Versatackle was able to support the African-American Writers' Alliance reading at Third Place books by making it a hybrid online event. The readings were moving and beautiful, as they always are at AAWA.
Tiffany over at Fidgets and Fries got her copies of her book: A Day With No Words, which you can pre-order now! In Tiffany’s words: “I am an Autistic mother, advocate, and storyteller who uses my personal experiences with Autism and parenting two teenage boys with the same diagnosis to help guide others on their journey.”
I got to attend Toni’s Aqua Zumba class 3 times. You might even be able to spot me in her insta. At the same pool, I got to help some awesome Black, Brown, Asian and white kids learn how to swim. I don’t think there’s much that’s more beautiful than seeing kids joyfully splashing in water, eager to show off their growing skills, letting their bodies relax as they learn to float and let the water carry them. It is a great honor to be a part of growing that joy and trust.
Mx. Pucks A’Plenty is nominated for a GSBA award! They very much deserve it and you can see the awards this Thursday.
The Therapy Fund Foundation is empowering People of Color through mental health education and radical self-care. Check them out to access therapy, donate, and learn more.
For information, support, and love, The Ministry of the Nap can’t be beat. “We examine the liberating power of naps. We believe rest is a form of resistance & reparations.” Amen.
For further self-care, if candles are your jam, check out Noir Lux, a Black owned business out of Seattle.
Thanks for reading, BIPoC folks! You are more than welcome to stay, but I think the next part is going to be stuff you already know all too well.
Gather up white folks. We need to talk about white history and how attached we are to our lens.
Ijeoma Oluo posted this on Facebook this month:
“Been meeting with Black students who have been sharing stories of how their white teachers are making their classes look at photos of l*nchings and videos of police dogs and fire hoses for Black History Month.
“They share how it has made them dread the month of February and not want to engage with our history.
“The stories of the brutality of white supremacy against Black people is not Black History - that’s white history.
“History that doesn’t center us, that isn’t FOR us, isn’t Black History.
“Stop traumatizing Black people with white history during Black History Month.”
White folks do need to learn that history. We do need to learn about how we’ve been actively and systemically violent as a group. We need to learn how dehumanizing propaganda works, and we need to learn how “good people” can do horrific things. We need to face the realities of our past.
But those needs should never be prioritized over the needs of the people who were victimized by us and continue to be harmed.
White people have a really bad case of Protagonist Syndrome. We think of ourselves as the main characters. We’ve been taught to think of ourselves this way by all the history books written from our perspective, all the books and movies that tell our stories, with us as the directors, writers, actors, and sometimes entire casts and crews.
Even if we know there is a major problem with race, we are still focused on how it relates to us. How are we going to solve it? How do we reach white people? How do we teach empathy?
Obviously, I think it’s important to reach and teach white people, or I wouldn’t be writing this. I don’t think we can solve our problems with race by expecting change in anyone but ourselves.
The thing is, the changes we need can’t be done by keeping ourselves at the center. We must cede space. We have to make room for Black people to tell their stories, their histories, envision their futures. We have to question why so much of what we learn is filtered through our lens and puts us at the center. And then we need to change that. We need to stop making everything about us and start building our empathy by supporting Black joy, Black creativity, Black futures. We have to invest in the Black thought leaders, communities, and spaces.
Don’t let Black History Month be an exercise in white history misery porn. Invest in making the whole year an exercise in supporting Black futures. We’ve got a lot of great recommendations above, if you aren’t sure where to start.