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This week
"The work is offline. The work is online. The work includes presence. The work includes absence. The work is virtual. The work is in the streets. The work is in legislative halls. The work is in art. The work is in policies. The work is at the polls. The work is where we are." -Bernice King.

On CYG, Aminatou chats with Elaine Lui of LaineyGossip about bringing a critical lens to celebrity culture in this moment, plus small-business ownership and knowing your worth.

I'm reading
"But maybe history ain’t even history; maybe it’s just another kind of grief." A few of the key steps if we are to learn from our history and not merely repeat it. "Over and over we're told that we've reached the happy conclusion when really we're being held in place." Why Black children have no choice but to be precocious. How a group of teen girls organized Nashville's largest protest. Justin Ellis and Safy-Hallan Farah on growing up in Minneapolis—and Michele Norris on "Minnesota nice." Confederate monuments are not, and cannot be, neutral. Black travelers' complex relationship with the road trip. Running the numbers on the racial wealth gap. Are you saying "people of color" when you mean Black people? How to sign "Black lives matter" in ASLBlack. Life. Cherish. Why John Lewis and Ta-Nehisi Coates are hopeful. "Optimism is always the primary justification for its own existence. It can seem naive until it is gone." Shailah Edmonds on being a Black fashion model in 1970s Paris. "Distraction has become both a carefully-nursed desire and a requirement just to get through the days." The influencers trying to turn protests into a see-and-be-seen event. The overdue racial reckoning in women's media—and on the NextDoor app. Corporations "stand in solidarity" with communities they exploit. A Cambodian factory worker who makes Michael Kors handbags was jailed for posting about her coronavirus fears, and a pregnant student protester in India is also jailed and at risk. How men and women detained by ICE are desperately trying to sound the alarm about their coronavirus risk. The toll that curfews have taken on unhoused people. A dispatch from Wuhan after lockdown. What we can learn from "untranslatable" illnesses. How apples go bad. So you think you know the banjo?

Pie chart
The American Delusions Pie
(Based on today's headlines, aka non-comprehensive.)

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I’m looking & listening
Dating White, a new podcast that explores nuanced stories of interracial dating. Wendell Britt on how allies can stop asking and start doing. Novelist Brandon Taylor on walking away from a grad program in biochemistry. The true cost of Confederate monuments. A visual timeline of the crackdown before Trump's photo-op. And I found this Planet Money episode on police unions extremely informative.

Legendary activist Marsha P. Johnson with the truth: "You never completely have your rights, one person, until you all have your rights."

GIF from Pay it No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson. The film is online thanks to Frameline Voices, an archive that highlights "the stories of those in the LGBTQ community most underserved by mainstream media; youth, elders, people of color, and transgender and genderqueer people."

I endorse
Some further resources for people—white people in particular—who are newly committed (or re-committed) to working in support of Black lives:
  • "Guess what! Police violence isn’t something you read about or watch on the internets. It’s everywhere cops are and cops are everywhere. That means you can fight it no matter where you are." Here's how to begin, even if you live in a city where there is not already an organized effort to defund the police force. Thanks, Mikki Halpin. (This strategy can also be applied to your county law enforcement, your school board, the list goes on...)
  • A series of online workshops from the Make Yourself Useful collective on topics like how to have difficult conversations within predominantly white family and friend networks, organizing your block to not call the cops, and media literacy.
  • gentle but firm reminder from Erica Chidi that you will need to support your own mental health to do this work.
  • A template response from Klea McKenna for when you're presented with a professional opportunity you want to ensure is inclusive. I think it's nice to have templates like this to get started, but you'll always find me advocating for a strong personal edit. Make it your own!! I now have an adapted version of this letter in my notes app so I can refer to it easily when I'm replying to email requests.
  • And a calendar-based tip, from Karen Hawkins: "Set an alarm on your phone for 3, 6, 9, 12 months from now and when it goes off, look at your life and count how many Black businesses, orgs & artists you're still supporting. How many antiracism resources are you using? How many of your own bias have you addressed?" My calendar is duly updated. Set it and don't forget it!

The Classifieds

Expert video therapy, feminist sensibility. Specializing in women's empowerment, anchoring digital nomads/expats. Let's see if we are a fit.
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"Thank you for a consistently fascinating and excellent newsletter every week
@annfriedman. It makes my Friday afternoon." -Edward Shepard. Every week, I feel grateful that I have a non-social-media outlet for sharing things that I think are important. I love being able to metabolize the news at a weekly rather than hourly rate. And I really appreciate you all clicking and showing up to be part of this thing.

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Whew, Aminatou and I wrote a book! It's out in ~one month~, and you can pre-order and read more about it at

Ann Friedman

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