Recommentunde: Pressure Works | 16 June 2020

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The Recommentunde Newsletter

Sent on 16 June 2020 Edition

Hi you.

It’s me.

I’m tired today. Lots going on, so the opening remarks are brief. I’ve been making lots of media rounds lately.

Some worth checking out from the recent past:

  • I joined a BBC programme (that’s how they spell it) asking if the global system is racist. The short answer is “Yes!” but we spent 30 minutes stretching it out.

  • Brian Williams had me on his 11th Hour program (American spelling) Friday night and called my TED talk one of the greatest of all times.

  • Jemele Hill moderated a discussion about policing, white allies, and the future of anti-racism which I joined with Andrew Hawkins and Kimberly Jones. We were part of a larger 90 minute program called Bear Witness Take Action (watch from start, or just jump in at the Jemele panel).

And from the recent future:

Saturday at 2pm Pacific Time, I will perform in a “Remote Theatre” production featuring multiple performers from screen and stage. I’m doing a segment of Frederick Douglass that fits this time. You can register here.

And now for your regularly scheduled content in these revolutionary times…

Check out this weekend's virtual march on Washington at

Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington

Something worth doing Saturday instead of giving your attention to POTUS

There’s a lot of good programming this Juneteenth weekend. I’m highlighting just one, a virtual march with Reverend William Barber. The people of Tulsa are also cooking up something beautiful. Stay tuned to my socials for more.

Resource making it easier for you to change local policies

Thanks to Jill Manske who shared this in the chat during my Sunday live show. Hopefully you now understand what “defund the police” means and why it’s good. If not, see last week’s newsletter. This site offers templates for you to contact your local government and demand changes to the budget. So do it. Right now. Just do it.

Defund the police protests spur Albuquerque to create new alternative to police department

Article in Washington Post

Pressure works. Keep saying “defund the police” and tell them where the money should go. “Instead of the police or fire departments responding to 911 calls related to inebriation, homelessness, addiction and mental health, the new division will deploy unarmed personnel made up of social workers, housing and homelessness specialists, and violence prevention coordinators.” Right on, Albuquerque. I’ve literally never thought that before!

Houston’s ArtForJustice Virtual Museum launches in the spirit of George Floyd

Virtual gallery called Art For Justice

We can’t travel and gather indoors (unless you’ve signed away your rights to POTUS for a chance to spread coronavirus). Instead, we can get explore some really inspiring, thoughtful and beautiful works in this crowd-sourced exhibit created to honor George Floyd.

Wherein I Retweet Taylor Swift

Twitter thread.

I didn’t see that coming, the day I would retweet a Taylor Swift thread because she so plainly and clearly nails it on the topic of Confederate monuments and white supremacy. Well done, taytay.

Tools To Help with Talking About Race

Resources from the National Museum of African American History and Culture

This is a pretty good kit. Lots of these are flying around nowadays, so I’m not going to say it’s the best, but it’s accessible, well structured, and helped me understand some ways of approaching becoming more anti-racist.

How ‘All Black Lives Matter’ Emerged From The Ashes Of A Failed Solidarity March

Article in LAist

I learned a lot from this article. I admit when I first saw “All Black Lives Matter” I didn’t know what that was about. Thanks to reading, now I know and am happy to see the various pride celebrations honoring LGBTQ+ black folks, including those subject to violence, and updating the narrative to be much more inclusive.

Black community braces for next threat: Mass evictions

Article in Politico

Since our government didn’t build a proper safety net, since Black people are far more likely to rent and to pay a higher share of income in rent and to earn less money, we’ve got the makings of yet another preventable, racist disaster. People with no jobs and no homes tend to take to the streets even more. Congress might wanna get on this.

The Coronavirus Will Win

Super depressing article in The Atlantic

Sorry, not sorry. It’s all right there. No sugar coating. Enough blame for everyone in this piece. Damn.

Open Spreadsheet of Black Founded Nonprofits

Spreadsheet created by Christina Lewis

Christina is a friend who founded All Star Code. She initiated this crowd-sourced effort to identify black-founded non-profits. While people are in quite a giving mood lately, it’s important to direct those funds to the affected. Check out the listings on several tabs and add information for organizations you know of as well.

History Professor Finds 1906 Justification for Confederate Statues

Thread on Twitter

Primary sources are quite the thing. So much handwringing has been made about statues set up to honor traitors and losers. “It’s cause they fought valiantly!” yells a revisionist. But no. We have the receipts. They just wanted to keep Black people in our place.

When W. E. B. Du Bois Made a Laughingstock of a White Supremacist | The New Yorker

Long read or listen from The New Yorker

Thanks to Ina Pinkney for sharing this! I’m still getting through it, but it’s solid gold so far and shows are un-far we’ve come in many ways. Also it’s just nice to see a white supremacist get his butt handed to him way back in 1929.

10 Experts on How the George Floyd Protests Fit Into History

Short interviews in TIME

This is a great snapshot providing all sorts of historical context for this moment, most of which I haven’t seen mentioned in mainstream media.

The Short, Fraught History of the ‘Thin Blue Line’ American Flag

Article in The Marshall Project

Fascinating history of the thin blue line American flag which feels like it might become the new Pepe The Frog. Kudos to The Marshall Project for tracing down the multiple histories and providing a well rounded set of takes on the meanings of this symbol.


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Peace and Love.