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Letter from the editor: June 2020

Minneapolis is burning. Salt Lake City is burning. Atlanta is burning.

While I sit here trying to write this month’s letter from the editor, my thoughts keep going to the lives we’ve lost just in the last few years to police and vigilante killings of Black and Brown people in the United States: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Botham Jean, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, Jamar Clark, Clementa Pickney, EJ Bradford, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Atatiana Jefferson, Philando Castile, Walter Scott, Ethel Lee Lance, Freddie Gray, Gregory Gunn, Natasha McKenna, Rekia Boyd, Kendra James, Pamela Turner.

These are just a few names of those killed in the United States. These killings are just one violent reminder that racism persists, overtly and covertly in the United States. We, at Contemporary Spinster, stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. We resolve to continue to talk about racism and its impacts on the lives of Black and Brown Americans even when that brutality is not front page news.

Over the next week we will share more resources on how to be an ally, specifically a white ally. This afternoon, Monetta will share her experience with racism and racism in the United States. In our conversations about allyship, racism, and the path forward, our focus will be on amplifying the voices of activists, educators, and thinkers from the Black community, not on further privileging white voices and thoughts. It is time for me-and by extension, Contemporary Spinster-to think critically about how this can be a platform to amplify the voices of those most minoritized and to think about how our words, this platform, and our privilege can be used in service to challenging racism in all of its forms: violence, poverty, healthcare, COVID-19, education, public services, and knowledge structures.

Racism was written into the very fabric of the United States, and it will take daily work and effort to deconstruct and reconstruct the institutions built on, and on the backs of, Black Americans. One article, one social media post, one day of outrage is not enough. The United States is burning, and let’s not let the message go unheeded. It’s past time for justice.

Thinking ahead to what we have planned for June, as I mentioned above, we’ll spend time this month focusing on how to be a better ally, thinking specifically about educational resources as well as ways to act, support, and donate that support anti-racist efforts.

Second, I’m also excited to share that we will be featuring artists from the Creative Kind effort that has been raising money for charities through their art auctions on Facebook. This month, I was able to purchase a stunning print created by our own Ellen Brennamen, and I’m excited to share each artist’s work and passion with you as well as support their fundraising efforts. Look for those features and the auction mid-month.

Finally, I am excited to announce that our next Virtual Book Club Read will be Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad: “Me and White Supremacy takes readers on a 28-day journey of how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.” (from the book description) Right now, the book is free if you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription. We’ll start our discussion the second week of July. In contrast to the current virtual book club, we’ll discuss the entire book at once, so I encourage you to start reading now. We’d love to have you join us in that conversation.

I hope you will join us this month in conversation, solidarity, and comments.

Stay well, and take good care.

Laura

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