A thing I read

Today, I started my day by getting really pissed off about this story. I urge you to read it too. A 15-year-old black girl was sent to a detention center for not completing her homework in the middle of a global pandemic. This is just so heinous. And it happened in the county I live in.

For this judge to deploy her racism at a teenage girl for being bad at school during a crisis that most ADULTS aren’t managing very well, is so disgusting. And it’s part of a larger pattern where we’re setting up black kids for failure by pushing them into the criminal justice system at much too early an age.

A report released last month, which found inadequate legal representation for juveniles in Michigan, noted that research has shown a disproportionate number of youth of color are incarcerated in Michigan overall. Black youth in the state are incarcerated more than four times as often as their white peers, according to an analysis of federal government data by The Sentencing Project, a nonprofit that addresses racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

A teenager didn’t do her online schoolwork. So a judge sent her to juvenile detention.

After I read this story, I emailed a whole bunch of people involved with this case and signed a bunch of petitions demanding that this student, Grace, be released.

If you’re interested in taking action too, here are some ways:


People to contact:


  • Immediately release Grace from juvenile detention and return her to her mother’s custody 
  • Judge Brennan should immediately resign from the bench of the Oakland County Family Court 
  • Prosecutor Jessica Cooper must drop all charges against Grace IMMEDIATELY and the Oakland County Prosecutor’s office must end the oppressive and racist practice of arresting and prosecuting children.

and VOTE!

The judge and prosecutors in this case are elected officials. We need to make sure that we have judges and prosecutors in office who are committed to anti-racist work. Don’t skip over these positions on your ballot—they have a major impact on your immediate community!

A short anti-racism reading list

Continuing on the theme of books from my last post, I wanted to talk about some nonfiction books that I’m excited to read. I’ve seen these books recommended repeatedly over the last couple of weeks, so they seem like the right place to start my anti-racist reading.

I’m going to have to break my longstanding trend of not buying new books (usually opting for the library instead, which is sadly still closed) so I can pick up some of these titles. And when I do break that trend, I’ll be buying from a black-owned bookstore. Check out this list for a rundown of black-owned bookstores around the US where you can place online orders.

What’s on your to-read list right now?


So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

“In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.”


How To Be An Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

“Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America–but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.”


The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
by Michelle Alexander

The New Jim Crow is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement.”


Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad

“This eye-opening book challenges you to do the essential work of unpacking your biases, and helps white people take action and dismantle the privilege within themselves. Based on the viral Instagram challenge that captivated participants worldwide, Me and White Supremacy takes readers on a 28-day journey, complete with journal prompts, to do the necessary and vital work that can ultimately lead to improving race relations.”


White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo, PhD

“Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.”

10 Black leaders you should follow on IG

Without further ado and in no particular order:

Rachel Cargle @Rachel.Cargle

Amanda Seales @amandaseales

Ijeoma Oluo @ijeomaoluo

Tarana Burke @taranajaneen

Patrisse Cullors-Brignac @osopepatrisse

Janet Mock @janetmock

Alicia Garza @chasinggarza

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#StayFocused #blacklivesmatter #GeorgeFloyd

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urdoingreat @urdoingreat

Layla Saad @laylafsaad

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Black LIFE matters.

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Brittany Packnett @mspackyetti

Black Lives Matter

We’re in the middle of a surge of anti-racist action right now, due to the recent horrific murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other black lives. It has been a full 8 years since Trayvon Martin was murdered—setting off the founding of the Black Lives Matter movement—and this trend of devaluing black lives and police abuse of black bodies has not slowed. It’s heartening to see how active so many people are getting right now, while also completely heartbreaking that it’s taken so many tragic deaths for us to get here. We need to keep up this momentum so that we can begin to end this cycle. White folks like myself especially need to step up. We need to educate ourselves and take any and all action we can—speaking with our loved ones and neighbors, attending protests, donating, and more.

Here are a few ways to get started.

Check out the Black Lives Matter website, sign their petition to defund the police, and check if your area has a local chapter to connect to actions in your community.

Follow along with the week of action organized by the Movement for Black Lives that’s happening now. For each day they’re sharing a variety of big and small ways to take action and resources to help. They also have really in depth descriptions of what they’re specifically fighting for and why—take a moment to familiarize yourself with these goals.

Sign the petitions to demand justice for George Floyd and for Breonna Taylor.

Read this: Why You Need to Stop Saying “All Lives Matter”

Let me be clear: our stating that black lives matter doesn’t insinuate that other lives don’t. Of course all lives matter. That doesn’t even need to be said. But the fact that white people get so upset about the term black lives matter is proof that nothing can center the wellbeing and livelihoods of black bodies without white people assuming it is to their demise.