[Be The Change] Resources for a Movement in a Racially Divided Moment

Say THEIR Names!!! by What Would Naomi Do • A podcast on Anchor

“Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

Only when we can fully embrace the humanity of all of our brothers and sisters, we will never truly be human. Please take some time to reach out to your African American friends; this is an unprecedented moment in America, and what we’re slowly understanding is this isn’t simply an American problem – thanks to the spread of colonialism, and the continued exploitation of natives from Africa – the idea that Black Rights Matter isn’t local, or national; this is an international, humanitarian issue.

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Over the last 72 hours, we have seen incredible uprising and support from allies around the world – from France and England, to Germany the Netherlands and New Zealand. Now that we’ve risen, we need to see and inspire a re-education to rewrite the current narrative of African Americans. We have to literally go back to school and unlearn the teachings, or how many leaders have pointed out – actually teach children the true history of this country, so they can understand how the backs that built this country finally broke.

I have way too much to say right now about the unlawful militaristic patrol of our communities, improper use of police force by those sent to ‘protect and serve‘, Trump’s pathetic and bewildering stunt yesterday to move protesters for a photo opportunity, the mobilization of a military wing of the government that has duly promised that they would prevent terrorism both foreign and domestic, as well the use of war weapons on civilians that have been banned by the Geneva convention, but let’s put that on the back burner and revisit that later. ‘

As a Black, Jewish woman – I have always felt the weight of the world was against me, but I also recognize that I’ve had incredible privilege due to my education, and the experiences that life awarded me. I “pass“, most people think I’m a different race completely, someone even has asked where my tan comes from (I know…), and know that I most certainly haven’t endured the plight of the Black American – so even I’m trying to grapple with what I can’t comprehend. If that’s my reality, I can only imagine how someone who has barely or never been marginalized is wrapping their heads around this.

So, how do we learn from the past, engage in the present and move forward to assist our Black brothers and sisters? This is a list of media that has affected my personal outlook and understanding on race, I hope you and yours find them beneficial as well.

For the Frontliners:

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ReadingBlackout: 29 Books to Read This Black History Month - Bookish

Books: Just one simple search, and you’ll discover thousands of books by thousands of unique Black voices, telling poignant stories. I could list them all, but here are the ones that have stuck with me all these years:

Bonus books for those wanting to also understand from a mixed race perspective, or just conversations about race in general:


TV Shows and Movies:

  • Insecure (HBO)
  • Snowfall (FX)
  • Mixed-ish / Black-ish (ABC)
  • 13th (Netflix)
  • American Son (Netflix)
  • Do The Right Thing
  • Ghosts of Mississippi (Amazon Prime)
  • Queen and Slim
  • Dear White People (Netflix)

Donate: Put your money where your mouth is with these organizations


Petition: against a demilitarized police force and better training, more empathetic politicians in office and a more inclusive, diverse community:

What are you doing to lift up the Black community right now as it experiences the compounded effects of years of systemic racism? Any resources you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!

Don’t complain, activate.

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[The Audiofiles] My Heart Is With Oakland

Artwork from Elizabeth Reyes

Dance Music evolves at a lightning fast pace, and as we rush into the next moment, next song, next event and next festival at an exponential speed it somehow feels easier to forget the humble beginnings of the scene.  Now in 2016, EDM has bulldozed its way into the mainstream while the population has evolved into all inclusive hodgepodge of every type of soul the world has created.  But, a decade ago – two decades ago?

Dance Music was for the freaks and the weirdos, minorities and queers, artists and poets, lovers and friends, people questioning their social identity, people questioning their gender identity and people questioning life.

The dancefloors are full of personalities that felt they couldn’t fit in anywhere else, so instead of retreating into our loneliness, we used that feeling to bring us together, curating a safe space for us to coexist; it just so happened that we coexisted in the modern trenches, in warehouses, in pseudoaffordable units that more resembled a bohemian commune of like-minded individuals rather than the imposed housing infrastructure of common society. Because let’s face it, most forms of societal infrastructure seem null and void to many of us.  For a group of individuals that have stopped finding value in the monetization of life, the community gave something of actual value to us.

Our community was born in the dark recesses of abandoned spaces, decorating them with their technicolor energy and otherworldly grooves.    And the more underground the event? The better the crowd, and the beautiful ethos the events created felt palpable – like a silent passion by which each of us lived.  It’s easy to forget where you ended and the rest of the dancefloor began, as hot, sweaty bodies boldly paraded every which way around the dance floor as we slowly became one breathing, loving, living, dancing, conscious organism.

On Friday, December 2nd – the Dance Community was shaken by tragic news out of Oakland. An artistic collective known to some as Ghost Ship, others as Satya Yuga, caught on fire around 11:30 with dozens of people inside, with stairwells made of pallets, wooden decoration haphazardly strewn throughout the venue and exposed electrical cords.

 Image From Ghost Ship’s Website

From New York City to Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco and more high-density metropolitan areas – the popularity of Warehouse Parties has never dwindled, and the power of the internet has propelled their popularity while keeping some of their elusive secrets. Like many of my friends, when I first caught the news out of the Bay Area, my first thought was it that could have been any of us.  I was at a warehouse party just two weeks ago, I’m going to another on Saturday, and I’ll probably go to a handful every year, for the next decade. If you don’t go to warehouse parties, chances are you have a friend that goes, or will go – a best friend that delights on the dance floor, a lover that lives for the nightlife, a brother, a sister, maybe even a parent – because that’s the thing, unlike the way the real world feels every now and again, these events actually are all inclusive, they let you breathe, they let you be free and live precisely within the moment.  They’re a wonderful, whimsical ride – and to think that lives were taken away in the middle of one of those moments is enough to bring a grown person to tears.

The fire also highlights something that artists have felt in large urban areas forever – the financial pinch for housing.  Prices are astronomical and starving artists who live, breathe and eat their work will do anything, live anywhere, to fuel their creative fire.  Live with 10 strangers in a makeshift home? Sure.  Build a personal space in a loft with a dozen other creatives? Of course! Because artist housing isn’t afforable.

The unfortunate circumstances of the fire evoke a menagerie of feelings, from sorrow for my Bay Area dance community, to the empathic horror of the victims and victims families, to understanding the true nature of both the events we go to and the community we choose to thrive in.  From all accounts, Ghost Ship was as beautiful as it was a safety hazard – with exits boarded up, flammable decorations and a staircase made of pallets.  Things that from now on it’s up to the rest of us to call out, because again – from all accounts – this could have also been avoided if we chose to truly hold each other accountable.

As it stands, this is one of the deadliest structure fires in recent United States history. To assist victims of the Oakland Warehouse Fire, San Francisco’s Grey Area Art + Technology Group have put together a Donation Page while Professional Sports teams from the Oakland Warriors, who play at Oracle just a few miles from the venue, as well as the Oakland A’s and Raiders have a donation page as well. As of today, they have combined to raise over 600,000 for victims and victims families.

Grey Area Donation Page

A’s + Warriors + Raiders Donation Page

The nature of the fire has pushed Dance Music and Warehouse culture into the mainstream, and in an unfortunately negative light.  Event production companies will have to think twice, maybe even three times about the safety of their patrons and the venue, and the crackdown on both the artist collective lifestyle and warehouse parties themselves is almost inevitable… but please – don’t stop dancing.

For your own copy of the Oakland print, please head to our talented DJ List photographer Elizabeth Reyes’ ETSY. – all proceeds go towards the relief fund for the victims of the Ghost Ship fire