Children’s Books Come to Life! Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices

As the pandemic and/or poor air quality has many parents relying on screentime, it’s increasingly important to share high quality programming and consider who is reflected in the shows our children view. That’s why I’m pleased to share this new series from Netflix:

Stories shape how our children see themselves, and offer them a window into the world beyond their own. Stories show us the power our voices can have, to make a difference, and to incite change.Many of us have turned to books to navigate hard conversations around topics like race, representation and self-love with our kids. And that was the inspiration for our new live-action preschool series, Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices, bringing children’s stories from prolific Black creators centering around themes of identity, respect, justice and action to the screen.

We Must Face Fascist Federal Attacks On Our City

Former HFP Board Member, Dana Buhl, is now the Social Justice Director at The First Unitarian Church of Portland.”Dana has been out on the streets, in the coalition meetings, and organizing her congregation. She says, ‘What’s happening in Portland is a flashpoint that demonstrates where we are locally and as a nation. We’re at a crossroads. Are we going to increase the violent militarized police state, and consolidate authoritarianism and fascism in this country, or are we going to dismantle these systems of white supremacy? Are we going to continue locking up and locking out millions of people, or are we going to decolonize our culture and transform our economy to meet people’s needs, create racial equity, and stop the devastation of our planet?’ ”

Read entire article here: We Must Face Fascist Federal Attacks On Our City

 

We Need Both Peaceful and Non-Violent Protesters

“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”– Former U.S. Representative and civil rights leader, John Lewis (tweet June, 2018).

NASHVILLE, TN – NOVEMBER 19: Congressman/Civil Rights Icon John Lewis views for the first time images and his arrest record for leading a nonviolent sit-in at Nashville’s segregated lunch counters, March 5, 1963. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

Thousands of Portlanders are showing up in support of Black Lives, against police brutality and more recently, against the involvement of the militarized Feds in our city.  There is a current dispute about which strategies are effective. I find this recent Facebook post from Portland resident Scott Swigart “So you support peaceful protests?” to be a helpful perspective.

“Peaceful: People chanting, holding signs, marching, singing, getting a permit for the march, complying with directions from authorities.

Violent: Throwing Molotov cocktails, bricks, etc.

Non-violent: Non-compliance with directions from authorities, civil disobedience, trespassing, graffiti, property damage, harmless fires, pop-up ribs restaurant in the park to feed protesters without a permit, throwing empty plastic water bottles.

Here’s the thing. While peaceful protesters are critical, no successful protest movement has ever been entirely peaceful. And here’s why.

Leaders can ignore peaceful protests. There’s no reason to crack down on them. They’re no threat to anything. They lose steam over time. They don’t make anyone feel uncomfortable.

Non-violent protesters provoke a state response. Sit-ins, starting a fire on the concrete sidewalk near the concrete justice center. Taking the fence down around the justice center. These are things the state can’t simply ignore.

When non-violent protesters act, the state, and here’s the important part, indiscriminately overreacts, and inflicts violence on the whole group of protesters. The 95% peaceful ones, and the agitators.

And that makes persuasive photos and video.

‘Feds Gas Portland Mayor’ only made worldwide headlines because some anonymous kids started a small fire on the sidewalk 100 feet away. And the feds (a) didn’t put the fire out, and (b) gassed everyone, including (c) the mayor, which (d) lead to national publicity, which (e) increases support for the protest movement and forces the state to change.

Peaceful protesters are critical. But their biggest impact is being photographed and filmed while being attacked by an overzealous state that was provoked by non-violent protesters.

Be a peaceful protester, but let the kids tearing down the fence do their thing. Because together, you change the world.”

 

Teachers Demand Safety as Trump Pushes Schools to Reopen- Democracy Now Article

As we consider the impacts of the pandemic and the challenges of returning to school, there are many equity issues in play.  This Democracy Now article highlights a few.

“I Love My Students. I Also Want to Live”: Teachers Demand Safety as Trump Pushes Schools to Reopen (full article)

Excerpt: “I think that it’s time to redefine what public safety means. Is public safety police brutalizing Black and Brown communities, or is public safety making sure the 150 homeless kids that attend my high school have a place to sleep at night? Right? Is public safety about police in every school building, or is public safety making sure there’s a counselor and a nurse and trauma counseling and restorative justice in every school? Right? And is public safety federal troops in our cities, or is it COVID testing for all of our youth and educators?

And I resoundingly want to side with the folks that say we need to make sure that the money is flowing towards these social programs, instead of to the police and, really, to bailing out the richest folks in this country. I mean, this government could find $1.5 trillion to bail out the financial sector and corporations, but we don’t have the money for personal protective equipment for teachers and students? It’s outrageous.” Jesse Hagopian, Seattle Teacher and editor of Rethinking Schools

Sign Petition: Racism Is A Public Health Threat

If you don’t want to read the lead up, and just want to click on the link to sign, here it is:
 
For those who want more context…
 
Leslie Gregory is my bad&%# primary care provider. As a Black woman and medical practitioner for 20 years, she has a deep understanding of the health effects of racism. It’s only been recently that I’ve fully understood her advocacy. 
 
I happened to have an appointment with her one of the days that Iran and the US were escalating tensions. She connected some dots, and specifically asked about the stress caused by being part of one of the targeted groups in the last three years. This was the first time my ethnicity had ever been addressed in a medical setting in consideration of my whole well being. I remember thinking how thoughtful it felt to be acknowledged that way, and also, I clocked my (mostly) white privilege, thinking how I can’t imagine what stressors are incurred by a Black woman on the daily. If she was worried about the effect of racialized stress on MY health, I imagined the concerns for brown and Black folks would be significantly greater.
 
After 6+ months, I was back in her office, and I learned about this petition and the cause she’s been championing for over a decade. She was writing letters and making phone calls to the CDC 10 years ago and was effectively gaslit. This petition is hoping to take renewed energy into the cause and get the CDC to call a spade a spade: racism is public health threat. Naming it is the first step in developing a treatment. 
 
Thanks for considering! And if you’re so moved, please feel free to forward and link as you see fit. 
 
With love and solidarity,
Mitra, former HFP president