2017 Hard Conversations Book Club Reading List Announced

I’ve just announced the 2017 reading list for the Hard Conversations Book Group. Feel free to join us! The book group is free and we meet by teleconference call the 3rd Sunday of each month from 8-9pm Eastern to discuss that month’s book. Our focus in 2017 is on books written by women of color: January – Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie February – The Fire This Time by Jesmyn Ward March – Birdie by Tracey Lindbergh April – Zami by Audre Lorde May – You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson June – Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat July – Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in School by Monique W. Morris August – Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter by Carmen Aguirre September – Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine October – The Sisters are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America by Tamara Winfrey Harris November – Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng December – Borderlands, La Frontera, The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldua Go here to join the Book Club (free)....

37days of Activism

You wanted to know what role you would have played in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s? Now’s your time to find out. You were shocked by the outcome of the U.S. Presidential election, and the aftermath of racial violence. You didn’t know this kind of racism still existed in the U.S. You don’t know whether to wear a safety pin to show you’re an ally, or not. People are shaming you for not knowing, not acting, not doing the right things. It’s all confusing and heart-sickening. But your heart is in the right place, and you need encouragement and ideas, not shame. You need to educate yourself, and quickly. You need to learn what right helpfulness is, and how to take action that will be effective and useful. This 37-day online course is created to provide 1-2 actions per day that you can accomplish, learn from, invite others to do, in order to fight for social justice in an administration whose appointments thus far look far from inclusive and more intent on stripping the human rights of many. It’s time to take action. We cannot remain complacent or believe that someone else will do the heavy lifting. This course will be taught by author and activist, Patti Digh. You can read about her background in this arena here and here. Starting on November 25, the day after Thanksgiving, you’ll receive one email per day for 37 days, with suggested actions for that day. Each day will have two activities: 1) Learning; and 2) Doing. You’ll have the opportunity to respond to the prompts in an online classroom, where everyone...

Thanksgiving dinner dialogue. Are you ready for it?

Preparing For Thanksgiving With People Whose Viewpoints Are Not Like Your Own Important: The group, “Stand up for Racial Justice” is committed to helping you over your Thanksgiving meal. Go here for info on how to access the resources they are committing to helping you, and check out the text SOS system they have put in place to help you during your Thanksgiving meal.  This is particularly useful. If you read nothing else, go to that link and read it first. Or print out this placemat and carry it with you to the dining table.  While you’re at it, give a donation to SURJ to support their important and helpful work. This has been a contentious political season, I think we can all agree. Some of us won, and some of us lost on election day. Some of us are scared, some angry, some hurt, some righteous, some victorious. And some of all of those people may be at your Thanksgiving table. So, how to have a clear, but civil dialogue over a wee bit of Tofurkey and dressing? Because it’s important. We can’t continue to not speak up, and we can do so and have a greater impact if we learn to do so effectively rather than just get angry and throw gravy at one another or screechy-scream-scream. If we’re going to be advocates for the people most likely to be harmed by the incoming administration – namely, people with disabilities, people of color, Muslims, other non-Christian religions, women, people who are LGBTQIA, and so on – we need to be effective advocates. Sputtering at Uncle Joe when he...

Thanksgiving, the vegan way.

Thanksgiving Ponderings at our house: Tofurkey (the children insist) With Vegan Gravy And maybe some Vegan dinner rolls And definitely some Vegan Stuffing with Cauliflower salad Or Whole roasted cauliflower with pomegranate seeds Or Roasted squash-pecan-pomegranate salad And Vegan Garlic Mashed Potatoes With, perhaps, Vegan Green Bean Casserole Or, more likely, Baked Acorn Squash with Cranberries and Walnuts And then dessert, in the form of Pear Tart with Olive Oil-Cornmeal-Pine Nut Crust And If I can veganize it, this sticky toffee pudding. Oh my, I miss it so. Or This sticky cranberry gingerbread, veganized But I’m still pondering. Here are some additional ideas. And here. And here. Evidently I am hungry while I am planning. What am I missing? What are you...

What is the unmet need that has just been expressed?

I wish I could say that I am shocked by the racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and white supremacy in this country that led, in part, to the election of Donald Trump, but I am not. Having done diversity work for 30+ years, I am not shocked by the fact that racism has always existed, that our nation was founded on racist principles, that our systems are rife with racism. It went underground, perhaps, in some well-educated and polite portions of our society, but it’s always still been there. If you’re a white person and you are shocked, you haven’t been paying attention to your friends who are people of color, or perhaps you don’t have any friends who are people of color, who are gay, who are trans, who are Muslim, who are disabled. There’s no time to rue that fact; let’s change it. In my Hard Conversations: Intro to Racism course, I show the clip that is featured above. In it, Marshall Rosenberg talks about “nonviolent communication,” a type of communication our nation needs now more than ever. Watch and listen. Here are the questions we must now ask ourselves: What are the unmet needs that have just been expressed via our democratic process? The core unmet needs, not the superficial ones. What are the unmet needs of those opposed to having Donald Trump serve as our nation’s President? In what way can we find commonality among those two seemingly conflicting unmet needs in order to move forward together? And in all interactions: How can I be in full presence to what is alive in this other person?...