July 24, 2020


How are we doing, friends? I hope your zucchini and tomatoes are coming in and that your flowers are digging these 5pm thunderstorms this week. I know my posting has been kinda bumpy this summer, and I’m probably going to take an intentional break in August, but until then, here’s a handful of things to munch on:

  1. A Better Fall Is Possible, The Atlantic. I have been thinking so much about the teachers and K-12 kids I know lately, as school districts are considering what to do about the fall. I know FCPS hasn’t decided yet, and I do hope it errs on the side of virtual and distance learning, despite the drawbacks (like difficulty accessing the internet and increased social isolation). This article has some thoughtful suggestions, including prioritizing elementary school kids and students in special education. I thought this was interesting: “To make this proposal feasible, we need to reorganize learning in the upper grades. We must trade the norm of individual teachers working in isolation for collective planning. For families that lack or opt out of in-person options, states, consortia of school districts, and large-school districts should provide centralized online-learning programs for all grades, including remote options for elementary grades, and fully online learning for upper grades. We should not be re-creating the wheel in each school building, when teachers could focus on supporting students.”
  2. Protesters Who Were Teargassed Say They Got Their Period Multiple Times in a Month, Teen Vogue. “Stewart says they were teargassed at protests multiple times, which they say resulted in them having a period four times in one month.” This is shocking and scary to me. It’s a sign that this tool is seriously damaging, and it’s safe to say this is chemical warfare. And tear gas can cause miscarriages and stillbirths! What are we doing using this on our people?! There’s more detail in the article, going into other effects on reproductive health, and I don’t see how you can draw any other conclusion than this is incredibly inhumane.
  3. Frog and Toad at 50: how Arnold Lobel’s book series influenced other children’s authors and illustrators, Slate. I love Frog and Toad. Their stories remind me of my Aunt Julie reading to me and the way that when you’re a child, the entire natural world is alive with personality. “The friendship between Frog and Toad is a model of “consistency, comfort, and forgiveness in a world that sometimes feels unsafe or confusing.” This is such a loving tribute. “In the relationship between these two sports coat–wearing amphibians, there’s something pure, something so full of a radiant joy you can only see in the midst of darkness. “It’s hard to find bighearted, joyful literature that acknowledges that very real sadness, that we all, kids included—maybe kids especially—feel.” And finally a quote from Frog himself: “I am happy. I am very happy. This morning when I woke up I felt good because the sun was shining. I felt good because I was a frog. And I felt good because I have you for a friend. I wanted to be alone. I wanted to think about how fine everything is.”
  4. Is it safe to travel or go outside during Covid-19?, Vox. I’d love to not be writing and reading about this anymore! But we’re seeing rising numbers again. Please be careful, my loves, and do the things you must do online, outside, and at a distance, as much as possible. One thing that was good to see is that routine medical and dental visits are relatively low-risk. I was bummed but understanding to read that tattoos, because they involve close proximity for a long time (even if masked), is a considerably risky activity. But I can wait! “You cannot drive 100 miles per hour on the highway. Even if you want to risk killing yourself, it’s not acceptable to kill others. The same is true for Covid-19.”
  5. Ask a Fat Girl: Fatphobia and Racism, Teen Vogue. “Fat Black people sit at the intersection of two discriminated against identities, and we’re watching in real time the ways in which law enforcement and other institutions use this as an excuse to treat them as disposable.” I love that Teen Vogue is doing this kind of reporting, and the illustration at the top of this article is beautiful.

Donation station:


  • Gasping for Justice – From the case statement: “There is an uncontrolled outbreak of COVID-19 at the Prince George’s County Jail. The people housed there-predominantly pretrial detainees-are under a constant and substantial threat of contracting the disease, and those already infected receive grossly substandard medical treatment (if they receive treatment at all). Because jails are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, the CDC has recommended basic measures these facilities should take to control the spread of the virus and treat infected prisoners-for example, providing prisoners with free access to soap and evaluating prisoners for symptoms. The PG County Jail has ignored these and other public health recommendations and as a result, nearly 600 people now imprisoned at the Jail are denied even the minimal precautions necessary to mitigate against the risks of COVID-19.” I’m going to donate to their bail fund (that’s the first link in this bullet, here’s the description of how the money will be used: “The funds raised will be used to pay bail for those who are being held pretrial in Prince George’s County jail. Freedom shouldn’t be given to only those who can afford to purchase their release.”) and sign their petition, please join me! 


Bonus features:



July 10, 2020


Oh, hi! Let’s breezily ignore the fact that I skipped last Friday and say it was for the holiday. How are you holding up? I’ve felt two primary emotions this week: anger and weariness. Tired of the endless mental calculations of risk and necessary activities during a pandemic, and so angry that it feels like I’m on fire under my skin. If you touched me right now, you’d burn yourself. There have been just so many preventable losses and despicable sins at the hands of the powerful. Cruelty and ignorance have stunned me: protesters against police violence being bombarded by excessive police violence; indignant refusal to wear a mask as if to say, “This strategy might help people and won’t hurt me, but I’m not doing it!” And somehow these two phenomena are linked, twined around each other like barbed wire. I am sharing things this week that feel like a respite from that.

  1. Jasmine Guillory on the Importance of Reading Black Fiction, Time. “Racism is not the only thing to know about what it means to be Black. Our joys, our sorrows, our love, our grief, our struggles to fit in, our families, our accomplishments and our triumphs—these things also matter. Black children matter, and not only the ones killed before their time. You may think you already know that, but history has proved otherwise. Black lives are not a problem to be solved or an academic text that can be studied. To recognize Black lives as ones to celebrate, empathize with and care about, here’s your antiracism work: read more fiction by and about Black people.” My fave, Captain Awkward, has historically given this advice when straight men write in asking for help dating women: Learn to empathize with women by reading and consuming media by them. Listen to women-led podcasts, women-directed movies, and access your understanding for the complexity of their lives. And I think this is a good practice for white folks wanting to do anti-racist work too, but also what a great reason to indulge in some pleasure reading!
  2. A love story about best friends, Vox. Ohhh! The last panel of this comic is so lovely. Yay to dear, dear friends.
  3. Hugs to look forward to after the pandemic, Eleanor Davis. This one was touching. I want to hug my friends and everyone again!
  4. Toward a Racially Just Workplace, HBR. “We can’t simply ask, “What’s the most lucrative thing to do?” We must also ask, “What’s the right thing to do?”
  5. Things to Do When You’re Bored, MentalFloss. A surprisingly solid variety of options here! Might actually try to memorize the prologue of the first LOTR movie….

Donation station:

  • The Loveland Foundation, a national organization dedicated to helping fund therapy for Black women and girls. I highlighted this one a few weeks ago, but this time I’m donating $5 and inviting you to match it with me on this Friday5! I’ve been stressed lately, but I realize how traumatic and stressful these times must be for Black women, and I really want to support this mission.

Bonus feature: