking for their Korean grandma and take wild adventure to find her.

The Best We Could Do – Recounts Thi Bui’s family’s journey out of war-time Vietnam. Part memoir, part-love story to her child, and part healing journey as she gathers her mother’s painful past of escaping Vietnam and rebuilding a life in a new country.

Prince and the Dressmaker – My kid came home from school INSISTING I read this book. I’m glad I did. It is a quick read about how a peasant becomes the dressmaker to a prince who has a secret. The book is also available in Korean, hooray for translations!

Māui Tonga Tales is a collection of short stories from across the Pacific Islands. I borrowed this right before COVID and enjoyed having it for quite a while when the library was closed. This gave me a looooong time to read and re-read the stories in it, and dream of the Pacific Islands.

Adult Books

Goodbye Vitamin is a quick read about a young Asian American who has to go home and pickup the pieces of her aging father’s life. Part humorous, part sad, part adulting.

How to Hold Animals is not really an adult reading book, but ehh we should all enjoy this book. It is exactly what the title says, a book on how to hold different animals safely. The author is a zookeeper in Japan and has photographed how to hold different animals.

Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life by Alice Wong is coming out in the fall of 2022. I’m adding it to the list so you can look forward to it, and in the meantime check out her other book Disability Visibility.

Essential Labor: Mothering as Social Change by Seattle author Angela Garbes just came out. It is a timely book exploring how COVID shakeup forced society to grapple with motherhood and caregiving. I haven’t read it yet, but looking forward to digging into it. Hat-tip Brooke for sharing the title. Make sure to read Garbes’ previous book Like a Mother.

The Korean Vegan Cookbook – Every good book list should include a cookbook. I aspire to eat more vegan food and this book is helping me find that inspiration. The pictures are art, the recipes look delicious and simple enough to make. I need to borrow it again from the library to really try a few of the recipes.

Happy reading AA/NHPI month! There are so many good Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander books out there. Make sure to read them and share them with others.


Thank you to our Patreon subscribers. At this time I don’t offer ‘extras’ or bonuses for Patreons. I blog after working a full-time job, volunteer and family commitments thus it is hard to find time to create more content. Whatever level you are comfortable giving helps to keep the blog ad-free, pay for back-end cost, research costs, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

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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). To see what Erin is reading and recommended books check out the Fakequity Bookshop.

I am writing from the lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawaii; a small act to repair and work to be in more justice-based relations.

Outsiders and Belonging

May is Asian and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander heritage month. Use this month to learn and reflect on Asians and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders in your community.

Street art mural: girl with outstrtched hand reaching for a red heart shaped balloon, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for!” Art found online, unknown creator

Earlier this week I was listening to a panel of educators talk about family engagement and what they had done at their school to transform it. I know the insides and outsides of their story and knew how hard they had hustled to create systems to take care of their families during COVID and continued that even now. One of the speakers from the school’s Black Family Council talked about how he built relationships with the families. He also shared his personal story of growing up in different places and how his job took him around the world before landing in Seattle. As I was listening to him speak, I had the spark of realization one of the commonalities of people I enjoy are they understand what it is like to be an outsider AND they use their positions or power to create belonging with others.

Outsider status

At some point in everyone’s life they have most likely experienced being an outsider. Maybe these moments are because of a core part of who you are: being the only POC in a predominately white community growing up, or being the only Muslim in school for your entire childhood, being an immigrant and not understanding the dominant language, being left out because of a disability, being held back for some reason.

There are also little moments where we’ve been the outsider – starting at a new school or job, taking your kid to join a sports team and realizing you don’t know any of the other parents, or moving to a new neighborhood.

These moments as an outsider shape us. The loneliness and feeling of not knowing are hard and create feelings that are foreign and unpleasant. These feelings are important. Humans are wired to want connections and to seek safety by being with others. Historically being alone was dangerous – predators could find you, you’d be less likely to stay warm, knowledge wasn’t passed to people who were alone – being alone wasn’t as safe as being with others.

Yet these moments of feeling like an outsider are important to shaping our work in building community and trust.

Using Personal Power to Create Community

My favorite people understand and remember what it was like to be an outsider. Some even embraced that time in their lives as being an outsider, and now use that time to create belonging among others. They remembered what it felt like to be an outsider because of a core part of who they were. The feeling of being othered shaped who they are and they now work to create spaces where that feeling is lessen.

Creating a sense of belonging is a learned skill. While we are innately drawn to being with others, being together does not come seamlessly. When I facilitate, I try to remember the purpose of the gathering. It is easy to fall into patterns or formulas of our time together, but it is important to get back to the core reason of creating connections. For me many times the purpose is to build relationships between POCs and decision-makers. While anyone is welcome to attend my first priority is to create a space welcoming and comfortable for POCs. Second priority is to share information and build connections with others.

My colleague and friend from the Black Family Council shared with the group how he creates belonging among the families he works with. He intentionally asks and listens. He asked the families when and how they want to be communicated with AND he follows through on this. Many of the families he works with asked to be contacted on the weekend when they had time to talk not when they were rushing home from work or preparing dinner for young kids.

Another friend, a Black young man, talked about how a misunderstanding over a food delivery with an Asian elder immigrant led to upset feelings but very little way for the two to communicate through the situation. The following week my friend made sure he delivered food to the Asian elder. While they can’t communicate through words, they both have created a sense of belonging to each other through these actions.

A friend who works in disability justice reminds me inclusion isn’t just about physical inclusion (e.g. wheelchair ramps, elevators) or access to a meeting (e.g. interpretation, online access), it is about feeling included as whole people.

Challenge – Be an Outsider

After I had this realization about outside and insider power and inclusion, I had a thought about how I need to challenge myself to be an outsider more. I’ve grown comfortable in being with people who I like and are easy to be with. My challenge now is to be an outsider at times and remember that feeling so I can bring it back and create more belonging among people who need that space and comfort. I need to start accepting invitations where I am not in the majority, where I know few people. It is ok to be uncomfortable growth comes through stumbling forward (another lesson from a wise friend).

Creating belonging also means understanding what it means to be on the outside. The last thing we should do is create clubs that exclude when we mean to create belonging of people who are constantly on the outside.


Thank you to our Patreon subscribers. At this time I don’t offer ‘extras’ or bonuses for Patreons. I blog after working a full-time job, volunteer and family commitments thus it is hard to find time to create more content. Whatever level you are comfortable giving helps to keep the blog ad-free, pay for back-end cost, research costs, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

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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). To see what Erin is reading and recommended books check out the Fakequity Bookshop.

I am writing from the lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawaii; a small act to repair and work to be in more justice-based relations.

What Would You Do with $44b?

Happy almost Eid. Eid is next week May 2 for many, although some celebrate on May 3 – check with your local Muslim communities to find out when they will celebrate.

Saturday, 30 April is the last day to order flowers from the Friendly Hmong Farms Mother’s day/may flower sale. This is a fundraiser for Seattle schools and Title 1 schools. Get your orders in now.


Image of instant cup noodle ramen with a lobster in it. Text “I wouldn’t tell anyone I won the lottery but there will be hints.” h/t B.N. for the image. I did not win the lottery, this isn’t a hint.

A friend posed this question after headlines that Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44-billion. Around the same time, I listened to a NY Times podcast, The Daily, talking about billionaires. Through the podcast, the reporter tried to make sense of how much a billion really is. Listening to the explanation I realized I can’t fathom that much net-worth sitting with one person. Props to Mona Chalabi for illustrating Jeff Bezos’ billions in wealth. I had that conversation with my kids tonight. At a certain point having more money doesn’t really make a difference – having 1 car or 100 cars – I can’t drive more than one at a time. More money can buy better tasting food, but my body can’t eat unlimited quantities of dessert and stay healthy.

So here is a hypothetical question, I’m assuming none of my readers has $44-billion in wealth. If you do have $44-billion, let’s talk – I’m super curious who you are (please email me) and how you found Fakequity, and more importantly, let’s put that $44-billion to work.

What would you do with $44-billion?

Here are some of my ideas to advance social justice, work to eliminate racism, and advance justice for Black, Indigenous, Latine/o/a, Middle Eastern, and Asians with that type of wealth. All of these are top of mind. I know philanthropy and racial justice work is very nuanced, but sometimes we just need to start with ideas and dream a little.

  • I’d give away $42 billion, and still be rich.
  • Fund research and healthy practices led by Black communities to end Black infant mortality. Same for Indigenous communities.
  • Support Native communities to install clean drinking water and sewer systems in EVERY Native community that needs or wants this.
  • Bring internet access to everyone. This isn’t just a rural problem, teachers in my urban neighborhood tell me they have students who still don’t have internet access for multiple reasons (e.g. cost, landlords saying no, no access in their building, etc.).
  • Fund independent POC owned and embedded journalism.
  • Buy or create a publishing house that prints only POC authored books. Then give those books away cause that is what $44-billion can do. I’d expect the publisher to authors and illustrators of color, POC authors with disabilities, POC LGBTQ, POC immigrants, etc. and invest in their development as professional writers and illustrators.
  • Fund POC led housing work led and embedded by POCs.
  • Fund POC farmers who farm in environmentally friendly ways.
  • Save and restore rainforests and return them to their Indigenous people. Fund Indigenous communities to preserve their land and Indigenous practices.
  • Fund organizations supporting POC candidates for races that are often overlooked – school boards, assessors, auditors, medical examiners, district attorneys, etc. Why these offices? They are often overlooked and these offices can be stepping stones to higher offices. These offices often influence important parts of systems reforms for POCs.
  • Seed a disability justice led foundation to make grants to advance disability justice for people of color. Hat-tip to Laura and Carrie for this idea – I hope you get a billion to start it.
  • Fund scholarships for students who are also front-line low-income workers. Much of private wealth is made on the backs of front-line low-income workers (e.g. grocery store clerks, delivery drivers, sanitation workers, etc.). Also fund their childcare, medical, housing, etc. cost so a degree is attainable.
  • Fund Black and Indigenous led organizations working on prison and justice reforms. Why Black led– we need to acknowledge the racial imbalance of who is in prisons.
  • Work with municipal government, universities, researchers, etc. to implement across-the-board/mandatory child development awareness training – this is a long-time idea I’ve been marinating on. We need society to understand child development, including from a racial justice perspective. When we understand child, youth, and human development we can relate better to people. Imagine how different policing, schools, hospitals, etc. would feel like if we understood appropriate child and youth development. (If you do this please let me know how it goes, I’d love to learn about it.) 
  • Fund efforts around income tax and wealth taxes so it will be harder for people to accumulate so much wealth, thus redistributing it more fairly back into community accountable systems. While this may sound race neutral it isn’t. Tax justice is racial justice since it is often white people that accumulate wealth and taxes are a way to redistribute that wealth to Black and Brown people.
  • Fund efforts around universal basic income and restoring the child tax-credit, and other progressive tax efforts. Same as above, POCs benefit greatly with these efforts. The child tax credit helped to create a more level playing field for many children.

And just for fun, I’d buy myself the most expensive ring Costco has on their website, a $349,000 ring. I don’t wear a lot of jewelry but something about ordering the most expensive ring from Costco sounds ridiculous. I wonder if I could convince Costco to throw in a $1.50 hot dog and soda, or a $5.00 rotisserie chicken too?

These are just some starter ideas on how to use $44-billion versus deciding one person wants to buy Twitter. These are all oversimplified and in jest, but with some serious edges to them. What ideas do you have? I’d love to know how you would invest funds to support racial justice.


Thank you to our Patreon subscribers. At this time I don’t offer ‘extras’ or bonuses for Patreons. I blog after working a full-time job, volunteer and family commitments thus it is hard to find time to create more content. Whatever level you are comfortable giving helps to keep the blog ad-free, pay for back-end cost, research costs, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

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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). To see what Erin is reading and recommended books check out the Fakequity Bookshop.

I am writing from the lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawaii; a small act to repair and work to be in more justice-based relations.

Nonprofit Board Diversity

Stock photo of people pretending to meet and work. Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

I’m heading into dangerous territory by blogging about a topic that is well covered by others, so forgive me if this isn’t new to you. The reason I’m writing about board diversity is it is STILL A PROBLEM and because a friend messaged to ask me about the topic. For this blog, I’ll be writing about nonprofit boards, not elected or corporate boards – both of which also have a lack of people of color serving on them but that is for someone else to write about.

There is a lot of research done about how many nonprofit boards are not diverse, nor representative of the communities they serve. BoardSource research shows that while boards are becoming more diverse they are still very white, in their research pool 78% of board members were white, 83% of board chairs identified as white. When asked if the board composition aligns with the population served by the nonprofit 29% of board chairs said no, and 38% chief executives replied no. This is troubling since these top two leadership positions guide our nonprofits. The report has a lot more data and helpful suggestions for remedying the problems.

We gotta look at history

To understand the problem of why we don’t have diverse boards, let’s take a very quick look at how we got here. The nonprofit sector and nonprofit industry grew out of many white institutional frameworks – missionaries, churches, service leagues. These roots came with paternalistic (white male) models of service and community building. Many of those being served by these institutions were not seen as worthy of self-determination or leadership roles.

On the flip side, many communities of color and informal networks self-organized, but did so outside of the nonprofit network/industry. These mutual aid networks figured out how to support each other, it was a matter of survival. Aunties and uncles and other informal leaders can be found helping and building their communities up. I mention this to prove there is diverse leadership; it may look different but it is there. I mention this so we recognize there is POC leadership out there.

How to Fix the Problem

Understanding the history is important to understanding how we fix the problem. Many nonprofit boards are mini-clubs. If you look at a board and start mapping out the relationships you can see how people joined the board – people know people, current board members nominate others to fill seats, we recruit from places we know like the universities we’re connected to, the businesses we frequent, etc. The problem with this closed network is when we allow it to stay closed we don’t get the diversity we need to be representative of those we serve. Acknowledging this club aspect to boards is important to fixing the problem.

Here are some suggestions for diversifying your board:

Count – Track your board demographics. Boards should keep a matrix tracking board diversity on multiple-fronts important to your mission and services. Such as tracking race and ethnicity, disability status, residency (especially for place based organizations), occupation alignment (e.g. education policy orgs would benefit from having educators on the board), gender including non-binary, LGBTQ, etc. Tracking and counting will give your board a baseline understanding of who is on your board and where there are holes. When board members join is a good time to have them self-identify how they want to be represented on the board matrix.

Practice and Policies – One of the best boards I served on had policies in place on how representatives their board needed to be. This organization received a lot of federal grant money which dictated the board composition, cumbersome, but these policies led to great results. The requirements included having 1/3 of the board from the community (e.g. residents, clients, nonprofit service partners, etc.), 1/3 elected officials or their appointees – while this sounds weird, it really worked to keep the board geographically representative of the organization’s service area, 1/3 at-large – a lot of corporate representatives and other fundraising heft were placed in this category. There were also requirements to have certain professionals on the board – an accounting expert, a lawyer, a child development expert, and someone with lived experience of homelessness. It was mind-boggling every month to figure out if the board was in compliance with the policy requirements. Having left that board and serving on other boards I now appreciate how the policy requirements kept the board grounded in the mission and services of the organization.

Your board composition policies do not have to be this prescriptive, but having some practices or policies to guide board recruitment is helpful.

Recruitment – My friend who prompted this blog post told me briefly about her experience on a board. She is the only POC on her board. The board voted on two new board members who were both white. My friend voted no to both candidates; she was out voted. She wasn’t surprised by this but it was still infuriating.

If you want to diversify your board, YOU NEED POC CANDIDATES. It is that simple. Don’t invite more white people to join the board. It isn’t hard – if you want diversity look for it, going back to the point about boards being clubs, if you want to bring on people of color. Stop asking white people for recommendations of who should join the board, or if you do ask white people be very specific that you need candidates of color.

POCs Leverage Your Power – POCs this one is for you. Leverage your board seat, your voice, and power – it won’t always be easy, but your presence makes a difference. For one board I was recruited on I knew the board was bringing me on because they needed POC diversity. I appreciated their honesty, and I was honest with them back. I told them I would join on the condition that within a year the board needed to have at least two more POC board members. I did not want to be the token POC. It worked and the board diversified.

Board diversity is important and there is a lot more written about it. Check out Vu’s blog NonprofitAf.com, Rhea Wong’s Nonprofit Lowdown podcast, follow disability rights activist – guest blogger Carrie offers several in this blog post.


Thank you to our Patreon subscribers. At this time I don’t offer ‘extras’ or bonuses for Patreons. I blog after working a full-time job, volunteer and family commitments thus it is hard to find time to create more content. Whatever level you are comfortable giving helps to keep the blog ad-free, pay for back-end cost, research costs, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

Abby, Adrienne, Agent001, Aimie, AlaynaAlessandra P., Alessandra Z., Alexa, Aline, Alison F.P., Alison P., Allison K., Amanda, Amber, Amira, Amy, Amy H., Amy H.N., Amy K., Amy P., Andie, Andrea, Andrea J., Angelica, Angelina, Ann, Ashlee, Ashlie, Avery, Barb, Barbara, Barbara B., Barrett, Becky, Beth, Brad, brian, Bridget, Brooke B., Brooke D.W., Cadence, Caitlin, Calandra, Callista, Cari, Carmen, Carol Ann, Carolyn, Carrie B., Carrie C., Carrie S., Caryn, Catherine L., Catherine S. x2, Cedra, Celicia, Chelsea, Christa, Christina, Christine, Clara, Clark, Claudia, Claudia A., Courtney, Crystal, Dan, Daniel, Danielle, Danya, Darcy, Darcy E., Deb, Denyse, Diana, Diane, E., Ed, Edith B., Edith B. (2), Eileen, Elizabeth, Elizabeth U., Emiko, emily, Erica J., Erica L., Erica R.B., Erin, Erin H., Evan, Francis, Gail, Hannah, Hayden, Heather, Heidi, Heidi H., Heidi N and Laura P, Heidi S., Hilary, Hope, J., Jackie, Jaime, Jake, Jane, JJanet, Jason, Jean, Jeanne, Jelena, Jen, Jena, Jenn, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M., Jennifer S., Jennifer T., Jennifer W., Jess G., Jessa, Jessica F., Jessica G., Jessica R., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon G., Jon P., Jordan, Julia, June, Karen, Kari, Katharine, Kate C., Kate G., Kate T., Kathryn, Katie D., Katie O., Kawai, Keisha, Kelly S, Kelley, Kelli, Kellie H., Kellie M., Kelly, Kim, KymberliKimKimberly, Krissy, Kirsten, Krista D.B., Krista W., Kristen, Kumar, Kyla, Laura T., Laura G., Laurel, Lauren, Laurie B., Laurie K., Leah, Lindsay, Liora, Lisa C., lisa c., Lisa P.W., Lisa S., Liz, Lori, Lori N., Lyn, Lynn, Maggie, Maka, Maki, Marc, Mareeha, Marge, Marilee, Mark, Marki, Mary, Matthew M., matthew w., Maura, McKenzie, Meghan, Melissa, Melody, Meredith, Michael, Michele, Michelle, Mickey, Migee, Mike, Milo, Mindy, Miranda, Misha, Molly, Myrna, Nancy, Nat, Natasha D., Natasha R., Nicole, Nora, Norah, Norrie, Peggy, PMM, Polly, Porsche, Rachel G., Rachel S.R., Raquel, Raquel S., Rebecca O., Rebecca S., Reiko, Risa, Rise, Ruby, Ruchika, Sandra, Sarah B., Sarah H., Sarah K.B., Sarah K., Sarah L., Sarah O., Sarah O. (2), Sarah R., Sarah S., Sarena, Sarita, Sean, Selma, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Sharon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Shelley, Skyler, Steph, Stephanie, Stephen, Su, Susan, Susan M., Susan M.x2, Susan U., T., Tallie, Tana, Tania DSC, Tania T.D., Tara, TerraCorps, Terri, Titilayo, Tracy, Tracy G., Tracy T.G., Tyler, virginia, Vivian, Will, Willow, yoko, Yvetteand Zan

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). To see what Erin is reading and recommended books check out the Fakequity Bookshop.

I am writing from the lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, Quinault, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawaii; a small act to repair and work to be in more justice-based relations.

Supreme Court Diversity

FriendlyHmongFarms.com Mother’s Day flower flier

I want to highlight a very cool fundraiser. Friendly Hmong Farms is hosting a Mother’s Day flower sale (however you define mother or just order spring flowers for yourself). It is a win-win-win. The sale benefits Seattle Public Schools, a match will go to a Title 1 (high poverty school), and it supports POC farmers. This is their biggest flower selling weekend of the season; the pre-sales will give them a boost. If you’re not in Seattle and want to support you can order flowers on the website and have them donated or contact fakequity@gmail.com and I’ll help you figure out a way to support the fundraiser.


Image of the 115 justices showing mostly white men. Art by @dreasdoodles

Last week Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed to the highest court in the United States – the US Supreme Court. This is important and monumental. Many have said her presence in the room will change conversations and it will. The court for too long and still is too white. Out of the 115 justices in the over 200-year history, all but seven have been white men, only three have been people of color – Justices Thurgood Marshall (African American/Black), Clarence Thomas (African American/Black), and Sonia Sotomayor (Latina). None have been LGBTQ. While many point to the women on the court being revolutionary, and it was, gender diversity is not the same as racial diversity.

Image showing experiences of current Supreme Court Justices. From https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/interactive/2022/ketanji-brown-jackson-school-career/

This image by the Washington Post also highlights how insular the experiences of the justices are. All but Justice Barrett graduated from an Ivy League law school, most clerked in the Supreme Court, and all but Justice Kagan served on the Court of Appeals. These are prestigious and noteworthy, but we should also question if having such similar experiences is what the court needs. Does it lead to groupthink or shortcuts in understanding versus interrogating to understand and interrogating to believe something to be true?

There has never been an Asian, Native American, or Pacific Islander represented on the courts, nor have these racial groups been nominated or seriously considered for a Supreme Court seat. White people are overrepresented on the court. We need a Black woman AND we need an Asian, Native American, and Pacific Islander on the court.

I remember when I first read an op-ed in the local NW Asian Weekly by publisher Assunta Ng arguing that an Asian, I scoffed and thought it was a preposterous idea. I now cringe remembering that was my first reaction. An Asian should be on the court. There are many cases the court considers having direct impacts on the Asian community – college admissions, immigration, employment and discrimination, access to health care, etc. Court cases brought by Asian Americans have reshaped America and they will continue to do so since we are a vital part of the American population.

The same can be said for Native Americans and Pacific Islanders. Native Americans and Indigenous people have been systemically disenfranchised by the US government since the illegal takeover of their land. Pacific Islanders to have not had equal representation in government even though their island nations often feel the brunt of the US decisions militarily, climate change, and underinvestment of resources. These two race groups have smaller populations and some of the highest disparities. Having justices on the court who understand AND have lived these experiences would change the conversation and possible outcomes for people of color.

As the court diversifies some will say people of color are taking seats away from white people who earned the right to be on the court. Increasing racial diversity of the court will scare some, including people who proclaim to be allies and progressives. Adding more people of color to the Supreme Court is not taking away from white people. Increasing diversity will enhance the Court’s ability to be relevant and meaningful to Americans.

The Supreme Court by design is the weakest of the three bodies of the US government. The Courts do not have the power of the military or the budget. – Federalist No 78. “has no influence over either the sword or the purse; …  It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; ….” It is also the smallest therefore its power comes from being in good-standing and respected by the American citizenry (meant broadly not just the technical definition). If the Supreme Court is to be relevant and have relevancy the Executive Branch and Legislative Branch should seek to ensure it is truly diverse. As I write this, I know many will work to prevent this diversity from happening, but hopefully, with enough foresight and planning, we can work to make it happen. Diversity doesn’t happen by accident it is often intentional and needs to be sustained over time – a strong democracy depends on it.


Thank you to our Patreon subscribers. At this time I don’t offer ‘extras’ or bonuses for Patreons. I blog after working a full-time job, volunteer and family commitments thus it is hard to find time to create more content. Whatever level you are comfortable giving helps to keep the blog ad-free, pay for back-end cost, research costs, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

Abby, Adrienne, Agent001, Aimie, AlaynaAlessandra P., Alessandra Z., Alexa, Aline, Alison F.P., Alison P., Allison K., Amanda, Amber, Amira, Amy, Amy H., Amy H.N., Amy K., Amy P., Andie, Andrea, Andrea J., Angelica, Angelina, Ann, Ashlee, Ashlie, Avery, Barb, Barbara, Barbara B., Barrett, Becky, Beth, Brad, brian, Bridget, Brooke B., Brooke D.W., Cadence, Caitlin, Calandra, Callista, Cari, Carmen, Carol Ann, Carolyn, Carrie B., Carrie C., Carrie S., Caryn, Catherine L., Catherine S. x2, Cedra, Celicia, Chelsea, Christa, Christina, Christine, Clara, Clark, Claudia, Claudia A., Courtney, Crystal, Dan, Daniel, Danielle, Danya, Darcy, Darcy E., Deb, Denyse, Diana, Diane, E., Ed, Edith B., Edith B. (2), Eileen, Elizabeth, Elizabeth U., Emiko, emily, Erica J., Erica L., Erica R.B., Erin, Erin H., Evan, Francis, Gail, Hannah, Hayden, Heather, Heidi, Heidi H., Heidi N and Laura P, Heidi S., Hilary, Hope, J., Jackie, Jaime, Jake, Jane, JJanet, Jason, Jean, Jeanne, Jelena, Jen, Jena, Jenn, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M., Jennifer S., Jennifer T., Jennifer W., Jess G., Jessa, Jessica F., Jessica G., Jessica R., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon G., Jon P., Jordan, Julia, June, Karen, Kari, Katharine, Kate C., Kate G., Kate T., Kathryn, Katie D., Katie O., Kawai, Keisha, Kelly S, Kelley, Kelli, Kellie H., Kellie M., Kelly, Kim, KymberliKimKimberly, Krissy, Kirsten, Krista D.B., Krista W., Kristen, Kumar, Kyla, Laura T., Laura G., Laurel, Lauren, Laurie B., Laurie K., Leah, Lindsay, Liora, Lisa C., lisa c., Lisa P.W., Lisa S., Liz, Lori, Lori N., Lyn, Lynn, Maggie, Maka, Maki, Marc, Mareeha, Marge, Marilee, Mark, Marki, Mary, Matthew M., matthew w., Maura, McKenzie, Meghan, Melissa, Melody, Meredith, Michael, Michele, Michelle, Mickey, Migee, Mike, Milo, Mindy, Miranda, Misha, Molly, Myrna, Nancy, Nat, Natasha D., Natasha R., Nicole, Nora, Norah, Norrie, Peggy, PMM, Polly, Porsche, Rachel G., Rachel S.R., Raquel, Raquel S., Rebecca O., Rebecca S., Reiko, Risa, Rise, Ruby, Ruchika, Sandra, Sarah B., Sarah H., Sarah K.B., Sarah K., Sarah L., Sarah O., Sarah O. (2), Sarah R., Sarah S., Sarena, Sarita, Sean, Selma, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Sharon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Shelley, Skyler, Steph, Stephanie, Stephen, Su, Susan, Susan M., Susan M.x2, Susan U., T., Tallie, Tana, Tania DSC, Tania T.D., Tara, TerraCorps, Terri, Titilayo, Tracy, Tracy G., Tracy T.G., Tyler, virginia, Vivian, Will, Willow, yoko, Yvetteand Zan

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). To see what Erin is reading and recommended books check out the Fakequity Bookshop.

I am writing from the lands of the 29 federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes in now Washington State, including the Coast Salish people — Duwamish, Muckleshoot, Suquamish, Snoqualmie, Quinault, and Native American organizations that have treaty rights and have been here since time immemorial. I give my thanks to the elders, Native and Indigenous colleagues and relations, and the land itself. Fakequity pays “rent” to Native organizations in Washington and Hawaii; a small act to repair and work to be in more justice-based relations.

No photo description available.

Spring Cleaning Fakequity’s Checklist

Asian woman with hair tied up in a bun standing in a kitchen wearing a green apron and washing a cutting board. Background has a retro styled teal microwave and houseplants. Photo by Annushka Ahuja on Pexels.com

Today we saw the first Black woman, Ketanji Brown Jackson, confirmed and headed to the US Supreme Court. I look forward to reading her dissents and hopefully in the future she will be in the majority opinion of the court. And Ramadan Mubarak to our Muslim relations.


The weather is warming, but still unpredictable. In Seattle, the weather was in the 70s today, but tomorrow thunderstorms, and possibly snow in a few days — that is spring in Seattle. During those rainy and cold days use the time to do a little Fakequity style spring cleaning.

  1. Clean out your closet of anything that might be culturally appropriated wear. Do you have Native American-inspired clothes from Forever 21? Trash it, don’t even donate it. Turn those into dust cleaning rags. Any Asian-inspired wear, such as Ninja or Geisha costumes? Trash those too.
  2. Clean your bookshelf. Seriously dust off those books you’ve been meaning to read and read them or share them with others. For books that are outdated or we now have better options, cull them from your collection. Examples: Little House on the Prairie, the portrayal of Native Americans is insensitive and racist, instead read the Birchbark House series. Harry Potter, while beloved by many J.K. Rowlings has said many derogatory and transphobic comments.
  3. Grab that stack of magazines, including the ones from cool POC publications and either read them, recycle them, or share forward. If you’re into art, make something with those, like these paper art by African American/Black artist Vashti Harrison. I made these with my kid and we periodically revisit the activity.
  4. Clear out your email. Unsubscribe from organizational emails that are not aligned with your values. This will make room for organizations led by and embedded in communities to be highlighted more.
  5. Spring clean your social media feeds. Unfollow people, organizations, celebrities who are racist, or low-key micro-aggressive. There is no need for those in your social media life.
  6. Reevaluate your news, podcast, and media content. Is it working for you and giving you diverse perspectives from people of color, people with disabilities, and communities of color? If no, unsubscribe from those who are too white and replace them with diverse media.
  7. Kitchen and refrigerator. Clear out the old condiment and seasonings from that one time you needed a special ingredient to make that one “ethnic” dish (every dish is ethnic in some way). If the condiments are still good, make the dish again – no sense wasting good food. If you are cleaning out old food, please don’t donate expired food to food banks. It is a waste of your gas and staff or volunteers time to evaluate and toss the expired food. People receiving the food, they don’t want your expired canned goods or expired Costco purchases.
  8. Wash those reusable bags you take to the market. Washing them will mean they are ready for the farmer’s markets where you can choose to invest in POC farmers. You don’t want to put their pretty produce into grubby bags.
  9. Clean your outdoor space. Remove any yard signs you don’t actively practice what it says — are you acting in ways that believe in Black Lives Matter, if the answer is no then take down that yard sign.

    Pull out invasive species and put in native plants. If you are purchasing plants or seeds look for vendors who are from communities of color. If this isn’t an option, make a donation to your local Native led environmental organization – there is probably one in your surrounding area.
  10. Clean your energy consumption both metaphorically and physically. Where are you spending your personal energy? If there is a person who is draining you because of their entrenched beliefs maybe it is time to clear them from your life.

    Tidy up your physical energy consumption. Unplug things you don’t use. Pollution hurts communities of color hardest, do your part by lowering your environmental and carbon footprint.
  11. Spring clean your beliefs and attitudes towards things that might challenge you. Spend some time reflecting on where you’ve grown in thinking about race, disability, immigration, community, etc. Where do you need to go next on this journey?

Thank you to our Patreon subscribers. At this time I don’t offer ‘extras’ or bonuses for Patreons. I blog after working a full-time job, volunteer and family commitments thus it is hard to find time to create more content. Whatever level you are comfortable giving helps to keep the blog ad-free, pay for back-end cost, research costs, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

Abby, Adrienne, Agent001, Aimie, AlaynaAlessandra P., Alessandra Z., Alexa, Aline, Alison F.P., Alison P., Allison K., Amanda, Amber, Amira, Amy H., Amy H.N., Amy K., Amy P., Andie, Andrea, Andrea J., Angelica, Angelina, Ann, Ashlee, Ashlie, Avery, Barb, Barbara, Barbara B., Barrett, Becky, Beth, Brad, brian, Bridget, Brooke B., Brooke D.W., Cadence, Caitlin, Calandra, Callista, Cari, Carmen, Carol Ann, Carolyn, Carrie B., Carrie C., Carrie S., Caryn, Catherine L., Catherine S. x2, Cedra, Celicia, Chelsea, Christa, Christina, Christine, Clara, Clark, Claudia, Claudia A., Courtney, Crystal, Dan, Daniel, Danielle, Danya, Darcy, Darcy E., Deb, Denyse, Diana, Diane, E., Ed, Edith B., Edith B. (2), Eileen, Elizabeth, Elizabeth U., Emiko, emily, Erica J., Erica L., Erica R.B., Erin, Erin H., Evan, Francis, Gail, Hannah, Hayden, Heather, Heidi, Heidi H., Heidi N and Laura P, Heidi S., Hilary, Hope, J., Jackie, Jaime, Jake, Jane, JJanet, Jason, Jean, Jeanne, Jelena, Jen, Jena, Jenn, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M., Jennifer S., Jennifer T., Jennifer W., Jess G., Jessa, Jessica F., Jessica G., Jessica R., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon G., Jon P., Jordan, Julia, June, Karen, Kari, Katharine, Kate C., Kate G., Kate T., Kathryn, Katie D., Katie O., Kawai, Keisha, Kelly S, Kelley, Kelli, Kellie H., Kellie M., Kelly, Kim, KymberliKimKimberly, Krissy, Kirsten, Krista D.B., Krista W., Kristen, Kumar, Kyla, Laura T., Laura G., Laurel, Lauren, Laurie B., Laurie K., Leah, Lindsay, Liora, Lisa C., lisa c., Lisa P.W., Lisa S., Liz, Lori, Lori N., Lyn, Lynn, Maggie, Maka, Maki, Marc, Mareeha, Marge, Marilee, Mark, Marki, Mary, Matthew M., matthew w., Maura, McKenzie, Meghan, Melissa, Melody, Meredith, Michael, Michele, Michelle, Mickey, Migee, Mike, Milo, Mindy, Miranda, Misha, Molly, Myrna, Nancy, Nat, Natasha D., Natasha R., Nora, Norah, Norrie, Peggy, PMM, Polly, Porsche, Rachel G., Rachel S.R., Raquel, Raquel S., Rebecca O., Rebecca S., Reiko, Risa, Rise, Ruby, Ruchika, Sandra, Sarah B., Sarah H., Sarah K.B., Sarah K., Sarah L., Sarah O., Sarah O. (2), Sarah R., Sarah S., Sarena, Sarita, Sean, Selma, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Sharon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Shelley, Skyler, Steph, Stephanie, Stephen, Su, Susan, Susan M., Susan M.x2, Susan U., T., Tallie, Tana, Tania DSC, Tania T.D., Tara, TerraCorps, Terri, Titilayo, Tracy, Tracy G., Tracy T.G., Tyler, virginia, Vivian, Will, Willow, yoko, Yvetteand Zan

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). To see what Erin is reading and recommended books check out the Fakequity Bookshop.

Birthday Book Drive 2022

Stack of books in front of a globe

Tomorrow, 2 April 2022 is the start of Ramadan. Ramadan Mubarak.

This is one of my favorite blog posts of the year to assemble. For the past few years, Carrie (frequent guest blogger and fellow February birthday celebrant) and I host a birthday book drive – Reading for Pride and Justice.

The book drive started several years ago when I decided for my birthday I wanted to collect and donate new books by authors of color to public schools with diverse students and where new books are harder to come by. Carrie heard about the idea and we teamed up. It is a great match since Carrie added a focus on disability to the book drive. Books by authors with disabilities or about disabilities are greatly needed in our schools.

Carrie and I put out a soft ask on social media to our friends inviting them to participate. We had a wishlist of books we hoped to receive, people could also order from the Fakequity Bookshop link since they meet our criteria. Our criteria was broad but narrow – books had to be by authors of color, or about disabilities – ideally by authors with disabilities. Friends chose what books they wanted to donate and had them shipped to my house. This wasn’t just about money and books, friends contributed titles and their own stories of what books meant to them. I oohed and ahhed and sent Carrie pictures of the books as they arrived on my doorstep.

Wish you could have heard the squeal when they saw Crying in H Mart.”

I recently read a Book Riot article talking about why students need to read contemporary books, not just the classics. New books can help students make sense of their world now and prompt conversations that are happening to them now. Classics are important too, but sometimes students need to warm up to them.

Well read books at an elementary school

Carrie and I also ask for donations of new books because students deserve crisp new books with unbroken spines. Many of the books in my kid’s elementary school library are so well-read they are held together with tape. I love opening a new book and feeling the joy of knowing I’m the first one to gently crack that spine. The librarian at a local high school sent us an email saying “Thank you again for the quality books for our students! Wish you could have heard the squeal when they saw Crying in H Mart.” What I took away from that comment is students know about these new books and want to read them – now they can.

Books offer students tools to see themselves and envision new possibilities, empathize, and learn how to think differently. Many teachers use diverse books to introduce new concepts, provide students with new ways of relating to the world around them, and sometimes for pure enjoyment. Books won’t solve racism, end wars, or solve ills – they do give kids tools to feel understood and to build new neural pathways to understanding, empathizing, learning new skills. This is why diverse books matter. Reading about different experiences and understanding disabilities and POC experiences lets us envision what justice can be. We have to put in the work to create that justice. This is one of my small actions to create space for more justice to flourish — sharing books with students, most of whom I will never meet. They deserve a more just world and they have to create it for themselves and maybe an idea they read or a picture they see in a book will spark a new idea for them.

Book Delivery Day

Books in front of Wing Luke Elementary with glam shot stars imposed on the picture

We collected a lot of books, so many fun new books. My kids helped me create book bundles for school libraries and a few teachers. Each bundle had about 10-25 books. This year we reserved two of the elementary school bundles for a first- and a second-year POC elementary school teachers to help them build their classroom libraries. I know of one elementary school teacher who spent $600 of her own money to buy books for her classroom.

Book delivery day is one of my favorite days of the year. Carrie and I load up my car and drive a big loop of Southeast Seattle to deliver books. We got buzzed into school buildings, met office staff, walked through a swarm of middle schoolers during passing period, this year we got lost in a few buildings looking for front doors. After the deliveries, we got lunch from a local POC restaurant. It was a great day.

The Book List

Here is the list of books donated and shared with schools. The notes about the book are my own and apologies if I erred on race/ethnicity of any of the authors. If you have ever purchased a book starting with Fakequity’s affiliate link, the proceeds help to fund this book drive. I use the profits to purchase books to ensure diversity in our donations.

The books listed range from elementary age to adult. I hope you find some new books to read or share with children in your lives.

TitleAuthorRaceDisability
The Secret SkyAbawi, AtiaMiddle East
Clap When You LandAcevedo, ElizabethLatine
White RageAnderson, CarolBlack/African American
One Person No Vote, YA AdaptationAnderson, CarolBlack/African American
Too Small TolaAtinukeBlack/African American
Disability Studies and the Inclusive ClassroomBaglieri, SusanMixX
The Stars Beneath Our FeetBarclay Moore, DavidBlack/African AmericanX
We Ride Upon SticksBarry, QuanBlack/African American
What Do You Do With a Voice Like ThatBarton, Chris and Ekua HolmesBlack/African American
All the Way to the TopBay Pimentel, AnnetteWhiteX
El DeafoBell, CeceWhiteX
Until I am Free Fannie Lou Hamer’s Enduring Message to AmericaBlain, Keisha N.Black/African American
How to Love a CountryBlanco, RichardLatine
Firekeeper’s DaughterBoulley, AngelineNative / Indigenous
Pushing Up the Sky – Seven Native American Plays for ChildrenBruchac, JosephNative / Indigenous
A Splash of RedBryant, JenX
Six Dots: A Story of a Young Louis BrailleBryant, JenWhiteX
Mindful MovesCardoza, NicoleBlack/African American
The School for Good and EvilChainani, SomanAsian
Shirley Chisholm is a verbChambers, VeronicaBlack/African American
Finish the FightChambers, VeronicaBlack/African American
JukeboxChanani, NidhiAsian
Hair LoveCherry, MatthewBlack/African American
The Ocean Calls A Haenyeo Mermaid StoryCho, TinaAsian
Seeing Ghosts – A MemoirChow, KatAsian
Shang-Chi & The Legend of the Ten RingsChow, MarieAsian
When We Say Black Lives MatterClarke, Maxine BenebaBlack/African American
What We Lose – A NovelClemmons, ZinziBlack/African American
Black PantherCoates, Ta-NehisiBlack/African American
The Matter of Black LivesCobb, Jelani and David RemnickBlack/African American
Restorative Circles in SchoolsCostello, Bob & WachtelMix
New KidCraft, JerryBlack/African American
Class ActCraft, JerryBlack/African American
Maria Tallchief, She PersistedDay, ChristineNative / Indigenous
I Can Make This PromiseDay, ChristineNative / Indigenous
The Sea in WinterDay, ChristineNative / Indigenous
The Day Abuelo Got Lostde Anda, DianeLatineX
Lovede la Peña, MattLatine
Animals – BrailleDK BrailleX
This Place 150 Years RetoldElliott, AliciaNative / Indigenous
The Range EternalErdrich, LouiseNative / Indigenous
Girl, Woman, OtherEvaristo, BernardineBlack/African American
UnsettledFaruqi, ReemMiddle East
Yasmin – The ExplorerFaruqi, SaadiaAsian
Yasmin – The SuperheroFaruqi, SaadiaAsian
ManuFernández, KellyLatine
Just Be Cool Jenna SakaiFlorence, Debbi MichikoAsian
The Sea-Ringed World Sacred Stories of the AmericasGarcía Esperón, MaríaNative / Indigenous
RosaGiovanni, NikkiBlack/African American
Make Me Rain: Poems & ProseGiovanni, NikkiBlack/African American
This Is My Brain in LoveGregorio, I. W.AsianX
Tiger HonorHa Lee, YoonAsian
Dragon PerarlHa Lee, YoonAsian
Cook KoreanHa, RobinAsian
The 1619 ProjectHannah-Jones, NikoleBlack/African American
The 1619 Project Born on the WaterHannah-Jones, Nikole and Renée WatsonBlack/African American
A Face for PicassoHenley, ArielWhiteX
Sal & Gabi Break the UniverseHernandez, CarlosLatine
She’s Got ThisHernandez, LaurieLatine
ImagineHerrera, Juan FelipeLatine
ImaginaHerrera, Juan FelipeLatine
All About Love: New Visionshooks, bellBlack/African American
We Rise We Resist We Raise Our VoicesHudson, Wade and Cheryl Willis HudsonMix
DisplacementHughes, KikuAsian
Read This to Get Smarter about Race, Class, Gender, Disability & MoreImani, BlairBlack/African AmericanX
we are never meeting in real life.Irby, SamanthaBlack/African American
wow no thank youIrby, SamanthaBlack/African American
Good Talk A Memoir in ConversationsJacob, MiraLatine
When Stars Are ScatteredJamieson, Victoria and Omar MohamedBlack/African AmericanX
Crip KinshipKafai, ShaydaMiddle EastX
When Breath Becomes AirKalanithi, PaulAsian
The Most Beautiful Thing – Chinese translationKalia Yang, KaoAsianX
Notable Native PeopleKeene, AdrienneNative / Indigenous
When You Trap a TigerKeller, TaeAsian
Song for a WhaleKelly, LynneWhiteX
The Arabic QuiltKhalil, AyaMiddle East
Under My HijabKhan, HenaMiddle East
Last Fallen StarKim, GraciAsian
And Now I Spill the Family SecretsKimball, MargaretX
Demystifying DisabilityLadau, EmilyWhiteX
My Shoes and I Crossing Three BordersLaínez, René ColatoLatine
Measuring UpLaMotte, Lily and Ann XuAsian
Midsummer’s MayhemLaRocca, RajaniAsian
Long Division – A NovelLaymon, KieseBlack/African American
Draw TogetherLe, MinhAsian
Mindy Kim and the Lunar New Year ParadeLee, LylaAsian
RunLewis, Rep. JohnBlack/African American
Show Me a SignLeZotte, Ann ClareWhiteX
A New Year’s ReunionLi-Qiong, Yu and Cheng-Liang, ZhuAsian
When the Sea Turned to SilverLin, GraceAsian
ElatsoeLittle Badger, DarcieNative / Indigenous
I found it! A bilingual look and find book — Simplified Chinese, Pinyin, and EnglishLiu, KatrinaAsian
RulesLord, CynthiaWhiteX
Very Large Expanse of SeaMafi, TaherehMiddle East
A Soft Place to LandMarks, JanaeBlack/African American
A Soft Place to LandMarks, JanaeBlack/African American
Moving to Higher Ground How Jazz Can Change Your LifeMarsalis, WyntonBlack/African American
Baby Sitter’s Club #2 Truth About Stacy (Graphic Novel)Martin, AnnWhiteX
Baby Sitter’s Club #16 Jessi’s Secret LanguageMartin, Ann M.WhiteX
Jessi’s Secret Language – Baby Sitters ClubMartin, Ann M.WhiteX
Claudia and Mean Janine- Graphic novelMartin, Ann M.WhiteX
The Sum of Us What Racism Costs EveryoneMcGhee, HeatherBlack/African American
Cerci Suárez Changes GearsMedina, MegLatine
Hair TwinsMirchandani, RaakheeMiddle East
Medicine StoriesMorales, AuroraLatineX
Everything Sad is UntrueNayeri, DanielMiddle East
My RainbowNeal, DeShannaBlack/African AmericanX
Itzhak A Boy Who Loved the ViolinNewman, TracyWhiteX
The Magic FishNguyen, Trung LeAsian
Beautifully MeNoor, NabelaAsian
This is What America Looks LikeOmar, IlhanBlack/African American
All Over CreationOzeki, RuthAsian
HulkPakAsian
The Art of Sanjay’s Super TeamPatel, SanjayAsian
Dumpling SoupRattigan, Jama KimAsian
Miles Morales: Spider ManReynolds, JasonBlack/African American
Juliet Takes A BreathRivera, GabbyLatine
Juliet Takes A BreathRivera, GabbyLatine
Never Look BackRivera, LilliamLatine
Filipino Celebrations A Treasury of Feasts and FestivalsRomulo, LianaAsian
I am Not Your Perfect Mexican DaughterSánchez, Erika L.Latine
Ani’s LightSingh, Tanu ShreeAsianX
My Heart Fills With Happiness – SpanishSmith, Monique GrayNative / Indigenous
Just AskSotomayor, Justice SoniaLatineX
My Beloved WorldSotomayor, SoniaLatineX
The Complete Maus*Spiegelman, ArtNot POC but included since it was recently banned
Artie and the Wolf MoonStephens, Olivia
Yayoi Kusama — From Here to InfinitySuzuki, SarahAsianX
Baby Sitter’s Club Claudia and Mean Janine Graphic NovelTelgemeier, RainaWhiteX
Guts – SpanishTelgemeir, RainaWhiteX
Stone River CrossingTingle, TimNative / Indigenous
When a Ghost Talks, ListenTingle, TimNative / Indigenous
Beyond the Gender BinaryVaid-Menon, Alok
The Running DreamVan Draanen, WedelinWhiteX
The Undocumented AmericansVillavicencio, Karla CornejoLatine
The Black Panther Party – Graphic Novel HistoryWalker, David and Marcus Kwame AndersonBlack/African American
The Princes and the DressmakerWang, JenAsian
Navigate Your StarsWard, JesmynBlack/African American
Other Words for HomeWarga, JasmineMiddle East
Taino TalesWeber, VickyLatine
One Crazy SummerWilliams-Garcia, RitaBlack/African American
Disability Visibility – Young Adult versionWong, AliceAsianX
The Blossoming Universe of Violet DiamondWoods, BrendaBlack/African American
Harbor MeWoodson, JacquelineBlack/African American
The Year We Learned to FlyWoodson, JacquelineBlack/African American
I Can Fly in the Sky, A Story of Friends, Flight and Kites — Told in English and ChineseXin, LinAsian
The Vanderbeekers of 141st StYan Glaser, KarinaAsian
A Map Into the WorldYang, KaoAsian
Room to DreamYang, KellyAsian
3 KeysYang, KellyAsian
Séance Tea PartyYee, RAsian
The Legend of Auntie PoYin Khor, ShingAsian
Crying in H MartZauner, MichelleAsian
The People RememberZoboi, IbiBlack/African American
My Life as an Ice Cream SandwichZoboi, IbiBlack/African American
All We Can Save Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate CrisisMix
Art of Protest

Here is a link to a Google spreadsheet with the list of books. Carrie is good about reminding me that tables are not always screen-reader friendly. Many of these books are included in the Fakequity Bookshop.

A short message from a teacher:

“Several students chose to read from the collection of books today during our independent reading time.

We read and performed a class play from Pushing Up the Sky [Native American short plays] earlier this year, so one student excitedly grabbed that book and asked if we could perform another play. His group’s reading goal is to grow in their fluency, so he is now choosing a play for his group to practice performing together. He also has dreams of being an actor, so you have helped make many a dream grow in here already.”

Finally, a thank you to our 30+ friends and family members who donated books, funds, titles, and joy to this birthday celebration project. By the numbers: 183 books, 9 schools reaching over 1,000 students (maybe more). I hope you will find ways to do your own projects like this to support students in your communities. One friend mentioned she asked friends to donate a book instead of a birthday present for her kid’s toddler age birthday. Even if it is just requesting your public library stock more books by authors of color, authors with disabilities, that is a good start to helping students discover new diverse books.


Thank you to our Patreon subscribers. At this time I don’t offer ‘extras’ or bonuses for Patreons. I blog after working a full-time job, volunteer and family commitments thus it is hard to find time to create more content. Whatever level you are comfortable giving helps to keep the blog ad-free, pay for back-end cost, research costs, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

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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). To see what Erin is reading and recommended books check out the Fakequity Bookshop.

Making Room — When Saying No is Saying Yes

Picture of ocean waves. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Before I start, I hope you’re paying attention to the Senate Judicial hearings for the Supreme Court seat for Judge Ketanji Brown- Jackson. It is worth watching and as Sen. Booker said “No one will steal that joy.


A few weeks ago, I listened to several amazing Black elders talk about mentoring and mentee relationships and sponsoring others to help their careers. They shared their insights about sponsoring women of color, being mentored, and how it shaped their careers. It was a love fest and I soaked up the conversation.

As elders (or baby elders so I don’t offend them) they get invited to a lot of meetings, commissions, events, etc. and need to balance their personal lives and work. Listening to them, I thought about how important it is to balance and to mentor or support people younger than us to grow into their own potential.

When Saying No, Means Saying Yes

One of the speakers on the panel, the first Black director at a large foundation, shared her journey to taking the job. She also talked about how now at this point in her life she has to be a lot more selective about where she spends her time and energy both professionally and personally. Other panelists also talked about sponsoring other women of color AND how it is important for younger women of color to take these opportunities seriously, be professional, and act with integrity.

As the speaker talked about how important it is to be selective and thoughtful about where to spend time and energy, I had the thought when those of us with access and privilege say no, we can intentionally make room for other Black, Indigenous, and POCs to say yes. We should be thoughtful of including others and passing opportunities to people who don’t have the same access to information, connections to people in power, or circles of influence. Many times we are more effective leaders when we’re focused and when we say no to things outside our scope or missions, or just plain not interested in. Focusing and saying yes strategically, and saying no to things outside our interest, allows us to make room for other POCs to say yes and accept invitations that can propel their careers.

How to Say Yes and No

It is more than just saying no to an invitation. I recently received an invitation to join a committee to think about food justice as it relates to public schools. If you know me, you know I enjoy a good bite of food, if you know me professionally you also know food justice is not one of my organization’s top priorities. There are others who follow the topic more closely and are much wiser about it and tapped into the same networks as we are. When I emailed with the organizer I made sure the other organization was on their radar, they were. I also approached other staff members to see if they are interested in taking part in the meeting, it is a great way for others to grow their networks if they are interested. Today I realized I just started working with a new women of color partner who is well connected to POC farmers and will probably bring a critical lens to their work. I emailed the organizer to see if I could connect them. By my saying no, I hope this allows others to say yes. I also have the win of focusing on topics that are mission aligned.

When I’m passing along opportunities and names for others to consider, I always put forward the names of people of color. As Ruchika Tulshyan calls it in her wonderful book Inclusion on Purpose, Shining the Light. It is important for us to sponsor and shine the light on POC colleagues. Make sure to pick up this book for deeper insights on this topic.

Sponsoring Others to Step Forward – And their responsibilities

Several years ago, I received a request to participate in a press conference at City Hall. It was a generous offer from my colleagues at the City to participate. That day I decided I didn’t have the bandwidth to trek downtown for a 15-min presser. I asked my colleague if she was up for it, she said sure and attended the event. My coworker made it downtown and joined the press conference right as it started. She didn’t even have time to take off her jacket. Her family was very proud of her for being on the news, although they asked why she was wearing a fleece jacket while standing behind the Mayor (a funny moment). She also got to network with several colleagues and widen her professional network.

I’ve also had the opposite happen where I’ve passed along choice opportunities to others and put my reputation on the line for other POCs and they haven’t taken full advantage of it or were not prepared.

While we don’t talk about this often, it is important to talk about the importance of being ready and honest when someone sponsors or pushes open a door for others. Ask questions to prepare for the opportunity, take advantage of people’s offers to help you prep, enjoy the opportunity, believe in yourself because someone else has put their faith in you too.


Thank you to our Patreon subscribers. At this time I don’t offer ‘extras’ or bonuses for Patreons. I blog after working a full-time job, volunteer and family commitments thus it is hard to find time to create more content. Whatever level you are comfortable giving helps to keep the blog ad-free, pay for back-end cost, research costs, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

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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). To see what Erin is reading and recommended books check out the Fakequity Bookshop.

Questions to Ask a Potential Date

Image: Black background with sign “I hate nothing about u”, red neon heart. Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

For a little fun here are questions you could, but maybe shouldn’t, ask a potential date. A friend and I came up with these as a bit of a joke, as always these are just for fun. You really shouldn’t take dating advice from me.

  1. What’s your type? Swipe right if they answer with any racist tropes.
  2. What does woke mean to you?
  3. Tell me about someone in your community that isn’t related to you.
  4. What is your favorite non-chain grocery store? Assessing if they know of any ethnic grocery stores (i.e. H Mart, Don Quiote, Mercato, Uwajimaya, etc.).
  5. What were your last five Halloween costumes? Run if they say Pocahontas,, Confederate anything, or Ninja if not Asian.
  6. Tell me about your home décor? Does any of it involve the word ‘Oriental,’ or ‘tribal’?
  7. Do you have any yard signs displayed? Why do you have them up?
  8. When presented with an unfamiliar name, do you a) add accents, b) try to make it sound Italian, c) ask the person how to pronounce it?
  9. Do you have any tattoos involving images or languages from a culture not your own? Please explain. Not an automatic dismissal, but we need to assess if there is any romanticization of another culture not your own.
  10. Dessert for breakfast, yes or no?
  11. What was the last book you read by an author of color?
  12. How often should we celebrate Black history? Only during Black History Month? Everyday?
  13. When was the last time you were in a space where you weren’t in the majority?
  14. What do you think of Black Lives Matters?
  15. Do you adopt a fake accent when talking to someone of another race?
  16. If I Googled your name what would I find?
  17. How do you communicate and behave with someone from a different race? How do you feel when you’re interacting with someone of a different race?
  18. What is something about your ethnicity or culture you want me to know?
  19. Describe yourself without talking about your job.
  20. Did you vote in the last election? Did you vote for any candidates of color?
  21. Do you believe in an income tax? (Tax policy has a lot of racial justice implications. Maybe save this for date #3.)
  22. Build the perfect meal for $25, it has to feed two, what would it be? (This may be a deal breaker meal.)

Thank you to our Patreon subscribers. At this time I don’t offer ‘extras’ or bonuses for Patreons. I blog after working a full-time job, volunteer and family commitments thus it is hard to find time to create more content. Whatever level you are comfortable giving helps to keep the blog ad-free, pay for back-end cost, research costs, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

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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). To see what Erin is reading and recommended books check out the Fakequity Bookshop.

Terms That Confuse Many of Us

Image: Blue background with white words Inhale Exhale, picture of sun, mountain, water. Art by Mike Pinette on Amplifer Art

There are a lot of terms/words related to race or identity that people use interchangeably but really aren’t synonyms. Race and ethnicity, equity as a catch-all phrase for anything having to do with identity or race, immigrant and refugee. Each of these words has unique means and it is important to know the differences so we are precise with our language. When we use the words interchangeably it changes the meaning and at times can take away the focus from who needs to be seen.

Notes – Language and meanings change all the time. What I am writing today is what I know. In a few months or a year, some of these terms and meanings may change. These are oversimplified definitions to give you a starting idea, but each of these terms and concepts are exceedingly claggy and deserve a lot more time and learning.

Equity / Equality – Equity is about acknowledging different people need different things to achieve justice. Equality says we treat everyone the same regardless of their situation, circumstances, or histories. Note equity is not a synonym for race, people sometimes use the term equity for other social identities gender, income, disability. If you are talking about race, please be clear in saying racial equity.

Race / Ethnicity – Race is the larger categories, e.g. American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Latino/e, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, White. Ethnicity are the sub-categories within a race group (e.g. Chinese, Somali, Vietnamese, Puerto Rican, etc.). Ethnicity is often tied to cultural and ancestorial facets including language, cultural beliefs, food, religion, etc.

Nationality / Citizenship – This one is a little trickier to understand. I had to consult several websites before I felt like I got a grasp of the concept of nationality. Nationality is often tied to a place of birth or naturalization. A person’s nationality is a constitutional relationship between the state and the person. It is often seen as part of their identity. Citizenship is a constitutional status where a person is recognized as a citizen of the country, and afforded the rights of citizenship of a country. Citizenship can change throughout a person’s lifetime.

Interpreter / translator – Translators take a written piece and translate it into another language, such as taking an English newsletter and rewriting it into Spanish. Translators should have fluency in reading and writing in the target languages. Interpreters do in-the-moment, simultaneous, or almost immediately after transposing of speech into another language. Interpreters need to preserve the integrity of the message, communicate meaning and idioms, and do not rely on secondary materials (e.g. reference material, dictionaries, written copies of speeches).  

Immigrant / Refugee – Immigrants leave one country to resettle in another country. Refugees move/leave from their home country often out of fear, persecution, war, natural disasters, increasingly climate change, etc. In many cases refugees often cannot return to their home countries.

Gender Unicorn from Trans Student Educational Resources — translations available on their website

Sex assigned at birth / Gender – Sex assigned at birth are female, male, intersex. Gender identity female/woman/girl, male/man/boy, other genders. Gender expression does not always equate to gender identity, see Gender Unicorn image to the right. Learn more at Trans Student Educational Resources (TSER), thanks to R and K for the resource.

Racism / Discrimination – Racism is the belief that one racial group is superior over another. Discrimination is treating people differently based on perceived differences (e.g. skin color, race, religion, disability, etc.). Some literature refers to racism being a subcategory of discrimination. There is no such thing as reverse racism (white people claiming racism), they can claim discrimination but not racism since we live in a society that caters to whiteness.

 Trigger / Offensive / Content Warning – Trigger is a psychology term, sometimes associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). People cannot control what triggers them, often due to past trauma or histories. Offensive is not the same as triggering, it could mean something is annoying, undesirable, angering, or irritating. Content warning lets readers or audience members know a sensitive subject may come up and allows people to opt-out or disengage from the media.

White / Caucasian – White is a race group. Caucasians is referring to anyone from the Caucasus region which spans both Europe and Asia, not a race group. If you are white, say “I’m white,” not “I’m Caucasian.”

Thank you to friends for contributing ideas to this post.


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