Inspire. August.

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August’s inspiration posts were delayed by the entire month, but I am determined that this post tonight at the latest. It is the last day of August and there is still inspiration to be had.

August began with my being sick, some days quite ill, and I went to the Department of Health to take a covid test, which fortunately came back negative.

We’re still receiving updates from my children’s school and they are almost ready to return; one virtually and one in an in-person hybrid model.

We also were able to take a much needed family vacation, which we understand is a privilege in these uncertain times. I credit that to many things, not the least of which is the seriousness that New York State took in combatting the coronavirus. We remained in New York, and that gave us the ability to travel and to do so without a fourteen day quarantine anywhere else we may have gone. It wasn’t our original plan, but we were all together and we had a great week.

I mention this because the one thing I want to share with you for the August inspire post is a museum that we visited that I would encourage everyone to visit. I will write more about it in later days, but here is a small glimpse:

The Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center is located at 825 West Depot Avenue West in Niagara Falls, New York. It has only been open for about two years, and was reopened on July 18th after Covid closures.

It is very reasonably priced: $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors (62+), $6 for children 6-12, and Free for children 5 and under.

There is limited parking shared with the Amtrak station and it is on the Discover Niagara Shuttle, a free service in the city of Niagara Falls that operates May through October. They’ve recently reopened after Covid closures.

The Heritage Center is a beautiful balance of the heartbreak of slavery and escape from bondage and the people who helped them flee. It is at once inspiring and emotional. In one instant, a story caused me to weep while others made me feel joy at their new lives in Canada.

It is a small venue, but well worth the time. I would return again to enjoy the few things that were not available due to covid restrictions.

Inside the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center. (c)2020
We are *this* close to freedom.
Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center. (c)2020

How Can We Win – Kimberly Jones

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The following video is an emotional and profound witnessing in the day or so after rioting in Minneapolis. Watch it. Listen to it. Take it to heart.
Below the video are additional Twitter follows that I’ve added to Wednesday’s posts as well as three Wikipedia links to three abhorrent acts of racist terrorism, two of which Ms. Jones mentions in her video. I would remind readers that Wikipedia is a first step in learning and understanding about anything. It gives the gist and then more reading can follow. When people ask what’s the big deal about President Trump’s rallies and convention speech in the places and dates chosen, this is your opportunity to know the racist history. Kimberly Jones Matthew Cherry Ava DuVernay Nikole Hannah Jones (Ida Bae Wells) Michele Norris   Rosewood Massacre (FL) Tulsa Race Massacre (OK) Ax Handle Saturday (FL)

Amplifying Black Voices Through Twitter

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Some of these accounts I have been following for years, and some I just discovered. Some are better than others. I don’t agree 100% with all their tweets/posts. This is just my list of follows to get you started. It should be noted that there are many allies that I have not included in this first list. I wanted this to be strictly black voices. Any that you would like to add, please put in comments and I can include them in the future. Continue reading

Election Connection – 21 Weeks – Anti-Racist Resources

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With the surge of justice Twitter, Black Lives Matter, Defund the Police, Vote, we are being bombarded with some messages that we may not have been exposed to before.

For those of us who are white, it is time to stop talking and listen to the voices of the black experience. What follows is several resources that I have found in the last week simply by listening to those voices.

Later this week, I will share some people to follow on social media (primarily Twitter). Please contact me through comments or email with any suggestions of black voices that you want amplified.

NAACP

ACLU

Racial Inequality and Injustice – A Panel facilitated by Misha Collins through GISH (his charity scavenger hunt)

NAMI’s Statement on Recent Racist Incidents and Mental Health Resources for African Americans (this link is a repost from yesterday)

The Anti-Racist Starter Kit by Brea Baker

5 Ways to Better Support the Movement

10 Documentaries to Watch About Race Instead of Asking a Person of Colour to Explain Things For You

Baratunde’s World-Saving Books

Unlearning and Relearning Through Literature (Victoria Alexander’s Twitter Link)

Anti-Racist Resource Guide created by Victoria Alexander, MEd

Anti-Racism Resources for White People

Mental Health Monday – Black Lives Matter and Resources

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After the last post, I have tried to sit down to write about how I feel and what I think in preparation for returning with posts this week, and it has really been something of a struggle. Even before last week’s unrest and ongoing police brutality, I have been in a state of numbness throughout the lockdown and the marches and the President’s rhetoric is only exacerbating that.

In fact, it has made things more difficult as I watched what happened in Minnesota travel as an ever-increasing ripple from coast to coast and then swirling around the world.

I say all of this with the acknowledgement of enormous privilege. I do know that it is much more difficult for the people mourning George Floyd and marching and protesting and making their voices heard. I have no intention of co-opting that, and I’m trying to discern how I can navigate my way to allow myself to continue what I do here and at home while honoring and respecting what is happening in this country.

I spent last Wednesday, what Twitter called #BlackoutTuesday as a way to not post my usual nonsense across my social media platforms. I didn’t go completely offline because I don’t think that was the point of the day, but I didn’t engage unless I was amplifying black voices. I let myself read black community tweets, follow links, look into things that black voices recommended and consequently, I found some really good resources, most of which I will share tomorrow.

Today, I will recommend two books and a link to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) that they shared especially for African-American people who are living through another trauma that many of us just can’t understand.

Recently, in January, as part of a spiritual workshop I participated in that talked about inclusion, diversity and recognizing bias, I was able to discover and read White Fragility by Robin Diangelo. I would recommend it to every white person to read. It was a tough one, especially recognizing myself and people I know in the pages.

I am currently reading How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi. It’s also a tough one, in a very different way, but, it is also very good.

This is NAMI’s statement on recent racist incidents and Mental Health Resources for African Americans.

I will return tomorrow with more as part of Tuesday’s Election Connection series.

22 Weeks Until Election Day. #BlackOutTuesday #AmplifyBlackVoices

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Today is a day to amplify Black voices. This will be my only post today, and I’ve decided to postpone this week’s scheduled posts. As I was looking at my writing in progress for this week, I realized that going on as if nothing were happening in this country was, at a minimum, tone deaf. I will continue to update my covid-19 posts, and if I find anything helpful to the protests and justice for George Floyd and David McAtee (killed by police in Louisville (just in the last few days) and so many others that have been victims of police and government brutality. Mine is a voice that hasn’t had to live in a Black man’s skin and I’ve always tried to listen. Listening isn’t something I can do if I’m posting.

This graphic links to the secure act blue donation page. These are the organizations that any monies raised by this fund will be going to. Thanks to Crooked Media for providing the graphic on their Twitter.