June 19, 2020

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My friends the Hails have some of THE most photogenic pets in the universe.

Ahh, there’s just so much I want to share with you, but first, I am so grateful you read my words each week. Thank you so much for your attention in a very loud world.

Also, a little note on how we can all contribute to a better world: This excellent newsletter had a great note on bringing the skills we have to the struggle before us: “Not everyone is useful on the front lines of a given struggle. Sophie, for example, is chronically ill and both of us are built for rhetorical battles, not physical ones. […] Our inventory of concrete contributions we can make is more along the lines of writing, revising, information-finding-and-sharing, note-taking, idea-clarifying, list-making, signal-boosting, errand-running, money-giving, supply-ordering, cooking, and baking. WHICH— correctly applied— are not minor contributions.” I hope you can think creatively and compassionately about what gift you can bring toward the liberation of everyone, especially the most vulnerable in our country!

  1. How to Take Care of Each Other: Community Care In Times Of Crisis, Autostraddle. There’s been a lot of talk about replacing the police with community services and moving from a place of control to one of care, and maybe that’s hard to picture in practical terms. Lucky for us, a lot of Black, queer, and/or disabled people have already been thinking about this, in part because they’ve had to create their own systems of care and found family when their needs haven’t been met by mainstream society. I really like how this piece lays out some steps for how we can start asking each other for help and being there for our neighbors, friends, and community. “Analyze your resources. What do you have? Everyone has something: Large kitchen? EBT (food stamps)? A car? Extroversion? Money? Writing skills? Business skills? Empathy? Art skills and/or supplies? Multi-lingualism? A “fancy,” “official-looking” outfit? Carpentry skills? Some time? Any and all of these can be incredibly useful in supporting someone in community. What do you have to offer? Some of these seem esoteric, but can be incredibly helpful in ways you might not immediately expect.” Lots of great stuff here (check out the Support Card idea halfway down)!
  2. Whiteness Can’t Save Us, Taylor Harris for Catapult. “What is a mother to do, if she cannot save her boy? What is a mother to do, if she fights so hard to save her boy’s body from itself, only to have an ugly man destroy it for his pleasure?” This gorgeous writing will crack your heart right open.
  3. White Women: Stop Pretending We Don’t Benefit From White Supremacy, Allure. An article published shortly after the Charlottesville white supremacist rallies in 2017. “‘If this has you saying, But I can’t personally be held responsible for white supremacy, you are missing the point. The point is not that we are each personally responsible for systemic oppression. It’s that we are each individually accountable for doing something about it. If you are a white woman and you are feeling uncomfortable with our legacy, perhaps right now more than usual, that’s good.” This is the water we’re all swimming in, and I know it’s hard and uncomfortable for white folks to confront that, but the best and only way forward, the most responsible way to be good ancestors, is to face our privilege head on, together. This is also a really good line, and galvanizing to me: “We are not innocent until proven guilty of racism; we are complicit until we are no longer silent.”
  4. The End of Policing, Alex S. Vitale. I just finished this book (I listened to it from FCPL’s Hoopla app as an audiobook!) and I really recommend it. I’m definitely not an expert on the topic of policing, but this book is a thorough overview of what’s not working about our current system of policing. For one thing, he points out how the police are not situated to prevent crime, only to respond to it and often escalate the situation in their response. He carefully goes over various attempts at police reform that have been tried in the past (to middling success), and then walks us through some places that we use the police when we really should be sending community aid: homelessness, sex work, and the extremely devastating and ineffective War on Drugs. This book is currently free as an e-book from the publisher, and like I said, available at the Frederick public library as an audiobook with no waitlist. I would love to talk about it with anyone who’s read it!
  5. Police: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Youtube video from HBO. This is one of John Oliver’s best pieces. If you’re not familiar with the host, fair warning that he uses grown up language, but I have always appreciated that his focus as a late night host has been to do deep dives on topics. I come away from his videos with a greater understanding of an issue (his episode on civil forfeiture gave me a whole new thing to be HEATED about!). He ends with the words of Kimberly Jones: “So when they say, “Why do you burn down the community? Why do you burn down your own neighborhood?” It’s not ours. We don’t own anything. We don’t own anything. Trevor Noah said it so beautifully last night. There’s a social contract that we all have, that if you steal, or if I steal, then the person who is the authority comes in and they fix the situation. But the person who fixes the situation is killing us! So the social contract is broken. And if the social contract is broken, why the f*** do I give a shit about burning the f***ing Football Hall of Fame, about burning a f***ing Target? […] Far as I’m concerned, they could burn this bitch to the ground, and it still wouldn’t be enough. And they are lucky that what Black people are looking for is equality and not revenge.” (PS – her entire speech is very good, here’s a transcript and video of it.)

~New section of the blog alert!~

I don’t have a cute name for it yet, but my idea is to highlight one organization that supports anti-racism or improves the lives of Black people, nationally or locally. I invite you to match my $5 donation each week (or more if you can swing it, but I want it to be sustainable for my budget). This week’s org is The Okra Project, which delivers free, delicious, and nutritious meals to Black Trans people experiencing food insecurity.

  • Donate your $5 here! If 17 other people donate with me, we can fund a single chef-cooked, free meal.

Bonus features:

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