This is not about knitting. But it is about community, and coming together, and it may be the post that we most hope you will read and take to heart.
This week has been a waking nightmare. The virus continues to plow through communities. The economy is in tatters. And racism is at the core of appalling incidents involving a birdwatcher in Central Park, a runner in Georgia, and a man in Minneapolis. All African-American, all treated abominably, two of them murdered. It’s all on video. If you haven’t watched these videos, trust us when we say that they are the most despicable videos we have ever seen.
Christian Cooper. Ahmaud Arbery. George Floyd. We keep saying their names.
The majority of readers of MDK are white. We don’t know exact numbers, but it’s clear enough to us as we meet you at fiber festivals, email with you, and get to know you.
We are in a position of extreme privilege, we white people, and we take for granted just about everything.
The greatest privilege is that we go through our daily lives without fear of being judged by the color of our skin.
The past year and half has been a period of introspection and learning for us. What is white supremacy? What is white privilege? What are the microaggressions that we commit without realizing it? What are the institutional systems that stack the deck against upward mobility? Why is the education system so warped and unfair? Why are there food deserts in certain neighborhoods? Why are so many people of color dying of Covid-19? It goes on and on, the layers of unfairness that result in a country where people take to the streets to be heard, because that’s the only way to get anybody’s attention.
Another question: What can I do about any of this?
What Can I Do?
If anything is ever going to change in this country regarding the way people of color are treated, we white people must use our privilege for change.
We must not tolerate intolerance—the sly comment, that joke that is terrible but is told with a grin. Call it out.
We need to let our elected officials know that we are watching, that they are accountable for upholding the laws that are supposed to protect people of color. That you can’t choke a man to death and get away with it.
We spend a lot of time sharing videos and podcasts that will entertain you. Today, we’re sharing the resources that have been helpful to us as we reckon with racism in our country, our communities, and in ourselves. These are only a few of the many resources available—powerful, thought provoking, and educational. If you’re wondering what you can do, start here.
- Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla Saad. “This workbook is not about those white people ‘out there.’ It is about you. Just you.”
- The 1619 Project. “An ongoing project developed by The New York Times Magazine in 2019 with the goal of re-examining the legacy of slavery in the United States and timed for the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans in Virginia.”
- Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (a book and recent HBO movie)
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley
- I Am Not Your Negro (a 2016 documentary about the writer James Baldwin)
- “The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates (a 2014 article from The Atlantic. There’s an audio version in there.)
Organizations to Support
Send money to organizations that are working to change the system and to protect the vulnerable. Here are three to consider.
Southern Poverty Law Center. “Dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality.”
ProPublica. “In-depth, investigative journalism in the public interest.”
American Civil Liberties Union. “Exists to preserve and protect the liberties and privileges guaranteed to each individual by the Bill of Rights. These liberties include freedom of speech and expression, equal protection under the law, due process of law, and the right to personal privacy.”
Edited to add:
Equal Justice Initiative. “Committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the U.S., challenging racial and economic injustice, and protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
The NFC Momentum Fund. A new initiative by Baltimore dyer Karida Collins: “The NFC Momentum Fund will be able to receive tax-deductible donations that will be dispersed to a variety of organizations working for justice, empowerment, and equality. At its heart, the Fund will allow me to focus our giving on the areas that need it most.”
Write to Your Elected Officials
Politicians count the number of emails and phone calls they receive. Contact your Congress member and Senator, as well as your governor, mayor, and city council member.
Find your Congressional Representative here.
Find your Senators here.
Find your Governor here.
Not sure what to write? Write from the heart. It can be really simple, really short. Your unique message will resonate the best.
Ann and Kay