June 12, 2020

Hi, I just wanna use this intro text space to say I love you all and I hope you’re well. Here’s 5 things:

  1. How Body Image Can Be Affected by Coronavirus Isolation, And What to Do About It, Vice. There are tips in here, and some direct talk about diets and fixation on our bodies, but I didn’t find it triggering. Your mileage may vary, but the tips in here are just suggestions for ways to treat yourself with a little kindness. I’ve always liked anti-diet culture stuff that focuses on the ways our body serves and carries our soul, and there’s a line in this piece like that: “Your body is an instrument, more so than an ornament.” And this evergreen advice: “But think about yourself like you’d think about a friend. […] if they were feeling bad about themselves, you’d build them up, rather than indulging their shame spiral, right? In this case, you are your friend. Try to be kind, warm, accepting of where you’re at. Ask yourself: What does your body need? Is it sleep? Space? Kindness? Water? Let that guide you.”
  2. How to be a good white ally during the George Floyd protests and always, Vox. “When white people show up to protests for the Movement for Black Lives, they are our guests. They are new for this. This might be exciting to them now, but this has been something that we have been living for generations and fighting for generations. So, you are showing up, and we’re happy to have you, you are our guests. A white person’s job at a protest isn’t to spray paint “Black Lives Matter” on a building. It’s not to destroy stuff. It’s not to loot stores. Their job is not to mess with the cops and throw stuff. Their job at that protest, what they are there to do, is to do everything they can in their power to put their bodies between the bodies of black people and police.” I’ve also heard the advice that we should be reading the word “ally” as a verb, not a noun. We white people ally ourselves with Black people, not as an emotional experience (or performance) but as a ongoing action. I also love this advice about focusing on your area, because you can bet there are Black folks in your local region doing the work already: “Give your time, talent, and treasure to black-led organizations and black leaders that are doing front-line work in your area. I don’t even think it’s a matter of looking to other cities that might be more in the news — there are black people, black organizations, black organizers wherever you are that are doing the difficult work of fighting for black liberation and against state violence. You need to find out who’s doing that work where you are and figure out what they need and do your best to meet those needs.”
  3. Black Lives Matter Protests In Small Towns Are Important, Buzzfeed News. “These protests cut across demographics and geographic spaces. They’re happening in places with little in the way of a protest tradition, in places with majority white population and majority black, and at an unprecedented scale. People who’ve watched and participated in the Black Lives Matter movement since 2015 say that this time feels different. And the prevalence of these small protests is one of many reasons why.” I’m proud of the small towns and cities I’ve seen turning out, including Frederick. Don’t lose steam yet, we’re just getting started.
  4. The Remaking of Steve Buscemi, GQ. “We used to joke that he was our generation’s Don Knotts, but he’s more Jimmy Stewart in a way,” says the independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, who has been friends with Buscemi for more than 35 years and cast him in several projects. “He portrays humanity.” I loved this profile of Steve Buscemi. What a kind person.
  5. Abolish the police: What does it really mean?, Vox. I’ve been turning to Vox for some explanatory journalism because they will give you an overview pretty quickly but with lots of links to back up their claims. They’ve also got a pretty good Youtube channel with 5-10 minute videos on different topics, if you’re a more visual learner. Police abolition is a new idea to me and I’m interested in learning more. “By “abolish the police,” I mean building a world where we do not rely on anti-Black, white supremacist institutions of order to regulate society. This means that alternative forms of order might be embraced, like community care networks and justice structures rooted in restoration rather than punishment.” Each of the scholars interviewed in this piece take a slightly different perspective, so check it out for yourself and see what you think.

Bonus feature:

  • The Low Road,” Marge Piercy. This is a beautiful poem and it gives me energy. “It goes one at a time. / It starts when you care to act. / It starts when you do it again / after they say no. / It starts when you say we / and know who you mean; / and each day you mean / one more.”

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