Dear Truckee CoHousing Friends & Community –
You, like many of us, may have attended The Say Their Names Vigil last week in Downtown Truckee. Thank You. You might be asking yourself, “What happens now?”
Now, the real work begins.
What is that work?
The work is to become “anti-racist,” which is to be someone who fights, continually, against racism and helps those around them to do the same.
It’s easy for those of us in primarily White communities to think that racism is diminished because of the homogeneity of our area or the seemingly pleasant and neighborly conversations we often have while going about our errands. That said, primarily White spaces are, by definition, anti-Black. Which means, for those of us who live in Truckee, a primarily White (anti-black) town, there is much anti-racist work to be done.
That work, my friends, is what this post is about.
But first, A Note about The Anti-Racist Work:
The work is constant, relentless, and on-going. If it ever feels difficult, uncomfortable or unwanted, I would ask for you to do the following: compare that discomfort to whatever your perceived notion of what it is like to be Black in this country. (If you think it is easier than your existence, please check the headlines and see if any of the injustices suffered by Black Americans have recently happened to someone with your level of melatonin.) It is a position of privilege to “decide” to do the work. The moment has come for us, as non-Black People of Color and White folk to do the work.
1. The Internal Work
How are you doing? Are you ready to fight against your internalized racism? Yeah? Awesome. Nervous? Me too. Let’s do this together.
What does that work look like?
There are a lot of resources out there. Enough to get overwhelmed. I’m no expert, but I’m excited to do the work with you. So, here’s a quick framework to help think about how and where to start:
There are a ton of books to read – which is good, because education is key here. Below my personal recommendations are some links to more extensive reading lists and a gentle reminder to support Black bookstores or, for Truckee locals, our neighborhood spot, Word After Word. (Even if the book is more expensive, think of it as a small gesture towards long, long owed reparations or a dollar well spent in the fight against corporate-conglomerates.)
“The Death of George Floyd, In Context,” by Jelani Cobb of The New Yorker
“Of Course There Are Protests. The State Is Failing Black People,” by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor for the New York Times
“The Case for Reparations,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates for The Atlantic
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children In A Racially Unjust America by Jennifer Harvey
More Places to Find Things to Read
B. Watch, Listen, and Follow
How many books, podcasts, or Black artists have you listened to or followed recently? That’s great! (Not great, if that answer is zero.) Regardless, part of the anti-racist work is expanding that list.
C. Continue to Educate Yourself
Here are three pretty amazing resources of many, many things to read, watch, and listen. As I mentioned, the work is on-going.
Overwhelmed, yet? Me too.
So, as you work – I’d encourage you to make it a habit – and stack your habits. What kinds of media do you consume? Whatever you naturally consume – seek to diversify it. Can you find something similar, but made or created by a creator of color? You don’t know of any bluegrass indie Black artists? Well, they exist – keep looking.
As you work to develop the richness of your interior landscape, I encourage you to likewise share that wealth with your friends – which brings me to point 2.
2. The External Work
The biggest, most exciting thing to me is the fact that a central part of this uprising, compared to others, involves White people talking TO OTHER WHITE PEOPLE.
How often do you talk with your other White friends, family, and children about race? Probably far less often than Black, Indigeouns, and People of Color (BIPOC) people talk to other BIPOC friends about race. So, change that. Below are three external-facing habits that will help not only you, but your community continue to do the work.
A. Talk About Race
Just do it. It’s uncomfortable, I know. Keep doing it. Talk about your privilege. Talk about your internalized-racism. (If you think you don’t have any- definitely talk about it.)
Here’s link about having conversations about race: Especially the hard ones. This one’s the big one. In the hard, racist moments- do the right thing. Here’s another link about having hard conversations.
B. Share Black-Forward Content
Look at what you’re sharing – what percentage of content by Black creators are you sharing to your surrounding community? Whatever it is, change it for the better. Elevate Black voices. Share to the moment.
C. Donate & Support Black-Owned Businesses
Reparations are real. The loss of financial resources suffered by the Black community due to centuries of injustice are also real. Give. Donate. Support Black Businesses. Even if it’s small, start now. We are in a capitalistic society. Money talks. Say the right thing.
If you’re donating: please consider a recurring donation – while a large donation once is nice, a monthly sustainable for the rest of your life is far more impactful. Here are some lists of places to give.
As you become more comfortable with the external work, the next step is to bring it to your wider community.
What’s this mean? Create Sustainable Patterns – and then get your community to do it. Some ideas:
A. Once you’ve started giving (See: 2C,) ask your friends if they’re giving.
Tell them it doesn’t have to be a lot, but encourage them to start.
And remember: Giving a sustainable monthly amount is amazing, but getting four other friends to match that and then having them ask their friends – now that’s powerful.
2. Similarly – challenge your friends to speak with their friends about race
Given the racial make-up of Truckee, odds are there are tons of people who are uncomfortable acknowledging their privilege – especially if they feel disadvantaged in another way. (And think how hard it would be if they were disadvantaged in that way and Black!) Racial privilege is real. Talk about it with your friends. And then get them to talk about it with their friends.
3. Share Your Ideas, Here
As I said, this is by no means comprehensive. It’s just a start. What do you want to do? Let us know, and let’s go do it. And let’s keep doing it.
One Last Thought:
Anti-Racism is a practice, a habit. Like any learned skill, you are going to make mistakes. From @itsjacksonbbz (A Black Activist Worth a Follow, Share, Elevation – and if you don’t want to follow, elevate, share – lean into that “Why Not” 😉 )
So let’s start practicing, now, tomorrow, and always.
Here for you as we learn together,
Daria Miyeko Marinelli
Daria Miyeko Marinelli is a bi-racial playwright, screenwriter, and future neighbor of Truckee River CoHousing.
Truckee River CoHousing is a grassroots group of North Tahoe locals collaboratively building an ecologically-designed community at 10925 West River Street, in Truckee, California. The community features private homes, shared community space, and exceptional access to mountain and river open space. To learn more, visit https://www.cohotruckee.org and RSVP for a virtual site tour or one of the group’s public events.