JUNE 2020
I am the new Executive Director for Challenging Racism, Alicia Jones McLeod. I took on the position in May of this year. COVID-19 was already an issue and with the world shut down, things were going to be difficult. Then the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and now, Rayshard Brooks, in addition to the many other Black people who have been killed at the hands of vigilantes or law enforcement occurred. This started the call #EnoughisEnough and reenergized the #BlackLivesMatter movement. We took to the streets and did not stop.

There are protests and rallies every day all over the world to ignite the call for BLACK LIVES MATTER. There are black out days on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok to illustrate the power of the black voices. Even Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben are being phased out for their racist portrayals. For years, black people have called for these injustices to be ceased, to stop killing us. Now that we are all asking for it, there is change occurring and the world is embracing BLACK LIVES MATTER. 

Today is Juneteenth. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day the last of the enslaved Africans in America were freed from their chains. They worked in bondage for two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth is a reminder of the freeing of slaves but also the broken promises of a prosperous and equitable America for Black people. 

On this Juneteenth, our world is different. This feels like a movement rather than a moment in our community. A chance for real change with pushes to increase funding for safety net programs and accountability for police. This can start a conversation about trust and law enforcement in the black community and lead to real change but there is more work to do. 

Now in the wake of the protests, rallies, vigils, and our voices being heard loud and clear, I am forced to look ahead and ask what next? Even though we are still in this moment, we have to look forward at how can we create equity for our children and our children's children. Equity that can not be repealed and replaced with racism the moment the movement dies down. The rallies and protests are just the beginning. Education is what's next. Conversations follow. And that's how we change the world. 

The real work is changing hearts and minds and creating safe spaces for people to discuss, understand and share issues of race. Join us at the local level for dialogue to change the hearts and minds of our leaders, elected officials, teachers, administrators, communities, parents, students and others. We need them to see this is not a moment - it is a movement and we will not rest without achieving racial equity. 
JUNE 15, 2020
At its regular monthly meeting, June 15, the Board of Challenging Racism:

  • Approved expenditures for developing new curriculum on 3 topics:

  • Unpacking the White Privilege
  • Listening Skills and Difficult Conversations 
  • Beyond Black and White: Racism lived by People of Color who are not African American

  • Approved expenditures for Zoom training to take the Getting Started curriculum online

  • Is looking for new Board members and volunteers to help with the work of Challenging Racism. More information on the organization's needs will follow in the next newsletter

  • We will share news with our subscribers twice a month. At the beginning of the month, our newsletter will feature resources for combating racism in our area. It will include upcoming events, programs, podcasts, articles, etc. that help with the conversations on race. 

  • The second newsletter issue will feature updates and announcements about Challenging Racism. This will include new partnerships, programs we are offering, highlights from the board and committees and other items that further our work.

  • CR Open Office Hours - Alicia will host open office hours to talk to you about ideas, share resources and learn more about Challenging Racism and how you can get involved. They will be online by Facebook messenger on Monday and Friday mornings from 9:30 - 10:30 am. Go to the Challenging Racism Facebook Page and hit the messenger button. Share your thoughts about the current environment, ideas you have or resources and she is there to listen and help. 

  • We are now posting on social media to keep you updated. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram - Follow us on these sites to help spread the word on this work. If you have resources to share, information or ideas or want to volunteer, email us at info@challengingracism.org
Challenging Racism - Getting Started

Challenging Racism:  Getting Started  is a facilitated experience to engage participants with critical content and start them thinking about racism in a new way.

Sessions are 2 - 2.5 hours each, up to 25 participants with two trained facilitators and a time-tested interactive curriculum.

Find more information on our website here . Please share this flyer with friends, family, colleagues and everyone you think could be interested.
Challenging Racism - Learning to Lead ONLINE!

Challenging Racism:  Learning to Lead  is an intense facilitation training program that provides the skills and training to facilitate any group where race or topics related to race are likely to arise. The course provides direct work on how to create safe spaces for difficult conversations in any setting.

Learning to Lead  will be offered via Zoom this summer every Tuesday and Thursday from July 14 to 30 from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. You can find more information on CR's website  here   or you can register by clicking on this button:
The 2nd Annual Running Against Racism 5K Run / Walk Final Report and Finances

Challenging Racism wants to extend a BIG thank you to all involved in making the 2nd Annual Running Against Racism 5K Run/Walk a great success!   Thank you to both new and returning registrants, especially when we changed courses and went "virtual" this year.

We learned that despite the need for participants to personally host their own 5K's and remain physically distanced, we were able to demonstrate our support for anti-racist work within our families; among small groups; as a community online; and through fundraising for a good cause.  

Challenging Racism is extremely thankful to Romana Campos, who raised $740 dollars by asking her friends to support her participation by donating to our organization. Thanks Romana!

Here are our final numbers:

Number or registrations: 89
Sponsors: $2,000
Amount raised from registrations: $3,260
Amount raised from other donations related to the 5K: $965
TOTAL amount raised: $6,225

Because our expenses were few, CR will be able to direct most of these funds to support our programs.

Thank you once again to our sponsor at the Challenger Level,  Arlington Democrats .
And thank you as well to our promotional partners who helped spread the word within our community:   Encore Stage & Studio Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington Arlington County Council of PTAs Rock Spring UCC ,  and  OAR
Virtual 5K - Race Against Racism
July 19th - July 4th
Kathleen Allison is partnering with Challenging Racism to raise money to support the conversations and programs hosted by Challenging Racism to disrupt and end racism in our schools, communities and society as a whole. Whether you donate $5 or $500. Every little bit helps.

The purpose of this event is to bring ALL races together in an effort to educate people about the prevalence of racism and provide knowledge on how you can make a difference in your own communities. You will have 16 days (from June 19th to July 4th) to complete the entire 5K distance. Complete these 3.12 miles in memory of the lives that have been affected and lost due to racism. Run, walk, bike, swim, paddle board, row, etc – whatever your heart desires!

Just do it with a purpose!

Join Challenging Racism and Kat in raising awareness and money. At the beginning of the race on June 19 and after the end of the race on July 4, all registrants will be invited to a Challenging Racism facilitated discussion about a race issue. Education is key to changing hearts and minds.

Please click here to register.
Upcoming Virtual Allyship Training Opportunities
Friday June 26th, 12:00 - 2:00 pm
Service Never Sleeps (SNS) is hosting two upcoming Allyship training opportunities. The first training is a June snapshot session to meet a heightened community need for Allyship tools, and the second is the July launch of our inaugural Virtual Allyship Program. SNS hopes the addition of both options will equip allies to show up effectively during these critical times, and for a lifetime.

Click on the image to register.
George Floyd and the Dominos of Racial Injustice: The Daily Social Distancing Show
Trevor Noah gives an insightful look at the Incidents which have connected and created the moment we are in right now with the protests and rallies over black lives.

Watch the clip here .

The Meyer Foundation has designed a
Racial Equity Toolkit
The toolkit is separated into sections to make it easy to navigate.

Thank you for  The Nonprofit Village  for sharing your equity resources where this was included.
A Double Take on Lynching with Susan Strasser and Marcia E. Cole
Historian Susan Strasser has written, “History is not a collection of facts, but a way of thinking about how things change…I believe history offers a way for us to become honest with ourselves.”

A White historian and an African-American poet team up to view the history of lynching in this country with fresh eyes. What do we discover when we become curious about parts of our past that are shameful and violent? How might choosing to be curious about lynching's historic context and continuing consequences help us move forward?

Things to Do from the Washingtonian Magazine

The National Museum of African American History & Culture has released " Talking About Race ," a web portal with free resources for you to learn how to talk about race and racism.
"A rash of racially charged incidents—from an altercation in Central Park to acts of police brutality resulting in the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and the protests they provoked in cities around the country—prompted the museum to move up the release date of Talking About Race," wrote the institution in a press release. White folks, this one’s for you. If you’re unsure of what you can do right now, educating yourself is a good first step. There are suggestions for how to talk about racism with your kids, coworkers, students, and more. Listen to Ibram X. Kendi, the founder of American University’s Antiracist Research & Policy Center, examine " The Invention of Race ." Watch lawyer/critical race theorist Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw discuss "The Urgency of Intersectionality" in a  TED Talk . Learn about  whiteness  from scholar Robin DiAngelo, the author of  White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism . Read more about the portal  here . If you’re looking for ways to support local protesters, my colleague Daniella Byck wrote about  what you can do right now .
Resources from the Othering and Belonging Institute

Read a Special note from Associate Director Denise Herd here . It includes the work of her colleagues at the Institute on "George Floyd and the Struggle to Belong".

Family and Community: Anti-Racism Resources
Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ

White Supremacy in the Age of Racism course syllabus from Associate Professor Loretta J. Ross at Smith College here .

Find here the link to a full list of documents intended to serve as a resource to white people and parents to deepen their anti-racism work. If you haven't engage in anti-racism work in the past, start now. Feel free to circulate this information on social media and with your friends, family and colleagues.
Honoring the Proud African American Legacy on the Pike

Columbia Pike and South Arlington have been called home by several African American trailblazers, activists, and organizations that work toward the noble goals of equality and freedom for all. Columbia Pike celebrate the people and places that have contributed to our community’s history and diversity.

Read more here .
Sixty Years Ago, A Two-Week Civil Rights Battle Raged Across Arlington Eateries

Arlingtonians are marching in the streets protesting for racial justice, but 60 years ago that fight took the form or sit-ins at Arlington lunch counters.

Read more here .
Check out the resources that our facilitators Dawn Kyser and Stephanie Hammel are sharing with their APS Learning How Group at Campbell / Tuckahoe APS
Videos & Podcasts


  • Washington Post: Two black men say they were kicked out of Walmart for wearing protective masks. Others worry it will happen to them.

  • Newsone: How Coronavirus Affects Black People: Civil Rights Groups Call Out Racial Health Disparities

  • The New York Times: The Hardest Questions Doctors May Face: Who Will Be Saved? Who Won't?

  • NPR: When Xenophobia spreads like a virus

  • Washington Post: Perspective | In the hands of racist officials, the COVID-19 pandemic may be a weapon

  • The Root: Your Racism Is Showing: Coronavirus and the Racist History of Pandemics
Teaching Tolerance Resources and Others for Talking to Children

  • Teaching Tolerance: Speaking Up Against Racism Around the New Coronavirus (aimed at kids but broadly applicable)

  • Embrace Race: Supporting Children in the Struggle Against COVID-19
Watch here two videos written and drawn by Alisha Foster; she is a Yorktown senior and daughter of alumna Ami Foster.These cartoons were originally drawn for the  Let’s Talk  walk-in conversation series that Ami Foster and LaTonya Francis led in the Fall of 2018 at the Central Library. Both videos are used here with Alisha's permission. We thank her for sharing her good work with all of us.
Share local events, field trips, webinars, books and podcasts with Challenging Racism Operations Coordinator Pilar Afshar at info@challengingracism.org

Also, follow us on Facebook to see even more events and shared resources.
Challenging Racism: Continued | www.ChallengingRacism.org