Loyal readers, thank you for being here. I believe deeply in the power of reading for personal and collective transformation. Since February, I’ve been leading a book club focusing on The 1619 Project for a group of thoughtful people, including many of you. We’ve been reading slowly, just one essay
Loyal readers, thank you for being here.
I believe deeply in the power of reading for personal and collective transformation. Since February, I’ve been leading a book club focusing on The 1619 Project for a group of thoughtful people, including many of you. We’ve been reading slowly, just one essay a week, because the work demands our deep focus. It has been an honor to discuss the book in community. At the end of our last session, a co-facilitator recommended an article to support our process of converting our learning and reflection to action. Titled “What Is Vital To Your Survival?” it’s this week’s lead article. It’s by Ijeoma Oluo, it’s excellent, and I urge you to read it.
As we approach the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, I’ve also included an excerpt from His Name Is George Floyd, a forthcoming book by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa. In “How George Floyd Spent His Final Hours,” the authors capture Mr. Floyd’s personality, profile his friends, and reveal his hopes and challenges.
My hope is that you’ll find one or both of this week’s pieces worthy of your time and attention. If you do, let me know. I’d love to hear from you. You can hit reply or leave a voice message.
Ijeoma Oluo: “It’s quite easy to say that you believe in reproductive justice. It’s easy to say that you think racism is wrong. It’s easy for you to say that you believe in freedom and equality. But what we say and what we do are two very different things. What is vital to your survival?
“That’s not a question to blurt out an answer to. I want you to think for a moment. When I ask you what is vital to your survival, I am not asking you to give me what your intellect knows. I’m asking you to give me what your body knows, what the deepest parts of your brain knows.
“What has you ready to fight? What has you arming yourself spiritually, intellectually, even physically? What would make you scream? What would you claw and tear for? What would you battle others for?” (11 min)
+ What’s your answer to Ms. Oluo’s question? Hit reply if you’d like to share your thoughts, and I’ll publish them in next week’s newsletter.
Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa: “ ’I love you.’ Floyd would express the same sentiment to men, women and children; to relatives, old friends and strangers; to romantic partners, platonic acquaintances and the women who fell somewhere in between; to hardened hustlers and homeless junkies; to big-time celebrities and neighborhood nobodies. He said the phrase so often that many friends and family members have no doubt about the final words he spoke to them. He would end phone calls with the expression and sign off text messages by tapping it out in all caps. On that fateful Memorial Day, as he suffocated under Officer Derek Chauvin’s knee, Floyd spent his dying breaths calling out the same phrase. ‘Mama, I love you!’ he screamed from the pavement, where his cries of ‘I can’t breathe’ were met with an indifference as deadly as hate.” (25 min)
+ Mr. Samuels and Mr. Olorunnipa are the authors of the new book, His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life And The Struggle For Racial Justice.
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