5 Random Things: June

This month is about learning and educating, I continue to remind myself that the learning/unlearning I have to do is a marathon, not a sprint. I/we don’t have to learn it all in a day or a week. And if we try to do that, we will most likely burn out and not be as strong of an ally in the longterm.

This is why I’ve decided to go ahead post this series, as usual, today but with additional educational resources

What I’m reading and watching

Book – Like many of you that I’ve spoken to in the last week, I’m currently reading to White Fragility by Robin Diangelo. Well, listening technically. It’s hard to come across a hard copy right now which feels like a really good problem because that means a lot of people are reading and learning from it. Every two sentences I nod my head in agreement and realize just how embedded racism is in myself and white people in general.

Halfway through it, one of the main takeaways for me personally is that racism isn’t limited to bad people. It’s something that has been ingrained in white people from day one and when someone says the word “racist” it puts us immediately on the defense. The author suggests that we really look at ourselves and the systems in place in this country to perpetuate white fragility.

In fact, she writes about how white progressives are one of the most dangerous group race divides because we are unwilling to recognize our own racism. If you haven’t had the chance to read or listen to the book, this interview with Diangelo goes over that point in more detail.

If you’re white and feeling confused, defensive, guilty, angry, or all of the above, I highly recommend that you read this book. It will change the entire way you look at yourself and our country.

Article – Since the majority of my readership is white women, I feel that out of all the articles I’ve read this week, this one a quick read and something that the “Karens” of the world need to read: How White Women Can Use Their Privilege to End Racism

Movie – Last weekend, I watched Just Mercy (Currently free to stream on Amazon Prime and on the Just Mercy website). It will tear you apart and then bring you back together again. It’s an incredibly powerful (true) story that follows Bryan Stevenson, a young civil rights lawyer, who moves to Alabama in the 80’s to defend men on death row, and one of his clients, Johnnie D, a black man who was accused of murdering a white woman and sentenced to death despite the fact that there was no possible way he could have done it.

Much of the movie takes place when I was a child but it’s hard to believe that what goes on is in this lifetime.

Warner Bros is streaming it everywhere for free and released this statement on Twitter:

“We believe in the power of story. Our film Just Mercy, based on the life work of civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, is one resource we can humbly offer to those who are interested in learning more about the systemic racism that plagues our society… To actively be part of the change our country is so desperately seeking, we encourage you to learn more about our past and the countless injustices that have led us to where we are today.”

This weekend, we are also going to watch If Beale Street Could Talk (Hulu/Prime).

Documentary 13th (Netflix) is not easy and sometimes truly painful to watch but I truly believe that I need to get uncomfortable to learn and grow. The docu argues that the mass incarceration of Black men in America is an extension of slavery. 13th refers to the 13th Amendment that states that slavery is unconstitutional. But there are exceptions to that rule, such as criminals. A lot of the history explored in this film is not anything I had learned about in school.

Donation – With people all around the country getting arrested for protesting, local state bail funds are in need of donations to help people that can’t post bail themselves. My family has donated to the Connecticut Bail Fund and urge you to do the same where you live if you’re able.

5 Products I’m Loving

I used affiliate links in this section. I am donating 100% of my affiliate earnings for the month of June to Campaign Zero.

1. House of Noa yoga mats: The CT-based mom-run brand, House of Noa (who also makes our play mat and kitchen mat) released non-toxic yoga mats that we’ve been using for everything from “yoga classes” (aka two seconds of down dog followed by Amalia jumping on my back for 20 minutes) to Anel’s Zoom workouts to dance parties. They are thin but cushion-y and have a great grip. HOA sent us this set of mommy and me mats.

2. KNC retinol-infused eye masks: I’ve been using retinol eye cream since I partnered with Olay last year and have seen a major difference in the wrinkles under and around my eyes. But there are still those days when I wake up looking a decade older than I am. These retinol-infused eye masks are magic as far as I’m concerned and get rid of puffiness without parabens, sulfates, artificial dyes, or fragrances.

3. Bombas socks: Anel swears by Bombas socks and I am so sick of my socks slipping down when I walk the dog or go for a run, so I bought myself a 6-pack and now get his obsession. They’re nice and padded on the bottom and have a seamless toe which I didn’t realize was so wonderful until now. Bombas has a buy a pair give a pair model and has donated over 30 million clothing items (socks and tees) to homeless shelters around the country which is just another reason to love them.

4. Lazy Susan: Amalia’s markers, colored pencils, crayons, and paint are always in random boxes or all over the place. It was driving me nuts so I bought this Lazy Susan to store them all in one place. Not only do they all make it back to where they belong after we use them, but now that she can see everything, we’ve been doing more coloring and painting which I love to see her do.

5. The most comfortable face mask: At this point, I’ve tried a lot of face masks for grocery runs and dog walks. This one is by far the most comfortable mask I personally own and, on a superficial note, I like that it looks pretty.

I’d love to hear about what you’re reading, watching, listening to, and loving this month.

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  1. Annie said:

    I recommend reading Bryan Stevenson’s book “Just Mercy” as well; the book has so much more background and additional stories that will add to your understanding. Stevenson is brilliant. He is the lawyer who successfully argued that life without parole for minors is cruel and unusual punishment in 2012. My best friend saw him present the oral arguments to the Supreme Court and said he’s the most impressive lawyer she’s ever seen. (And he’s a major interviewee/contributor to DuVernay’s “13th”).

    6.11.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I’ll add it to my reading list, thank you. I’ve been reading up on him since watching the movie and am so inspired by his dedication to his life’s work. I

      6.18.20 · Reply
  2. Aly Albert said:

    Thanks for the helpful resources! I bought a mask and think it’s great you’re donating your affiliate income. Tuckernuck is also making a donation for masks sold 🙂

    6.11.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thanks, Aly! I hope you like the mask too xx

      6.18.20 · Reply
  3. Rachel K. said:

    bombas are the only socks we wear in my household! I love the model. Love the quality. My infant can just about fit into his brothers toddler socks and he is moving to youth! (I wish they made baby socks!)

    We watched Just Mercy as well. I am an attorney and very familiar with these issues. But that part in the middle, about his prison neighbor, well that broke me!

    6.11.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I need to get Amalia some Bombas this fall!

      That part of Just Mercy was really intense to watch. We were sobbing the whole time.

      6.18.20 · Reply
  4. Meg said:

    I’m currently listening to the audio book version of Becoming by Michelle Obama. That’s pretty incredible of you to donate your all of your affiliate link income this month. Go girl!

    6.12.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I loved that book so much. She is my hero. And such a talented writer too. Enjoy it!

      6.18.20 · Reply