An essential part of our work is to curate and offer resources that help all of us navigate in these times. please explore these curated collections – Our Pandemic Resource Center, Afternow, Great Transition Stories and Essential Knowledge, as well as our blogs, below.
The heartbeat of racism itself has always been denial. The sound of that heartbeat is “I am not racist.” There is no such thing as “not racist.”
As we have started to add anti-racist materials to our Essential Knowledge collection, we have been struck by how much is out there. In many cases we are offering collections of resources created by others and sharing them in their context. We invite you to unlearn and learn with us.
Organized in Snohomish County every year for the last five years, the 2020 Step Up Conference is entirely virtual. It’s inexpensive and can is even
Bearing witness to Black life only when it ends in a death is a white tradition. It is lynching, but now it is digital. White people, statistically less likely to be in diverse friend groups and more likely to know only other white people, have been searching for the language for this moment, and have been reaching out for the much-coveted Black Friend (of “well, my Black Friend says it” fame). Stuck at home with nothing but the news, they’ve been called to do something, anything. So they’ve sent messages, DMs, texts, e-mails and more. These stories are meant to tell me who they are: a good person who is on my side. But what white people never mention in their anecdotes is what they have done. It’s because, in every instance, they have done nothing. They witnessed racism and reported back to me, seemingly the stenographer of racism.
When you look at the coronavirus world, it is entirely shaped by the structure of the before world. All of the racial inequities that were in the before world, they are naturally being reproduced in the coronavirus world because the structure of our society was built along those tracks. You can put a new train on it; you can send everybody $1,200; you can try to put out $600 million for small businesses. But because the train is going to go to the same destinations, you’re going to have 90 percent of black and Hispanic small businesses being denied loans. You’re going to have a disproportionate number of workers in service and health-care industries being black and Hispanic people. The train is going to go to the same destination no matter how new and shiny it is, because that’s where the tracks are built to go.
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We are rapidly becoming aware that none of us are going to be left out of the collapse of multiple systems in which we live. Wars may be happening elsewhere, but fires, floods, hurricanes, bomb cyclones, tsunamis, crop failures, earthquakes and now pandemics are all around us. There is no way out of the experience of the collapse. We are already in it. No matter what your privilege, we are still all interconnected and when the food supply runs out, the grid goes down, communications stop, water runs out, and millions have a virus, we will all feel it. It’s essential that we learn how to hospice the passing of the old so it spews as little destruction and death as possible while we also midwife newly emerging patterns of compassionate caring and interconnectedness.
We cannot “fix” the coronavirus. It is here. To be sure, there are many things we can do to mitigate the speed with which the virus spreads. I’m deeply appreciative of the many announcements helping us learn what we can do. This is a zoonotic virus, meaning it is one spread from animals to humans. This virus is anything but random. It is a direct consequence of the choices those of us with money have been making to consume, consume and then consume some more. The idea that happiness is a commodity that can be purchased by having and spending lots of money is an idea disproven time and time again.
The first thing to overcome with the coronavirus is fear. The virus is certainly dangerous. The likelihood is we will need to learn to live with it. A “new normal” will emerge with its own protocols for traveling, meeting, caring for each other, grieving those we lose, and living our lives. Perhaps there will be a vaccine. Certainly we should do everything we can to protect ourselves. But that is different from living in fear. Hafiz said it well:
Fear is the cheapest room in the house.
I’d like to see you in better living conditions.