Keep the Fire Going – The reFRESH

June 12, 2020

Photo by Representative Alma S. Adams

Written by Jackson Bird

This week we’re focused on keeping up the fight for long-term change.

What we’re checking out…

There are some ways that this wave of protests feels different than before and others in which it feels like we’ve been here so many times and never seen the deep, lasting change that needs to happen. Michelle Alexander wrote for The New York Times this week about why it is vital that America gets it right this time.

And on the topic of sustained change, we can’t get there without changing our culture. Here’s John Fram on how white crime writers have justified and even glorified police brutality and why we need to stop writing those stories.

Speaking of white people needing to reckon with what their whiteness has wrought, Jenn M. Jackson explains the role women have played in white supremacy for Teen Vogue.

In an interview with Lisa Lerer, Senator Kamala Harris echoed what many Black folks have been saying, “I’m really sick of having to explain my experiences with racism to people for them to understand that it exists.”

A very good reminder from Eve Ewing. Also, hypothetical editors, you were going to pay these Black writers, right?

While tons of brands have put out messages of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement (admittedly a sight that would’ve been unthinkable not too long ago), many activists are waiting to see what their follow-up will look like.

Sharon Cuter, a London-based entrepreneur, launched a campaign called Pull Up or Shut Up, which asks brands who have claimed solidarity to pull up their internal data on Black hiring and pledge to hire more Black employees.

As non-Black people work to educate themselves (or at least signal they’re doing so en masse, if the anti-racist literature takeover of the New York Times Bestseller list is any indication), it’s imperative that attention is paid to the infinite and intersecting issues that affect Black people. For just one example, see Leah Thomas’ piece for Vogue about why every environmentalist should be an anti-racist.

There have been a lot of reading lists going around lately, but if you want one specifically focused on the link between racism and the environment, dive in here. (Note: They’re not all books. Some are articles, blog posts, even Twitter lists!)

Glamour profiled eight journalists on reporting while Black, and the toll it exacts on them.

Erica Chidi shared tips and insight on practicing self-care and experiencing Black joy when, as she says, “the world is on fire.”

Events agency Sequence is offering free event production services to one Black-led organization focused on anti-racist work. Apply or nominate an organization here.

Our reFRESHing Talk of the Week is Kimberly Jones’ impassioned video in defense of righteous anger and refocusing on the why.

What We’re Watching…

Mychal Denzel Smith and Linda Sarsour both appeared on Democracy Now! to discuss defunding the police and making lasting change.

Brittney Cooper appeared on BET’s Justice Now town hall and had some powerful words for white people about what kind of people they can choose to be.

Simran Jeet Singh is the host of a new series with the Religious News Service called “Becoming Less Racist: Lighting the Path to Anti-Racism.” You can watch past and future episodes on the Religious News Service’s Facebook page.

The latest installment of Susan McPherson’s McPherson Memo Live featured Fortune Magazine’s Ellen McGirt. You can watch it back and tune in for future episodes here.

On Monday, Shannon Watts will interview former National Security Advisor Susan Rice as part of the Demanding Women series, which you can watch on Everytown’s Twitter page.

The latest from our speakers…

Aisha Nyandoro, along with Jhumpa Bhattacharya and Anne Price, wrote in The Nation about the danger of the “welfare queen” myth and why it must go.

In Nilofer Merchant‘s latest piece, she wrote about finding your true voice, how that’s easier said than done, and how belonging plays a huge role.

Mia Birdsong’s book How We Show Up: Reclaiming Family, Friendship, and Community is now available for purchase wherever books are sold! Here’s an interview she did with FRESH Co-Founder Courtney Martin.

Brittney Cooper wrote for Time about the lack of attention on Black women and girls in discussions about police brutality.

Jimmie Briggs addressed his white friends in an honest piece for Vanity Fair, saying frankly, “no, I am not okay.”

Dena Simmons wrote for In Service about the trauma that Black children go through and how educators have to address that.

Joah Spearman was on NPR’s 1A discussing how corporations can help shape the national conversation around Black Lives Matter, beyond just donating.

In Tech Crunch, Catherine Bracy explained the steps tech companies can take that will actually make real, lasting change.

Mychal Denzel Smith wrote for Publisher’s Weekly about how and why the publishing industry must be more daring in order to lift up more Black writers and make sustained, anti-racist change.

Jamil Smith wrote for Rolling Stone about America’s pre-existing condition of racism.

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