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A new year has begun!  This month's newsletter includes noteworthy stories from 2020 as well as ways for you to get involved with the work of the Richmond Pledge in 2021.

The Richmond Pledge to End Racism monthly newsletter is an effort to help us maintain and build upon our pledge commitments.  We hope this newsletter is helpful, but know you can always update your subscription preferences.

January 2021

Table of Contents

Racism/Anti-Racism In the News in 2020

The journalists of Bloomberg Businessweek create a year-end Jealousy List, articles they admire and wish they could have been the ones to write.  Here are a few they identified for 2020 and why they feel they are noteworthy.
  • The Literature of White Liberalism from Boston Review
    "A good article always makes me want to be a better writer, but Melissa Phruksachart’s piece makes me want to be a sharper reader. Her examination of anti-racist literature, one of the publishing industry’s big phenomena this year, is sweeping and startling." - MAX ABELSON, REPORTER, BLOOMBERG NEWS
  • Why Minneapolis Was the Breaking Point from The Atlantic
    "Americans in May woke up to the reality of police brutality against Black people following George Floyd’s killing. So why now? Wesley Lowery in the Atlantic answers that question by weaving together half a decade of reporting on Black Lives Matter. He gets to the heart of the nation’s struggle with racial equality and gives voice to the people moving the discussion forward." ~ JORDYN HOLMAN, RETAIL REPORTER, BLOOMBERG NEWS
  • On Witness and Respair: A Personal Tragedy Followed by Pandemic from Vanity Fair
    "In a year defined by the twin pandemics of Covid-19 and racial injustice, I found myself reading a lot of personal essays about both. But no essay managed to capture this moment more skillfully than Jesmyn Ward’s deeply personal essay about losing her husband. A searing portrait of love, grief, and resilience, it has stayed with me more than anything else I’ve read in 2020." ~ DANA HULL, REPORTER, BLOOMBERG NEWS
  • The Life Breonna Taylor Lived, In the Words of Her Mother from Vanity Fair
    "This is an essential read and an essential voice in the Black Lives Matter movement. A harrowing account about the night of Breonna’s death and her mother Tamika Palmer’s memories of her." ~ THUY ONG, BREAKING NEWS EDITOR, BLOOMBERG NEWS
  • A Korean Store Owner. A Black Employee. A Tense Neighborhood. from The New York Times
    "This story has been in plain sight for decades. The author navigates complex, deep-seated racial and economic chasms with nuance, all while highlighting each side’s truth without doing so at the expense of one person’s perspective. The tragic boiling point is palpable, a la Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing." ~ GERALD PORTER JR., REPORTER, BLOOMBERG NEWS
  • The Black American Amputation Epidemic from ProPublica
    "The rate of amputations—by one measure, the most preventable surgery in the country—rose by 50% from 2009 to 2015. Black patients lose limbs at a rate triple that of others. These are just some of the staggering statistics revealed in this staggering story, a sweeping and intimate portrait of the devastating impacts of racism, poverty, and our insanely short-sighted health-care system. It will leave you furious at what’s happening and grateful for the people, like the physician at the heart of the story, devoting their lives to forcing change." ~ ESMÉ E. DEPREZ, REPORTER, BLOOMBERG NEWS
  • America’s Enduring Caste System from The New York Times
    "In an excerpt from her new book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson delves deep into our history as a country to reveal how centuries of proclaiming liberty and equality for all have been overshadowed by the intractable reality of racial hierarchy, so deeply instilled in the psyche of Americans that it infiltrates and guides our lives on a daily basis, and defines who we really are as a nation." ~ BRETT PULLEY, ATLANTA BUREAU CHIEF, BLOOMBERG NEWS
  • The Truth in Black & White: An Apology from the Kansas City Star
    This article was not among Bloomberg Buisnessweek's list, but is noteworthy in its own right.  The opening:
    "Today we are telling the story of a powerful local business that has done wrong. For 140 years, it has been one of the most influential forces in shaping Kansas City and the region. And yet for much of its early history — through sins of both commission and omission — it disenfranchised, ignored and scorned generations of Black Kansas Citians. It reinforced Jim Crow laws and redlining. Decade after early decade it robbed an entire community of opportunity, dignity, justice and recognition. That business is The Kansas City Star."  Continue reading...

Living the Pledge Workshop Update

Upcoming Pledge Workshops are Being Planned! 
We hope to hold our first Pledge workshop of the new year on six Tuesday evenings in February/March via Zoom from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. FACILITATORS:  let us know of your interest and availability to serve as a facilitator or leader so we can announce the dates and open up registration knowing we have the numbers needed.

Recruiting New Small Group Facilitators
Additionally, we look forward to holding a training event for potential new workshop facilitators in April.  More details on that in the coming months.

Get Involved in Expanding the Pledge in 2021!

The mission of the Richmond Pledge Steering Committee is to engage as many faith communities, organizations, and individuals in signing and living the Pledge to End Racism, encouraging them in their work to build a world where racism no longer exists.  To that end, in 2021 the Steering Committee is looking to form a series of task teams to engage more Pledge signers to help expand and deepen this movement in the Greater Richmond region.

We are looking for volunteers to join the following teams, all of whom would liaison with the steering committee:

  1. Living the Pledge Workshop Organizers - This group would schedule and organize workshops to be offered to the greater Richmond community, schedule and organize training events, and recruit new small group facilitators and large group leaders.  Their work could include assisting partner communities in hosting their first workshop.
  2. Communications Team - While the Richmond Pledge has a website, a social media presence, and a newsletter, these tools could be leveraged much more effectively (says the primary person trying to maintain them all!) with a team of folks that are passionate about sharing both the good work the Pledge is currently doing as well as opportunities for Pledge signers to live more fully into their commitment to end racism.
  3. Speakers Bureau - As we begin to reach out to faith communities and organizations about becoming Pledge signers and partners, we envision volunteers who would be available to speak one-on-one with interested groups' leaders as well as give presentations to their members about the Richmond Pledge and the Living the Pledge workshop.  The first task of such a group could be to review and create materials to be used in such presentations.
If you are interested in any of the above groups or have questions or ideas about how you might plug in, please contact us.  We are hoping to have initial meetings of the groups in January with those interested.

Pledge T-Shirts Available

Back by popular demand, we are pleased to announce the availability of Pledge to End Racism t-shirts.  The shirts are printed on-demand by Que Tees Print Shop, a local Black-owned business.  Orders are processed through their website (where you will see other related products for other organizations) and shipped directly to you by the store.  Prices start at $12 for short sleeve, $13.75 for long sleeve (plus shipping and tax).

Start a conversation and promote the Pledge by wearing your Pledge to End Racism t-shirt.

Order T-Shirt
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The Richmond Pledge to End Racism monthly newsletter is designed to help us maintain and build upon our pledge commitments.  We hope this newsletter will be helpful.  We welcome your suggestions and feedback.

If you only want to be updated about Richmond area Living the Pledge related activities (upcoming workshops, facilitator training, reunions, etc.) and do not wish to receive this monthly newsletter, you can update your profile.  If you are not interested in receiving this newsletter or any updates or requests from the Richmond Pledge to End Racism, you can unsubscribe to all email communication.
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