As we enter a new year, there is always the temptation to leave the past behind us. Never before has that urge been so strong as with 2020, perhaps. But the past is never the past and in order to move forward, we have to acknowledge the value of reflection.
For many, last year was a wake-up call in terms of the war cry that rang out from the BIPOC community. We heard their stories, saw their pain, and acknowledged their fear, but we can’t just let that knowledge fade. As we set goals and direct our intention, we want to continue to recognize that things like allyship, building bridges, and equity does not happen quickly. And that they can’t happen at all if we allow ourselves to only be engaged when the cry for justice is at its loudest.
As you think about the education you want to incorporate into 2021, the lives you want to touch and the world you wish to be a part of shaping, consider the content that can contribute to lifting up the communities and consciousness of all!
Black, White, and The Grey: The Story of an Unexpected Friendship and a Beloved Restaurant by Mashama Bailey and John O. Morisano
One of the things in this world that indisputably connects us all is food. It tells stories, brings people together, and defines generations.
Black, White, and The Grey is described as:
“A story about the trials and triumphs of a Black chef from Queens, New York, and a white media entrepreneur from Staten Island who built a relationship and a restaurant in the Deep South, hoping to bridge biases and get people talking about race, gender, class, and culture.”
This dual memoir is timely, intentional, and impactful in the way it weaves the joy and the difficulties of establishing a restaurant. The two players involved speak honestly about their biases while addressing the topic of striving for equality amidst the challenges of racism.
The White Tiger on Netflix
The White Tiger is one of the first book-to-movie releases of the year taking a New York Times bestselling, Booker Prize-winning novel by Aravind Adiga to the little big screen as a Netflix Original Film. In this story, a man ascends from poverty by becoming a driver for the elite class. Reflecting on modern India’s caste system, as well as the corruption that lies within, this dark comedy and culturally-relevant story shows the epic arc from downtrodden underdog to entrepreneur in “the authentic voice of the Third World, as you’ve never heard it before” according to John Burdett of Bangkok 8.
With Priyanka Chopra-Jonas starring and executive producing, this story is a new look at life across the globe that allows you into the heart of India. If we can’t be traveling at the moment, then stories as captivating as Adiga’s are what keeps us connected and growing as humans.
It’s easy to let the events of 2020 overshadow all other tragedies that have struck the nation. The impact always lies heaviest on those who are already vulnerable and targeted. As many examined the hardships of lockdowns, a failing health system, and racial disparity among the impoverished during this past year, a stunning podcast series, Floodlines, emerged to remind us that this is hardly the first time a national tragedy has been ever more perilous to Black communities.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. The levees broke. The damage was immeasurable. And the response was weak, if not negligent. But for all the horrors those of us outside of Louisiana could see, the worst of the weather event was in the treacherous aftermath. Long after the water dried, dark secrets and betrayal remained.
Understanding the systematic problems that came before the storm, the media theater that played out on television, and the foundational failures that produced the devastating post-Katrina events is as essential now as it was 15 years ago. In order for history to avoid repeating itself, we have to understand it, to begin with by acknowledging that then, now and always we have to look beyond what we’re told and see the real people who are affected.
Nova Reid is an activist, a speaker, and a TedX veteran. Her perspective is crisp, heartfelt, and powerful as she leads in anti-racism campaigning. If you’re looking for a collection of assets to help educate and guide you into a more inclusive year, she gives you all the tools to get started. She acknowledges the discomfort while never skirting around the hard work that is necessary.
She has a podcast where she interviews powerful voices on subjects like “The Fine Line Between Being an Ally and Stealing the Mic,” “Identity Erasure,” and “White Silence.” She also offers a free guide on Anti-Racism for those looking to dive in a little deeper. And for anyone looking for a full-blown, guided instruction, her full Anti-Racism course covers everything from anti-racist parenting to feminism to advocacy in targeted modules aimed at a comprehensive understanding of what to do in the real world to make a difference.
We can acknowledge that 2020 was a doozy without dismissing the vital conversations that were had by many this year. As a part of your resolutions, make inclusion, and growing your understanding of the world around you (and the people in it) one of your goals.