Fall Book List

square light pink box with words: hello fall books September (September in multi-color font.

It’s September, and many of us are asking how did summer slip away. It feels like it’s been a long week. On Tuesday I popped on YouTube and pulled up Green Day’s Wake Me Up When September Ends which summed up the feelings. To distract from the ugh and blah, including Seattle Storm’s GOAT Sue Bird playing her final game, here is a list of books to distract and enjoy.

Young Adult and Adult Books

Firekeepers Daughter was written by first time author Angeline Boulley. Boulley is from the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Firekeepers Daughter is a thriller/mystery centered on Daunis Fontaine, who is half white and half Anishinaabe. Daunis has to untangle a mystery that is made personal and involves people close to her. It took me a while to get into the novel, but once I did I was hooked. I stayed up to 1.00 a.m. reading two nights in a row to finish it – so good!

Simu Liu’s We Were Dreamers autobiography/memoir kept me entertained on many long walks with my overeager dog. I borrowed the audio version from the library and enjoyed Liu’s narration. He shared what it was like to be the only child of immigrant Chinese parents who worked hard and saw a path to prosperity that didn’t match what he wanted for himself. Liu did not gloss over the hard stuff. There were comical moments in the book as well. After listening to the book, I promptly came home and rewatched Shang Chi with my kid and I appreciated the movie even more knowing how Liu worked to get there.

Nikki Grimes is a favorite poet of mine, and her book of poetry Legacy is just that a legacy. Written in the Golden Shovel poetic format it forces you to think. I borrowed the book from the library several times to fully appreciate it. The artwork in the book is fabulous and features full-color art by amazing Black artists.  

I admit I haven’t finished Heather McGee’s fabulous book the Sum of Us, YET— I will read it. But I’m including it because I am listening to her new podcast by the same name on Spotify. I’m so absorbed in the stories she tells from across America and about the solidarity building that takes place to recreate racial justice.

Graphic Novels

Miss Quinces is so fun. I read this with my kid and we were both absorbed in the coming-of-age story. American teen flies to Honduras for the summer and is so bummed to miss the summer with her friends, including no text, phone, or internet. Sue rebels at the thought of having a quinceañera, but learns the value of family and compromise along the way.

Invisible is another Latino/a based graphic novel. This one highlights the diversity of the Latine community. This school-based story brings together diverse Latine students who come together to help a neighbor and the racism and prejudices they face in school. There are surprise twists that show compassion along the way. There are a lot of good jumping-off points for deeper conversations with kids as you read the book.

Komi Can’t Communicate, I cringe at the title BUT sharing it because this manga series is very popular with the upper elementary school student cohort. There is a Netflix series by the same name. Komi is a student with anxiety and doesn’t speak orally or finds it very hard to interact with others. Along with a friend they are on a mission to make 100 friends. I cringe at the title because Komi DOES communicate, just not with spoken language. Saying she doesn’t over emphasizes the social norm of communicating with spoken language. I do appreciate the series is accessible to young kids and talks about anxiety and friendship.

Thunderous was recommended by a friend in Montana who is Native American. Aiyana is annoyed with constantly hearing about Lakota stories, but when she falls she draws upon her Lakota stories to bring her back to the present. A very worthy book with so many different facets to think about.

There are so many other books to include, but I think I’ll save them for another post. Stay tuned for a list of some of my fall fave picture books, a few cookbooks, and other books I ran out of room to add to this list.


Why I wrote this: Reading books by diverse authors is important to learn new ways to think about race and diversity.  


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 pays 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 I’ll appreciate it.

Adrienne, Agent001, Aimie, Alayna, Alessandra, Alessandra, Alex, Alexa, Aline, Alison, Alison P., Allison K., Amanda, Amber, Amira, Amy, Amy, Amy P., Amy R., Andie, Andrea J., Andrea J.B., Angelica, Angelina, Ashlee, Ashlie, Avery, Barb, Barbara B., Barbara M., Barrett, Beth, Betsy, Big Duck, Brad B., Bridget, Brooke B., Brooke D.W., Cadence, Caitlin, Calandra, Callista, Cari, Carmen, Carol Ann, Carolyn, Carrie B., Carrie C, Carrie S., Caryn, Catherine S., Catherine S., Chelsea, Christa, Christina B C., Christina S., Christine, Clara, Clark, Claudia, Courtney, Crystal, Dan, Danielle, Danielle, Danya, Darcy, Deb, Debbie, Denyse, Diane, Ed, Edith, Edith, Eileen, Elizabeth K L., Elizabeth U, emily w, Erica J., Erica L., Erica R.B., Erin, Gail J., Genita, Gene, Hannah, Hayden, Heather H., Heather M., Heidi and Laura, Heidi S., Hilary, J Elizabeth, Jackie J., Jaime, Jake, Jane, Janet, Jean, Jelena, Jen C., Jena, Jenn, Jennet, Jennifer M., Jennifer S., Jennifer T., Jess G., Jessa, Jessica F, Jessica G., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon, Jordan L., Jordan S., Julia, Julia S., June, Karen, Kate, Kate, Katharine, Kathryn, Katie D., Katie O, Kawai, Keisha, Kelli, Kelly, Kelly S., Kim, Kimberly, Kyla, Kymberli, LA Progressive, Laura B T., Laura G., Lauren, Laurie, Laurie, Leah, Liora, lisa c., Lisa C., Lisa P.W., Lisa S., Liz, Lori, Lori N., Lyn, Lynn, Maegan, Maggie, Maile, Maka, Maki, Marc, Mareeha, Marge, Marilee, Mark, MaryBeth, Matthew, Maura, McKenzie, Meghan, Melissa, Melody, Meredith, Michael, Mickey, Migee, Mike, Milo, Mindy, Misha, Molly, Nat, Natasha, Natasha, Nicole, Nora, paola, Peggy, PMM, Porsche, Rachel, Raquel, Rebecca, Reiko, Risa, Rise Up for Students, Ruby, Ruchika, Sandra, Sarah B., Sarah H., Sarah K. B., Sarah O., Sarah R., Sarah S., Sarena, Sarita, Sean, Selma, Shannon, Sharon B., Sharon Y., Shaun, Shawna, Siobhan, Skyler, Steph, Stephanie, Stephen, Su, Susan M., Susan U., T W, Tania DSC, Tania T.D., Tara, Terri, Tim, Titilayo, Tracy G., Tracy T.G., virginia, Vivian, Will, Willow, Yvette, and 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, Snohomish, 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.

Starting School – Inclusion

Picture of a darker skin tone young kid’s hands writing math numbers. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Students across the US are heading to school again. Many are groaning over having to wake up early again after a summer spent sleeping in. Some students are heading to school for the first time, hooray kindergarteners or first-time students (we shouldn’t assume they are all kindergarteners), and others returning to school or starting a new school. Here are some thoughts for educators and families as we get ready for the new school year.

Inclusion

I’ve been thinking about inclusion and belonging. These two words are so simple, but their concepts are so deep. Schools, especially public schools, are supposed to be a space where everyone is included. Yet creating that inclusion is hard, especially because of the diversity in our schools and the uniqueness of students.

Students are unique and as a teacher friend recently told me “They bring 50% of the curriculum when they walk I the door.” She works hard to recognize and create spaces for her students to bond and meet each other in different ways. My friend told me about how all of the teachers in her grade-band recently did a diversity and equity audit of the books in their classrooms and curriculum. They swapped out certain books to better match the diversity in their classrooms, they swapped out books from the curriculum that were white authored but talking about POC topics, and they weeded the classroom book collections of books that were dated or falling apart. It was a huge undertaking but one they felt good about spending time doing. It also opened up conversations between the teachers which felt good to the team.

I’m a fan of socially engineering brief introductions. Classroom small group work is a great way to introduce new students and to break up cliques. Giving students/groups something to do is a fun way to get people working together – solve a puzzle, build a structure together, play a game, etc. Even giving the students a “job” can help create a sense of inclusion. Having a task to do or a game to play gives the introverts and others a way to integrate into the group.

My kid would also want me to include that sometimes they just want to hang out with the people they are comfortable with and to create their own sense of inclusion. I respect that need for balance and finding their own way of being. As an introvert, I understand the need to relax into a space with people I already know.

Outside of Class Time Inclusion

Inclusion also needs to be felt during other times like lunch periods or recess. Lunch for teens and tweens can be super lonely if you don’t know anyone, don’t speak the dominant language, or are new. If you are a middle school or high school educator, please give some thought to how you can help socially engineer lunch periods for the first few weeks. A teen told me “You don’t know how middle school works, we just want to eat with our friends,” which is true, but that is even more of a reason adults need to intervene to create the right conditions to bring out inclusion. A dear friend and experienced educator shared this wonderful resource – Mix it Up, by Learning for Justice.

My friend Carrie reminds me when we design for everyone, we design for no one. Priya Parker also makes it clear that inclusion means we should purposefully exclude as well even if it feels hard. Public schools are about including every student part of the school community. Inclusion in this case has to be about figuring out what behaviors will not be tolerated (e.g. racism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc.) and working with the school community to foster different spaces within the larger community for students to find belonging.

Parents and Family Inclusion

Like my teacher friend said half of the curriculum walks through the door. Including families (I use this term broadly) into the school day is a great way to promote inclusion. COVID protocols restricted family engagement in-person at schools, but in other ways it forced the reinvention of how we can include families. Video conferences in some ways made it easier for families to meet with teachers than having to be physically present at school. Family inclusion is also about sharing good news with families, not just when things are hard.

Enjoy the school year. Sending good feels and thoughts to everyone connected to our schools.


Why I wrote this: Inclusion is important to racial equity. Inclusion and belonging foster better relationships which lead to stronger results.


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 pays 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 I’ll appreciate it.

Adrienne, Agent001, Aimie, Alayna, Alessandra, Alessandra, Alex, Alexa, Aline, Alison, Alison P., Allison K., Amanda, Amber, Amira, Amy, Amy, Amy P., Amy R., Andie, Andrea J., Andrea J.B., Angelica, Angelina, Ashlee, Ashlie, Avery, Barb, Barbara B., Barbara M., Barrett, Beth, Betsy, Big Duck, Brad B., Bridget, Brooke B., Brooke D.W., Cadence, Caitlin, Calandra, Callista, Cari, Carmen, Carol Ann, Carolyn, Carrie B., Carrie C, Carrie S., Caryn, Catherine S., Catherine S., Chelsea, Christa, Christina B C., Christina S., Christine, Clara, Clark, Claudia, Courtney, Crystal, Dan, Danielle, Danielle, Danya, Darcy, Deb, Debbie, Denyse, Diane, Ed, Edith, Edith, Eileen, Elizabeth K L., Elizabeth U, emily w, Erica J., Erica L., Erica R.B., Erin, Gail J., Genita, Gene, Hannah, Hayden, Heather H., Heather M., Heidi and Laura, Heidi S., Hilary, J Elizabeth, Jackie J., Jaime, Jake, Jane, Janet, Jean, Jelena, Jen C., Jena, Jenn, Jennet, Jennifer M., Jennifer S., Jennifer T., Jess G., Jessa, Jessica F, Jessica G., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon, Jordan L., Jordan S., Julia, Julia S., June, Karen, Kate, Kate, Katharine, Kathryn, Katie D., Katie O, Kawai, Keisha, Kelli, Kelly, Kelly S., Kim, Kimberly, Kyla, Kymberli, LA Progressive, Laura B T., Laura G., Lauren, Laurie, Laurie, Leah, Liora, lisa c., Lisa C., Lisa P.W., Lisa S., Liz, Lori, Lori N., Lyn, Lynn, Maegan, Maggie, Maile, Maka, Maki, Marc, Mareeha, Marge, Marilee, Mark, MaryBeth, Matthew, Maura, McKenzie, Meghan, Melissa, Melody, Meredith, Michael, Mickey, Migee, Mike, Milo, Mindy, Misha, Molly, Nat, Natasha, Natasha, Nicole, Nora, paola, Peggy, PMM, Porsche, Rachel, Raquel, Rebecca, Reiko, Risa, Rise Up for Students, Ruby, Ruchika, Sandra, Sarah B., Sarah H., Sarah K. B., Sarah O., Sarah R., Sarah S., Sarena, Sarita, Sean, Selma, Shannon, Sharon B., Sharon Y., Shaun, Shawna, Siobhan, Skyler, Steph, Stephanie, Stephen, Su, Susan M., Susan U., T W, Tania DSC, Tania T.D., Tara, Terri, Tim, Titilayo, Tracy G., Tracy T.G., virginia, Vivian, Will, Willow, Yvette, and 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, Snohomish, 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.

Micro-Affirmations

Photo of black and white dog looking up at camera with buggy eyes, a wet nose, and a tongue showing. Photo by Kat Smith on Pexels.com

No blog post next week. I’ll be soaking in the final weeks of summer.

I’m not a morning person – everyone who knows me knows this is an engrained truth. Yet earlier this week I woke up early and ‘commuted’ to my kitchen table to join a panel presentation talking about allyship. It was for a global audience thanks to the magic of Zoom-video connections.

The conversation was interesting and thought-provoking. One of the questions that stayed with me was we often hear about micro-aggressions that are made towards people of color. Micro aggressions are hurtful and harmful comments or actions that come off as innocent but are hurtful towards people of color. Micro-aggressions also show people’s biases.

The flip to this that we briefly explored during the talk is the notion of micro-affirmations. Micro-affirmations are the daily actions we can show to people of color to help create inclusion, understanding, and recognition. When these small actions of inclusion and praise are not shared with people of color, will favor white people.

Who Gets Positive Communication

Several years ago, I saw data from a community survey that documented which families received positive and negative communication from teachers. Families (mostly parents) reported even scores on the question of who received negative communication – teachers could find parents when they needed to communicate a negative action. However, the data showed white families received about 1.2 more touches for positive communication. While 1.2 does not sound like a lot, when the two data points are taken together it shows how the overall education system creates more inclusion for white students and families. When things are bad the outreach is equal, but when things are good, we don’t make the same effort to share that with people of color.

We all have biases, and these biases show up in subtle ways, such as who receives positive or negative communication. If someone tells you, “I don’t have biases,” don’t believe them. Our brains are hard-wired to have biases. How we act on our biases is the more important part of acting for racial equity. Who we give micro-affirmations to easily and readily is a way our biases play out. The white boss who tells a white women employee “good job,” for a task is a micro-affirmation – does that same boss readily acknowledge a Black women for doing an equally good job on a similar task?

Creating an Affirmative Environment

During our webinar conversation about allyship, my co-presenters shared how they cultivate environments where micro-affirmations are shared. One person said they have a Slack channel to share positive work and celebrate those efforts. Another presenter said as a white male he is working on being very aware of who he includes in his conversations and using his position within the company to encourage POCs to take on leadership roles. He also shared how he’s sponsored and mentored other POCs outside his company because he knows how important their success is in the field, even though they are technically competitors.

As a side note, you can’t fake affirmations. At the start of COVID, I was on a call with a statewide white-led organization to answer questions about a grassroots mutual aid effort I was a part of. The statewide organization asked for the meeting under the pretense of praising our group, but it was very apparent they wanted the call to make sure we were following their rules. The syrupy praise they were pouring on was gross and condescending. After about fifteen minutes of the fake affirmations, our group called them out on their fake praise and about their need to reform. I think we almost made them cry.

Affirmations need to be sincere and specific. Point to what you are praising and why you’re praising it. Make sure you’re spreading these affirmations equally and not allowing your personal biases to favor some and ignore others. And a final note, affirmations are not just words it can also be in who you spend time with or not, where you place your attention, or in other small ways. Be conscious of how you share your affirmations with people of color so it is inclusive of their accomplishments and included in the fabric of your organization.  


Why I wrote this: Being aware of who we show graciousness and inclusion to is important to building relationships that allow for racialized change.


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 pays 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 I’ll appreciate it.

Adrienne, Agent001, Aimie, Alayna, Alessandra, Alessandra, Alex, Alexa, Aline, Alison, Alison P., Allison K., Amanda, Amber, Amira, Amy, Amy, Amy P., Amy R., Andie, Andrea J., Andrea J.B., Angelica, Angelina, Ashlee, Ashlie, Avery, Barb, Barbara B., Barbara M., Barrett, Beth, Betsy, Big Duck, Brad B., Bridget, Brooke B., Brooke D.W., Cadence, Caitlin, Calandra, Callista, Cari, Carmen, Carol Ann, Carolyn, Carrie B., Carrie C, Carrie S., Caryn, Catherine S., Catherine S., Chelsea, Christa, Christina B C., Christina S., Christine, Clara, Clark, Claudia, Courtney, Crystal, Dan, Danielle, Danielle, Danya, Darcy, Deb, Debbie, Denyse, Diane, Ed, Edith, Edith, Eileen, Elizabeth K L., Elizabeth U, emily w, Erica J., Erica L., Erica R.B., Erin, Gail J., Genita, Gene, Hannah, Hayden, Heather H., Heather M., Heidi and Laura, Heidi S., Hilary, J Elizabeth, Jackie J., Jaime, Jake, Jane, Janet, Jean, Jelena, Jen C., Jena, Jenn, Jennet, Jennifer M., Jennifer S., Jennifer T., Jess G., Jessa, Jessica F, Jessica G., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon, Jordan L., Jordan S., Julia, June, Karen, Kate, Kate, Katharine, Kathryn, Katie D., Katie O, Kawai, Keisha, Kelli, Kelly, Kelly S., Kim, Kimberly, Kyla, Kymberli, LA Progressive, Laura B T., Laura G., Lauren, Laurie, Laurie, Leah, Liora, lisa c., Lisa C., Lisa P.W., Lisa S., Liz, Lori, Lori N., Lyn, Lynn, Maegan, Maggie, Maile, Maka, Maki, Marc, Mareeha, Marge, Marilee, Mark, MaryBeth, Matthew, Maura, McKenzie, Meghan, Melissa, Melody, Meredith, Michael, Mickey, Migee, Mike, Milo, Mindy, Misha, Molly, Nat, Natasha, Natasha, Nicole, Nora, paola, Peggy, PMM, Porsche, Rachel, Raquel, Rebecca, Reiko, Risa, Rise Up for Students, Ruby, Ruchika, Sandra, Sarah B., Sarah H., Sarah K. B., Sarah O., Sarah R., Sarah S., Sarena, Sarita, Sean, Selma, Shannon, Sharon B., Sharon Y., Shaun, Shawna, Siobhan, Skyler, Steph, Stephanie, Stephen, Su, Susan M., Susan U., T W, Tania DSC, Tania T.D., Tara, Terri, Tim, Titilayo, Tracy G., Tracy T.G., virginia, Vivian, Will, Willow, Yvette, and 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, Snohomish, 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.

How We End – Closings Are Important  

Photo of sunflowers in a vase by a window by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com

A few weeks ago I blogged about opening meetings with an intentional ice breaker. If the purpose of an ice breaker or relationship builder as I like to call them is to gently shock people into realizing a meeting is not just about information sharing, then a closing can and should be an invitation to extend conversations.

In the before times, pre-COVID, when we met in person I loved seeing people loitering after meetings. The lingering and one-on-one conversations were a clue to me that we had created magic. We created conditions where people were building relationships and changing behaviors. People were intentionally pausing to talk to others and extend the meeting for their own purposes – some of it might be social, some professional.

As I often would remark during the closing of a meeting the real work happens after the official meeting. A two-hour meeting isn’t enough time to tackle big tough problems the real work happens in these small one-on-one meetings or through informal conversations, my job was to find ways to extend the relationships from the official meeting so they could happen. A good closing to a meeting helps to make these conditions right.

Never Just Say Bye

I will admit I can and have been guilty of rushing the closing of a meeting and doing it perfunctorily. I’ve closed meetings in boring ways — often with logistical things like scheduling the next meeting, asking people to tidy their spots before leaving, or even just saying “We’re at time, thanks – byeeeee!!!”  Online facilitation makes it much easier to slip into these bad habits. We can do better, and we should do better closings.

A good closing is JUST as important as a good opening. A good closing is an invitation to return to another gathering, it is a thank you to your guests, it is where you show your graciousness to people and acknowledge their contributions to spending time with you and each other.

When I think about facilitating for racial equity, the closing of a meeting is very important to showing my gratitude to the people of color who joined me. This is an important piece of claiming our space and creating something just – just for ourselves and justice based.

Lessons from Funerals

As I mentioned in previous blog posts author and facilitator Priya Parker has put a lot of thought into what makes a good event. I recently heard her talk about how she thinks about closing events and what she’s learned from funeral directors – it was a very Six Feet Under (TV show) vibe.

There is a reason at funerals we don’t end with logistics and scheduling. Funerals are about people. We gather to honor, remember, reflect, and create memories. Closing a meeting can do this as well.

At many of the meetings I facilitate, I ask people to take a moment to reflect on our time together, whether it was a two-hour meeting or an all-day retreat. I ask them to think about how important our time together was and to reflect on what we did together – we did something important, we grew relationships, we asked hard questions, we learned new information. Those are important steps in changing and working towards a more racially equitable future. When I ask people to reflect, I remind them our brains are primed to remember challenges, hard stuff, and unpleasant encounters – this is a survival mechanism from dinosaur times (maybe not the technical terms, but it helps to paint the picture). By intentionally pausing to reflect on a moment of gratitude we’re priming our brains to want to gather again and reengage. This is important for creating a new future.

Only after we’ve shared our gratitude for our time together then we go into logistics like scheduling or clean-up.

Closings

Closings like openings to a meeting are a place for everyone to create a shared sense of belonging. End how you started, by inviting people to be in relationships with each other not with the tasks. Thank you for taking the time to be part of the conversation and I hope you create a new way to close your meetings.


Why I wrote this is to provide another meeting tool to create more belonging and inclusion for people of color in meetings. While it doesn’t explicitly name race, I hope it provides another tool to layer with other facilitation designs to center and create belonging for POCs.


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 pays 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 I’ll appreciate it.

Adrienne, Agent001, Aimie, Alayna, Alessandra, Alessandra, Alex, Alexa, Aline, Alison, Alison P., Allison K., Amanda, Amber, Amira, Amy, Amy, Amy P., Amy R., Andie, Andrea J., Andrea J.B., Angelica, Angelina, Ashlee, Ashlie, Avery, Barb, Barbara B., Barbara M., Barrett, Beth, Betsy, Big Duck, Brad B., Bridget, Brooke B., Brooke D.W., Cadence, Caitlin, Calandra, Callista, Cari, Carmen, Carol Ann, Carolyn, Carrie B., Carrie C, Carrie S., Caryn, Catherine S., Catherine S., Chelsea, Christa, Christina B C., Christina S., Christine, Clara, Clark, Claudia, Courtney, Crystal, Dan, Danielle, Danielle, Danya, Darcy, Deb, Debbie, Denyse, Diane, Ed, Edith, Edith, Eileen, Elizabeth K L., Elizabeth U, emily w, Erica J., Erica L., Erica R.B., Erin, Gail J., Genita, Gene, Hannah, Hayden, Heather H., Heather M., Heidi and Laura, Heidi S., Hilary, J Elizabeth, Jackie J., Jaime, Jake, Jane, Janet, Jean, Jelena, Jen C., Jena, Jenn, Jennet, Jennifer M., Jennifer S., Jennifer T., Jess G., Jessa, Jessica F, Jessica G., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon, Jordan L., Jordan S., Julia, June, Karen, Kate, Kate, Katharine, Kathryn, Katie D., Katie O, Kawai, Keisha, Kelli, Kelly, Kelly S., Kim, Kimberly, Kyla, Kymberli, LA Progressive, Laura B T., Laura G., Lauren, Laurie, Laurie, Leah, Liora, lisa c., Lisa C., Lisa P.W., Lisa S., Liz, Lori, Lori N., Lyn, Lynn, Maegan, Maggie, Maile, Maka, Maki, Marc, Mareeha, Marge, Marilee, Mark, MaryBeth, Matthew, Maura, McKenzie, Meghan, Melissa, Melody, Meredith, Michael, Mickey, Migee, Mike, Milo, Mindy, Misha, Molly, Nat, Natasha, Natasha, Nicole, Nora, paola, Peggy, PMM, Porsche, Rachel, Raquel, Rebecca, Reiko, Risa, Rise Up for Students, Ruby, Ruchika, Sandra, Sarah B., Sarah H., Sarah K. B., Sarah O., Sarah R., Sarah S., Sarena, Sarita, Sean, Selma, Shannon, Sharon B., Sharon Y., Shaun, Shawna, Siobhan, Skyler, Steph, Stephanie, Stephen, Su, Susan M., Susan U., T W, Tania DSC, Tania T.D., Tara, Terri, Tim, Titilayo, Tracy G., Tracy T.G., virginia, Vivian, Will, Willow, Yvette, and 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, Snohomish, 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.

How Fakequity Shows Up in Farming

Today we are featuring a guest blog post by Friendly Vang Johnson. Friendly shares about how fakequity shows up in the farming industry and how it holds back small POC farmers.

You’ll also see a new feature at the bottom of the post. I’m testing out a new line feature that says “Why I wrote/published this.” Hopefully, this gives you more of an understanding and connection to the blog.


Picture of a young girl carrying flowers on a farm. Photo: Friendly Hmong Farms

By Friendly Vang Johnson

Hi! I’m Friendly. I’d like to share my story on what fakequity looks like in farming, and how Black and Brown farmers and communities experience, endure and struggle against it. 

During the height of the COVID pandemic, in conjunction with the Hmong Association of WA, I began a mutual aid effort to help our local Hmong flower farmers. Leveraging a network of more than 40 volunteers and social media, we raised over $500,000 to keep our farmers afloat when the farmer’s markets were closed—their main source of income. We gave out thousands of pounds of produce to address food insecurity and food apartheid in BIPOC and other vulnerable communities. We honored thousands of essential and frontline workers, elders, and other mutual aid and non-profit organizations serving our communities with gifts of food and flowers. 

Today,  with the creation of Friendly Hmong Farms, a social enterprise that works to advance food sovereignty, land reparations, and racial justice. Our community-supported agriculture (CSA) business sources veggies, herbs, fruit, and flowers exclusively from Black and Brown farmers. We continue to reinvest food and flowers to the community (aka gifting). We do all of this, without owning a farm ourselves and without paid staff. We want to own land and have paid staff but systemic barriers and systemic racism prevent us from accessing grants such as the USDA programs that are supposed to help small POC farmers.

In Spring of 2021, I spent countless hours intensively looking for affordable, available farmland in King County,–one of the most expensive housing markets in the country. When I found acreage that could work for our family and community and discovered USDA’s program, I happily announced to my mother that it would be just a matter of time before we could start farming in Washington state. She would be able to continue her decades of farming and our small CSA business would provide her the outlet she needed to avoid having to go to the market everyday as a 67-year old farmer. When I detailed to her the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Direct Farm Loan program, she became blasé and said to not bother, “those programs are not meant for us.” As a first-generation immigrant my mother didn’t believe the program was for her, or for people like our family. I insisted that it was just a matter of paperwork, and I, as someone who has a master’s degree in public policy and works for the federal government as a performance auditor could surely navigate whatever hoops or hurdles they had. I was wrong. 
 
We were not successful in getting USDA loans for land, even though the lending program is supposed to support socially-disadvantaged farmers. One USDA requirement stood (and continues to stand) in our way: an applicant must provide a signed purchase and sale agreement from a seller, before the USDA will even establish eligibility. This race-neutral policy holds back many immigrant and POC farmers. 

I explained to a high-level USDA official that most BIPOC and refugee farmers —do not have access to familial or community relationships with landowners. Historically our forebears were barred from owning land. Red-lining, stealing land from Indigenous people, or harassment in rural areas low wages while working on other people’s land, etc. have kept POCs from farming or owning farmland. Today we are at a disadvantage when bidding on land. Programs like the USDA’s on the surface look like they can help, but as my mom said “those programs aren’t meant for us.” 

It makes me mad the USDA is perpetuating the racism that has kept BIPOC farmers from owning land and saying their hands are tied, because they won’t recognize how their interpretation of the regulations and the way they’ve written their program policies institutionalizes that racism.

USDA’s failure to serve BIPOC farmers means that our farmers are more likely to use predatory lending or other forms of higher-cost financing. It puts our business, incomes, and families at more risk. If I had sought and somehow gotten a business loan, I would have been charged 3 or 4 times the interest rate that USDA’s FSA Direct Loan. That difference in expense operates as a tax on me for being BIPOC and not having the intergenerational or community ties that a White farmer would be more likely to have by virtue of historic racism that has privileged them and their family. 

This difference in the history and lived experience of BIPOC farmers compared to White farmers is especially poignant to me because I am married to the eldest grandson of White dairy farmers who owned and worked 100+ acres of land in Minnesota. Their ability to own the land they diligently farmed and stewarded, meant that they were in a position to send their 10 children to college and retire comfortably; even today their generational wealth accumulation is felt in the family.

This is the price and sacrifice that BIPOC farming families are being asked to pay when we cannot equitably access USDA programs and are kept from owning farmland.

As the daughter of Hmong refugees that has farmed in Minnesota since the 1980s, my experience is grounded in the struggle for antiracism, justice, equity, and inclusion. When I was younger and more naive, I believed that attaining higher education would allow me to participate equally in the American Dream. I thought education would enable me access to programs from USDA, especially those aimed at serving disadvantaged farmers: women and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). In 2021, I was reminded of how ingrained racism is and how USDA programs continue to fail our farmers and communities. Reforms are needed for USDA programs to equitably serve BIPOC farmers. BIPOC farmers deserve an equal chance to access USDA programs; it is time for the USDA to reform its loan programs. 

Picture of Friendly on the right wearing a hat with a yellow flower and a young child smiling on the left. Photo from Friendly Hmong Farms

Friendly Vang Johnson runs Friendly Hmong Farms, leveraging her 20+ years of experience in social justice work. Her understanding of the intersection between food sovereignty, land reparations, and racial justice was shaped by a childhood growing up in the Frogtown neighborhood, farming in the summers, and at the markets with her mom and grandmothers in Minnesota. She holds a master’s degree in public policy. She sees her participation in Friendly Hmong Farms as the culmination of her activism as an advocate and community organizer. She is a mom of four and an auntie to eight. Learn more at https://www.friendlyhmongfarms.com/.


Why we published this: I invited Friendly to write this post to diversify POC voices and views on Fakequity. Friendly has first-hand and family experience in farming, an area not often featured in Fakequity. Food diversity, sovereignty, and agency are important to POC experiences.


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 pays 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 I’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, Snohomish, 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.

Be a Better Meeting Host with Relationship Building Questions

Calming picture of palm tres
Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

About a year ago I published a list of questions I sometimes use as relationship-building questions to kick off meetings or gatherings. These are questions that help the group get to know each other a little better so we can build stronger relationships. When we know each other better we can do work more effectively and with more care.

One of my favorite authors and meeting/facilitator icons is Priya Parker. In her book The Art of Gathering she shared:

“Your opening needs to be a kind of pleasant shock therapy. It should grab people. And in grabbing them, it should both awe the guests and honor them. It must plant in them the paradoxical feeling of being totally welcomed and deeply grateful to be there.” -Priya Parker

In creating a welcoming and belonging space, I want everyone to feel like they can contribute to the conversation. Sometimes that contribution is by sharing and other times it is by listening. Both of these skills are practiced when we invite people to share during a relationship builder/ice breaker.

Here is a new batch of questions to help keep your relationship builders and ice breakers crispy or fresh:

  1. What is the soundtrack to your life right now?
  2. What would your five-word bio say?
  3. If you could get a ticket to any entertainment show (e.g. theatre, movie, music, poetry slam, etc.), premium seats and all-expenses-paid what would you choose and where?
  4. What is your favorite grocery store and what is your favorite splurge purchase to get there?
  5. For virtual meetings: What is an emoji that shows how you’re feeling right now? This is a good one if you don’t have a lot of time but want to invite people to quickly share in the chat box. Be sure to verbally acknowledge what people are posting in the box and invite others to check it out too.
  6. What is something you re-read or re-watched or re-visited lately and how has it impacted you? (Note: Don’t assume everyone reads; practicing inclusion of learning disabilities and understanding not everyone has access to print or other media, broaden the statement to multiple ways people may want to understand this prompt.)
  7. Another Priya Parker quote: “Find a way to honor that person instead of their job description.” Explain you want to honor who is at your meeting/gathering as people, not jobs. Invite them to describe who they are without mentioning their job.
  8. What is a non-work related skill or activity you’re learning right now? (If you use the Color Brave Space meeting norms, you can link this back to the norm of “look for learning and commit to learning in public.” We’re practicing learning in public by sharing what we learn in a less worky way.)
  9. For in-person gatherings, create a matching game – As people enter hand people a card with a symbol, letter (works well if you have half the set of capital letters and lower case), or something meaningful to the meeting, or if you’re out of ideas an M&M (tell them not to eat it). When the time is right, instruct the group to find their partner, such as find someone with the same or different color M&M, same picture or letter, and talk about whatever prompt you give them. This is a way to break up cliques and force people to get to know someone else.
  10. Take the matching game to the next level – Good meetings force people to engage and stretch themselves. Socially engineer which people you want to get to know each other and explain why you paired them. It can be as simple as having index cards with the attendee’s names and under it, writing suggested names of a few others they should meet during the ice breaker.

Closings – Never End Without a Meaningful Closing

In another blog post I’ll write more about why it is important to close a meeting with more than a “bye!” This was another Priya Parker lesson that was reiterated during an online conference I got to hear her speak at. One of my go-to closings is to end a meeting is to explain we just did something meaningful together. We learned together, practiced creating a Color Brave Space, and spent time together. We need to reflect and honor ourselves for that work. I ask people to pause with me and think of a gratitude so this sticks more with us. After pausing, I often count to eight in my head, I thank people and close the meeting. The closing doesn’t have to be uber serious but it should thank and show your group you are honoring that they chose to stick with you until the end.

Thank you for reading until the end, or if you skipped to the end thanks for checking out the ending. Thank you for being a part of the fakequity community, high fives all around.

Many thanks to the colleagues and friends who may have originated some of these questions over the years. I apologize for not thanking you by name since some of these have been used for so long their origins are now lost.


Why I wrote this: I wrote this to provide another set of tools to create better relationships, which hopefully leads to more racially just outcomes.


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 pays 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 I’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, Snohomish, 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.

“Trying to help the next person is going to get me killed. I’m okay with that.”

Editor’s note: Today’s post is a guest post by Romelle Bradford. I sometimes write about why I feature these guest posts, but today you should read for yourself and not let my words influence you.


By Romelle Bradford

“Who Belongs” Image of two men wearing hats in black and white, back man with his fist up. Art from Amplifier Art by Nicolas Lampert

Many of the Black women in my life taught me generosity and kindness. I also see how society didn’t value them even when they were trying their best and needed kindness back.

Trying to help the next person is going to get me killed, and you know what, I’m okay with that.

On a weekday morning, I decided to shop at the local QFC grocery store. I needed some quick groceries for dinner and decided to run into the store before going to work. While walking into the store, a Black elder was outside stopping people to ask for a handout. Many saw her as a panhandler. When I stopped to listen I heard her asking for food, not money – she was hungry.  

The security guards hired by the store directed shoppers to ignore her. As I walked up to the store, security tried to forcibly remove her by grabbing her arm. Feeling threatened she instantly defended herself with a lighter that she pulled out from her pocket. The situation escalated, and I feared for her safety. I immediately intervened and jumped between her and the security guard.

I asked her what was wrong and how I could help. She told me that she’s 63-years-old and hungry. I asked her what she needed to nourish herself. She asked for bottled water, eggs, bread, chicken, and a donut so that she could quickly address her hunger. I made note of her request and went shopping for the items. The security guard looked at me in anger as I walked past as if I had challenged their authority. During checkout, the look I received from the employees was that of either confusion or abhorrence. 

By the time I secured the elder’s food, four police officers were there. She was in a heightened state as she feared for her well-being. I calmed her down and handed her the food that I bought her. I walked with her away from the store and asked her to please be safe. As I walked back to my car, one of the police officers said by giving her food, I’ll only enable others. I wasn’t even shocked by the response. I simply said, “She’s a person. I empathize with the feeling of being hungry and not being able to afford food. The compassionate thing to do would’ve been to help her,” and I walked away. I shouldn’t have to teach empathy to grown individuals tasked with serving and protecting our community. 

As a child, I felt ashamed that my family couldn’t afford food. Most of my meals were provided by others outside of my home. I remember how I would leave home early to ensure that I would make it to school in time to receive breakfast. At lunchtime, I always made sure my table was clean and cleared in hopes that my class would be the first class to enter the cafeteria. For dinner, my family often relied on the generosity of others. Sometimes my mom brought home the leftover lunch from the daycare she worked at. Other times we used the food that was given to us from local food banks. My experiences struggling with the shame of food insecurity have left a mark that is deeply rooted within me. The woman’s pleas for food were very traumatic for me to hear. I saw her as a hungry person, not a panhandler. I know seeing her in this way put me at risk. The security guard and police saw her as a threat, and they probably saw me as a Black man as a threat even though I was just giving her food and helping her move to safety. 

Unfortunately, my experiences with the police have been less than ideal. I’ve been subjected to racial profiling and unlawful detainment on multiple occasions where I was treated like a guilty animal instead of an innocent American with rights. Twice in my life have I been assaulted and had guns drawn and pointed at me by officers of the law. Both times I believed that I was going to die. Those first-hand experiences have taught me that cops don’t need to be challenged to be hostile. However, those fears do not stop me from doing the right thing, like standing up for someone whose only crime was being hungry and born the wrong color.

The stereotype of the Black people plays into how we’re treated daily. The Black elder needed help, not the police. While some women would be perceived as needing grace, protection, and leniency, these acts of kindness are often not afforded to Black women, especially Black poor women. Black women face a disproportionate amount of adversity in society. Black women have tried to speak up for themselves as they continue to struggle to be humanized – to be seen as people who hurt, cry, and feel. Black women have felt torn down and attacked by those around them instead of supported and uplifted. At what point do we humanize Black women?

Romelle Bradford (he/him) lives in Seattle with his family and adorable dog.


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 pays 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 I’ll appreciate it.

Adrienne, Agent001, Aimie, Alayna, Alessandra, Alessandra, Alex, Alexa, Aline, Alison, Alison P., Allison K., Amanda, Amber, Amira, Amy, Amy, Amy P., Amy R., Andie, Andrea J., Andrea J.B., Angelica, Angelina, Ashlee, Ashlie, Avery, Barb, Barbara B., Barbara M., Barrett, Beth, Betsy, Big Duck, Brad B., Bridget, Brooke B., Brooke D.W., Cadence, Caitlin, Calandra, Callista, Cari, Carmen, Carol Ann, Carolyn, Carrie B., Carrie C, Carrie S., Caryn, Catherine S., Catherine S., Chelsea, Christa, Christina B C., Christina S., Christine, Clara, Clark, Claudia, Courtney, Crystal, Dan, Danielle, Danielle, Danya, Darcy, Deb, Debbie, Denyse, Diane, Ed, Edith, Edith, Eileen, Elizabeth K L., Elizabeth U, emily w, Erica J., Erica L., Erica R.B., Erin, Gail J., Genita, Hannah, Hayden, Heather H., Heather M., Heidi and Laura, Heidi S., Hilary, J Elizabeth, Jackie J., Jaime, Jake, Jane, Janet, Jean, Jelena, Jen C., Jena, Jenn, Jennet, Jennifer M., Jennifer S., Jennifer T., Jess G., Jessa, Jessica F, Jessica G., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon, Jordan L., Jordan S., Julia, June, Karen, Kate, Kate, Katharine, Kathryn, Katie D., Katie O, Kawai, Keisha, Kelli, Kelly, Kelly S., Kim, Kimberly, Kyla, Kymberli, LA Progressive, Laura B T., Laura G., Lauren, Laurie, Laurie, Leah, Liora, lisa c., Lisa C., Lisa P.W., Lisa S., Liz, Lori, Lori N., Lyn, Lynn, Maegan, Maggie, Maile, Maka, Maki, Marc, Mareeha, Marge, Marilee, Mark, Matthew, Maura, McKenzie, Meghan, Melissa, Melody, Meredith, Michael, Mickey, Migee, Mike, Milo, Mindy, Misha, Molly, Nat, Natasha, Natasha, Nicole, Nora, paola, Peggy, PMM, Porsche, Rachel, Raquel, Rebecca, Reiko, Risa, Rise Up for Students, Ruby, Ruchika, Sandra, Sarah B., Sarah H., Sarah K. B., Sarah O., Sarah R., Sarah S., Sarena, Sarita, Sean, Selma, Shannon, Sharon B., Sharon Y., Shaun, Shawna, Siobhan, Skyler, Steph, Stephanie, Stephen, Su, Susan M., Susan U., T W, Tania DSC, Tania T.D., Tara, Terri, Tim, Titilayo, Tracy G., Tracy T.G., virginia, Vivian, Will, Willow, Yvette, and 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, Snohomish, 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.

South Asian Heritage and History

Picture of Nepal mountains – Photo by Sparsh Karki on Pexels.com

South Asian Heritage Month

South Asian Heritage Month runs from 18 July to 17 August 2022. If you haven’t heard of it, no worries, this is your chance to learn more. South Asian Heritage Month is celebrated more in the United Kingdom than in the United States, BUT just because it isn’t a US thing doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate our South Asian relations.

South Asia is made up of eight independent countries, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Collectively, these countries cover about 12% of Asia, 2 million square miles (5.2 million square km for our metric system counterparts). About one-quarter of the world’s population resides in South Asia, making it one of the most densely populated regions of the world and important for its diversity.

Too often the broader Asian race category hides and overshadows the unique histories, migration stories, racism, contributions, languages, and cultures. Part of my hope is by highlighting some of South Asian history and contributions we can be a more holistic and inclusive country and community. Like my previous blog post about Hawai’i, this history is overly abbreviated – this is a taste of the richness of South Asian American history. As an Asian (Japanese and Okinawan) I want to make sure I am not glossing over other Asian histories; by understanding South Asian stories, I understand my own Asian story more fully. I am not South Asian so please take what I write as my take on South Asian history as a starting point for you to authentically understand and build relationships with South Asian communities. The South Asian community deserves to tell their own stories and write their own histories.

South Asian American History – Short Version

According to the South Asian American Digital Archive, South Asians have been in the US since the 1700s. Early immigrants came from Punjab and Bengal. In the 1800s the number of South Asians grew in the US.

These early immigrants faced anti-Asian racism and restrictions on their seeking citizenship or civil liberties. The men were barred from marrying white women and they were forbidden from bringing over family members (spouses). In California, where some of the men had settled to work the land, and eventually pursued married life with Mexican Catholic women who also worked the field. This documentary Roots of Our Sands explores the interracial marriage between several families.  

More recently, after the September 11, 2001 attacks there was a significant uptick of anti-Asian violence against South Asians – especially Sikh and Muslims. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s reporting xenophobia and anti-Asian hate could be seen across the country.

South Asians in the US and West today

Like the Asian race group overall, South Asian ethnic groups are growing in the US. According to the Pew Research Center several South Asian ethnic groups saw their numbers double between 2000-2019. Pew also has a chart showing ages broken down by ethnic groups. This is important to understand since it impacts which South Asian families you may see in schools and youth programs.

South Asians Leaders

America (or more broadly Western cultures) would not be what it is today without South Asian influences. South Asians have shaped and continue to positively impact our communities and lives.

As an example here is a very short (too short) list of South Asian leaders:

Iman Vellani – Canadian Pakistani actress, playing Ms. Marvel [I’m very excited to see this new movie]

Venkatraman ‘Venki’ Ramakrishnan – Indian born, British and American, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2009

Kalpana Chawla – Indian American, first woman of Indian origin to travel to space

Harry Bhandari – Nepali American, first Nepali American elected to state office

Khaled Hosseini – Afghan American, writer of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns and other books. I’m currently reading his newest book Sea Prayer which is beautifully illustrated and covers the current refugee crisis.


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, Snohomish, 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.

Hawaiian History – A short overview

Picture taken from ‘Iolani Palace of the King Kamehameha statue across the street- 2022, photo Okuno

I was born, raised, and went to school in Hawai’i. It is a place that is important to who I am, especially since I am a colonizer and not a Native Hawaiian on their land. It is the place where I learned to deeply respect people of color, Indigenous relations, our diverse histories, and wisdom. Growing up I learned Hawaiian history. It is taught in fourth and seventh grade, and being in Hawai’i we learn it from simply being part of the community and listening to our kapunas (elders).

It occurred to me many people outside of Hawai’i don’t know Hawaiian history – understandable since it is a small island state/nation in the middle of the Pacific. However, you should know this important history since it is American history too, and for those who choose to travel to Hawaii for vacation or business, it is important to learn and respect the land, its people, and histories.  

Below is a greatly abridged version of Hawaiian history to give you a small taste of how complex and rich the full history of Hawaii is. I hope you will read it and then take it upon yourself to learn more from credible sources, especially from Native Hawaiian scholars, activists, and historians.

History of Hawai’i

Hawai’i, sitting in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is made up of over 100 islands, but most people only know of the eight main islands — Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui, and Hawaiʻi. King Kamehameha, originally named Paiea and hidden at birth in 1758 to protect his life from warring clans, unified the islands. In several great battles including the battles of ‘Iao Valley in Maui and Nuuanu Pali on O’ahu, Kamehameha, assisted by Captain James Cook’s western machinery, unified the previously independently ruled islands. Captain Cook was the first white person/European to contact Hawai’i in 1778. He was killed the following year at Kealakekua Bay on the Island of Hawai’i.

King Kamehameha unified the islands in 1810. This was important because it created a more unified front for Hawai’i to withstand Western pressures. The Kamehameha dynasty reigns from 1795-1874. There was a succession of rulers during this time, but I will skip over this part of Hawaiian history.

In 1874 King Lunalilo, the grandnephew of King Kamehameha I, died of tuberculosis without an heir – he was 39 and had ruled for 1 year and 25 days. He was the first ruler of Hawai’i elected and was known as “The People’s King” because he was well-liked.

In 1820 Protestant missionaries arrived in Hawai’i. These and subsequent missionaries heavily influenced Hawai’i. The missionaries’ primary purpose in Hawai’i was to spread Christianity. Along with the spread of their religion(s) they also brought written language (prior Hawaiian language was oral, it is easier to spread Bible teachings when people can read the Bible), cultural beliefs, built churches, and illnesses and endemics.

In 1874 after King Lunalilo died, King Kalakaua is elected ruler starting the Kalakaua dynasty. Queen dowager Emma (married to King Kamehameha IV), a part of the Kamehameha dynasty, attempted to retain the ruling line but was not successful. She acknowledged the defeat and calmed her supporters; American and British troops were in Honolulu as well and quelled dissent.

King Kalakaua traveled the world establishing diplomatic relations with many rulers. Hawai’i was a strategic trade point in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Ships would need to stop in the islands to refuel and take on new supplies. Only countries that had diplomatic relations with the sovereign nation of Hawai’i could dock. As a Hawaiian historian told me “Other countries needed Hawai’i more than Hawai’i needed them at this point.”

In 1882 construction on ‘Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in the United States, began. King Kalakaua had traveled the world extensively and wanted ‘Iolani Palace to be as grand as other palaces he had visited. ‘Iolani Palace had electricity and telephones before the US White House. While the palace was never the primary residence of any of the monarchs, they choosing to live in other cottages or residences close by, the Palace played an important role in Hawaiian history.

The center quilt boxes were sewn by Queen Lili’uokalani during her imprisonment at ‘Iolani Palace. Photo Okuno

Bayonet Constitution

In 1887 King Kalakaua was held at gunpoint by a militia of mostly American citizens/white settlers known as the Honolulu Rifles and forced to sign a new constitution for the Kingdom of Hawai’i. The Honolulu Rifles were aligned with the Hawaiian League (the Committee of Thirteen) which sought to overthrow the monarchy and succeed several years later. [Side-note — there is a whole sordid history involving the Hawaiian League/Committee of Thirteen and their actions. Too long for this post, but I hope some of you go down that rabbit hole of history.]

The Bayonet Constitution stripped the monarchy and his cabinet of power giving it to the legislature which was more aligned with white business and white settler interest. The document was signed by Kalakaua under duress and brought upon the end of the monarchy. Many believe the King would have been killed if he hadn’t signed.

In 1891 King Kalakaua dies in San Francisco. His body was brought back to Hawai’i on the USS Charleston escorted by the US Navy and Army at the direction of US President Harrison. After his death, Queen Liliuokalani assumed the throne. Her reign was short-lived.

Queen Lili’uokalani was placed under house arrest and imprisoned in a room at ‘Iolani Palace in 1893. The sovereign Kingdom of Hawai’i was illegally overthrown. In 1898 the United States annexes Hawai’i. Queen Lili’uokalani protest this move, as seen in this letter to Congress. In 1900 Hawaii becomes the Territory of Hawai’i under United States control. The monarchy never returned to power. Queen Lili’uokalani dies in 1917. In 1959 Hawai’i becomes the 50th state in the United States.

Why this History Matters

I just glossed over Hawaiian history in about 750 words. I know I did a disservice to the deeply intricate, important, and moving history of this once thriving and important nation-state. This is also modern American history. A Hawaiian story keeper mentioned that if you talk to people in Hawaii and reach back about two to four generations you can find a connection to someone who was alive during the monarchy. This could be a great-grandparent or great-great-grandparent — that is how recent some of these events are. Please take time to learn more and do your part to be in solidarity with Native Hawaiians.

Suggested sites to continue learning about Hawaiian history:

  • ‘Iolani Palace tour – If you are in Honolulu, sign up for the docent-led tour at ‘Iolani Palace. You’ll hear about the history of the monarchy from a seasoned storyteller and historian.
  • Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen – Lili’uokalani (book)
  • Merrie Monarch Festival – This is a celebration and preservation of hula and Hawaiian language. Last year I was able to watch it streamed online which was wonderful. I hope they continue to stream it online for those of us outside of Hawaii. The analogy I use to describe the importance of Merrie Monarch to people is it is like the Olympics of hula. The best hula dancers compete in this festival and it is a joy to watch.
  • Preserve Hawaiian language. I just learned about Ni’ihau Hawaiian, which is closer to the original language thanks to the island of Ni’ihau being more of a closed community. About 200 people still speak Ni’ihau Hawaiian. Make sure to learn about Ni’ihau and how it was bought and sold.
  • In the 2.00 a.m. haze of writing I forgot to add one of the best new books I’ve read about visiting Hawai’i — Detours. This book is the only travel guide you should read when visiting Hawai’i. Written by kanaka maoli (Native Hawaiians) it covers what Hawai’i means to them and what they want non-Natives to know. (Added 7/8/22)


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, Snohomish, 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.

Protesting with Kids

Crowd standing behind a barrier at a rally. People holding signs. Photo by Life Matters on Pexels.com

Facebook memories reminded me on this date in 2018 many were protesting the separation of parents from children at the US – Mexico border. In subsequent summers many have rightfully protested the murders of Black people by law enforcement, and most recently the Supreme Court’s abhorrent overturning of Roe v. Wade and taking away a fundamental right for families and people with uteruses.

Public protesting has brought many important social changes. Gathering and being vocal brings media attention, elevates important issues with policymakers, and as social beings, many find comfort and connection by being part of a common cause. I also recognize public protesting isn’t for everyone. For some being in a crowd is mentally and physically too hard to participate – that is fine there are many ways to be part of social movements (in another post I’ll include ways to support protests in other ways).

While there aren’t any huge protests planned at the moment (or at least that I know of), now seems like an apt time to prepare. Earlier today Anti-Racism Daily (ARD) published a Protesting 101 guide too. Make sure to subscribe to their daily emails too.

Anti-Racism Daily covered the basics of protesting, so make sure to read their guide. My post will focus more on how to involve kids in protests. These are tips I’ve gathered over the years from friends, colleagues, and other sources. Many thanks to people who contributed to this over time.

How to Include Children in Protests

Before you go:

VERY IMPORTANT – Make sure the protest/march/rally you’re attending is appropriate for the ages of your children. Not every event is comfortable for all ages. Use your judgment and decide your tolerance level for taking your children.

Explain before you’re going what the protest or rally is about and have the child relate to it in their own way. Watch a kid-appropriate video (e.g. YouTube, etc.) about the topic, read a book – Let the Children March, We March, ¡Sí, Se Puede! / Yes, We Can!: Janitor Strike in L.A., and Enough! 20+ Protests that Changed America are a few to preview – make sure to read them alone before sharing them with kids so you can judge if they are right for your kids, share personal stories so they understand the topic.

Explain why it is important to use the voices, bodies, and collective voices to protest. Protesting is often about putting bodies on the line and taking physical risks for something we believe in. Recognize this might not be for every child and respect their discomfort.

Have your kids make a sign to take with them – kid artwork is great to see at gatherings.

Let your kid ask questions and answer as honestly as you can about the topic. For children of color, the questions may be very different than white children, especially based on reading historical events (i.e. civil rights Children’s March) – will the police dogs bite, will they put you/me in jail for being at the protest, will people help me if I get hurt? Remind them it will be a peaceful protest and you will do everything you can to keep them safe.

Put together a transit plan – don’t count on driving and parking to the event site. Do you plan on walking/marching the full route or stopping mid-route? Make sure to have a plan.

Talk to your kids about what to do if you get separated. Where should they meet up with you. Don’t count on cellphones to find each other. Have a plan and coach them on what to do if they get separated – who are people they can find who can help them – police or firefighters (caveat for law enforcement below), go into a store and talk to someone in a uniform, or another plan that is right for your family.

Day of Prep:

Prepare a backpack with snacks, water/juice, sunscreen, cash, baby shampoo (more on this later), umbrella, tissue or toilet paper, and medication(s) for you or your kids if needed during the day anticipate being out longer than you think, just in case you get stuck. Backpacks or bags that allow you to keep your hands free are good. Check with the organizers to make sure the event allows bags and what the size regulations are.

Don’t carry anything you don’t want to lose – leave valuables at home. Explain to your kids not to bring extras toys/stuffies either.  

If attending as a family wearing matching colors could be helpful. Wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather. If you are attending a protest without kids that might be confrontational read the ARD advice about wearing black and not standing out.

Take a picture of your kids in their outfits and text or email it to a friend/family member – sending the picture to a friend/family member is helpful in case your phone is lost or disabled and you need the picture.

Use a Sharpie (permanent marker) to write your kid’s name, contact phone number, and other important info (e.g. allergies, medical, etc.) on their arm/leg/stomach. Make sure it is covered in case people take pictures in the crowd. Put the Sharpie in your bag in case you need it later that day. For adults, ARD recommends writing a legal support number on you in case you get arrested.

Give your kids a signal or a code word to signal they need to pay attention and possibly leave. If you say “we need to go,” they know they need to leave now and not argue or ask to stay longer. Explain this before the rally.

Remind them how important it is to stay with you – it is a large crowd with a lot of people, and you don’t want to lose each other. Remind them of the safety and separation plans you discussed earlier.

Use the bathroom before you leave the house and again at the staging area if you see one. Have a plan for what to do in case you or your kids REALLY have to use the bathroom during the event. This is a funny/helpful Twitter thread. Don’t forget to pack some tissue or toilet paper, just in case.

Remind your kids protests/rallies/marches are often fluid events that may not start on time, or if they are large events it may take a while for your portion of the march to start. It is part of the experience and being uncomfortable is part of how social changes happen.

At the Rally/March/Protest:

Stay towards the sides and back of the pack. These areas are often calmer and easier to step aside. It is perfectly fine to stand on the sidewalk and support the march from there.

If your kid wants to tap out respect that and leave. This is about sharing an experience with your kid, not your agenda as a parent. If it feels right set reasonable expectations for participation ahead of time, such as “we’ll walk until XXX point and decide if we want to stop there” or “We’ll stay for an hour, then see how we feel.”

Do not offer personal information to anyone at the rally.

Do not count on law enforcement to protect you or your family at the protest. The police are not there to protect you or your family. If approached by law enforcement – stay calm, keep your hands visible, tell your kids to stay with you and stay still. You do not have to consent to bag or phone searches unless they have a warrant or probable cause. Read the ACLU’s guide for more details.

Cellphones – Read ARD’s notes on having a cellphone at the protest, think about digital surveillance. As a family decides if having your personal cellphone on you is the right thing to do. Some organizers recommend bringing it because personal safety is important; you can always turn it off or put it on airplane mode if you don’t want your cellphone signal tracked, however, this prevents incoming calls/texts from reaching you.  Make sure to have backup plans with other adults that DO NOT rely on cellphone communication. Often cellphone signals might be disrupted because of the number of cellphones in the area or other disruptions. This guide to prepping your cellphone before a protest is helpful too.

Trust your judgment and be aware of the energy of the crowd. If you sense the event is getting violent tap out. Many events are intended to be peaceful, but periodically the event may be infiltrated by people who want to incite violence.  

According to @DGlaucomfecken, an ophthalmologist (via Twitter) Pepper spray is oil-based, baby shampoo (no tear formulas) will help to remove the pepper spray. DO NOT rub your eyes, immediately blink as much as you can to wash it out with your own tears. Then wash your eyes with baby shampoo and lots of water. Remove contacts right away, it is safer to wear glasses at protests.

After the Event:

Debrief with your kids about the protest. Answer questions, have ongoing conversation, and remember one protest isn’t going to change bad policies and practices – ongoing work for racial justice is needed.

Before posting pictures to social media, make sure your pictures do not ‘out’ anyone else attending the event. While it is a public event, law enforcement has been known to go through social media to find people who were at the event, including using facial recognition technology to identify people.

White People and White families Attending Rallies – Especially Racial Justice Events:

Follow the lead of Black and Brown people.

Put yourselves closer to the police, do not incite violence.

Act as human barriers when needed for Black and Brown people.

Deescalate law enforcement.

Bring extra masks, hand sanitizer, and other COVID19 protections to share.

This isn’t about you, this is about being an ally for people of color. Your job isn’t done after one day or after one rally. Be in for the long haul.


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.