Thursday, June 4, 2020

Black Out Tuesday: Resources for Learning and Reflecting

I had originally planned to write this post about cooking trends during COVID-19, but that topic feels insignificant in the wake of the recent killing of George Floyd. Since his death, millions of people, including many entrepreneurs, have taken to the streets to protest police brutality and unequal justice. I’m writing this post on Black Out Tuesday (#blackouttuesday), a social-media initiative that was started by record-industry executives Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas to amplify black voices, to support the Black Lives Matter movement, and to promote policy change. “Take a beat for an honest, reflective and productive conversation about what actions we need to collectively take to support the Black community,” Agyemang and Thomas urged on their #theshowmustbepaused website.

So, instead of musing on the surge in quarantine baking and the best banana bread recipe, I’d like to use this space to share with our audience of entrepreneurs some resources during a time to reflect on the challenges our society is facing. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I am merely learning myself. My Facebook feed is flooded with recommendations today, but maybe you aren’t seeing the same content or maybe you’re looking for a another perspective. Either way, I hope these resources provide some helpful ways to engage with others during this time.

Books to Read 

The staff at Wild Rumpus, the wonderful children’s bookstore in Linden Hills, has posted a reading list on their website of recommended books for talking about racism and justice. The list is organized by age with a section for young kids, middle grade readers, young adult readers, and adult readers. Wild Rumpus will donate a portion of the proceeds from the books on this list to Black Lives Matter Minnesota. Their no-contact curbside delivery option makes it easy to pick up one of these books.

Films to Watch

In a New York Magazine article, “12 Documentaries You Should Watch About Racism and Police Brutality in America,” Jason Bailey compiled a list of documentaries, which includes the following films:  

  • Let the Fire Burn (2013)
  • Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982–1992 (2017) / LA 92 (2017)
  • Whose Streets? (2017)
  • Copwatch (2017)
  • 16 Shots (2019)
  • Do Not Resist (2016)
  • The Force (2017) / Crime + Punishment (2018)
  • The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017)
  • 13th (2016)
  • I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

Resources for Parents 

The NPR Podcast Life Kit has a valuable episode for parents called “Parenting: Difficult Conversations – Talking Race With Young Children.” A few key takeaways from the talk: 

  • Don’t shush or shut your kids down if they mention race.
  • Don’t wait for kids to bring it up.
  • Be proactive, helping them build a positive awareness of diversity.
  • When a child experiences prejudice, grown-ups need to both address the feelings and fight the prejudices.
  • You don’t have to avoid topics like slavery or the Holocaust. Instead, give the facts and focus on resistance and allies.  

Also, please see the online resource library, “Resources for Talking about Race, Racism and Racialized Violence with Kids,” which was compiled by the Center for Racial Justice in Education. 

Businesses to Support

In a Citypages article, “Black-owned restaurants in the Twin Cities to support right now (and always),” Sarah Brumble has compiled a great list of local black-owned restaurants that are still operating during the pandemic. “Consciously choosing to put money directly in the hands of the individuals who are more likely to suffer at the hands of a broken system seems like a baby step to tipping (or balancing) the scales of power,” writes Brumble. “This can be as simple as ordering food from black-owned restaurants.” Here’s a quick summary of the restaurant list from her article: 

A Mpls.St.Paul Magazine article “Where to Support Black-Owned Businesses in the Twin Cities,” by Bergen Flom, Tiffany Lukk, Dru Berry, and Evie Odden, which overlaps with the restaurant list above and includes other types of businesses as well. “Redirecting our economic resources is one important step towards achieving racial equity in the Twin Cities business landscape,” write Flom et al. 

I hope some of these resources resonate with you and help inform the conversations you’re having with your colleagues, your friends, and your children. Talking about racial issues can be uncomfortable, but it is so very important as we strive to end systemic racism in our country.  

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