Week #1: Anti-Racist Learning Community
Using education, conversation, and collective learning to turn the page.
Hello friends 👋🏽
Welcome to the first week’s edition of the Anti-Racist Learning Community newsletter. We are writing this in solidarity with the communities of color constantly plagued with racialized violence, our black and brown neighbors experiencing secondary trauma, and the protestors taking to the streets in response to the devastating police brutality happening across the US. While the current unrest and racism happening amidst COVID-19 is our immediate motivation for starting this newsletter, we recognize that these essential conversations have been necessary long before this pivotal moment.
We are honored that you have signed up to join this community focused on using anti-racist education as grounds for change and that you are committed to helping turn the page in our country and beyond. We hope that through conversations and discovery we can learn alongside one another to be better advocates, citizens, and human beings.
We recognize that there are a variety of existing information-rich resources that are meant to help people unlearn the racism and anti-blackness embedded in so much of society. However, what is missing is a tangible and actionable way of consuming those resources regularly-- which is what the Anti-Racism Learning Community aims to be. We will be pulling from and loosely following Ibram X. Kendi’s anti-racism syllabus, graciously curated by Tasha K. Ryals. While this list of resources might seem overwhelming at first, we hope to make the list accessible through weekly lessons, action items, and a monthly book club discussion. This community will be a space to utilize resources put together by people of color and those who have shared their own lived experiences. In no way do we take credit nor intend to tokenize these resources, but rather employ them to reach an audience that can hold each other accountable in consciously learning and unlearning together.
Every Sunday, we will send out a newsletter with shorter resources to read, watch, and listen to. Monthly, we will select a book to read in alignment with the syllabus above. The final Sunday of each month at 8 pm EST we will host a facilitated zoom conversation to discuss the text collectively. The first of these conversations will happen on June 28, please sign up here.
We are not an authority on anti-racist education nor are we experts, but we are people who care enough to try to learn, to do, and to be better. We see our role as curating existing material into a tangible and simplified format that makes anti-racist education accessible. We ask for your support in sharing these resources with your families, peers, and coworkers because ultimately these conversations need to happen across our dinner tables, at work, in our places of worship, as well as in the classroom.
Please point out our blind spots, help us question our own practices, and send us your suggestions. We are in this together.
Cheers to the start of something powerful.
June Book Club 📖
By Ibram X. Kendi & Jason Reynolds
We will begin our book club with a narrative by Ibram Kendi that sits at the intersection of rich stories and research, tackling the origins of racist ideas, as well as their prevalence across American history. Stamped from the Beginning uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to offer a window into the contentious debates between assimilationists and segregationists and between racists and antiracists. From Puritan minister Cotton Mather to Thomas Jefferson, from fiery abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison to brilliant scholar W.E.B. Du Bois to legendary anti-prison activist Angela Davis, Kendi shows how and why some of our leading proslavery and pro-civil rights thinkers have challenged or helped cement racist ideas in America.
Contrary to popular conceptions, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. Instead, they were devised and honed by some of the most brilliant minds of each era. These intellectuals used their brilliance to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation’s racial disparities in everything from wealth to health. And while racist ideas are easily produced and easily consumed, they can also be discredited. In shedding much-needed light on the murky history of racist ideas, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose them—and in the process, gives us reason to hope.
Description from: https://www.ibramxkendi.com/stampedbook
Weekly Resources 💡
Read 📚This synopsis of Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century by Dorothy Roberts, which delves deep into biology and genomics to argue that there exists no scientific basis for race. Biologically, human beings exist in one race without natural divides; rather, race as we know it might be best described as a mere political construct. Learn about the truth behind “race,” the benefactors of perpetuating the construct, and the consequences we face as a result.
Watch 👀Racism isn’t just about hatefulness or ignorance. Because it is rather a structural issue, it requires active anti-racism to combat. Dr. Ibram Kendi, creator of our anti-racism syllabus, author of our June Book Club book, and author of "How to Be an Antiracist," argues that neutrality is not an option in the racism struggle—people must take active measures if they wish to end discrimination.
In this video, Dr. Kendi discusses how his personal experiences have shaped how he sees prejudice:
Act ☑️Join us in compensating and showing appreciation for the Anti-racism Resource Guide creator, Tasha K. Ryals. Her work will be guiding our learning community in the coming months. Please read her introductory letter, linked above.
Follow 👥This week we ask you to take 10 minutes to support these organizations, activists, and educators on social media. Our hope is that through engaging with these accounts, information and resources around racial justice will organically become apart of your media diet:
Antiracism Center: Twitter
Dream Hampton: Twitter
ShiShi Rose: Instagram
Did you learn something new? Feel uncomfortable? Challenge your own idea of race? We'd love it if you shared the resources above with a friend, a coworker, or a community member to help them do the same.
Ps. If you are interested in getting involved with curating, writing, or organizing within this learning community please email us at (firstname.lastname@example.org) ❤️