Take A Moment To Grieve

Returning To The Scene, Ghost Restaurants, and Rockin' Girls

I can’t believe it’s been a year. May 25, 2020, is what I still in my mind refer to as Amy Cooper Day. She was the dog walker who called the police on Black birdwatcher Christian Cooper in Central Park. She weaponized her discomfort seeking to crush him under the weight of state violence. I posted this 10-minute video analyzing the incident. During the video,  I made a brief reference to an incident in Minnesota that hadn’t yet broken through the news. 

I saw Amy Cooper calling the police on Christian Cooper as her attempt to instigate a murder, like the one Derek Chauvin committed. I didn’t know the details at the time, but the link was clear: Police too often and too easily kill Black people in the United States. Christian Cooper escaped. George Floyd did not. And neither have we.

We are still trapped in a cage of our own history, fear, and limited imagination. We repeat cycles of abuse, neglect, and denial. So many of us know what holds us back, but too many are afraid to break free. Am I describing the United States, the human condition, or myself? Yes. 

As we look back on the anniversary of this murder in Minneapolis, let’s take a moment to fully feel whatever we need to feel. To grieve, not just George Floyd, but the multigenerational acts of violence and trauma that have led us to this moment. To grieve the loss of hope, opportunity, and joy along the way. We don’t do that enough. So take a moment for yourself to pause, grieve, and breathe. 

With that breath, grief, and feeling, let’s try to release a little more of the shame and fear of our past and make room for a little more freedom in our future.

  • TED has posted an excerpt of my 2019 talk on YouTube. The comments are the fun/depressing part. 

  • I was a guest on Minnie Driver’s podcast, and it’s one of the most open and vulnerable conversations I’ve ever had in public. She’s dropping the interview over two episodes this Wednesday and next. Subscribe now to hear both. I’m following Tony Blair, Nick Jonas, and Chelsea Clinton! 

  • In the latest How To CItizen, I spoke with Ai-jen Poo of the National Domestic Workers Alliance about why we accept an economy that creates a class of people called the “ working poor” and what we can do about it. Spoiler: Pay people better and treat care as infrastructure. 

  • Finally, I’ve been thinking about Tulsa and the massacre of its Black community which happened 100 years ago next week. I’m glad to see President Biden plans to visit, and I encourage you to visit the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission to learn more and try to attend virtual events over the coming weeks. 

The Community Still Makes Me Feel We All Belong to Each Other’ (Eater)

This is one of those read-every-word articles. Minneapolis restaurant owner Gandhi Mahal, whose business burned down during the George Floyd protests last year, is the embodiment of how to citizen. In this interview, he connects the dots from colorism in his native Bangladesh to racism in America, the climate crisis, and regenerative agriculture. Inspiring!

Explaining HIPAA: No, it doesn’t ban questions about your vaccination status. (Washington Post)

Hitting you with some real information about HIPAA and the false idea that it prevents businesses from asking about your vaccination status.  

More than 50 years before George Floyd's death, lawmakers predicted a growing racial divide (CNN)

All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again. I got that line from Battlestar Galactica, but it also applies to racism in the United States. If you aren’t familiar with the Kerner Commission and previous attempts to study and resolve U.S. racism, check this out. It’s a humbling reminder of our inertia. 

What are ‘ghost restaurants’? That spot on your delivery app might not actually exist (Boston Globe)

I thought of a fun project the other day. As we reopen society, we should visit the physical locations of all the restaurants where we’ve been ordering delivery. We could thank the workers in person, see what the place is like IRL, and discover that we’ve all been ordering from a van parked in an alley in the warehouse district. I wasn’t far off!

Trump's stranglehold on the GOP is a death trap for American democracy (MSNBC)

Dope piece by Michael Steele, former chair of the Republican Party. I’ve increasingly grown to respect this man and had a great conversation with him on his podcast last year. He continues to spit truth about the threats we all face due to the cowardice and corruption inside his political party. For a booster shot of realism, read Perry Bacon in the Washington Post raising the alarm about our democracy. 

Knowing Where to Look: 108 Daily Doses of Inspiration

I’m digging in and finding gems in this new book by my friend Light Watkins. It reminds me of the 1998 book Acts of Faith by Iyanla Vanzant my mother always kept around (as did I), the kind you could flip open to a random page and infer that this particular lesson was what you needed right then. This is the page I opened, so I thought I’d share it with you. 

Video time!

Little girls of color with a punk banger! I promise The Linda Lindas will give you chills, and I can think of no better way to close out this edition of the newsletter. 

Thanks to Michelle and Martha for contributing links to this edition. If you have something you think I should include, email me, or text the link to 202-894-8844.