The Internal Affairs Committee provided a new draft job description for the Executive Director for comment, and led a discussion on where and how to advertise for this position. The Board will soon be asking the entire Challenging Racism community to help us find the right person for this important job to be filled at least one month before Marty Swaim leaves as ED later this spring.
Our new Treasurer, Mark Nadel, is engaging with our finances and getting a handle on budgets, accounts receivable and accounts payable. He is working with Mary Hynes, our former Managing Director, who continues to build the interfaces needed for our new bookkeeping system.
The External Affairs Committee reported work on a grant application to Dominion Guild. In February the Committee will present a report to the Board on possible fundraising efforts for the year 2020 and beyond. T he Committee is searching for a chair or two co-chairs to head the repeat of our successful 2019 5K Run Against Racism in May, 2020. Please volunteer if you can . There is a successful set-up to follow from last year.
The Executive Director’s report reflected work on nine different Challenging Racism: Learning How contract possibilities for 2020-21. The demand for Challenging Racism: Getting Started , a 2-3 hour presentation on a single subject such as Racism in Housing: Redlining, or Racial Microaggressions, continues, with one or more scheduled each of the next few months.
The Board is looking forward to an upcoming event on February 24 to celebrate the work of a number of long term Challenging Racism contributors who have left their posts, and without whose tireless efforts we would not be where we are today. Stay tuned for more information! 
Have you noticed our rebuilt website?  

Our new look is due to the work of Learning How alum Steve Fleckenstein who stepped forward last summer and offered us his pro bono professional assistance. He took our alumni focused website and, working with the Board and our Committees, updated, created and organized our content into a website that works for partners, founders, the curious AND our alumni. 

We are SO VERY GRATEFUL to Steve for his help with this refresh. If you haven’t visited recently, please check it out at    www.challengingracism.org
Kudos to the talented Fundraising and Marketing Committee members (Rachel Duguay Avenick, Felicity Boyer, Christine Purka, Paula Burdette Gomez and Heather O’Malley, as well as Steve Silcox and Nancy Brown from the Board) who are leading the work to broaden Challenging Racism’s reach and its revenue streams. They’ve been very busy:

  • Our wonderful Reception at the Mexican Cultural Institute on November 1 netted $13,350 to support our work. Polly Hall chaired this event perfectly, with the very effective support of our Pilar Afshar who is the administrator for the Institute.
  • A quick appeal as part of the national Giving Tuesday campaign the week after Thanksgiving resulted in $750 being donated. 
  • End of Year Giving through a variety of mechanisms - including WePay, Facebook, Amazon Smile and our own Newsletter - brought an additional $4,329 into our coffers. 

Combined, these efforts resulted in $18,429 raised for Challenging Racism in the fall of 2019!

Thanks all!!
On December 7, Challenging Racism had a table at the Gifts That Give Hope alternative gift fair here in Arlington. Shoppers made donations to any of about 20 nonprofits that attended, personalized a greeting card for their friend or family member, and gave an "act of kindness" as a gift. 

This was CR's first year to participate, and thanks to our community's generosity, we raised about $700 to be used toward classes, materials, and supp orting this year's 5K Run Against Racism. 

This project provides not only income but visibility with an important segment of Arlington. Paula Burdette Gomez, of the External Affairs Marketing Committee, shepherded this project from the September application to the December event. 
Keep up with upcoming events on the website at https://www.challengingracism.org/events
"So You Want to Talk about Race" Book Club
So You Want to Talk about Race
by Ijeoma Oluo

Challenging Racism: Continued - Book Club

Dive into "So You Want to Talk about Race" by Ijeoma Oluo with the Challenging Racism: Continued - Book Club. This New York Times bestseller offers a hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America. 

NEW DATE: Thursday January 30, 2020
7:00-8:30 pm

Monday, February 10, 2020
7:00-8:30 pm

Both sessions at:
Cafe Sazon
4704 Columbia Pike
Arlington, VA 22204
More Details

  • Free!!
  • You don't need to attend all multiple dates, although you can. Each discussion stands alone.
  • Participants are expected to have read the specific chapters for the section they are coming to discuss. (And of course everyone is welcome to read the whole book.).
  • Discussion led by Tia Alfred, Christine Hopkins, and Leah Maderal.
If you registered for the original date, please re-register so we know you can make it.

You can also register for the final session, February 10.

Part 4 Focus: Chapters 13-17

Chapter 13 Why are our students so angry?
Chapter 14 What is the model minority myth?
Chapter 15 But what if I hate Al Sharpton?
Chapter 16 I just got called racist, what do I do now?
Chapter 17 Talking is great, but what else can I do?

"The Fires"
Book Club
The next Challenging Racism: Continued - Book Club will compare and contrast two books: The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin and The Fire This Time, a collection of essays by various authors edited by Jesmyn Ward. You can find the books at the library or in most bookstores.

NEW DATE:   Thursday, February 27, 2020

6:30 - 7:00 pm Gathering and Sign In
7:00 - 8:50 pm Discussion   

Langston-Brown Community Center  
2121 N Culpeper St
Arlington, VA 22207  

Please note, we have to finish at 8:50 pm so we can leave by 9:00 pm. 

Discussion Leaders:
  • Gail Perry
  • Nancy Brown
Pipeline at Studio Theatre with Challenging Racism: Continued
Sunday, February 2, 2020
Studio Theatre
1501 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20005

Purchase tickets here
Showtime 2:00 pm
Post-Show Discussion

The performance will be followed by a lively conversation about the play. The post-show discussion will last about 20 minutes. Special thanks to Mark Nadel for arranging tickets for the play.

About the Play
Nya is a single mom and dedicated teacher at a high-poverty city school, determined to give her teenaged son Omari opportunities that her students will never have. When an altercation with a teacher at his private school threatens Omari's future, Nya has to fight a system that's against him in any environment. A searing, eloquent, and deeply compassionate look at a broken education system, the moments we are pushed to our limits, and the ferocity of one parent's love.
The Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington presents:

Followed by small group interfaith dialogues

Co - sponsored and facilitated by Challenging Racism

The panel presentation will include experts on how race/ethnicity impacts lives in the DMV and feature speakers who are addressing racial issues in a faith-based context.

Leah Hendey, Urban Institute
Rev. Dr. Carol Flett, Montgomery County
Faith Leaders Council
Arlington VA faith representative TBD

Dawn Kyser, Challenging Racism

More information and registration here .
Sunday, February 16, 2020
2:00 - 4:30 pm
McLean Islamic Center
8800 Jarrett Valley Dr., Vienna, VA, 22182
The Story of a Civil Rights Trailblazer and the 1939 Alexandria
Library Sit-In

The earliest known sit-in for civil rights occurred at the Alexandria (Virginia) Public Library on August 21, 1939. In  Samuel Wilbert Tucker , Nancy Silcox charts the story of a young African American lawyer who grew up in Alexandria in a family that believed reading and education led to opportunities. When Tucker was refused a library card at his local public library, he organized a sit-in to protest the “whites-only” policy and defended the protesters.

Join author  Nancy Silcox  for a talk about the story of the sit-in, and Tucker’s work to challenge segregation here in Northern Virginia. At the program there will also be an exhibit about the Arlington Public Library's Holmes Branch, which while in service was designated for African Americans until the Arlington Library system was desegregated.
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
7:00pm - 8:30pm
Barbara M. Donnellan Auditorium
RSVP for an event reminder here, attendance is on a first-come, first-served basis.

This event is for adults and teens in grade 6+. 

WEBSITE nancynoyessilcox.com
Twitter:    @NancySilcox

Just Mercy: Free Screening

The Board of Outreach and Social Justice of Little River United Church of Christ in Annandale, is sponsoring a free screening of this "must-see" motion picture starring Michael B. Brown and Jamie Foxx, A film account of Bryan Stevenson’s work in freeing people of color who are unjustly imprisoned today, at this very moment. The account is drawn from his groundbreaking writing in the book  Just Mercy.

Sunday, January 26, 2020
1:00 pm
Cinema Arts Theater
9650 Main Street
Fairfax, VA, 22031

No admission fee. Freewill donations will benefit Little River UCC benevolences

If you plan to attend, please register at eventbrite.com/e/88489900675  to receive an admission ticket.
Any conversation about race and racism can be difficult. OAR wants to support you in providing a space to do just that!

OAR's 2019 Undoing Racism workshops have brought together a diverse group of individuals, from all sectors, throughout the DC Metro area committed to dismantling racism. OAR is looking forward to continuing this work in the new year. Undoing Racism 2020 and workshops will take place on  January 18-19, March 23-24, and May 2-3
Registration for the workshops and more information can be found  here .

A.C.T.O.R. (A Continuing Talk on Race)
Last Sunday of each month
1/26, 2/23
5:00 - 7:00 pm
Shirlington Busboys and Poets, 4251 S Campbell Ave, Arlington, Virginia, 22206

The A.C.T.O.R. (A Continuing Talk on Race) open discussion series is hosted by Busboys and Poets as a community service. It provides the opportunity for people to come together and speak openly and honestly about issues of race. The intent is that each person walks away from the discussion feeling something: challenged, educated, uncomfortable, enlightened, refreshed, reassured and hopefully inspired and moved to action! Each month there is a new topic for discussion. Free and open to the public.
Arlington Public Library Book Clubs

January 27, 2020 
7:30 - 8:30 pm
Central Library, 1015 North Quincy Street
Arlington VA 22201

Wednesday, February 5, 2020
6:30 - 8:00 pm
Columbia Pike Library, 816 South Walter Reed Drive, Arlington, Virginia 22204

Monday, February 10, 2020
7:30 - 8:30 pm
Cherrydale Library, 2190 North Military Rd, Arlington, Virginia 22207
Other Local Reading Groups
4251 S. Campbell Ave, Arlington, VA 22206
Meets at the Busboys and Poets in Shirlington on the 1st Saturday of every month from 9:00 - 11:00 am.
What everyone should know about Reconstruction 150 years after the 15th Amendment's ratification

Please read former CR facilitator and Kenmore Middle School Social Studies teacher Tiffany Mitchell Paterson’s writing from her new post at West Virginia University here.

Congratulations, Tiffany!

Tiffany was a co-facilitator at Gunston’s group. When she had to leave us mid-year to finish her PhD thesis, intern Leah Maderal took over as the co-facilitator.

Facing Race in Arlington

Emily Vincent's Facing Race is an invitation blog on race that is excellent. If you want to be invited to be on this blog, please let us know.


Area Advocacy



  • Immigrant Food - a new "cause-casual" restaurant at 1701 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006
  • Determined: The 400 year struggle for black equality Virginia Museum of History & Culture in Richmond. The story is told through the lives of 30 people, some famous, some not. It will go on through March 29, 2020.
  • The Outwin 2019: American Portraiture Today - Every three years, artists living and working in the United States are invited by the museum to submit one of their recent portraits to a panel of experts. The selected artworks reflect the compelling and diverse approaches contemporary artists are using to tell the American story through portraiture. National Portrait Gallery, 8th St NW & F St NW, Washington, DC 20001
  • Rosa Parks: In her own words Library of Congress



  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad. Based off the best selling workbook, Me and White Supremacy teaches readers how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.
  • The Revisioners by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton. Following her National Book Award– nominated debut novel, A Kind of Freedom, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton returns with this equally elegant and historically inspired story of survivors and healers, of black women and their black sons, set in the American South.
  • Self-Portrait in Black and White by Thomas Chatterton Williams. A meditation on race and identity from one of our most provocative cultural critics. A reckoning with the way we choose to see and define ourselves, Self-Portrait in Black and White is the searching story of one American family’s multigenerational transformation from what is called black to what is assumed to be white. 
Video & Theater

  • Harriet Movie - An engrossing, well told and photographed tale of the full sweep of Harriet Tubman’s remarkable life and accomplishments, from her work with abolitionists in Philadelphia right after she fled slavery and her first journey to bring out her family members, to her service in the civil war leading a naval expedition. Her experiences in the south before she fled and during her daring rescues clearly portray the extent to which enslaving Black persons was respectable and normalized in all parts of the Maryland community from which she fled.
  • Just Mercy Movie - A film account of Bryan Stevenson’s work in freeing people of color who are unjustly imprisoned today, at this very moment. The account is drawn from his groundbreaking writing in the book Just Mercy. Mr. Stevenson is the founder of The Equity Initiative, the builder of the museum on lynching in Montgomery Alabama. He is a hero of our time. This film is a “must see.”
  • Waves Movie - Set against the vibrant landscape of South Florida, and featuring an astonishing ensemble of award-winning actors and breakouts alike, Waves traces the epic emotional journey of a suburban African-American family—led by a well-intentioned but domineering father—as they navigate love, forgiveness and coming together in the aftermath of a loss.

Housing Arlington Community Conversation Series - Equity
Marty Swaim, Challenging Racism's Executive Director, was part of a panel discussing equity in Arlington housing.

Key Questions:
What is “equity”? What does it mean for housing?
Are Arlington neighborhoods equitable?
How does the County approach social issues in housing policy?

See video below, or watch the video on YouTube
Ms. Swaim was also interviewed on Radio Hotline with Dennis Price on December 17, 2019 to talk about Challenging Racism, it's creation, mission and it's future.
Listen to Radio Fairfax, Channel 37 here .
! Share local events, field trips, webinars, books and podcasts with Challenging Racism Operations Coordinator Pilar Afshar at continued@challengingracism.org
Also, follow us on Facebook to see even more events and shared resources.
Challenging Racism: Continued | www.ChallengingRacism.org