Category Archives: Anti-racism

INVITATION: Six-week study and action series on racial justice in Benicia

From Progressive Democrats of Benicia, December 2, 2020

Members and friends of PDB:

In Chief Erik Upson’s recent City of Benicia News update as Interim City Manager, he announced that the Benicia Library is partnering with Benicia Black Lives Matter and the Bay Area Chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) for a six-week series of classes on racial justice. This course is free to the public but classes are limited to 30 members for each of the two sessions available – one to be held on Tuesdays beginning Jan. 12, and a second session on Saturdays beginning Jan. 16. (See REGISTRATION, below.)

ABOUT SURJ AND THE STUDY/ACTION SERIES:

SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) Bay Area is part of a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice, with passion and accountability.

SURJ Study & Action is a community of learners committed to examining the histories of white supremacy and resistance movements and building our abilities to effectively take action in support of Black and Brown-led organizations fighting for racial justice.

…We are responding to Black peoples’ long-standing call for white people, in large numbers, to talk, study and take action with each other so we can confront white supremacy in our workplaces, schools, with our families and throughout our lives.

Learning in community makes our movements strong. We train up, so we can show up!

FROM RALPH DENNIS, PDB CHAIR: I strongly recommend that white PDB members and friends look in a mirror and consider the benefits that attending these classes will provide. No matter how much we who are white think we are “aware of” and fight against racial prejudices and discrimination, and/or that “I’m not racist,” none of us can know how it feels to be black in a white-dominated culture. And, all of us need to acknowledge the history and systemic nature of racism in our country, and here in Benicia, and learn how to address it and become anti-racist in actions and deeds. These classes are a path towards beginning that journey in Benicia.

Here’s more information from Chief Upson and how to register for the classes.


Showing Up for Racial Justice – Study & Action Course

(From City of Benicia this week, Message from the Interim City Manager 11/30/20)

The Benicia Public Library and Benicia Black Lives Matter are teaming up to offer a free series of classes for the community, cosponsored by the Bay Area chapter of Stand Up for Racial Justice (SURJ).

Participants are asked to:

  • commit to attending all 6 sessions of this intensive program in order to hold accountability to the group, build community, and get the most out of the series;
  • allow enough time in your schedules to read the weekly assignments, about 2.5-4 hours per week;
  • commit to participating in at least 3 racial justice actions during the course of the Intensive. Facilitators will suggest actions to be a part of at each weekly meeting.

Two six session courses are available, one series held on Tuesdays beginning January 12 (registration deadline Dec. 29), the other held on Saturdays beginning January 16 (registration deadline Jan. 2). Please choose either Tuesdays or Saturdays. There are 30 spaces available in each series. All meetings are held on Zoom.

REGISTRATION

For Tuesday Classes: Register Online

For Saturday Classes: Register Online

Questions? Please contact Nancy.

More information is available at https://benicialibrary.org/standing-up-racial-justice.

Between the World and Me: Ta-Nehisi Coates on structural racism in America

MSNBC, November 19, 2020

Craig Melvin interviews Ta-Nehisi Coates on his book and the new HBO film

[Editor: Ta-Nehisi Coates offers profound insight on race in America and the far-reaching effect of Trumpism.  The first two minutes of the interview are mostly about his important book and the new film.  Tune in after 2 minutes for his commentary on racism.  – R.S.]


THE BOOK (See also THE FILM, below)

Between the World and Me is available at Bookshop Benicia (or Amazon, of course).

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER • NAMED ONE OF TIME’S TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE DECADE • PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST • ONE OF OPRAH’S “BOOKS THAT HELP ME THROUGH”

Hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” a bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history by “the most important essayist in a generation and a writer who changed the national political conversation about race” (Rolling Stone)

Reviewed by Dani Lacey
This is a book black people need to read. This is a book white people need to read. This is a book that anyone who calls themselves “American” needs to read….This is a book that describes the history of our nation and — in a way — the history of the world. This is a book that tells one man’s story of how he achieved his social consciousness the impact that had on how he viewed himself….The book is crafted as a letter to his son, making it a more intimate and personal journey. That intimacy and humanization extends beyond Coates to the victims and survivors of racism….He is not optimistic, but he’s not a cynic, either. I was worried that this book would leave me feeling sad, angry, hurt. Instead, I feel strangely proud. He sees where we fail as a nation, but points out how black people have and will continue to survive as a people. And he calls on those who have benefited from America’s systemic racism to do better or face their own future downfall.


THE FILM – on HBO Saturday, November 21

Between The World And Me, 1 EPISODE|1 HR 20 MIN
AVAILABLE SAT, NOV 21 AT 5:00PM PT ON HBO AND HBO MAX
SEE THE TRAILER, far below…

Between The World And Me, based on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ #1 New York Times bestselling account, is coming to HBO as a special event.

First published in 2015, Between The World And Me was written as a letter to Coates’ teenage son, and recounts the author’s experiences growing up in Baltimore’s inner city and his growing fear of daily violence against the Black community. The narrative explores Coates’ bold notion that American society structurally supports white supremacy.

Based on the 2018 adaptation and staging of the book at the Apollo Theater, the HBO Special will combine elements of the Apollo’s production, including powerful readings from Coates’ book, and incorporate documentary footage from the actors’ home life, archival footage, and animation. It will include appearances by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Mahershala Ali, Angela Bassett, Angela Davis, Alicia Garza, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Jharrel Jerome, Mimi Jones, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Ledisi, Janet Mock, Jason Moran, Joe Morton, Wendell Pierce, Phylicia Rashad, Greg Alverez Reid, Mj Rodriguez, Kendrick Sampson, Yara Shahidi, Nate Smith, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Courtney B. Vance, Olivia Washington, Pauletta Washington, Susan Kelechi Watson, Michelle Wilson and Oprah Winfrey.

Between The World And Me will be directed by award-winning director and Apollo Theater Executive Producer Kamilah Forbes, who also serves as an executive producer alongside Coates and Susan Kelechi Watson. Roger Ross Williams and his production company One Story Up will produce.

“A seminal piece of literature that has pushed crucial conversations around our country and racism to the forefront of our cultural conversation.”  — ROGER ROSS WILLIAMS

Watch the Trailer

Trump’s latest racist move – Defunding Anti-Racism Trainings

Trump Orders Federal Agencies to Stop Funding Anti-Racism Trainings, Calling Them ‘Un-American’

The Root, by Ishena Robinson, September 5, 2020
[See also coverage in the Washington Post]
Photo: Marie Kanger Born (Shutterstock)

In another tacit admission that he believes American equates to whiteness, President Trump has ordered the cease and desist of any government funding for anti-racism federal training programs because they are “anti-American propaganda.”

The edict was delivered by Russel Vought, director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget in a chilling — and telling — memo on Friday, in which he expressed Trump’s outrage that sessions about critical race theory and white privilege were taking place in federal agencies.

“These types of “trainings” not only run counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our Nation has stood since its inception, but they also engender division and resentment within the Federal workforce,” Vought wrote. “We cannot accept our employees receiving training that seeks to undercut our core values as Americans and drive division within our workforce.”

It’s another clear statement of what the Trump administration’s values are at a time when racial injustice in the United States continues to fuel the summary execution of Black people by police with impunity, as well as national protests and conversations about how this country’s deep history of anti-Blackness still shows up in all kinds of institutions.

Describing attempts to change this unjust state of affairs as “divisive,” Trump has ordered all federal agencies in the executive branch to take immediate measures ensuring their white employees don’t have to consider the idea that they have privilege in America.

From the memo:

All agencies are directed to begin to identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on “critical race theory,” “white privilege,” or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil. In addition, all agencies should begin to identify all available avenues within the law to cancel any such contracts and/or to divert Federal dollars away from these un-American propaganda training sessions.

The memo started off by making reference to press reports that said the trainings push the apparently absurd idea that “white people benefit from racism,” but Trump was likely inspired to make this move by one report from Fox News’ head white supremacist, Tucker Carlson.

On Wednesday, Carlson dedicated a segment on his show to talking about the tyranny of critical race theory training in federal institutions, which his guest called on Trump to “immediately abolish.”

November can’t come soon enough.