“Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin
At Neighborhood House one of our most important core values is:
Equity: We believe equity is determined by the community and those who live in it. We share power, work to repair past inequity, and listen and learn from each other and our communities. We work together, with humility and courage, to disrupt poverty, racism, and injustice.
In order for us to live up to this value, we must face the uncomfortable truth that we live in a country that has not fully reckoned with the violence, displacement, and genocide that enabled it to prosper. We live in a country that has not fully lived up to its pledge of liberty and justice for all. We live in a country that is divided, where white supremacy and hate has become normalized by the news media, our political leaders, and ordinary people.
We must commit to learning, unlearning, and growing as individuals and an organization if we are to change. At Neighborhood House, we’ve taken a few first steps – we formed our Antiracism Challenge Team (ACT), we established affinity groups, and we’ve taken a stand on important issues that affect our community. This year, we will be working closely with our consultants, Racial Equity Action Lab (REAL) to develop ongoing all staff racial equity and social justice training, conducting an equity assessment, and developing a work plan to move us closer to becoming an anti-racist organization.
As we strive to live up to this value, to face what must be changed, I would like to challenge us all to do our own individual work – to learn and grow, to become more anti-racist. As an Asian American woman, I have my own experiences with racism and historical trauma, which I need to understand; but I am also committed to learning more about the Black experience in America. February is Black History Month and offers us an opportunity to learn more and reflect on America’s 400-year legacy of anti-Black racism, brutality and oppression, and it’s impact on the work we do, the world we live in, and our own attitudes and behavior. Below is a list of books, movies, podcasts, and articles by Black artists and authors about the Black experience.
Fiction and non-fiction books:
“Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
“The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison
“Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” by Beverly Daniel Tatum
“The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander
“Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism” by Bell Hooks
“Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston
“So You Want to Talk About Race” Ijeoma Oluo
“The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration” by Isabel Wilkerson
“When They Call You a Terrorist, A Black Lives Matter Memoire” by by Patrisse Khan-Cullors & Asha Brandele (the Directors Team is reading this book together as a book club)
“Get Out” directed by Jordan Peele
“12 Years a Slave” directed by Steve McQueen
“Selma” directed by Ava DuVernay
“Moonlight” directed by Barry Jenkins
“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas
Series and documentaries:
“When They See Us” on Netflix
“13th” on Netflix
“Dear White People” on Netflix
1619 Project (New York Times Magazine)
The Case for Reparations (The Atlantic)
Toward a Racially Just Workplace (Harvard Business Review)
By Janice Deguchi, Executive Director