Spend Your Money Where it Matters — POC Business Map

Editor’s Note: Remember to vote! Election day is coming up next Tuesday, 5 November. Please remember to pay attention to all the races, especially those that typically don’t get a ton of attention such as school board races.

If you are in WA, learn more about Referendum 88. I won’t tell you how to vote, be an informed voter on this topic. I voted APPROVE. APPROVE means I’m using my vote to undo systemic racism in government agencies and university recruitment. This won’t solve all racism, but it is one step towards racial justice.


By Erin Okuno

About a week ago I received a text from my friend Lauren with a screenshot of a Facebook post showing the POC Business Map had been trolled. It was evening and I was playing board games with my kids, but this text looked serious. Someone took deleted every single pin on the map and left a snarky comment. I forwarded the screenshot to the rest of the Equity Matters team.

There was a mix of emotions from the team. Annoyance, anger, disappointment, pissyness, and then resolve to rebuild the map. The previous map had been accessed over 103,000 times – presumably to do good by finding and investing back into people of color owned businesses. The map was created in Google Maps and open source, meaning anyone could use it for good or to sabotage the efforts by deleting all of the pins.

Heidi and Mindy of Equity Matters created the original map several years ago. It started as a way for Heidi to find some places where she could meet clients and friends for drinks and food. She wanted to make sure her money was being invested into POC businesses. Mindy did some basic research and the framework for the map. It was shared on social media and tons of pins were added. I also hope people used it to find new businesses and to support community building efforts.

When we learned the map was trolled, we assessed what we could do. Some swear words flew back and forth via text, food pictures too since it was evening and we had just gotten off of work. When we stopped swearing and eating we looked into things and figured out there wasn’t a way to recover the original map. Sadly, Google Maps doesn’t have an undo function. What we were lucky L Patrice saw the Facebook post and offered a copy of the map. It gave us a start to rebuild from.

The new map is organized slightly differently. This one is not sorted by business type (e.g. restaurants, coffee shops, services, etc.), version two is sorted by race. This change allows us to intentionally support POCs and holds us more accountable to supporting diverse POCs.

Heidi and the Equity Matters team decided to continue to keep it open source. We trust people to use it for good. We are making copies of the map often and asking others to do the same. If it is trolled again we may put out a call to the community to share their copies. The benefits of having an open-source map is more important than locking it or not rebuilding. We are resilient and more passionate than one troll who was angry or bored for 40 minutes which is the amount of time it took the person to delete all of the pins from the last map.

Why and How to Use the Map

Heidi created the map so she could more easily find places to drink and eat. She wanted to spend her drinking and eating money at POC owned businesses. There are racial wealth gaps in America and where people spend their money can either close or widen those gaps. Because of these racialized wealth gaps business owners of color, especially Black and Brown business owners, have a harder time accessing loans, investors, and networks to gain access to information and power brokers. Spending money within communities of color and purchasing from business owners of colors helps them keep their businesses going and gaining access to more capital and opportunities.

The power of networks is important. When you support business owners of color there is a good chance they are connected to other POCs and will share information, tips, and relationships within these informal and formal networks. This will help to seed the next round and generation of POC business owners.

The map is one of many ‘tools’ out there to help you find businesses where you can spend your money. As an example, if you are trying to set up a business lunch, pull up the map and look for a POC owned lunch spot nearby. Or if you are looking for a specific type of business such as a bookstore, type that into the search bar to see what pops up. Many of the bookstores listed have online stores that can expand your ability to support POCs nationally.

We know you have POC businesses we don’t know about. Please share them by placing a pin for that business. Find the race category for the business on the left side and click the category, then type the business name into the search bar, when you find the business and location click ‘+ Add to map.’ This is easier to do on a computer than a mobile device. We are excited to see the map expand and grow nationally.

Link to the new map is here. Bookmark it so you can refer to it often. Make copies of it too so we have many many many backup copies.

POC Business Map


Thank you to our Patreon subscribers who help to keep the blog going: Adrienne, Aimie, Ali, Aline, Alissa, Amy, Amy R., Andrea, Angie, Anh-Chi, Annie, Annie G.,  Ashlie, Ben, Betsy, Brooke, Brian, C+C, Caitlin, Calandra, Carolyn C., Carolyn M., Carrie, Carrie S., Casey, Chandra, Chelsea, Chicxs Happy Brownies, Claudia, Cierra, Clark, Colleen, Crystal, Dan, Danya, Darcie, Dawnnesha, Dean, Debbie (x2), Denise, Denyse, Donald, Edith, Elena, emily, Erica (2), Erica R.B., Erin, Evan, eve, Freedom, Greg, Hannah, Heather, Heather H., Heidi, Heidi and Laura, Heidi S., Jake, Janis, Jean, Jena, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M., Jennifer T., Jessica, Jessica G., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon, Julia, Julie Anne, K.T., Kari, Karen, Katheryn, Kathi, Katie, Keisha, Kelli, Kristen, Kristen C., Kristen D., Kumar, Laura, Laura T., Laurel, Laurie, Leah, Lisa, Lisa C., Liz, Lori, Lynn, Lynn D., Makeba, Marc, Maria, Mark, Matias, Matthew, Maura, McKenzie, Megan, Melissa, Michael, Michelle, Mikaela, Mike, Milo, Minesh, Miranda, Miriam, Misha, Molly, Natasha, Nathan, Nathan H., Nicole, Norah, Norrie, Paola, Patrick, Polly, Priya, Rebecca, Risa, Rise Up for Students, Robin, Ruby, Sarah, Sarah S., Sarita, Sean, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Skyler, Stephanie, Stephanie O., Stephanie S., Susan, Tana, Tania, Tara, Terri, Tracy, and Vivian. If I missed anyone my apologies and thank you for your support. Support the blog by becoming a Patreon supporter.

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Community Engagement BINGO 2 — What to Do

community engagement bingo 2

Last week I put up a BINGO board about community engagement around what not to do. This week while sitting in a meeting I had a moment of enlightenment/ vulnerability/ happiness, that moment led to me realizing I should create a BINGO board focused on what we should do, not just the negatives. This week’s blog post is Community Engagement BINGO 2, What to Do.

Gather a few friends or colleagues and think through your community engagement practices. Give yourself a high five for the boxes you do well. I hope you get a full board of checked off boxes. If you don’t check something off, talk about how you can work to improve your practices.

Below is a list of the text in the BINGO board boxes. I’m sharing it below to allow for more people to be able to read it — small screens make the image hard to read and disability screenreaders and Braille translators do not read images well.

Community Engagement BINGO 2 — What to do:

Clearly articulating who should attend the event (Don’t say everyone. Inviting everyone is inviting no one.)

Ongoing engagement, not one-time events

Creating multiple ways to engage with the overall work (e.g. in person, online, live stream, smaller focus groups, surveys, apps, etc.)

Clear contact information shared

Appropriate notice is provided for events and meetings

Co-designing community engagement with people most impacted

Continually identifying barriers to participation and working to remove them

Listening to people and responding

Being clear about your commitment to undoing racism and centering BIPOCs

Inviting and welcoming people to join, especially paying attention to diversity

Sharing and distributing power (e.g. decision making authority, resources, etc.)

On sign-up forms inviting people to share their needs (e.g. dietary, child care, disabilities accommodations, language, etc.)

Events hosted in accessible locations (e.g. neighborhoods of people most impacted, public transit, ADA compliant, etc.)

Checking calendars to make sure religious and cultural holidays are avoided

Outlining next steps and responsibilities

Creating opportunities for people to build and sustain diverse relationships

Build trust over time and practice transparency, especially when things go wrong

Recognize the expertise of People of Color and those farthest from justice

Be specific and clear with language (i.e. avoid acronyms, no derogatory language, translators appreciate specific language—say what you mean to say, etc.)

Allowing adequate time and physical space for people to interact and understand the content

Dot voting by language – different color dots represents different home languages. Copyright BN

Interactive presentations with meaningful engagement. The photo is an example of how a school community engaged with families across language. The different colored dots represented different home languages.

Facilitators who pay attention to the energy in the room and specifically paying attention to POCs who may not be heard

Follow up by summarizing what you heard and learn. Don’t be an askhole.

Bonus Ideas for the FREE Square

Food – providing culturally resonate and tasty food is a good practice. Spend the money on the good catering from a POC owned restaurant.

Childcare – providing high-quality childcare AND providing ways for children to meaningfully participate in the event or project is important. At another time I’ll share some stories about this topic.

Translated Material and Interpretation – Being able to understand and be understood is a key component of community engagement.

Attentive to cultural norms and practices.

Special thank you to Bao for a few of the ideas, including the box around FOOD, cause food is bonding and engaging across communities. 


Thank you to our Patreon subscribers who help to keep the blog going: Adrienne, Aimie, Ali, Aline, Alissa, Amy, Amy R., Andrea, Angie, Anh-Chi, Annie, Annie G.,  Ashlie, Ben, Betsy, Brooke, Brian, C+C, Caitlin, Calandra, Carolyn C., Carolyn M., Carrie, Carrie S., Casey, Chandra, Chelsea, Chicxs Happy Brownies, Claudia, Cierra, Clark, Colleen, Crystal, Dan, Danya, Darcie, Dawnnesha, Dean, Debbie (x2), Denise, Denyse, Donald, Edith, Elena, emily, Erica (2), Erica R.B., Erin, Evan, eve, Freedom, Greg, Hannah, Heather, Heather H., Heidi, Heidi and Laura, Heidi S., Jake, Janis, Jean, Jena, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M., Jennifer T., Jessica, Jessica G., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Julia, Julie Anne, K.T., Kari, Karen, Katheryn, Kathi, Katie, Keisha, Kelli, Kristen, Kristen C., Kristen D., Kumar, Laura, Laurel, Laurie, Leah, Lisa, Lisa C., Liz, Lori, Lynn, Lynn D., Makeba, Marc, Maria, Mark, Matias, Matthew, Maura, McKenzie, Megan, Melissa, Michael, Michelle, Mikaela, Mike, Milo, Minesh, Miranda, Miriam, Misha, Molly, Natasha, Nathan, Nathan H., Nicole, Norah, Norrie, Paola, Patrick, Priya, Rebecca, Risa, Rise Up for Students, Robin, Ruby, Sarah, Sarah S., Sarita, Sean, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Skyler, Stephanie, Stephanie O., Stephanie S., Susan, Tana, Tania, Tara, Terri, Tracy, and Vivian. If I missed anyone my apologies and thank you for your support. Support the blog by becoming a Patreon supporter.

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

Community Engagement BINGO

community engagement bingo

By Erin Okuno

This week I give you Community Engagement BINGO. Community engagement is one of the many ways we can get closer to achieving racial equity, and yet there are so many ways it can go wrong. The terms on the BINGO cards offer some clues and ideas of what not to do. I’ve also listed them as a list below to make it easier to read through and to support accessibility of screen readers.

I hope the BINGO card sparks conversations with you and your teams. You can think and talk about why terms listed and how your organization either works to avoid them or maybe needs to break out of that process.

Have fun!

List of terms:

  • Host listening sessions with no follow-up
  • Engagement is a process check, something to check off the list
  • One-time community engagement
  • Expecting those most impacted to do the recruitment
  • Thinking community engagement is all in-person large events
  • Community engagement with stakeholders they already hear from
  • Using only online surveys for community engagement
  • Don’t share/report back the findings #extraction
  • Engagement only in English, filled with acronyms, etc.
  • Task forces used as the only means of engagement
  • No trust is built between community and organization
  • Agenda and the design of meetings/engagement is controlled by the power holders not the community
  • Data from the engagement isn’t used or followed through
  • Public testimony is considered “engagement”
  • Community engagement is inaccessible to the communities most impacted – location/time/cost
  • New community members are not welcomed into the engagement / Echo-chamber
  • Beauty Contest engagement – the pretty and popular ideas are the only ones featured
  • Those giving ideas are not recognized as the originators of the ideas #extraction
  • Community engagement to get the community to “buy into” idea
  • Engaging people only when you need something (e.g. crisis, potential backlash, etc.)
  • Allowing only the dominant voices to be heard
  • Using a token few to represent all poc or racial groups perspectives
  • Talking at and to people for the entire engagement period
  • Engagement with special interest groups and no one else

Thank you to our Patreon subscribers who help to keep the blog going: Adrienne, Aimie, Ali, Aline, Alissa, Amy, Amy R., Andrea, Angie, Anh-Chi, Annie, Annie G.,  Ashlie, Ben, Betsy, Brooke, Brian, C+C, Caitlin, Calandra, Carolyn C., Carolyn M., Carrie, Carrie S., Casey, Chandra, Chelsea, Chicxs Happy Brownies, Claudia, Cierra, Clark, Colleen, Crystal, Dan, Danya, Darcie, Dawnnesha, Dean, Debbie (x2), Denise, Denyse, Donald, Edith, Elena, emily, Erica (2), Erica R.B., Erin, Evan, eve, Freedom, Greg, Hannah, Heather, Heather H., Heidi, Heidi and Laura, Heidi S., Jake, Janis, Jean, Jena, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M., Jennifer T., Jessica, Jessica G., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Julia, Julie Anne, K.T., Kari, Karen, Katheryn, Kathi, Katie, Keisha, Kelli, Kristen, Kristen C., Kristen D., Kumar, Laura, Laurel, Laurie, Leah, Lisa, Lisa C., Liz, Lori, Lynn, Lynn D., Makeba, Marc, Maria, Mark, Matias, Matthew, Maura, McKenzie, Megan, Melissa, Michael, Michelle, Mikaela, Mike, Milo, Minesh, Miranda, Miriam, Misha, Molly, Natasha, Nathan, Nathan H., Nicole, Norah, Norrie, Paola, Patrick, Priya, Rebecca, Risa, Rise Up for Students, Robin, Ruby, Sarah, Sarah S., Sarita, Sean, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Skyler, Stephanie, Stephanie O., Stephanie S., Susan, Tana, Tania, Tara, Terri, Tracy, and Vivian. If I missed anyone my apologies and thank you for your support. Support the blog by becoming a Patreon supporter.

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What we lost – gentrification part II

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Don’t Displace the Southend yard sign from got green

A few weeks ago, I wrote about gentrification and how it shows up in little and big ways. After writing that post, Heidi suggested we take a little tour of what has been lost due to gentrification. We could take a tour of the neighborhood and point out places that were once there and now are big boxy buildings.

  • Viet-Wah Grocery Store
  • Inay’s Filipino Restaurant and Kusina Filipina
  • Imperial Lanes Bowling Alley – while this wasn’t POC owned losing it meant losing a big part of poc culture in my neighborhood
  • Head Start programs – United Indians of All Tribes and Mount Zion
  • Yasuko’s Teriyaki – this was my college teriyaki spot, right below my dorm with a plate of rice and chicken for about $5.
  • LEMS Bookstore, a community Black owned bookstore
  • African American and Black churches

When we lose POC businesses we lose a part of our community’s soul. I asked friends what has been lost because of gentrification. I thought they would have named businesses that closed, old houses no longer there, or other physical places. Instead, people mentioned a sense and feeling of losing culture and soul. These losses for communities of color extend beyond losing beloved restaurants and gathering places, it is a loss of identity and community.

My friends mentioned missing a sense of safety and easy living among people who are sturdy and not fragile. Another friend mentioned how she misses having neighbors who weren’t nosy. She said her new neighbors call the police for petty things like fireworks, cars parked for longer than 2-days, and they post their disgruntled thoughts on social media versus working to build tolerance and a sense of community.

If you want to see more of what we’ve lost, check out the Istagram and Facebook pages for Vanishing Seattle. Other cities may have similar social media feeds.

We need to do more to hold our communities in place – it is that simple.

I attended the Washington State Budget & Policy Center’s Budget Matters symposium a few weeks ago. It is a great event to nerd out on tax policy made more understandable. One of the panelist mentioned that unequal tax policies are aiding and accelerating gentrification. She talked about how internet companies, like the large one that smiles everywhere, didn’t collect state sales taxes for many states, while small mom-and-pop businesses collected and shouldered unequal tax burdens. Guess who is still smiling. Read this report on how reforming our ancient, unbalanced, and unjust tax code can advance racial equity.

When we lose critical mass of lower income people, especially people of color, we change as a community. We lose diversity and the empathy we develop by being in proximity to people who are different from us, this in turn makes us better thinkers and problem solvers.

Government policy, philanthropic support, and better governance practices could help to keep families in place. Housing policies that only focus on increasing housing units and not looking at supporting those with the highest barriers to housing are missing the mark. Such as for undocumented families and others without social security numbers or credit scores, the barriers and burdens of securing long-term housing is really hard to find and the cost to get into the unit is often out of reach for families.

We can build better solutions to support keeping our communities together and thriving. We just need to create some new ways of thinking so we don’t lose what makes us great. Greatness isn’t found in the homogeneity of Whole Foods and Starbucks. Greatness is found when we are a thriving and diverse community that takes care of each other.


Thank you to our Patreon subscribers who help to keep the blog going: Adrienne, Aimie, Ali, Aline, Alissa, Amy, Amy R., Andrea, Angie, Anh-Chi, Annie, Annie G.,  Ashlie, Ben, Betsy, Brooke, Brian, C+C, Caitlin, Calandra, Carolyn C., Carolyn M., Carrie, Carrie S., Casey, Chandra, Chelsea, Chicxs Happy Brownies, Claudia, Cierra, Clark, Colleen, Crystal, Dan, Danya, Darcie, Dawnnesha, Dean, Debbie (x2), Denise, Denyse, Donald, Edith, Elena, emily, Erica (2), Erica R.B., Erin, Evan, eve, Freedom, Greg, Hannah, Heather, Heidi, Heidi and Laura, Heidi S., Jake, Janis, Jean, Jena, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M., Jennifer T., Jessica, Jessica G., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Julia, Julie Anne, K.T., Kari, Karen, Katheryn, Kathi, Katie, Keisha, Kelli, Kristen, Kristen C., Kristen D., Kumar, Laura, Laurel, Laurie, Leah, Lisa, Lisa C., Liz, Lori, Lynn, Lynn D., Makeba, Marc, Maria, Mark, Matthew, Maura, McKenzie, Megan, Melissa, Michael, Michelle, Mikaela, Mike, Milo, Minesh, Miranda, Miriam, Misha, Molly, Natasha, Nathan, Nathan H., Nicole, Norah, Norrie, Paola, Patrick, Priya, Rebecca, Risa, Rise Up for Students, Robin, Ruby, Sarah, Sarah S., Sarita, Sean, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Skyler, Stephanie, Stephanie O., Stephanie S., Susan, Tana, Tania, Tara, Terri, Tracy, and Vivian. If I missed anyone my apologies and thank you for your support. Support the blog by becoming a Patreon supporter.

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

Navigating Consent and Allyship — Disabilities Justice

This week we welcome a guest post by Tracy Timmons-Gray, a white ally, to share more about disabilities justice. 


By Tracy Timmons-Gray

MadalynHarbert-HearOurVoice.jpg

Art by Madalyn Harbert on Amplifer “For the Women’s March in 2017, Amplifier held an open call for artwork and received over 5,000 submissions in just eight days. All of the pieces advocate for the rights of women, immigrants, black and brown and queer communities, people Native to the land, and the Earth itself. Fifty of those works were selected for a touring exhibition called Hear Our Voice.”

At work during an affinity group meeting, I shared a story from back in college where a close friend offered me assistance. We were in our college café, and I was standing by the counter, squinting up at the menu hanging on the far wall. As someone with low vision, menus posted on walls are normally my unreadable enemy. My friend knew this, and while I stood there, she offered to read the menu to me. I replied that I didn’t need assistance that day as I was wearing my (very large, very magnifying) glasses instead of my less powerful but culturally more accepted contacts. She replied, “Oh, I didn’t even notice.”

I stood there kind of stunned. Having a physical disability means that you pretty much are always “noticed.” I turned to her and in that moment, felt a startling feeling of true acceptance. My friend accepted me no matter what shape my body was in, and I appreciated her for offering assistance as a default, even if it was unnecessary in that moment.

That’s a nice story, but it’s also one that can cause confusion. What came up in another meeting that week was another story from someone who attended a conference. They recounted a talk by a disability justice advocate at the event who said, “Don’t assume what people need. Don’t offer assistance without permission.” When my colleague heard my story, and then reflected on what they heard at the conference, they felt unsure of what to think.

I see where that disability justice advocate is coming from. For instance, it’s wrong to go up to a blind person you don’t know and take their arm to assist without asking. Or to start pushing someone’s wheelchair or mobility aid without their permission. (Touching someone’s mobility device is like touching someone’s body. It’s an extension of their body. It’s also important to not touch people’s support animals.)

These dueling messages can lead to confusion, and can cause a mental “freeze,” which can stand in the way of being an ally to others.

To help break down that freeze, here are some general principles on how to navigate around situations where you think you would like to offer assistance, but are not sure how. I welcome other recs as well if people want to share their thoughts.

1- The Bus Principle

You’re on a crowded bus. You have a seat. Someone gets on the bus. They are a person who is A) appearing pregnant B) carrying a small child C) using an assistant device like a cane or walker D) carrying heavy grocery bags E) is an elder F) is otherwise appearing like they could appreciate a seat on this crowded bus.

The ally thing to do? If you are in a place (mentally/physically) where you can offer your seat, the ally thing to do is to offer the seat to them.

What happens next? They may take the seat. They may refuse. They may give you a perplexed look. They may avoid looking at you. They may thank you. They may skirt away from you. Whatever the response is, it’s acceptable to offer your seat to someone else.

Offering assistance in general is similar to this crowded bus scenario. 1) Look for signs that assistance might be welcome. 2) Offer assistance. 3) Accept the response that you get negative or positive.

Second analogy: Looking lost

Sometimes you’ll see someone looking at a map, appearing lost. It’s acceptable to say, “Hi. I’m familiar with the area. Would you like any assistance with finding something?”

If they say yes, it’s okay to offer assistance. If they say, “No, I’m good.” Then feel free to politely say, “Cool” and walk on your way.

Both scenarios, bus and map, are about consent. That’s a crucial part of allyship when it involves helping someone directly. Does the person who you are asking want your help? Sometimes you won’t know that unless you ask.

Even in my college story, my friend asked if I wanted assistance first. (It would have been weirder if she just started rattling off the menu to me unprompted.) She asked for consent to help. I said no to the help, and we went on our way.

How full is your gas can?

One thing that affects your ability to be an ally and to receive allyship from others is the state of your own “internal” self. Or to use the Bill O’Brien quote, “The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervenor.” Another way to think about it is the spoon theory, but that is a theory/practice reserved for the disability community specifically.

If you have a full gas can– meaning your internal self is feeling pretty good and solid:

– you may offer assistance, and someone refuses or even gets pissed off at you, but because of your current state (full gas can) you are able to not take it personally and move on.

– someone offers unnecessary assistance to you, but your internal gas can is full, so you may be able to offer a light response like, “No worries. I’m good,” and not be leaden down by their unprompted offer.

If your gas can is low– you had a bad day, you’re tired, you’re hungry, 15 people that day offered you unprompted unnecessary assistance and you’re feeling frustrated. Then:

– your response might be different to the 16th person offering unprompted assistance. Your response might be angry, or you might walk away without saying anything.

– Or you’re the person on the other side of the action- your offer of assistance to someone is rebuked, and because of your low gas can at that time, you feel even more awful, or feel frustration towards the person you wanted to assist, or feel like you shouldn’t try again in the future.

How we provide and receive allyship can be affected by where we are at that moment. That’s not a bad thing or good thing- it’s just something to try to understand, and because it’s not static, we have to “check-in” on ourselves regularly.

If you’re not up for receiving allyship, that’s cool. If you are feeling unable to provide allyship, that is also a reflection of your current state.

The next step is to just understand why you feel that way, and if your goal is to provide allyship to others, to self-interview about what it would take to help you get there.

 


Along with often riding crowded buses, Tracy Timmons-Gray serves as Associate Director of Community and Programs at the Collective Impact Forum. She identifies as a person with disabilities (low vision), queer, and a passionate but mediocre karaoke singer.


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

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

Gentrification – Even the rats are gentrified out

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Yard sign “Don’t Displace the Southend” by Environmental Justice organization GotGreen. Check them out at gotgreenseattle.org/

Kate Spade and Teslas

I had a moment this morning where I found tangible signs of gentrification. I know my neighborhood is rapidly gentrifying but I wasn’t expecting to physically touch the gentrification. If I have a few minutes and I’m legally parked I’ll stop in my kids’ school to tidy up the lost and found. Today, I hung up a cute pink Kate Spade coat in the lost and found. This is a school with about a 50% free and reduced lunch rate, a high percentage of English Language Learners, and strong Latinx and Asian immigrant communities. When did Kate Spade invade our lost and found? As I was leaving the school a Tesla pulled up to let their white child out. I’m not surprised to see a Tesla, but it made me mourn a little knowing the Tesla and Kate Spade are tangible signs that the neighborhood is rapidly changing.

There are many lists on the internet of how to spot gentrification. Some of the lists are funny, other mournful, and most them have truth laden in them. In the interest of adding to the lists already out there here is another list:

Strollers – strollers that cost more than my brother’s first car are seen at the library storytime.

More stop signs and traffic signals – When my grandma was still alive, she would point out where the first traffic light was on Kauai. That is old-time gentrification, and I see the same in my neighborhood when the stop signs pop up, the no-parking signs are abundant because of construction.

Who’s on the train – Light rail is now filled with white people on phones and earbuds. No one looks up, faces all glued to blue light of the screens.

Bougie ice cream stores – Two high-end ice cream shops are now in the neighborhood where I work. The cost of an ice cream cone cost more than a gallon of gas on a good day.

Kombucha on tap is the new flannel shirt. Breweries are the new version of Asian karaoke bars.

Dogs everywhere. Stores have doggie water dishes and free milk bones.

People take pictures of Black and Brown kids in the neighborhood and post them online without permission versus saying hello or simply acknowledging their presence.

Eating on the sidewalk. CiKeithia said she knew DC gentrified when people started eating on the sidewalk on bistro tables.

PTA events serve alcohol and their auctions raise enough to buy a modest house but not in the neighborhood of the school because it’s already gentrified.

Spice level adjusted – Near my office is a Thai restaurant my team likes. The spice level there was strong, previously a 1 star was like a 5 star. After a Seattle Times review of the restaurant we noticed the 1 star spice was really more like a 1 star at other places, white-ified the spice level. We mourned the spice level change.

The rats are gentrified out of their former living situation. A friend shared ever since a new apartment building went in she hasn’t seen a rat – even the rats were gentrified out.

Gentrification is more than the physical places we create. Gentrification is about refinement and the feeling of comfort. What would it look like if we all practiced a bit of anti-gentrification in the interest of preserving our sense of community? This doesn’t mean we bring the rats back to their former dwellings. What would it feel like if we acknowledged we acted like we are guest rather than in spaces to take them over and colonize them? We need to remember in most Western countries we gentrified Indigenous spaces. As guests in new spaces we don’t barge in and take over, we are polite and respectful, our survival depends on upon being gracious.

The desire to change a space is an act of gentrification. There are times and appropriate places where we need to make improvements to places to make things safer and improve quality of life, but we need to ask who’s benefiting. Changing housing patterns that allow more wealth into neighborhoods means displacement for longtime communities of color. The benefits of gentrification often won’t be felt by communities of color. Being a guest also means you invest and are helpful in building supporting what is already in place. As a guest you don’t go in demanding your host make changes to their house to accommodate you; you try to leave a light footprint and to be helpful to what is already there. The same for us as gentrifiers – invest in the local economy and not insist things change for your benefit. Shop at the local poc owned businesses, buy your coffee from the poc coffeeshops not Starbucks, volunteer at a school with a high concentration of students of color, share what you have, listen to the community that was there before offering your opinion. If you’re not hearing something maybe that is also a clue and don’t assume silence means people don’t care, it could be it isn’t the fight the people before you were willing to focus on. Take some time to learn from the community before you rush in to change things.

Special thanks to my friends who contributed their gentrification ideas to this post. Many of the examples came from them.


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Easy versus Hard

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Photo of Ieshia Evans, a black women in a flowing dress being arrested by three heavily armored police officers in Baton Rouge

Tension

A few weeks ago I went to yoga for the first time in months. It wasn’t hard to get to yoga, but it took a lot of intentional steps to get myself, two kids, and all our gym gear out of the house on a Saturday morning. Once we got to the gym and everyone was squared away, I went to my yoga class. Since I hadn’t done yoga in a really long time it was hard. The tension in my body was more acute. I also noticed I had to purposefully move and sit and hold awkward positions for the tension to slowly melt away.

As I held a long-deep-twist and had to breathe deeply since it hurt, I thought about how in undoing racism work we have to contort ourselves, our minds, and sometimes our bodies to release tension and move beyond the tension of racism. What I reflected on during my hour on the yoga mat is I can’t release my tension without acting. Like social justice movements, we don’t create change by sitting still and being comfortable.

Easy vs Hard work

I believe anti-racism work is hard work, and it should be hard. There are times when some of the actions are easy. Such as it is to go to the bookstore or library and to pick up the latest Ta-Nehisi Coates or Ibram X. Kendi books, listening to NPR’s Code Switch, or even asking a question in a meeting. It takes a little bit of planning, maybe some intention, but overall it is easy. The same for attending a training or lectures. It takes intention, pre-planning, energy and resources are expended, but overall I’m guessing no one put their body on the line, no one was forcibly challenged to do something, and there was freedom of choice – choice to stay or leave.

As we do our work to undo racism, I am struck by how easy we want to make racial equity work. My friends and colleagues joke about how people say they want “the checklist.” The checklist is the magical checklist on how not to be racist, how to be an ally, how to not think but just do. This week I was reading evaluations from a meeting and a white person wrote on their eval they wanted more conversation prompts – in other words, they didn’t want to have to sit and grapple with what the real conversation should have been. They were also probably a little lost and overwhelmed and because of this uncomfortable with their uncomfortableness.

I was also thinking about which movements have a lot of white allies who show up and which ones don’t. When it is easy and there is a critical mass of white people it is perceived to be easier to be an ally. More people show up to those movements and expect to be accommodated. It is easy to protest when the protest has the backing of elected officials through resolutions and class credit is granted. Many of the marches, protest, and rallies I’m thinking of took a lot of effort to put together and helped to move movements forward – Pride, Womxn March, MLK Day marches, March for Our Lives, etc. People attending these marches and rallies were still relatively safe. The movements very much needed and moved our collective work forward.

It harder to show up for Black Lives Matter, Murdered Missing Indigenous Womxn, supporting Latinx immigrants at the border and our Muslim relations, and other poc led movements to put bodies on the line when police and other state-sponsored ‘security’ forces (e.g. police, military, etc.) are present and violence could be incited for the same actions. I acknowledge I’m a hypocrite here since I often do not show up at protest movements. I have no excuse other than to say I am complicit in taking the easy route at times.

Releasing the Tension

Doing harder work allows us to release more tension. We should make ourselves uncomfortable and that looks different to different people. Some people call it having a growth mindset. There is no checklist, no anti-racism lecture series, tithing or donation making that can get you out of doing the harder work of being anti-racist.

Ibram X. Kendi calls it giving up the addiction to racist ideas. Giving up on something we’ve known our entire lives is hard. It takes a lot of deeper thinking and reflection and unlearning the things I’ve been taught and know. As an example of how hard it is to unlearn something say the ‘th’ sound with your tongue behind your teeth, it should be easy and unconscious if you are a native English speaker. Now try to say ‘th’ but do it with the tongue in front of your teeth. It probably feels very unnatural and sounds more like ‘da.’ This sound formation was taught to you and embedded into your brain. Unlearning it would be hard and take repeated sessions with a speech therapist or others to remind you to correct the sound. The same for unlearning racism that is embedded in all of us.

Still Stuck – need to add some tension to your life?

If you are really stuck on a place to start here are a few prompts to think about — I’m givng you the cheat sheet but you still need to think:

  • When have you done something hard or challenging related to race – What made it hard or uncomfortable?
  • When was the last time you supported someone of a different race? Did you expend power, privilege or make a sacrifice? Were you being a martyr or savior?
  • What is a habit or default you go to that could be shifted to be in solidarity with pocs?
  • Reflect on where you’ve spent your time and money – were these purchases in ways that support pocs liberation and justice?

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How we talk – shifting language

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Artwork from Amplifier Art by Nicolas Lampert

A while ago Jondou and I had a conversation about terminology. We were text-chatting about how social justice terminology changes and flexes, can call in or create hierarchies, and how being inclusive means being wordier, but that is ok. It is the social justice gymnastics we do.

Our conversation included thinking about the phrase BIPOC – Black Indigenous People of Color. It is a newer term, growing out of people of color. It is a way to make Blacks and Indigenous people more visible and to not lose the voice in the collective poc efforts.

As we chatted Jondou and I talked about how does phrasing build solidarities or does it create hierarchies. The term people of color was a way for the poc/non-white community to be seen together and to be equals and hopefully in more just relation with each other. The question we asked ourselves (over text) is does that really happen? Are we all equals when we say poc and alternatively does BIPOC create hierarchies and competition within our communities? I mentioned how several Black colleagues have shared they prefer the term BIPOC or Black and Brown people because they feel more visible with that terminology. I also said as an Asian with many privileges this is one shift I can make to be an ally.

Jondou mentioned how in his work he specifically calls out the queer community by saying Queer and LGBTIA+ folks “because there are people who want one designation and refuse the other” and it allows for people to seek and define their own justice.

While these sometimes create for wordier phrasing it is important to allow people to be seen how they want to be seen and defined. Creating space and seeking just relationships means we listen and take our lead from others.

Othering On Purpose

A few years ago, I was fortunate to attend the Othering and Belonging Conference run by the Hass Institute at UC Berkley, hosted by Prof. john a. powell (doesn’t capitalize his name). He is the grandfather or father of targeted universalism and researching othering and belonging. One of the keynotes I distinctly remember was by African American writer Melissa Harris Perry. She took many of the concepts we had spent the past few conference days learning and tossed them aside in a good way.

My lesson from her talk was there are times it is ok to be othered, if it is by our own design and choosing. I think of terminology and defining who we are as an exercise in purposeful and intentional othering, in different words self-determination. There are times we as communities of color can be in solidarity with each other and allow our language to be united. There are also spaces and times when we want to purposefully be seen differently and we need to understand this is what people need to be in more just relation with each other and it is ok to create this space and redefine the terms of engagement.

I also took away the lesson sometimes what is right for one person isn’t right for others. Belonging may not be what everyone wants – sometimes we want to stand aside to either create space for others, or to innovate and create. Innovation and creating new ways of seeing the world and each other. When we allow ourselves space to more fully see Black, Indigenous, and Brown people we are creating our own justices and opening ourselves to new ideas and thoughts that change us for the better.

My final lesson is social justice movements are always changing and shifting and language has to shift with it. We need to have the conversations and evolution to be current. Don’t get too attached to whatever terms you’re using, they will change again and most likely for the better. My other final half-lesson is if you’re ever unsure about what terms to use, first listen to pickup on how others are using language, and second if you’re still unsure it is ok to politely ask how what phrasing people prefer.


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Data Disaggregation, Let’s Taco About It

Editor’s Note: This week we host a piece by Carlos Sánchez Huizar who explores Hispanic/Latinx disaggregated data. He writes about two of my favorite topics — disaggregated data and tacos. As a quick reminder race is the broader group and ethnicities are the smaller groups under it. After you read this post, revisit this post about Asian disaggregated data


By Carlos Sánchez Huizar

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Photo by TJ Dragotta on Unsplash

According to the American Council on Education (ACE)’s Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education report (2016), “as the U.S. population increased, the nation became more racially and ethnically diverse” (para. x). So, what does it mean to have a nation that has grown in diversity? On the positive side, it means you get to decide whether you want tacos, Korean BBQ, or a gyro for lunch. Beyond food, how much do we really know about the diversity of our nation? Let’s take the Hispanic/Latinx[1] population as an example. According to the 2010 Census, the U.S. has a total population of just over 3 million, of which 16.3% are Hispanics/Latinxs. Besides being the second-largest racial-ethnic population after white, ACE concluded that Hispanics/Latinxs, “had the largest increase in their total share of the population, increasing from 11.1 percent in 1997 to 18.0 percent in 2017” (ACE, 2016, para. 1). In other words, over a span of 20 years, Hispanics/Latinxs have had a 6.9% population increase. Do you think tacos represent the entire 16.3% of this population? The answer is unequivocally, no. Empanadas, arepas, and pupusas are also representative of the Hispanic/Latinx community and just as good as the tacos from your favorite lonchera.[2]

The wide range of Hispanic/Latinx food is mirrored by the significant and growing population of different communities among Hispanics/Latinxs in the U.S. In fact, the 2010 Census has reported of the 16.3% Hispanics/Latinxs, 10% are Mexican, 1.5% are Puerto Rican, 0.6% are Cuban, 0.5% are Dominican, 0.5% are Salvadoran, 0.3% Guatemalan, 0.2% Honduran, and the list continues with Nicaraguans, Panamanians, Argentinians, Bolivians, Chileans, Colombians, Ecuadorians, Venezuelans, Spanish, and other Hispanics/Latinxs. These data point out the increasing diversity is not only happening across racial groups but also within them. Beyond capturing within-group diversity, how is this detailed data collection significant?

The U.S. Census has stated that race and ethnicity data collection is, “critical to policymakers who use the information to make funding decisions that affect educational opportunities, assess equal employment practices, and ensure equal access to health care for everyone” (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). Data collection enables one to answer relevant questions and evaluate outcomes. For example, how are educational gaps affecting the Hispanic/Latinx community? As diversity increases, equity gaps for ethnic sub-groups become more difficult to follow. Data collection gives us the opportunity to identify these gaps in people, school systems, and districts. For instance, data disaggregation——the breaking down of large racial categories into smaller ethnic sub-groups——shows us although the majority of Hispanics/Latinxs living in the U.S. are Mexican, only 9.93% (ACS, 2011-2013) of Mexicans have obtained a bachelor’s degree compared to 50.9% of Venezuelans who represent 0.1% (ACS, 2011-2013) of Hispanics/Latinxs. In other words, data disaggregation is allowing us to better understand and track the complexity of racial heterogeneity——diversity within racial groups——as well as the educational disparities among ethnic sub-groups. Data disaggregation gives us the ability to distinguish which ethnic groups within the Hispanic/Latinx population need more attention and resources. Understanding the disparities between ethnic groups is critical to making decisions that are socially just.

As the use of data disaggregation becomes more common, engaging community leaders and constituents, as well as data experts—in better data collection (adding more categories to race-ethinic categories)—is fundamental to advancing equity in education. In other words, those who know have the responsibility to teach those who do not know. It is important for marginalized communities to be part of data dialogue, as they:

[H]ave the critical context expertise that can lead to meaningful insights and provide critical input into the design of social change effort…communities of color directly to unearth the root causes of inequalities and source potential solutions to authentically unpack the “why” behind disparities revealed by disaggregated data (Arias, 2015, p. x).

In order to develop initiatives for more equitable educational opportunities, work must be grounded in the use of data disaggregation and the participation of communities; community-based organizations, districts, state agencies, and data experts. Data disaggregation helps us understand the circumstances of our population. It offers the opportunity to revise our educational infrastructure, as well as inform policy makers on decisions grounded in equity. In brief, disaggregating data offers a more precise approach to identifying differences between ethnic sub-groups.

What are the next steps in the data disaggregation movement?

First, the discussion about data disaggregation must expand beyond those who hold knowledge (e.g. districts, data experts, policy makers, etc.). Not only is data disaggregation as a discussion necessary, there is a need to amplify the significance of data disaggregation as a common practice across communities, in schools, and within families. Next, inequities cannot be addressed if they remain unseen. Thus, we must re-evaluate the collection and use of data. What is the landscape of data? How can it be improved? Finally, we have to apply the findings that emerge from using disaggregated data to address actual gaps. It seems like a complex and tedious process, but it may not even be as complicated as topping off your taco with the right amount of cilantro, onions, limón, and salsa. It requires some commitment and attention to detail, but you will soon be able to garnish your own tacos and arrive at a solution with a bit of practice.


Carlos Sánchez HuizarCarlos Sánchez Huizar is a graduate student in the MA in Student Affairs Administration at Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling.

[1] Not all Latinx(a,o) identify as Hispanic and not all Hispanic identify as Latinx. Hispanic/Latinx as a term acknowledges ties, changes, adaptation, invention and reinvention of different ethinic generations within the group.

[2] Food-truck/taco-truck


References

American Council on Education (ACE). (2016). Educational Attainment of Adults Ages 25 and Older, by Race and Ethnicity: 2017 [Data file]. Retrieved from https://www.equityinhighered.org/indicators/u-s-population-trends-and-educational-attainment/educational-attainment-by-race-and-ethnicity/

U.S. Census Bureau (2010), Race and Hispanic or Latino Origin: 2010.

Sebastian Arias, J. (2015, April 14). “Working with Communities to Advance Racial Equity and Eliminate Disparities”. Livingcities.org. Retrieved from https://www.livingcities.org/blog/812-working-with-communities-to-advance-racial-equity-and-eliminate-disparities


Thank you to our Patreon subscribers who help to keep the blog going: Adrienne, Aimie,Ali, Aline, Alissa, Amy, Amy R., Andrea, Angie, Anh-Chi, Annie, Annie G.,  Ashlie, Ben, Betsy, Brooke, Brian, C+C, Calandra, Carolyn C., Carolyn M., Carrie, Carrie S., Casey, Chandra, Chelsea, Chicxs Happy Brownies, Claudia, Cierra, Clark, Colleen, Crystal, Dan, Danya, Darcie, Dawnnesha, Dean, Debbie (x2), Denise, Denyse, Donald, Edith, Elena, emily, Erica (2), Erica R.B., Erin, Evan, eve, Freedom, Greg, Hannah, Heather, Heidi, Heidi and Laura, Heidi S., Jake, Janis, Jean, Jena, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M., Jennifer T., Jessica, Jessica G., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Julia, Julie Anne, K.T., Kari, Karen, Katheryn, Kathi, Katie, Keisha, Kelli, Kristen, Kristen C., Kristen D., Kumar, Laura, Laurel, Laurie, Leah, Lisa, Lisa C., Liz, Lori, Lynn, Lynn D., Makeba, Marc, Maria, Matthew, Maura, McKenzie, Megan, Melissa, Michael, Michelle, Mikaela, Mike, Milo, Minesh, Miranda, Miriam, Misha, Molly, Natasha, Nathan, Nathan H., Nicole, Norah, Norrie, Paola, Patrick, Priya, Rebecca, Risa, Rise Up for Students, Robin, Ruby, Sarah, Sarah S., Sean, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Stephanie, Stephanie O., Stephanie S., Susan, Tana, Tania, Tara, Terri, Tracy, and Vivian. If I missed anyone my apologies and thank you for your support. Support the blog by becoming a Patreon supporter.

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Farthest from Justice

ErnestoYerena-WeWhoSeekJustice

Art from Amplifier Art, artist statement: “We all deserve a decent life. Every day, We the People Michigan educates and empowers people across the state to demand the change they wish to see — by starting with effective community organizing. In 2017, Amplifier partnered with Chicano artist Ernesto Yerena to create imagery supporting We the People’s mission in uplifting and mobilizing the working class for a better future. Yerena’s artwork, which aims to provoke critical thinking, is based off portraits shot by Arlene Mojerado and encourages solidarity amongst all Michigan residents in the fight against oppression and injustice.”

Happy start of the school year or almost start of school. For those who are done with school and don’t have students in their lives, welcome back to the increased traffic and lack of parking near school buildings.

This week I decided to write about the term “farthest from justice.” I’ve used it in other blog posts and Seattle Public Schools includes the phrase “who are furthest from educational justice” in their newest strategic plan. As time goes on I’ve heard the phrase used by many others and it makes me hopeful we may achieve educational and other forms of justice. As the person who offered up the phrasing for inclusion in the strategic plan, I want to offer up what the phrasing means to me. I recognize over time phrasing morphs, meanings change, is watered down, or co-opted – it is the nature of language and allowing space for more progressive thinking. This is my attempt to clarify the phrase and to push others to think deeply about what farthest from justice really means.

Basic Definition of “Those Farthest From (Racial) Justice”

If you don’t have a lot of time (aka TL;DR) this is the basic definition of those farthest from justice: Defining who is the farthest from having their needs met in a particular situation and centering the work and solutions on ensuring justice for them. This means practicing racial equity by sharing power and control, and centering their wellbeing and comfort. (Read Heidi’s blog post on the topic .)

Another way to understand this is we need to use an intersectional focus. Intersectionality comes from law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw. She describes intersectionality as a way to look at how race, gender, class, disability, and other individual traits and characteristics overlap or ‘intersect’ and how we should take this into account when considering policies, practices, and life. Crenshaw came up with the term as it relates to the legal system, over time the term has moved outside of the legal realm.

When I originally wrote the term “those farthest from justice,” I wanted to convey we need to acknowledge our group and individual privileges, use intersectionality views, and to center those who are the most hurt by injustices. It was meant to capture a feeling and thought with fewer words. When I write those farthest from justice I hope it invites people to think about who is really the farthest from whatever form of justice we need to reach whether it is person-to-person justice, racial justice, educational justice, environmental justice, and so forth. Racial justice is the underlayer for all other forms of justice – we can’t achieve educational, environmental, criminal justice, etc. until we achieve racial justice.

Who is the Farthest From Justice?

I hope the phrase also invites people to pause and really think about who is the farthest from justice. In almost every situation Black and Brown people are furthest from justice, and if we look more closely we can find women, children, people with disabilities, people who are persecuted because of religion, immigrants, people who don’t speak the dominant language, etc. who are further from justice than the broader group. This is what I’m hoping the phrase those farthest from justice invites us to do, to dig deeper, realize our privileges, and to act in ways that drive towards equity.

I also hope it reminds us those farthest from justice can shift, change, and require vigilance to being open to change and shifting as needed. Those farthest from justice today might not be the same group in a few weeks or months as situations change and hopefully as interventions work and move people closer to justice.

How to Recognize People Farthest from Justice

Recognizing who needs to be prioritized takes practice. It also takes recognizing our own privileges, practicing humility, and developing analytical skills as it relates to race.

Privilege

In recognizing our own privileges we need to remember we are in privileged positions. The act of defining needs and priorities for others is a privileged political move. We are defining for others what many have fought for the right to define for themselves. To be seen is a gift or not, to be judged as worthy of need and attention also means someone is defining what others may want to have seen. Use your privilege carefully and with great humility.

Humility

Practice humility by seeking to learn and pledging to support communities who are farthest from justice. A few weeks ago, I was talking to a policymaker who was trying to convey a sense of humility. I wasn’t buying it, especially when she said, “I’m making sure I listen to people of color,” but kept talking and wouldn’t act with the new information she was learning. Humility isn’t just about listening it is about being humble in accepting what you don’t know. It is also about seeking out information and using that information and privilege to center those farthest from justice by sharing power and control.

Analytical Skills

Recognizing people farthest from justice takes deep analytical skills. Being able to read data, know what questions to ask, figure out what information you’re missing, and being able to recognize nuances within data and the stories data is telling you is important to understand how to recognize those farthest from justice.

 


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