2021 Birthday Book Drive

This blog post is a few weeks/months late, but now seems like a good time to post it. For the past three years Carrie (a frequent guest blogger and MadLibs writer) and I celebrate our February birthdays by hosting a birthday book drive. It started as many ideas do as a whim. I thought it would be fun to celebrate my birthday by collecting new books by authors of color and giving them to schools in my neighborhood. I put up a Facebook post about it and people were excited to share in the experience. Carrie joined in since she also has a February birthday and we expanded the book drive to include books about disabilities.

This year we contemplated not doing the book drive since it fell during the long middle of COVID. February was a harsh time since we were hitting the one year mark of COVID life, it was cold and wet in Seattle, and the novelty of sourdough had worn off. I checked in with a teacher friend to ask if she had a need for new books, especially since she was teaching remotely. She text back saying YES! As school had abruptly shut down the prior March she had emptied out her classroom library and sent those books home with kids. She wasn’t counting on getting many of the books back and would have to rebuild her classroom library – a huge expense for a school with 50% of the students qualifying for free and reduced lunch (proxy for low income). We heard a similar story from a school librarian who said a lot of the books weren’t returned from the previous school year and she was hoping to rebuild their collection with new books.

I’m glad we decided to host the book drive again. Many of our friends enthusiastically chose books from our wish list or from the Fakequity Bookshop, and others told us about titles to add. The books we collected were by authors of color, by authors with disabilities, or about disabilities. We purposefully selected these focuses because we want to highlight these books for students. We want to make it a little easier for them to find the right book to expose them to new ideas or reflect back their own experiences. Author Grace Lin, posted about how books are important, but they are just a tool – an important tool, but it still takes work to create change.

When we shared the books through socially distance drop off or a few porch pickups, people were excited. A high school librarian said he planned to feature the books during his weekly library book pick-up and return day. A teacher friend sent a note saying she loved the new picture books and they would provide excitement, inspiration, and art to her lessons. Thank you to our friends and family Amber, Brooke, Carmen, Chandra, Christena, Dasha, Debra, Emi, Friend, Hannah, Heather, Heidi & Jill, Ivan, Jean, Jessica, Kristina, Lauren, Leslie, Lisa, Liz, Mia, Rebekah, Renee, Ruby & Shalimar, Sarah, Stacy, Tina, Tracy, and others I may have accidently missed. If you ordered books from the Fakequity Bookshop link, I reinvested those proceeds into ordering over a dozen books for this book drive – thank you.

The Book List

Every year someone ask what books we collected and shared with schools, so here is the list of books. The books went to three elementary schools, one middle school, and two high schools in Southeast Seattle. I listed the race of the author, this is a best guest – please know there may be errors in here. I also marked if the book is about disabilities or by a disabled author, again I used a best guess here.

I hope you’ll read some of these books. I also hope you’ll share them with others, especially kids who may be in your life.

TitleAuthorRaceDisability
Lead from the OutsideAbrams, StaceyBlack
The Poet XAcevedo, ElizabethBlack
The Essential Gwendolyn BooksAlexander, ElizabethBlack
One Person No VoteAnderson, CarolBlack
We Are Not Yet EqualAnderson, CarolBlack
Leaving YeslerBaco, PeterAsian
A friend for HenryBailey, JennX
James Baldwin The Fire Next TimeBaldwin, JamesBlack
ElDeafo Superpower EditionBell, CecewhiteX – Deaf
The Vanishing HalfBennett, BritBlack
Dear Black BoyBennett, MartellusBlack
All the Weight of Our DreamsBrown, Et alAsian/Black/Latinx/Middle East/Native/Pacific IslanderX
The Pretty OneBrown, KeahBlack
A Splash of RedBryant, JenX
Six DotsBryant, JenX – blindness
The Best We Could DoBui, ThiAsian
Mindful MovesCardoza, NicoleBlack
Ordinary OhanaCataluna, LeePacific Islander
Nico Bravo and the Cellar DwellersCavallaro, Mike
The School of Good and EvilChainiani, Soman
Finish the FightChambers, VeronicaBlack
PashminaChanani, NidhiMiddle East
How to Write an Autobiographical NovelChee, AlexanderAsian
We Are Not FreeChee, TraciAsian
My Unforgotten SeattleChew, RonAsian
Role Models Who Look Like MeCho, Jasmine M.Asian
Efren DividedCisneros, ErnestoLatinx
The House on Mango StreetCisneros, SandraLatinx
Between the World and MeCoates, Ta-NehisiBlack
Eloquent RageCooper, BritneyBlack
I am not a LabelCurnell, CerrieX
Twisted: The Tangled History of Black Hair CultureDabiri, EmmaBlack
Invisible DifferencesDachez, JulieX – Asperger Syndrome
Helen Keller’s TeacherDavidson, MargartWhiteX – Deaf
PatsyDennis-Benn, Nicolewhite
Lifting as we ClimbDionne, EvetteBlack
PetEmezi, AkwaekeBlack
The Birchbark HouseErdrich, LouiseNative/Indigenous
Yasmin The SuperheroFaruqi, SaadiaAsian
Where we Once BelongedFigiel, SiaPacific Islander
Jasmine Toguchi Mochi QueenFlorence, Debbi MichikoAsian
Ho’onani Hula WarriorGale, HeatherPacific Islander topic, author’s race unknown
Make Me Rain poems & proseGiovanni, NikkiBlack
Kamala Harris Rooted in JusticeGrimes, NikkiBlack / Asian
Real FriendsHale, ShannonWhiteX – anxiety
Superheroes Are EverywhereHarris, KamalaBlack / Asian
Kamala & Maya’s Big IdeaHarris, MeenaBlack
Ambitious GirlHarris, Meena & Marissa ValdezBlack
Not My Idea: A Book About WhitenessHigginbotham, AnastasiaWhite
Eyes that Kiss in the CornersHo, JoannaAsian
Minor FeelingsHong, Cathy ParkAsian
The Oldest StudentHubbard, Rita Lorraine and Oge MoraBlack
DisplacementHughes, KikuAsian
Their eyes were watching godHurston, Zora NealeBlack
Every Body LookingIloh, CandiceBlack
The Parker InheritanceJhonson, VarianBlack
Home for Chinese New Year: A Story Told in English and ChineseJie, WeiAsian
The Shark KingJohnson, R. KikuoBlack
TwinsJohnson, Varian and Shannon WrightBlack
Under My HijabKhan, HenaMiddle East
This is Our ConstitutionKhan, KhizrAsian
Stad Up Yumi ChungKim, JessicaAsian
Bug BoysKnetzger, Laurawhite
Interpreters of MaladiesLahiri, JhumpaAsian
Measuring UpLaMotte, LilyAsian
K-Pop ConfidentialLee, StephenAsian
Across that BridgeLewis, JohnBlack
SnapdragonLeyh, Kat
Show Me a SignLeZotte, Ann ClareX – Deaf
Invisible EmmieLibenson, TerriWhiteX
Just JaimeLibenson, TerriWhiteX
Positively IzzyLibenson, TerriWhiteX
Mulan: Before the SwordLin, GraceAsian
We Are Water ProtectorsLindstrom, CaroleNative/Indigenous
The Paper MenagerieLiu, KenAsian
Journey of the Freckled Indian: A Tlingit Culture StoryLondon, Alyssa Yáx Ádi YádiNative/Indigenous
Hannah’s Down Syndrome SuperpowersLyarbough, Lori LeighwhiteX
What is Given from the HeartMcKissack, PatriciaBlack
Evelyn Del Rey is Moving AwayMedina, MegLatinx
Tia Isa Wants a CarMedina, MegLatinx
SanctuaryMendoza, PaolaLatinx
When Stars are ScatteredMohamed, OmarBlackX
SaturdayMora, OgeBlack
Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982Nam-Joo, ChoAsian
It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Adapted for Young Readers)Noah, TrevorBlack
IkengaOkorafor, NnediBlack
The Remembering BalloonsOliveros, JessieX
Anger is a GiftOshiro, MarkAsianX
Love and RageOwners, Lama RodBlackX
A Long Walk to WaterPark, Linda SueAsian
A Single ShardPark, Linda SueAsianX
Ghost BoyParker Rhodes, JewellBlack
Strange BirdsPerez, Celia C.Latinx
Outside, InsidePham, LeUyenAsianX — COVID related
Vietnamese Children’s StoriesPhuoc, Tran Thi MinhAsian
Tallulah the Tooth Fairy CEOPizzoliBlack
Gabi: A Girl in PiecesQuintero, IsabelLatinx
One LifeRapinoe, Megan
For Every OneReynolds, JasonBlack
Long Way DownReynolds, JasonBlack
StampedReynolds, JasonBlack
Jake Makes a WorldRhodes-Pitt, SharifaBlackX
Filipino CelebrationsRomulo, LianaAsian
Silent Days Silent DreamsSay, AllenAsianX
Festival of ColorsSehgal, KabirAsian
How to Solve a ProblemShiraishi, AshimaAsian
Just AskSotomayor, SoniaLatinxX
Solo Pregunta (Just Ask — Spanish)Sotomayor, SoniaLatinxX
The Autism-Friendly Guide to PeriodsSteward, RobynWhiteX
Nos Ll amaron Enemigo (They Called Us Enemy — Spanish)Takei, GeorgeAsian
They Called Us Enemy — Extended EditionTakei, GeorgeAsian
Opposite of FateTan, AmyAsian
GutsTelgerman, RainnawhiteX
From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the SeaThom, Kai ChengAsianX
Braiding SweetgrassWall-Kimmerer, RobinNative/Indigenous
Magic Ramen The Story of Momofuku AndoWang, AndreaAsian
StargazingWang, JenAsianX
Navigate Your StarsWard, JesmynBlack
Disability Visibility: First Person Stories from the Twenty-First CenturyWong, AliceAsianX
SolitaryWoodfox, Albert
This is the RopeWoodson, JacquelineBlack
Superman Smashes the KlanYang, Gene LuenAsian
The Most Beautiful ThingsYang, Kao KaliaAsianX – aging
Malala Mi HistoriaYousafzai, MalalaMiddle East

Link to a Google Spreadsheet in case the list isn’t screen reader friendly.


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Interactive — DEI MadLib*

By Carrie Basas, and a little by Erin

Picture of two pandas slumped on the ground. Photo by Pascal Müller on Unsplash

This week we’re taking a break from being uber-serious. Sometimes we need a good laugh and to poke fun at our own work and waywardness. This post came together from sitting through too many long online meetings and reviewing documents and talking about definitions.

*Not an official product of MadLib (disclaimer by the lawyer).


If it’s not a fill-in-the-blank, then what’s the point of learning?

Please complete the following guide on your journey. We would appreciate learning about your path, so please tag us in your completed reflections. Post your completed MadLib to our Facebook page or email them to fakequity@gmail.com.

Your DEI (not DIE  — please make sure you get this right) Mission Statement

DEI* is a ___ (singular noun) that ___ (plural verb) we are all on a ____ (singular noun). We ___ (verb) from different ____ (noun) and we must ___ (verb) together to _____ (verb)  and _____ (verb). According to dictionary.com or the _______ (substance found in your bathroom) that I just made up alone, DEI means we will __________ (verb showing little action) as a community. Community is defined as ____ (place) _____ (name of favorite band). 

*DEI — Diversity Equity and Inclusion

DEI Action Plan

We can start with a _______ (part of a house) that will help us grow our ________ (noun or body part) and become diverse _____ (small animals or plural noun). As the saying goes, we don’t ______ (singular verb) what we don’t ______ (singular verb). We should push ourselves to become anti-______ (adjective) _______ (plural noun).

One part of becoming a/an _______ (adjective) _______ (noun) is starting to define what diversity, equity, and inclusion are. You might have noticed no one does _____ (verb) and the easiest thing is to not even name what each word is. In part, it is because people are _________ (adjective) when it comes to discussing ________ (social issue of our time beginning with an “r”. Hint: It is not “risk management”). Instead, they want to talk about their commitment to breaking down _____ (farm structure here, plural). If you must name what it is (see, I didn’t name it here!), please be vague because otherwise you might leave out someone. You aren’t being inclusive if you start naming your focus. Stay inclusive by being evasive. It worked for me! I’m pretty culturally _________ (adjective, perhaps showing some disdain or confusion). I even got take-out from _____ (favorite restaurant) as a way to support small businesses. 

When you talk about _______ (social issue of our time) explicitly, you might see that ________ (evil Star Wars character) appears at your ________ (part of house or place of employment). If that happens, please protect yourself by returning to being vague about your intentions. Did you just say race? Consider soothing yourself by watching _______ (smutty TV show here with hot lead or animal cams if you’re in the office) or eating ________ (edible or non-edible substance). Or phone a friend to discuss _________ (large mammals) or recycling. 

I hope that you have enjoyed our brief guide to DEI. Remember, that when we ________ (verb) together, we can all become ________ (action movie character or creature plural). We will see you at our next training. Don’t forget to do the homework; those who finish will get a cookie.


Guest blogger Carrie Basas works in education advocacy and formerly in civil rights law, specializing in disabilities rights. Formerly she was a law professor impressing upon law students the importance of understanding race and its impact on people. Carrie has a MEd in Education Policy, Organizations and Leadership from the University of Washington. She earned a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School and an Honors B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology/Anthropology from Swarthmore College. However, her biggest claim to fame is some of her fashion weekend wear while hanging with her family, tiny dog, and two rabbits.


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 cost, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

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

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.

The Juxtapositions of Asians

Mural in Chinatown/International District, Seattle. Red background with black silhouette painting of people and hands holding chopstick bundles. Words: Chopsticks in a bundle are unbreakable. Photo credit Erin Okuno

I have no fresh analysis to offer regarding the tragic deaths of eight in Atlanta, most of them Koreans women. Asians, like our people of color relations, have always experienced racism. I have nothing new to add on what others who think deeply and share deeply have offered. My friend and colleague Diana wrote about this just two weeks ago, please re-visit her piece. Like Diana’s piece I’m not going to include a list of things to do to make yourself feel like you’re doing something about the current tragedy.

What I will offer is some of the juxtapositions of being Asian mean to me. Things I’ve learned and realized and continue to learn, and learn to care more deeply for my Asian and Pacific Islander community, and extended people of color relations.

We are serious, and we know humor — how else will we survive.

Our Asian community knows how to be loud and quiet at the same time.

We are forced to assimilate to survive, but fight the assimilation to survive.

Our histories guide us, but we lost much of it over generations of ‘becoming American.’

Many of us are generationally American, but will always be an outsider a foreigner – perpetual other to the white Eurocentric norm.

The term Asian is encompassing, yet we are distinct in multitudes of ethnic groups who are each unique and with our own stories.

Our food is delicious, and yet too stinky, smelly, or foreign for others.

We hold onto our traditions, but we adapt to survive – thus we now have teriyaki and orange chicken (both are American foods but often considered Japanese or Chinese foods).

We absorb racism, at times perpetuate anti-Black racism, and are the victims of anti-Asian racism — all to uphold white supremacy. As an Asian community we need to understand this so we can stop causing harm to others that we understand too well.

We are seen as seen as monetarily successful as a racial group, yet we know many who live in such extreme poverty.

We are counted as people of color, but also excluded when we’re seen as too successful.

Our Pacific Islander relations are disproportionately impacted by systemic racism. As an API community we need to do more to fight for Pacific Islander visibility.

We are blamed for COVID19 and the pandemic we did not cause nor control.

We expect justice, but we’re also told to wait our turn, to step back, to let processes happen. We won’t wait our turn, our turn is now, and this does not mean we displace other communities of color — we can do it in solidarity. (See #2 – we are seen as quiet but can be loud.)

Some of these juxtapositions we hold alongside our Black and Brown relations. Many of these stories are similar to other communities of color. There are times we’ve worked in solidarity which makes us a stronger community to fight white supremacy.

What I have learned from my Asian and Pacific Islander communities and our Black and Brown relations is we will continue to do what we need to do. We can’t stop to deal with one crisis while other crises caused by hatred and racism arise. Many of my colleagues continue their work to ensure elders and the most vulnerable are receiving COVID vaccines. We create and continue, despite not being equal – there is no other option. We are advocating for changes to ensure fair treatment and racial justice. We are surviving, grieving, adapting, but can we get to thriving?


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 cost, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

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

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.

Fair vs Just

Mural in International District/Chinatown Seattle — Orange background, silhouette of a person with their hands up, words “Hands Up, Dont [sic] Shoot.” Boarder has the names: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Bettie Jones, Eric Gardner, Charleena Lyles, Philando Castile, Manuel Ellis, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin.

Note: The trial in the death of George Floyd started this week. Please take a moment to understand the significance of the trial. Background information here.


I’ve worked in the nonprofit field for 98% of my career, the other 2% was a college job serving pasta – it was a great job. Having worked in the nonprofit field for so long I’ve been part of many conversations where assets, including money are divvied up. These conversations are never easy since it means some will receive something, others won’t, and there is never enough in the nonprofit world to meet all of the request or needs. It feels like there are winners and losers even if that isn’t the intention. It brings out a lot of scarcity mentality, impulses to hoard, and a lot of feelings. When these feelings come out, we often default to wanting things to be fair, versus understanding justice based approaches.

Recently I was part of a group that had to divide up grant money to sub-grantees. We didn’t have the luxury of time to work with the whole group to do the allocations. We did have a commitment from the group to base the allocations on racial equity principles. Those making the initial allocation decisions committed to transparency and documenting the thought process in how decisions were made. What felt like a justice based decision, in this case giving more to some that had more need and less money, felt unfair to others who felt they were penalized for having more resources in reserves and they expressed their disappointment. I recognize the hurt and disappointment involved. They felt they had worked hard, done the hustle, and it didn’t feel fair to receive/take less than others who they perceived didn’t do as much work. The belief in meritocracy is deep in our society.

I’ve also seen this scenario happen in other places: school boundary assignments, sharing PTA money raised with other schools that have less, scholarship selections, and so on. As a side observation, in many of these cases those arguing for fair/equal based decisions and bring up the value of meritocracy are often white. The pocs in the discussion are often pushing for more wholistic and justice based decision making. This is why diverse selection teams are important as we place value on different aspects and need to surface different parts of a situation to make better decisions.

Fairness and justice can feel like opposing forces or they can also feel congruous.

Fair — In an equality-based situation we would have given everyone the same amount regardless of prior work or need. Fairness says we treat everyone equally – everyone receives the same, no biases, no preferences, and no extra considerations. This might have been fairer – everyone receiving the same amount. It would have felt better for some people and we could argue everyone’s programs deserves an equal amount of support, but it wouldn’t have achieved equity or justice.  

Just — Justice is harder to wrap our minds around. Justice takes into account more factors, such as starting places, access to resources, privileges granted because of race and skin color, systemic treatment, etc. Racial justice means we take into account race and how race influences the systemic treatment of people. That is a lot of factors to consider, and it takes a lot of self-awareness to understand how justice and fairness feel different to different people.

For the project I mentioned above, we took into account many factors and came up with an allocation that gave the most money to the group that had the fewest monetary assets. They also had a larger poc population. By giving them more we were trying working towards racial justice. They shouldn’t be penalized for not having as much access to wealth, networks who could support their work in other ways, etc. These are systemic problem they are forced to deal with and not of their making. We were trying to recognize they were at a different starting point than other groups and therefore we should give them more to create an overall more fair situation. The group receiving less argued that their efforts should be rewarded, which we said they were by receiving a base amount of funding.

We also reminded the group we were working for social and community stability and equal dignity. We recognize the interdependence we have with each other to create a more stable community overall, even at the risk of temporarily creating a feeling of unease with some of the members of the group. We also trusted that in the future the group receiving the most now, will prosper and return the support in some unknown way now.

Sometimes justice is a long game and creates temporary pain and may seem cruel. But hopefully we can also see the overall social good and dignity when we share and realize it isn’t just about merit, taking as much as we can, or being seen as the savior who brings resources. It is about creating a community where we share and take turns.


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 cost, 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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The Problem with Curb Cuts

Editor’s Note: This week we have a guest post from Carrie Basas who periodically guest blogs about disability justice or whatever else is on her mind. This post came about after I text her saying how “the curb cut effect” has become the overly simplified equity box example when talking about targeted universalism (curb cuts aren’t really targeted universalism), “lifting all boats metaphor,” or access for people with disabilities. Her post adds vital context to understanding the curb cut effect. –Erin


Crosswalk in Seattle
Photo of crosswalk with a curb cut and yellow raised dot pad, car at stop sign, adult walking, two children crossing street one on a scooter, other on a small bike. Photo from SDOT

In many presentations about disability, leaders turn to the example of a curb cut to explain the importance of access or targeted universalism. The logic goes like this: A curb cut doesn’t just provide access to people with mobility disabilities. It also benefits nondisabled people with luggage, baby strollers, rotund dogs, and grocery carts. Therefore, curb cuts help disabled people while not imposing on nondisabled people. We all win with access. What is good for some, will therefore help many others, too. Nevermind that these examples are hardly ever provided with a context about accessibility based on neighborhoods, racial redlining, and racialized infrastructures. But if we just take this example at its face value, we’re still failing. Even in the City of Seattle, after intervention by the Department of Justice and later follow up from advocates such as Disability Rights Washington, curb cut access remains out of legal compliance.

Access remains a huge issue for disabled people, but access isn’t the only component of disability justice. Access is merely rights and barrier removal, not necessarily anti-ableist or anti-racist justice and belonging. Similarly, access is not one size fits all, just as when we talk about disability, we need to go beyond thinking about the sporty White man with a wheelchair on his way to work. 

Here is another often cited example of trying to explain disability discrimination to a nondisabled audience: Even thirty years after the Americans with Disabilities Act, disabled people are largely socially isolated and un- or underemployed. Less than 20% of disabled people are involved in the workforce while the rate of nondisabled people exceeds 65%. When it comes to economic justice arguments and disability, disabled people (or nondisabled presenters) are often asked to make the business case for hiring disabled people. Convince us that they aren’t more costly at work and that investing in them will mean greater productivity and more customers. Essentially, sell us on disability or we aren’t interested. Disabled activists have asked why we even start with the premise that paid labor equals human worth.

What does it mean when QTBIPOC, disabled folks, and others must “sell” others with greater economic and traditional power resources on providing what’s fair and just? What if justice means that someone who hasn’t benefited or been honored as a person will get something long overdue and you will not? When we frame justice as a situation where those with power will do it if they get something in return, then we make justice access to Whiteness and abled-ness. We must move beyond what is legally “owed” to someone to what we must change to recognize them as our colleagues and neighbors. We can only do that by focusing on racial oppression, the Whiteness of capitalism, and the rhetoric of independence versus our mutual interdependence. Then we will move closer to the principles of the  Disability Justice Movement.


Carrie Basas works in education advocacy and formerly in civil rights law, specializing in disabilities rights. Formerly she was a law professor impressing upon law students the importance of understanding race and its impact on people. Carrie has a MEd in Education Policy, Organizations and Leadership from the University of Washington. She earned a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School and an Honors B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology/Anthropology from Swarthmore College. However, her biggest claim to fame is some of her fashion weekend wear while hanging with her family, tiny dog, and two rabbits.


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 cost, 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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Working for equity and social justice? Know what your Asian colleague is experiencing

This week we have a guest post by Diana Huynh.


When I was in my master of public administration program, there was an LGBTQ student group meeting to discuss speaker ideas for a panel they were hosting. On the agenda was how to diversify the line-up. When a member suggested an expert who was Asian, a white leader of that group dismissed the idea because “Asian people are basically white.” 

I was not there; the exchange was later shared with me by a close classmate who was present. The dismissal of Asian identity, including of Asian queer identity, made me feel incredulous at first, then angry, and then disappointed. Here we were, in a program for public servants in one of the most “progressive” cities in the country (New York), and yet such casual racism was accepted. 

That moment stuck with me throughout my decade of working in nonprofits. With the recent attacks against East and Southeast Asians in the Bay Area, New York, and elsewhere, this moment from grad school still holds as an example of how anti-Asian racism shows up in the work for equity and justice. 

What Black, Indigenous, and other people of color know all too well is that this country is practiced at finding innovative and different ways to dehumanize each of our communities. If you care about racial justice, I hope part of your learning is understanding what anti-Asian racism looks like. You can’t advance the work if you don’t, and you can’t see your Asian colleagues for who they are unless you do. 

The recent cycle of conversations on anti-Asian racism began at the start of the pandemic, when Chinatowns began to lose business and when mask-wearing was still so racialized that the Asian American Journalists Association had to ask the news media to be careful when covering it. But these examples, the attacks, and the misguided discourse that followed, are the direct result of the longtime interplay of two common and harmful perceptions about Asian people: that we are the perpetual foreigner and also the model minority.

As perpetual foreigners, Asians will never belong. Anything about us that doesn’t fit into white-dominant culture is evidence of our alien-ness. Our food is gross, smelly — or as recently described in this case — dirty. For those of us with monolid eyes, our faces are unreadable. (If you didn’t know, it was white Americans who helped popularize eyelid surgery in Asia because they couldn’t trust people with “slant eyes.”) And just look at how “Minari,” an American film about a Korean family set in Arkansas, is considered a foreign film because half of the dialogue is in a non-English language. 

Today’s nonprofits, with their stated values of diversity and inclusion, are more skilled at avoiding these more overt acts of anti-Asian racism. In fact, they are so skilled that they manage to not acknowledge Asian people and communities at all. The model minority is a convenient myth that allows others to invalidate our experiences and pit us against other people of color, especially Black people. In short: the perception is that as a racial group, we enjoy universal socioeconomic success. 

Because our sector is obsessed with measuring disparities by race and “closing gaps,” Asians barely register as worthy subjects for justice. Policymakers and practitioners look at one aggregate data point — that combines a vast continent of Asian ethnicities and experiences together — deem we are not oppressed enough, and don’t give us much thought after that. Even more egregious, as in the recent example of North Thurston Public Schools, Asian students were combined with their white peers as a racial category — in a report about education equity of all things. 

If you don’t understand how anti-Asian racism works, you will likely not know about the experiences that have molded and shaped us. A Chinese person whose family has been here for generations might have different successes with the education system than a Laotian person whose parents arrived in this country not too long ago as refugees. The broad category of Asian and the even broader Asian and Pacific Islander are not very meaningful. 

Over the last few weeks, check-ins with my East and Southeast Asian friends revealed the complexity of the moment. We are grieving, and day-to-day interactions feel worse when it’s clear others don’t register our existence as an Asian person. And it’s not limited to us in the nonprofit sector; a New York Times report about diversity and inclusion in their own newsroom showed that Asian women often felt “invisible and unseen.”

My friends and I also talked about how to show up at this moment. We are watching in frustration as narratives working to divide Asian and Black communities take hold. This is especially so when we see other Asians — some close to us and some with big platforms — play into the hands of the system by calling for more police or offering bounties. People of color have long known that cross-racial solidarity has and will continue to keep us safe. History has proven this, but we know these stories often get erased. White supremacy benefits when we are pitted against each other. Addressing anti-Asian racism does not mean resorting to anti-Black racism. 

I decided to write this piece because I recently realized what I was working through when I watched Pastor Erna Kim Hackett’s video about grief and solidarity after the Bay Area attacks. Talking specifically about Asian people’s tendency to self erase, she said “we make these choices because we feel like our story is not valid. One of the ways we might love on people and hold space for people is to go quiet and move to the back.”

This is another lie of white supremacy: That I have been made to feel that by talking about my own experiences, I am taking away from someone else’s. As Erna said, “Part of our healing and liberation is amplifying our stories.” And it’s not just amplifying my story, but the story of my community and elders. 

So this is what this post is. An amplification of our experiences. Some might be disappointed by the lack of advice on how to engage with Asian people right now. That was by design. If you have been more transactional than relational with your Asian coworkers and other colleagues of color up until this moment, then a starting point for you is to examine why that is. 


Diana Huynh is a communications professional living in Seattle. Her dad is from Bến Tre and her mom from Duyên Hải. She was born and raised in south central Pennsylvania. 


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 cost, 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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Lunar New Year — Food

Note: Next week is mid-winter break for the fam. I will most likely be taking the week off from writing.


This is the third week in a row I’m writing about food. My friend Shukri said I need an intervention, perhaps a sambusa intervention – pillowy little triangles filled with lentils, potatoes, or meat and veggies. The reason for another food post – LUNAR NEW YEAR! I love lunar new year. It is a time of renewal, a chance for Asians to celebrate our Asianess, and of course the food and celebrations.

Many Asian countries follow the lunar/moon calendar. Lunar new year marks the start of the new year and welcoming of spring. It is a big deal in many Asian countries – China, Viet Nam, Singapore, Korea, Tibet, and other countries. Some Asian countries, like Japan, adopted the Gregorian/imperial calendar and celebrate their new year on Jan 1.

As a quick note, I am referring to the holiday as Lunar New Year to encompass many different cultures. Each culture that celebrates Lunar New Year has their own name for the holiday — Chūn Jié in China, Tết in Viet Nam, Losar in Tibet. This is also the Year of the Ox on the Chinese zodiac.

If you want to learn more about Lunar New Year and read your Lunar New Year un-fortune check out our previous year blog posts.

Foods of Lunar New Year

Each culture has their own way of celebrating Lunar New Year. In many of the celebrations gathering together to welcome the new year take place. Due to COVID19 many of these celebrations are cancelled or drastically different this year. As an example my friend Stacy, said her church is delivering hot pot kits to their fellowship and meeting over Discord — a new way to gather and be together. Another friend and I joked about starting new traditions that are less traditional like Lunar new year donuts — very not Asian, but one can rationalize the moon is round like a donut *shrug — I might be stretching here.

Eating well during the new years celebration foretells good eating the rest of the year. In the Chinese tradition serving two fish is customary, eating one and saving one for leftovers to start the year with a surplus. My friend Kam steams her fish and serves it with ginger scallion soy sauce. A whole chicken is traditional, but she prefers duck, and a vegetarian vermicelli dish to honor Buddha.

Many Chinese new year meals also include dumplings since they look like gold coins, and spring rolls resemble gold bars – both to signal financial prosperity. Long noodles are served to welcome a long life – don’t cut the noodles as you don’t want to cut your life short. If you want to get cooking here is a good starter menu.

In Vietnamese culture bánh chưng and bánh tết are served. Wrapped in banana leaves and string, these little packages are stuffed with glutinous rice and filling, then cut and fried to deliciousness. Learn the difference between the two here.

Tteokguk (떡국) Korean rice cake soup is believed to bring good luck in the new year. The soup is made with rice cakes swimming in a delicious broth and veggies.

When I polled my friends for their Lunar New Years food the picture of Stacy and Richard’s Taiwanese beef noodle soup made me want to lick my screen. Stephanie shared this video featuring Seattle local ingredients in Taiwanese Lunar New Year celebration.

Transcending pan-Asian cultures the snack tray – a round tray filled with different number (5, 6, or 8 depending on culture) of goodies – the tray of togetherness. Megan, a friend, put oranges in the middle a traditional Lunar New Year Food.

My friend Bao said I should skip writing and just post pictures of Lunar New Years food. So I’ll stop writing now and share all the pics of the celebration food. I always listen to Bao, she’s very smart, especially when it comes to food.

Tray of Togetherness — photo from Megan
Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup — Photo from Stacy
banh chung — Photo from Diana and Sadie (the dog)
Hot pot fixings — photo from Bao
hot pot fixings – photo from Bao

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 cost, 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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Equity vs. Equality – Not the Box Graphic

February is Black History Month. Take a moment to celebrate Black joy and liberation. As an action step learn about Black history in the place you are. I’m in Seattle and plan on digging into these Black histories as a way to connect more with the Black history of my neighborhood and city. I hope you’ll look up something similar in your own town or city.


Many of us have seen the ‘Equity Box Graphic’ that depicts the basics of how to understand the difference between equity and equality. It shows the shorter kid having more boxes to stand on in order to see over a fence. The picture is easy to understand and conveys quickly what is needed to achieve fairness.

Many people see limitations in the picture — Heidi wrote a whole blog post about it. It is one of the most read post on the blog, make sure you read it.

At the risk of adding another picture and analogy to the litany of ways to understand equity vs equality, I will offer one.

Equity — My definition you need to know for the rest to make sense

When I’m asked what does equity mean to me, my answer is “Everyone has what they need to be whole — regardless of race, disability, LGBTQ, immigration, and other social constructs. Everyone has what they need to be whole, not more and not less. This may feel like taking something away from some but it is actually right sizing or balancing needs.”

The analogy I use when I’m presenting on racial equity this comes from my spending a lot of time thinking about race over food. (If you missed last week’s blog post, go back and check it out — it is another food and race themed post). I’ve shared this in a couple of other places and it seems to resonate, so I thought I’d share it here too. It isn’t perfect, but some ‘food for thought.’

Equality

Picture of a sandwich cut in half. Text: •Everyone receives the same sandwich
•Everyone receives an equal portion
•The sandwich maker has control/power over what is in the sandwich, no differentiation

Equality is like a sandwich. Cut it half or fourths and everyone gets a fair and equal portion of the same sandwich. This leads to treating everyone the same, no special services, no differentiation, no accommodations for taste, preference, culture, allergies, religion, etc.

It is easy to give everyone the same sandwich. The sandwiches can be made in bulk and on an assembly line, not a lot of extra skills are needed to make the sandwiches.

Equality is easier to understand and apply. But there are limits to equality. Giving everyone the same sandwich, or program or service, often isn’t going to make everyone feel full or whole. People who can’t or aren’t accustomed to eating bread may not want a sandwich. If the sandwich has peanut butter and someone is allergic to peanut butter the sandwich can do more harm than good. Many religions have guidance and practices about what to eat – no pork, keeping Kosher, fasting, celebration foods, etc. Giving everyone an equal portion of the sandwich doesn’t account for people who might have just had a meal and not hungry, but someone else may not have eaten all day and may need more of the sandwich.

Giving everyone the same sandwich is treating everyone the same and not recognizing the reality of situations. It isn’t taking into account systemic racism that allows for hunger in some and abundance in other places. It doesn’t take into account food desserts where some people don’t have access to fresh produce. Nor does it account for food liberation and allowing communities of color the access to spaces that allow people to create their own foods.

There are better ways to having people be whole and pushing towards justice.

Equity

Picture of different sandwiches, tortillas, salad, bowl of rice. Text: ◦People have what they need to eat a meaningful meal
◦Multiple strategies are used, not every meal is the same
◦We support the people to achieve their potential

In the food analogy, equity looks more like a menu of options. In this way people have the agency and power to create their own meal. For people who don’t eat bread, they are now able to create a meal that accommodates their cultures – rice, tortillas, or salads are now available as options. For people who are more hungry because they haven’t eaten all day they can not receive more food, while people who are not as hungry do not need to take as much.

Equity creates multiple pathways towards feeling whole and satiated. We are no longer confined to accepting the half a sandwich we would have been handed through the equality strategy. Equity also allows for people to have more control and comfort in meeting their own needs. We are no longer forced to accept what is handed to us.

Working towards equity does take more thoughtfulness and pre-planning. Creating the options of different meals takes more pre-planning (note I did not say more work, same amount of work, but it looks different). Instead of having an assembly line of sandwich makers, we now have to pre-plan to have several different options available to people. We need to do more front end work, community engagement, to learn what people may want to eat so we can have those options ready. We also need to learn more about the people we hope will benefit from the service so we can meet their needs – what are their home cultural foods so we can incorporate it into the menu, are their religious preferences or restrictions on food, how communal is an eating experience? All of these and many other questions allows us to more fully see people and create better partnerships to work towards racial equity.

Limits to the Food Analogy

This analogy isn’t perfect. There are many things it does not capture, such as historical trauma, systemic inequalities, etc. No one analogy or picture can fully capture a complex concept.

What I hope this gives you is another way to think about the complexities of equity and equality, that more fully encompasses home cultures, religious needs, and other parts of people’s identities that helps them feel whole and seen.



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 cost, 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.

Food, Race, and Learning/Reading

I was planning on writing about something more serious today, but through circumstances (aka procrastinating on Facebook) the topic of food, books, and race popped up. I thought “We need a BINGO card!” So now we have a learning/reading challenge in thinking about food and race.

Why this topic?

Food is an integral part of culture and life. Food helps to define different cultures and literally sustains us. Food can be an expression of love, or it can be used as a weapon against people. If you look back on people of color histories, there is ample evidence of how food shaped who and how we are in the US today. I’m from Hawaii where many Asians migrated to Hawaii to work on the sugarcane and pineapple fields. For many Native and Indigenous people they lost their homelands due to plantations or settlers who took over to farm and ‘tame’ the land. Many African American and Black people were brought against their will to America to work on plantations. For many POCs our migration or place stories are linked to food in some ways.

Food is also an expression of joy and love. During the winter break I ‘researched,’ aka watched YouTube videos, on how to make several Japanese and Okinawan desserts. I enjoyed the challenge and found joy in sharing the experience with others.

I hope this challenge helps you connect with a different part of people’s identities.

A few notes

In the BINGO boxes where it says book, you can choose to make this whatever you want. If you want to read an article go for it. If you want to watch a TED talk on the topic, please do so. My only goal is to get us thinking differently about race and food.

If you need some suggestions about books related to some of these squares here is a list in Fakequity’s Bookshop link (it is an affiliate link).

BINGO
Book featuring a soup from a different culturePicture book by an author of color about food  Cookbook by a Black author  Book about how food is colonized or weaponized against POCs  Fiction book by an author of color centered around food  
Book about noodles or breads from a culture different than your own (preferably POC cultures)Book related to food by a Middle East author  Learn about food as sovereignty or food justice for people of colorFood memoir by author of color  Young Adult book with a food scene  
Cookbook by an Indigenous author  Watch a POC based documentary related to food  FREE — Snack breakLearn about a fruit from Latin America and/or Asia  Read about food insecurity and impact on kids of color  
Food theme or titled graphic novel by author of color or illustrator of color  Read about POC farmers  Book or blog related to food by an Asian or Latinx authorRead about desserts related to ethnic celebrations (e.g. Dia de los Muertos, Tet, etc.)Food as liberation

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 cost, 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.

2021 Culturally Significant Dates

Culturally Significant Dates 2021 — box graphic on blue tones ombre background

Pull out your calendars – here is the Fakequity 2021 list of Culturally Significant Dates.

Even though we’re in COVID19 socially distant times, with none/few in person events, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be mindful of culturally significant dates. It is still important to note them so we can: 1) work with partners to recognize and honor important parts of people’s identities through these special dates, 2) if you are scheduling virtual or other events be sensitive to scheduling on these days, and 3) renew our commitments to learning.

Through putting together this year’s list I added a few new dates that I found through research. Sadly I had to remove a few since I couldn’t find the 2021 dates for some of them. Perhaps you’ll choose a few of these dates and learn more about the day and why it is significant to our relations who practice or celebrate on those days.

This is not an all encompassing listing of dates. Please check with your local community to ask what dates they would like you to be mindful of as you do your work. I’ve also chosen to leave off Christian holidays that show up on many Western calendars (e.g. Valentine’s, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, etc.). While those are important dates to some people, they are easily found dates on US/Canada calendars. The purpose of my list is to highlight dates that are important to many but less highlighted on American calendars.

This list was put together with the help of friends and colleagues – thank you to everyone who contributed to the list over the past few years. There may be errors on the list since I relied on basic internet research. I do not practice many of the religions or understand the depths and nuances of the events listed, which can lead to errors. I made a best effort to get it correct, including in some cases cross referencing websites. If you have corrections please email fakequity@gmail.com.

2021 Culturally Significant Dates

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – 1/18/21
  • Inauguration Day – 1/20/21
  • International Holocaust Remembrance Day — 1/27/21 [added 1/27/21]
  • Lunar New Year (Chinese) – Year of the Ox/ Tet (Vietnamese) / Seollal (Korean) – 2/12/21
  • Mardi Gras – 2/16/21
  • Hinamatsuri – Girl’s Day (Japanese) – 3/3/21 – (annual date 3 March)
  • Maha Shivaratri (Hindu) – 3/11/21
  • Passover (Jewish) – 3/27-4/3/21 ends nightfall
  • Holi – 3/28/21 sundown, ends 3/29/21 sundown
  • Eretria Easter – 4/4/21
  • Baisakhi (Sikh New Years) – 4/13/21
  • Ethiopian Orthodox Easter – 5/2/21
  • Orthodox Easter – 5/2/21
  • Children’s / Boy’s Day (Japanese) – 5/5/21 –annual date 5 May
  • Ramadan – 4/13 (sundown) – 5/11/21 (tentative dates, dependent on the sighting of the moon)
  • Vesak / Vesākha / Vaiśākha / Buddha Jayanti / Buddha Purnima / Buddha Day (Buddhist) – 5/26/21
  • Eid ul-Fitr – 5/13/21
  • Kamehameha Day (Hawaii) – 6/11/21 (annual date 6/11)
  • Juneteenth – 6/19/21
  • Summer Solstice (northern hemisphere) – 6/20/21
  • Hajj (Islam) – 7/17/21 (starts evening) – 7/22/21
  • Eid al-Adha – 7/19/21 (starts evening) – 7/20/21 [added 1/24/21]
  • Liberation Day (Guam) – 7/21/21
  • Enkutatash – Ethiopian New Year – 9/11/21
  • Mid-Autumn Festival – 9/21/21
  • Rosh Hashanah – 9/6-8/21 (starts sundown)
  • Yom Kippur – 9/15-9/16/21 (starts sundown)
  • United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – 9/13 – annually recognized
  • Lotu Tamaiti – White Sunday (Samoa) – 10/11/21 (Second Sunday of October)
  • Indigenous Peoples’ Day – 10/11/21
  • All Saints Day – 11/1/21 (annual date 1 Nov)
  • Día de los Muertos – 11/1/21 (annual date 1 Nov)
  • All Souls Day – 11/2/21 (always 2 Nov)
  • Diwali / Deepavali / Dipavali / Bandi Chhor Divas (Sikh) – 11/4/21
  • Transgender Day of Remembrance – 11/20/21 – (annual date 20 Nov)
  • Bodhi Day (Buddhist) – 12/8/21 (annual date 8 Dec)
  • Human Rights Day – 12/10/21 (annual date 10 Dec)
  • Las Posadas and Noche Buena (Christian Latin American) – 12/16-24/21 (annual dates 16-24 Dec)
  • Simbang Gabi (Filipino) – 12/16 – 12/24/21
  • Winter Equinox (northern hemisphere) 12/21/21
  • Hanukkah / Chanukah – 11/28-12/6/21 (starts and ends at nightfall)
  • St. Nicholas Feast Day (Orthodox) — 12/19/21
  • Kwanzaa – 12/26-1/1 (annual dates 12/26-1/1)
  • Orthodox / Ethiopian Orthodox Christmas / Eritrean Orthodox Christmas (Note: Not all Orthodox celebrate Christmas on this day, many celebrate Christmas on 12/25, the 1/7/22 date follows the ‘old calendar’) – 1/7/22

New Years Dates

Western calendars have us starting the new year in January, but for many the new year can start at different points during a year.  Thinking about these new years dates is a good way for us to stretch our thinking from a linear Jan-Dec framework to a different view of time.

Note: A number of the public celebrations associated with these dates are postponed or cancelled due to COVID19. Please consult your local organizations to learn more about how the community will honor the date.

  • Orthodox New Year – 1/14/21 (including even though it passed)
  • Losar / Tibetan New Year – 2/12/21
  • Lunar New Year (Chinese) / Tet (Vietnamese) / Seollal (Korean) – 2/12/21
  • Tsagaan Sar/ White Moon (Mongolian) – 2/12/21
  • Persian Nowruz / Iranian New Year – 3/21-22/21 (According to Google, begins at 4.15 pm on 3/21 ends at 4.14 pm on 3/22) (Follows the March/vernal equinox, first day of spring)
  • Naw-Rúz / first day of the Baháʼí calendar – 3/19-20/21
  • Nyepi Bali Hindu New Year – 3/14/21
  • Ugaadhi / Telegu and Kannada New Year – 4/13/21
  • Baisakhi / Vaisakhi (Sikh) – 4/13/21
  • Thingyan (water festival) / Burmese New Year Festival – 4/13-16/21
  • Aluth Avurudda (Sinhalese New Year, Sri Lanka) – 4/13-14/21
  • Songkran (Thailand) – 4/13-15/21
  • Khmer New Year – 4/13-16/21
  • Bun Pi Mai (Lao) – 4/13-16/21
  • Bengali New Year, Pohela Boishakh – 4/14/21
  • Matariki, Maori New Year (New Zealand) – 7/2/21
  • Al-Hijra / Muharram (Islamic / Muslim) – 8/9-10/21
  • Enkutatash / Ethiopian New Year – 9/11/21
  • Rosh Hashanah – 9/6-8/21 (starts sundown 9/6)
  • Diwali / Deepavali / Dipavali / Bandi Chhor Divas (Sikh) – 11/4/21
  • Guru Nanak Jayanti (Sikh) – 11/19/21

Monthly Recognitions

  • January – none
  • February – African American History Month
  • March – Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
  • April – Arab American Heritage Month
  • May – Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Jewish American Heritage Month
  • June – LGBT Pride Month
  • July – Disability Pride Month [added 2/3/21]
  • August – none
  • September – Hispanic Heritage Month (15 Sept – 15 Oct)
  • October – Disability Employment Awareness Month, Filipino American History Month, LGBT History Month
  • November – Native American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month
  • December – none

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 cost, supporting other POC efforts, etc. If your financial situation changes please make this one of the first things you turn-off — you can still access the same content and when/if you are able to re-subscribe we’ll appreciate it.

Abby, Adrienne, Adrienne, Agent001, Aimie, Alessandra P., Alessandra Z., Alexa, Aline, Alison F.P., Allison K., Amanda, Amber, Amira, Amy H., Amy P., Andrea, Angelica, Ashlie, Avery, Barb, Barrett, Brad, brian, Brooke B., Brooke D.W., Cadence, Caitlin, Calandra, Callista, Carmen, Carol, Carolyn, Carrie B., Carrie C., Carrie S., Caryn, Catherine L., Catherine S., Cedra, Celicia, Chelsea, Christine, Clara, Clark, Claudia, Claudia A., Courtney, Dan, Daniel, Danielle, Danya, Darcy, Darcy E., Deb, Denyse, Diana, Don, E., Ed, Edith B., Edith B. (2), Elizabeth, emily, Erica J., Erica L., Erica R.B., Erin, Evan, Francis, Hannah, Hayden, Heather, Heidi, Heidi H., Heidi N and Laura P, Heidi S., Hilary, Hope, J., Jaime, Jake, Janet, Jean, Jeanne, Jen, Jena, Jenn, Jennet, Jennifer C., Jennifer M., Jennifer T., Jennifer W., Jessa, Jessica F., Jessica G., Jessica R., Jessie, Jillian, Jody, John, Jon G., Jon P., Jordan, Julia, Karen, Kari, Kate G., Kate T., Kathryn, Katie B., Katie D., Katie O., Kawai, Keisha, Kelli, Kellie H., Kellie M., Kelly, Kimberly, Kirsten, Krista D.B., Krista W., Kristen, Kumar, Kyla, Laura T., Laura G., Laurel, Lauren, Laurie B., Laurie K., Leah, Lindsay, Lisa C., Lisa P.W., Lisa S., Liz, Lori, Lyn, Lynn, Maggie, Maka, Marc, Mareeha, Mark, Marki, Mary, Matthew M., matthew w., Maura, McKenzie, Melissa, Meredith, Michael, Michelle, Mickey, Migee, Mike, Milo, Miranda, Misha, Molly, Myrna, Nancy, Nat, Natasha D., Natasha R., Norah, Norrie, Peggy, PMM, Polly, Porsche, Rachel G., Rachel S.R., Raquel, Raquel S., Rebecca O., Rebecca S., Risa, Rise, Ruby, Ruchika, Sarah B., Sarah K.B., Sarah K., Sarah L., Sarah S., Sarena, Sarita, Sean, SEJE Consulting, Shannon, Shaun, Shawna, Shelby, Shelley, Skyler, Steph, Stephanie, Stephen, Su, Susan, Susan M., Susan U., Tallie, Tana, Tania DSC, Tania T.D., Tara, TerraCorps, Terri, Titilayo, Tracy, virginia, Vivian, Will, Willow, yoko, YvetteZan

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.