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Answering YOUR Questions: Part 1

 

In the survey we conducted last year, respondents had the opportunity to ask anything they wanted. We had some silly questions (When are you coming to Zimbabwe? ASAP. Can you croon? Channon – Yes. Michelle – No. What color is the sky? Depends on when you look at it! Why are you so awesome? Born that way 😉 ); we also had some personal questions, questions about Tuesday Justice, and content-related questions. Today, we’re going to tackle the questions about us and about the blog. We hope this sheds some light on who we are and what Tuesday Justice is all about! 

What do you see as your next step with Tuesday Justice? Do you want to move more into activism? Partner with any groups? Gain media coverage? What do you hope for the future of the blog?

Channon: This is a great question! Our short-term goals would be to increase our social media presence on several different platforms, including Instagram and Twitter, and to continue to utilize Facebook. Our main goal at Tuesday Justice is to educate people on social justice issues that they may not fully understand or be aware of, and we just want to continue to pursue that.

How do you feel you’re impacting your audience? Which audiences are most likely to read your blog? What level of expertise and engagement does your audience have with your subject matter?

Michelle: We can only gauge this from the feedback we receive, so this may be a skewed perspective based on who we hear from. From the survey, and from what I hear from readers, it seems that our impact is primarily greater knowledge and understanding of social justice issues. And it’s clear this is leading people to really want to DO SOMETHING. One of the main requests from the survey is that people want more tangible ways they can get involved. So we’re definitely looking to improve in that regard. I think most folks who read Tuesday Justice are interested novices. And I would say that’s our target audience. We want to educate folks who aren’t in circles where they’d normally come across this information.

How do you find the courage to have uncomfortable conversations and/or express unpopular opinions over the internet?

Channon: I find the courage to have uncomfortable conversations and express unpopular opinions over the internet because I am passionate about what I am writing about and just want to bring awareness and knowledge to topics that people may not fully understand or just see one side of the issue. Some conversations about these issues may be uncomfortable, but they are necessary to have in order for a solution to come.

Michelle: I have a very similar answer to Channon. I came across this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. last year that sums up my feelings:  “We are called to be people of conviction, not conformity; of moral nobility, not social respectability.” Bottom line: I need to be more concerned about justice for the oppressed than I am with my own comfort or popularity.

How does being a Christian affect your views on social justice issues?

Channon: Being a Christian affects my views on social justice issues because I understand and see these issues as an integral part of my walk with God. As a follower of Christ, it is my responsibility and privilege to do all I can to help those in need and be a voice and advocate for those whose voice may be silenced.  

Michelle: Yes! There are so many verses in scripture that remind me that it’s my duty as a follower of Jesus to continue His mission of proclaiming good news to the poor, proclaiming freedom for the prisoners, and setting the oppressed free.

What would be your top three political reforms you would implement if you had the power to do so?

Channon: 1) Canadian Black History as mandatory curriculum in all elementary and high schools across Canada, 2) reparations and healing for Indigenous and Black communities in Canada, and 3) tackling the high incarceration rate of Black males in the prison system.

Michelle: 1) Ending the policies that lead to mass incarceration, 2) universal health care, and 3) sensible gun control. (And a 4th would be better maternity leave!)  

How have you found the balance of ushering in change and inviting others with you in an all-inclusive way, rather than guilt-tripping rhetoric that’s short and unsustainable?

Michelle: The wording of this question suggests that we’ve been successful in doing this, and I hope we have! We certainly try. Our model is to present the facts first, then offer up ideas on how to make things better and how our readers can get involved in those solutions. This stems from my own experience: I didn’t become passionate about the Black Lives Matter movement from guilt tripping. It actually happened from one particular friend regularly posting information about the movement and the facts and statistics that demonstrated why it was so important. To be honest, I may have tuned it out if it had been guilt-trippy.

And finally, Our MOST ASKED Question(s) →

What made you want to fight for this cause? // What began your journey of interest in the topics you cover in your blog? // Um, which cause arouse the desire to begin this movement? // What privileges did you grow up with and what was/is your personal journey of developing your own passion to promote social justice? // Why are YOU passionate about this? What’s YOUR story?

Channon: My passion to promote social justice began at a young age when I was about 8 years old. A classmate called me a “black b****” during recess one day and I distinctly remember thinking to myself, “Why did he say ‘black’ so negatively?” That was my first time of experiencing racism and the hate that is in this world. It was around that time that my interest piqued about black people, our history and where we came from, and not just about black history (which is everybody’s history), but history in general! I found myself wanting to learn more about ALL people, who they were and where they came from. Also, when I accepted Christ into my heart at age 13, began to read His word more and consistently got to know Him, I recognized that I had a heart, just like Jesus, for people and the injustice that plagues our world.  As seen in some of the posts that I’ve written, I have an insatiable desire for the Black community, to educate them and tell them who they are! Throughout high school and university, my interest and passion grew to include multiculturalism, immigration, the diaspora, Africa, travel, culture and heritage. All of these interests reached a different level when I went to the UK for my Masters and met Michelle! To get the privilege to meet someone who shares your passions and ideas was so refreshing and beautiful. That’s what makes fighting for social justice and change worthwhile! Being seen as someone who is part of the “visible minority” (not a fan of this term) changed me and gave me more understanding, more grace and the heart, for other people and groups who have historically been oppressed and weighed down. I love what I do, and I love that Michelle and I are in this together. 🙂

Michelle: There are things from my childhood that affected me, but here are the three big things that happened in my adulthood that led me to the Tuesday Justice life:

  • By the time I got to college, I had prayed A LOT about what I was meant to do with my life, but I was really unclear about a career path; all I knew was that I wanted to help people. My senior year, the film Amazing Grace about the life of abolitionist William Wilberforce was released. That film (more specifically, its website and list of partners) introduced me to the modern abolition movement, and I knew from that moment how I wanted to help people. (It’s a long, cool God-story about how I got to WISE! And met Channon!)
  • The next turning point came when I was doing some research for a paper. I had gotten Richard Wright’s 12 Million Black Voices from the university library, I was sitting in a cafe, reading and making notes for the essay, “and suddenly, it was like the blinders were taken off.” The book showed me how, without question, the effects of slavery were still very real and present in 1941. And I could see the reality of its effect on present day circumstances for Black people in America. “My preconceived, sometimes subconscious, ideas about why things are the way they are came crashing down.” (I stole that line from my own post last year.) In studying modern slavery, I learned a lot about the transatlantic slave trade, African history, human rights law, development work, etc. My passion grew, not just for victims of modern day slavery, but for other oppressed groups, because the roots of oppression are so interconnected.     
  • In the wake of the Michael Brown shooting, one of the friends I worked with at WISE, a person I deeply respect, was regularly posting articles and information about racism, Black Lives Matter, why the movement was important, the oppression of black people in the US, etc. and it really helped me to understand the issue. At the time, I was working at TJ Maxx, usually in the fitting rooms, where I had a LOT of time to people-watch and think. I spent a lot of that time analyzing my prejudices and internalized racism. I think understanding my own racism helped me to understand systemic racism and racial inequality a lot better.

 

We hope this Q&A has been helpful in understanding who we are and what Tuesday Justice is all about. If you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! Comment below or shoot us a message on Facebook

Black Dresses & White Roses: Turning #MeToo Into Positive Change

by Michelle Palmer

“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up.”  – Oprah

I first remember seeing #MeToo back in October. I specifically remember a particular post by Aisha Bain. I think this excerpt from that post sums up the heart of it better than I ever could:

I have said me too.

In the quiet spaces.

With a friend, when we discovered – yes, me too.

With other women bold in their sharing of their experiences to provide space and place for others to seek support.

I’ve said it silence.

When I lock eyes with another woman on a train or in the street when some guy is cat-calling or yelling horrible things.

When I wait to make sure my friend is in her home with the door closed before driving away.

When I walk down a street at night with keys in my hand and my head on a swivel.

When I walk behind all my women friends, always, using my height to keep track of everyone, using my brain to scenario plan what I would do to protect them.

When I avoid eye contact with a man. When I make eye contact with a man just be friendly and civil, and then regret it.

When I was silent, or polite, or laughed off some man’s advances just to stay safe.

When male hands grouped with entitled possession and you can’t even find the who did it in a crowded bar, train, or public space.

When I spoke out against it and the situation became more dangerous.

When I freaked out when I playfully wrestled a boyfriend, and he pinned me down, and somewhere, something so deep emerged, a panic, a fear so severe – I couldn’t control it, I didn’t understand it, and I couldn’t communicate why, all logic evaporated in my terror.

me too

me too

me too

I remember thinking, hoping, as I read her post (and countless others) that maybe a viral hashtag could somehow turn the tides. “Maybe this will help people understand.” But I think I doubted it deep down. I worried that it would fade from the headlines and fade from our social media feeds, the momentum would be short-lived, and no real change would happen.person-of-year-2017-time-magazine-cover1

But then it seemed to keep going. The Silence Breakers were Time’s Person of the Year. From Tarana Burke to Alyssa Milano. From Sandra Pezqueda and Isabel Pascual to Taylor Swift and Terry Crews. That was at the start of December.

It didn’t stop there. In January, actresses wore black to the Golden Globes, the first awards show of the season, a season when celebrities have even more visibility than usual. And it wasn’t just a fashion statement. It was the launch of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund. Actresses didn’t just wear black in solidarity, they spoke out (and spoke up) and brought activists as their dates; they shared the platform and passed the microphone.typorama (1)

And then, the movement reached the Grammys with white roses, Janelle Monae, and Kesha’s performance of “Praying.”

Before I get too far ahead of myself, let’s cover the basics. This is about both equality and ending sexual harassment. If you don’t know why it’s a big deal, read on. (And/or check out our earlier post on feminism.) These stats come from the Time’s Up website, and each has links to its source.  

  • 1 in 3 women ages 18 to 34 has been sexually harassed at work. Sexual harassment is pervasive across industries, but especially in low-wage service jobs. For example, more than 25% of sexual harassment charges filed with the EEOC in the last decade came from industries with service-sector workers. Source.
  • Nearly 50% of men think women are well-represented in leadership in companies where only one in ten senior leaders is a woman. Source.
  • 1 in 5 C-Suite leaders is a woman. Fewer than 1 in 30 is a woman of color. Source.
  • White non-Hispanic women are paid 81 cents on the dollar compared to white non-Hispanic men. Asian women are only paid 88 cents on the dollar. Black and Hispanic women are only paid 65 cents and 59 cents on the white male dollar, respectively. Source.
  • Only about half of the world’s working-age women participate in the labor force, compared to around three-quarters of their male counterparts. Closing that gap could add an estimated $12 trillion in global GDP by 2025. Sources: http://www.ilo.org/gender/Informationresources/Publications/WCMS_457317/lang–en/index.htm; https://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/employment-and-growth/how-advancing-womens-equality-can-add-12-trillion-to-global-growth
  • Nearly half of working women in the U.S. say they have experienced harassment in the workplace. Source.
  • Research has shown that women in male-dominated occupations, especially those in male-dominated work contexts, are sexually harassed more than women in balanced or in female-dominated ones. Source: Berdahl, JL. (2007). The Sexual Harassment of Uppity Women (p. 427).
  • Approximately one-third of women think women are well-represented when they see one-in-ten in leadership positions. Source.
  • From 2007 to 2016, 4% of top-grossing directors were female. Just 7 were women of color. 1 in 1,114 directors across 1,000 movies was Latina. Source.
  • More than one-third of the world’s countries do not have any laws prohibiting sexual harassment at work—leaving nearly 235 million working women vulnerable in the workplace. Source.26063717_922994241203884_6359613113973307075_o

When I was prepping this post, I came across this photo on Facebook. It specifically says, “ladies.” I thought, “If that’s not a sign we need change, I don’t know what is.”

One of the most common requests from our survey last August was more info on what to do in light of whatever issue we dealt with in the post. Our top two suggestions are very often the same for every injustice we tackle. The first is this:  When you see it, call it out. If it’s happening in your vicinity, it’s your responsibility to give a voice to the voiceless, to bring light to the situation, to seek rectification, to do something.

The second is to find an organization already doing great work, donate your resources (time, energy, money, talent), and partner with them! Here’s a list to help you:

And last, but certainly not least, for lots more info on being an ally, check out the Better Brave website (and memorize it!).


For more information…

 

 

The Best of Tuesday Justice (So Far)

by Channon & Michelle 

As we look ahead into 2018, we wanted to reflect on some past Tuesday Justice posts: our most viewed, Channon’s favorites, Michelle’s favorites…. If you’re new to the blog or haven’t read any of the posts mentioned below, please take a look!

Most viewed post: Desktop6-001History or Hate? The Confederate Statues of New Orleans” Written by Channon in May 2017, the post has received over 300 views, most of which came after the attack in Charlottesville in August. The views came primarily from internet searches about Confederate statues. It’s a privilege that one of our posts could provide information to people seeking out a greater understanding of hot-button issues that dominate the news cycle.

Guest Posts: Desktop6-004We’ve also had four fantastic guest posts this year, and we hope to have more in 2018. (Let us know if you’re interested or have an idea for a great guest post!)  Our most viewed guest post was “When They Get the Story Wrong: Muslims, Ideology & Terrorism” by Tom Pettinger. 

 

Channon’s Favorite Post by Michelle: “White People, Let’s Fix This

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What did you learn?

Reading through the many blog posts we’ve done since October 4th, 2016, I must say that my favourite post from Michelle is “White People, Let’s Fix This”. What I learned from this post is that empathy and education are the two things that helped the people Michelle spoke to, understand the plight and oppression of others and racial injustice. I also got to see Michelle’s and other people’s view of how they saw racial injustice and what they do and would do to help fight it.

Why did you like it?

I loved how Michelle talked about her family history, how she grew up and just brought that personal element to the post. After reading this post, I began to understand more why Michelle is the way she is (compassionate, kind, empathetic, amongst other great qualities 😊) and that she comes from a family who has always and continues to fight against social injustice, intolerance, racism and discrimination. I also really liked that she compared what was happening then, in the book “12 Million Black Voices,” in 1941 (racial oppression, etc. against black people), to what is still happening now in 2017 to black people, both in America and internationally. I also liked that Michelle shared her “woke” moment with readers – the moment her “eyes were opened” and she could connect with what was happening to black people. I also liked that Michelle took responsibility and urged others also to take action to do something about the racial injustice happening in the world today. Michelle said in her post, “The photo also reminded me that racism isn’t someone else’s problem. Those people were MY people, MY blood, MY history. And it’s my responsibility to undo the damage. Continually.”

I thoroughly enjoy Michelle’s posts every time she writes for Tuesday Justice! She is a talented and passionate person and that shows through in her writing. She is transparent when she writes and leaves you feeling empowered to take up the cause of whatever social justice issue she is discussing.

Channon’s Favorite Post by herself: “The Power of Peaceful Protest

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What did you learn?

What I learned from this post is how relevant and timely protests still are today in 2017. It also made me a bit sad when researching for this post to know that things have not changed very much from protests back in the 50s and 60s. It made me sad to know that we as black people are still fighting against the same injustices that we were fighting back then. But I was also hopeful when writing this post because I learned how powerful protests can be, when people unite together and have the same mindset, views and voice about a particular issue.

Why did you like it?

I really liked how I was able to do a compare and contrast with protests from 60 years ago (sit-ins, marches and freedom Rides of Civil Rights Movement) to protests now (Black Lives Matter, halting of the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, etc.). It put into perspective what has and has not changed about protests then and now. I also loved looking back and researching the Civil Rights Movement era and the different methods that were used to get their point across. Whether it was the non-violent approach of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or the more violent approach like Malcolm X and the Black Panthers, black people have used the tool of protests for decades. Overall, I really enjoyed writing this post and doing the research for it!!!

It was a pleasure for me to write this post and I was happy to inform people (if they weren’t already aware) why protesting is so powerful, what it meant historically to groups of people and what it still means now to those same groups of people.

Michelle’s Favorite Post by Channon: “I’m rooting for everybody black.” The Importance of Supporting Black Businesses 

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What did you learn?

I learned more about the social and economic dynamics of black business within black communities. Channon was so thorough in this post with statistics about the economy within the black community, like unemployment and spending habits, but she also connected it on the social level with commentary on the (misguided) idea that black products are inferior. I feel like I understood the topic so much more fully after reading this post!

Why did you like it?

I saw several lists come across my timeline with titles like this one: “15 Gifts From Black-Owned Businesses Your Loved Ones Deserve This Holiday Season.” And I thought they were awesome, and I felt like it would be a great thing to support black-owned businesses during the holidays, but I was worried that if I shared those lists, people who think this was somehow anti-white. I wasn’t confident that I could articulate the truth until I read Channon’s post. It’s not about being anti-white; it’s about supporting the black community “in a system that is meant to keep [them] down.”

I often tell Channon that I want her posts to be more personal. She is so smart, but also she’s SO passionate about what she writes about, and I always want that to come out more. I feel like this post not only displayed her brains but also her heart and passion for the strengthening of the black community.

Michelle’s Favorite Post by herself:  “Racism in America and the Danger of Colorblindness

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What did you learn?

In researching for this post, I learned the importance of confronting racial injustice and inequality. The answer to ending systemic racism isn’t ignoring it or trying to be “colorblind.” Thinking and talking about race can be incredibly uncomfortable. Many of us were raised to believe that’s a taboo topic to be avoided at all costs, but the more I thought about what I’d read in preparation for the post, the more I realized that we have to confront the reality of the situation if we hope to make it better.

Why did you like it?

I think because of my own experience of “waking up” to racial injustice, I want to help others see it too. And working on this post helped me to think through and recognize how I can help others move forward, especially folks with kids. It’s hard to navigate how to talk to kids about race, and it’s easier to just teach them (and subsequently, ourselves) that race doesn’t matter and should be ignored altogether. I think this post helps me articulate why that line of thinking is ultimately unhelpful.

I was worried about what kind of negative responses I might get on this post. I start out by discussing the problems with an adorable viral video about some super cute kids! But I didn’t. People seemed to respond very positively to it, and I hope it helped others think through their views on race and racial injustice.

 

Desktop6But by far, one the best things we did this year wasn’t written by Channon or Michelle. It was written by the Tuesday Justice Community. It was our Freedom Post! Maybe it wasn’t our most popular post, but we are so thankful for all of you who have joined us on our journey for the full freedom of all people! 

 

“I’m rooting for everybody black.” The importance of supporting black-owned businesses

So this holiday season, don’t neglect black-owned business. Use your buying power to strengthen communities, create jobs and grow the economy.

by Channon Oyeniran

With Black Friday 2017 coming and going, it hit home for me (more than ever before) how important it is to support black-owned businesses. No, it’s not me discriminating against other people and their businesses or cultures; it’s just about me recognizing that if I do my small part in supporting black businesses, then I in turn help to strengthen the black community and advance us forward in a system that is meant to keep us down. 
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It’s what Issa Rae meant when she said at the Emmys, “I’m rooting for everybody black.” Taryn Finley explains,Black pride isn’t designed to block the progress of others. It is meant to empower and create space for black people to celebrate and honor ourselves in a country that tells us in no uncertain terms that black lives do not matter. It’s a necessary escape when racial tension in the world is too much to bear. It’s a tool for survival in a world that doesn’t want to see you win.”

Not only are there great black-owned business out there, but the quality of the products are top notch, thus dismantling a long time myth and stigma that black-made products are of low quality and are not as “good” as products made from another race. Blogger Lisa-Marie said this, “We don’t like ourselves, so we don’t trust ourselves enough to support one another.” Reshaping this type of thinking is not only important amongst those in the black community, but for all people of different races.

e9af272134d19dca3499a26366bb1c86-pretty-hairstyles-natural-hairstylesI made the decision nearly three years ago to sisterlock my hair, as I have mentioned in a post before. I did this because I love how sisterlocks look, I love that it’s my natural hair and I don’t have to worry about braids, extensions, etc. But most importantly, I decided to do sisterlocks so I could stop contributing to the billion-dollar business that other cultures make on black women’s hair/products on an annual basis. I decided that I would only support black businesses here in the Greater Toronto area that have natural products that are good for natural hair and sisterlocks. Not only am I supporting black-owned businesses here in my local community, but I am doing the three things that I will briefly discuss below, that show the benefits of supporting black-owned businesses.

Strengthening communities:

gettyimages-459685184According to The State of Working America, “Black people spend four percent more money annually than any other race despite the fact that they are the least represented race and the race that lives in poverty at the highest rate.” This is a problem in the black community. It is a fact that black people spend more on the latest electronics, shoes, clothes, etc. and feed into the capitalist society that runs our world. Since black people are spending more than other races, it would be beneficial if it more of that money were spent within the black community at black-owned businesses, thus generating more wealth within the community and a sense of comradery in helping to build up our brothers and sisters. Once we realize that it is a good thing to support one another, rather than feeling threatened or have mistrust, the black community becomes stronger, more powerful and united.

Job creation:

An important point when it comes to supporting black-owned businesses is that it opens up much-needed jobs for those in the black community as well as creates entrepreneurial opportunities. To add some numbers/stats to this, in May 2014, the unemployment rate in the US was 7.8%, while the unemployment rate for black people in the US was double the national average at 13.79%. Another stat shows that in 2013, 12.4% percent of black college graduates in the US between the ages of 22 and 27 were unemployed (Source). article-imageThis demonstrates that black people need jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities within our own communities because often times racism and discrimination comes into play and black people don’t get hired for the job because of their skin colour or the name on their resume. If black-owned businesses are supported and encouraged, then the unemployment rate for black people would not be so high. This article by Black to Business said it best: “The problem is that there aren’t enough black-owned businesses to hire unemployed black people. […] Time is overdue for change, and we must pool our resources and build our own reality.”

The Economy:

“Who you give your money to, is who you give your power to.” – Frederick Douglass

Supporting black-owned businesses, as it is very clear now, supports the economy within the black community. As mentioned above, many black people spend a lot of money on products and business that are not black-owned, thus making the people who own these businesses richer every day. It has always been evident to me that, historically, other communities (Jewish, Asian, Italian, etc.) have operated and supported businesses, thus operating independently, becoming successful and wealthy, because they have the support of those in their communities. 1107_small-business_650x455However, this is not the case for black people, as we have over time been conditioned and taught to hate each other, not support one another and be competitive with one another. I believe once we have changed our mindsets, we as black people can realize that supporting one another doesn’t just benefit that person who has the business, but it benefits that his family, his neighbour’s family, my family, etc. The most successful industries for black business tend to be in the areas of sports, arts, and music, but it is time that we branch off into other industries such as technology and engineering. Once we support black-owned businesses, we strengthen our community and in turn strengthen both the Canadian and American economies globally.

So this holiday season, don’t neglect black-owned business. Use your buying power to strengthen communities, create jobs and grow the economy.

A few black-owned businesses to check out this holiday season…

Or check out these lists…

For more information:

2017 Tuesday Justice Holiday Gift Guide

by Michelle Palmer

This year there are plenty of ways make a difference with your gifts! Here are some of my favorites:

DSC_1357_square_cb805d68-fe7e-49eb-885e-d9bd082fe2ff_1024x1024LottoLove – I think this one is so cool! I was first introduced to scratchcards at Christmas while I was in England when I received several in my stocking from Father Christmas. Pretty sure I won £3, and I realized how fun they are, no matter how much you win. Anyway, even the most anti-gambling gift-giver could probably get on board with these: Each card is a guaranteed winner. How? Each card donates something via a partner charity:  clean water, solar light, literacy tools, or meals. They run $10 each, but they’re currently advertising Black Friday and Giving Tuesday deals, which I’m FOR SURE keeping an eye on.

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Sevenly – When you shop with Sevenly, you can either shop by collection (if you’re looking for a specific item) or by cause (there are over a dozen to choose from), including human trafficking, women’s empowerment, and refugee care. There’s apparel, jewelry, and a ton of cool mugs!

162858ec13ef8d893_800x80031 Bits – Think of these guys as an alternative to Anthropologie. Their mission: “We use fashion and design to drive positive change in the world by providing artisans with dignified job opportunities and inspiring customers to live meaningful lives.” 

Better World Books – “The Online Bookstore with a Soul.” Think of these guys as an alternative to Amazon. 

05236Charity Pot Lotion by Lush – AKA “Philanthropic Skin Softener” I would legit love this! There’s an $8 size and a $28 size. You know it’s quality because it comes from Lush, and 100% of the proceeds go to “small grassroots organizations working in the areas of environmental conservation, animal welfare and human rights.”

Lip-Smoothie_1024x1024Thistle FarmsThey have tons of great gifts, but I’m especially here for the STOCKING STUFFERS! 6 items under $7. Never heard of Thistle Farms? Here’s their mission: “…to HEAL, EMPOWER, AND EMPLOY women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. We do this by providing safe and supportive housing, the opportunity for economic independence, and a strong community of advocates and partners.”

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Macy’s – Yes, THAT Macy’s. I’ve never lived near a Macy’s, but as an avid Thanksgiving Day Parade Watcher/Miracle on 34th Street Fan, it will always be dear to my heart. And they have an entire line dedicated to “Gifts That Give Hope.” They also have what is possibly my favorite gift on the whole list….A NARWHAL ORNAMENT. How precious is he?!

GlobalGiving Gift Cards – These gift cards are the coolest. You choose the amount (starting at $10), the recipient chooses the project. And there are TONS of worthy projects to choose from.

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Preemptive Love Coalition – I previously wrote about the amazing work that Preemptive Love Coalition does, and they have an entire catalog of cool gifts, many handmade by the refugees they support, t-shirts, and other cool ways to donate!

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Heifer International – Heifer’s gift catalog has a wide range of options from the adorable ornaments pictured to the right to actual flocks of geese and chicks for communities in need! “Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.”

If none of those suit your gift-giving needs this year, check out the socially concious businesses below:

And a few more lists for good measure….

And if all that wasn’t enough, consider me your personal GOOD GIFT concierge!!! Seriously, Channon and I would be MORE than happy to help you find the perfect gift that gives back.

Happy Holidays!


For more information….

Halloween & the Problem of Blackface

by Channon Oyeniran

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Every Halloween, someone, somewhere, knowingly or not, insults black people and the painful and dark legacy that slavery left behind. From using blackface to dressing up as an enslaved person, Halloween 2017 will likely be no different as several examples of such behavior have been in the news recently. It baffles me every year that people still don’t understand why this behavior is deeply offensive. Blackface, in particular,has a deeply problematic history. “Blackface is more than just burnt cork applied as makeup. It is a style of entertainment based on racist Black stereotypes that began in minstrel shows and continues today.” (Source.) Blackface was used in vaudeville, Broadway, silent movies, racist cartoons, and early television to degrade and mock black people. Despite this fact, many people still decide to use blackface every Halloween. Let’s take a brief look at some of the headlines that have been in the news recently regarding the use of blackface and inappropriate costumes for Halloween.

Bridgewater, Massachusetts: “Elementary School Apologizes For Picture That Shows A Black Girl On Leashes

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In Bridgewater, Massachusetts at Mitchell Elementary School, a picture from the school’s pilgrim enrichment program, showcases a black girl in what are called “lead strings”, held by her two white co-students. Apparently in the 17th century “lead strings” were used to keep children from wandering or to help them learn how to walk. While the school says the picture and activity were taken out of context, many people who saw the picture say it is totally disrespectful and offensive. The school, school district and a spokesperson for the pilgrim program issued apologies for the activity and the activity. However, many parents of other students at the school were stunned and disgusted when they saw the picture.

London, UK: “Anger after primary school in Manor Park asks pupils to dress as slaves for Black History Month

Letter-UKAt St Winefride’s Catholic Primary School, in London, year 2 students were sent home with a letter on October 13th stating to “to come into school dressed as slaves for Black History Month.” They then proceeded to include pictures of enslaved black people to show examples of how students should dress! Like really?! This school is asking students to dress as enslaved people, but is this school teaching these students what slavery is, their country’s role it is, why it was wrong and how an activity like that is offensive to many Black Britons and other black people worldwide? Those are these questions I asked when I read this article. Although this letter may not have been an accurate reflection of the entire school and only one teacher, it raises many questions. A spokesperson for the school said this: “We understand the importance of Black History Month and celebrate this by studying the success and achievements of black role models.”

Fort Bragg, North Carolina: “Fort Bragg busted for ‘Spooktacular’ Halloween party with children dressed up in blackface

BlackfaceDuring a Halloween party at Fort Bragg, a military installation in North Carolina, two children were photographed dressed in blackface and with marionette strings, yet another example of someone using blackface, not thinking twice about the history and if it’s offensive to other people. The Fort Bragg community are shocked and many offended that a costume like this would be used. Genessa Bingham, whose father is currently deployed overseas said this: “This is what’s wrong with the country right now,” she said. “People can just be as racist as they want. Then you’re supposed to laugh it off. You know, segregation wasn’t that long ago. My dad is African American.” The picture was removed from Facebook and an apology was given. However, just like the previous examples as well many other examples, it’s clear that people don’t think about the history of things or how it will affect other people.

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We CAN do better.

Blackface is certainly not the only way to be offensive this Halloween. For more on cultural appropriation of other cultures, see the resources below. Furthermore, you may be asking, “Does this mean that white people can’t dress up as a black person they appreciate and admire?” No. But there’s a certain way to do it, and there is absolutely NO need to change your skin color to do so. 

GQ published a helpful (and hilarious) how-to last year with Kumail Nanjiani: How To Choose a Halloween Costume That Isn’t Racist” by Caity Weaver. Here’s an excerpt: 

Choose a Subject Identifiable by Name

When it comes to costumes, the more specific your outfit is, the funnier it will be. Dressing up as “a black man” is a bad idea. Dressing up as “Barack Obama” is a mediocre idea. Dressing up as “Casual, Retired Obama” is a funny idea—and a great opportunity to eat frozen treats while wearing comfy clothes.

How To Be You, But Casual, Retired Obama

  • Pair a baggy short-sleeve button-down shirt with baggy, pleated Dockers (belted above the navel).
  • Top with a salt-and-pepper wig, extra salt.
  • Wear a thick gold band on your ring finger.
  • Eat tons of ice cream cones, you ice cream monster.

Moral of the story: Be thoughtful about how you (and your kids) dress this Halloween. Keep it fun for everyone, by not unintentionally offending an entire people group.


For more information:

On Halloween Costumes:

On Cultural Appropriation:

On Blackface:

Find the Helpers: From Outrage to Action

 by Michelle Palmer

“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” 

Some weeks it’s really easy to know what to write about. There’s one thing dominating the headlines that deserves some thoughtful unpacking. Other weeks, increasingly it seems, there are so many it’s hard to even think about them all without losing hope.

So, today, I just want to remind us, like I did in the post on Syria, of what Mr. Rogers said:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

In the midst of so much tragedy, so many events that outrage and infuriate us, I want us to look for the helpers. My purpose in this is twofold.

  • First, I want to give us some hope. (There are helpers. There are people doing something to make things better.)
  • Second, I want our outrage to lead us to action. (We can be helpers too.)

Gun Control:

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The issue of gun control has come up (again) in light of the Las Vegas tragedy, as it so often does.

[SIDENOTE: If this seems like a particularly controversial issue for us to be tackling without much context, consider this: The majority of Americans are in favor of sensible gun control measures (reports here and here). And according to the CDC, there are an average of 33,880 gun deaths per year from 2011-2015, and those numbers are on the rise for 2016 and 2017.]

When I looked for organizations working for gun control, I found several lists, but there were four organizations that appeared on every list I saw. (This article from Bustle is particularly helpful.) These organizations are linked below, and each website has an action section.

I also came across an article that I found particularly interesting, “What If We Made Gun Culture Uncool Like We Did Cigarettes?” Here’s an excerpt:

“On the legislative front it seems America has made its choice and there is little chance for legal reform in the near future except at the margins deemed acceptable by the gun industry and a current generation of gun owners who believe that ‘things happen’ is an appropriate reaction to gun deaths. When lawmakers can’t lead, a social solution is certainly worth a shot.”

Puerto Rico:

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Full disclosure: My love for Lin-Manuel Miranda knows no bounds. However, I can honestly say his Twitter account is an amazing resource for finding ways to help Puerto Rico. His feed is chock-full of ways to help, donation drop-off locations, and links for donating money. Click here: https://twitter.com/lin_manuel

Lin’s twitter feed can get a little overwhelming, so here’s a more concise list from NBC:  How To Help Puerto Rico Right Now

Also, go listen to “Almost Like Praying” on your iTunes or Spotify or Amazon or wherever you listen to your music. It’s catchy, it’s beautiful, it has Gloria Estefan, and all the proceeds go to hispanicfederation.org.

And if you need a smile on your face, check out THIS VIDEO of Stephen Colbert’s #PuberMe challenge to see how much he and Nick Kroll raised for Puerto Rico.

NFL Protests:

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Despite all the arguments regarding secondary issues (respecting the flag, the right to protest), the purpose of the protests from the start has been to bring attention to “systemic oppression against people of color, police brutality and the criminal justice system.” (Source.) If you’re still unsure about the protests, this is the best thing I’ve read on the issue, “What You Might Be Missing in the Kneeling Debate” by Ed Uszynski. And if you’re unsure about the issues being protested, we have lots of information on our Resource List page, and Channon and I would be more than happy to answer your questions.

The organizations below tackle the very issues that led to the protests, and again, each one has ways to support and get involved.

 


There is so much heartbreak in our world, so much to be outraged about today. If the thing pulling at your heartstrings right now hasn’t been addressed here, and you have little hope or don’t know how to help, let us know, and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction. You can email us at tuesdayjusticeblog@gmail.com or message us on Facebook.

Whatever you do, don’t give up hope. Let your outrage move you to action.