Black Lives Matter: We Stand with Our Community in Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis
The statement below was shared with the College Now community on June 9, 2020. For a list of anti-racist resources and supports organized by College Now staff, please continue scrolling to the bottom of this message.
College Now Greater Cleveland joins the voices of the community in Cleveland and in cities around the world expressing anger and indignation over the murder of George Floyd and the numerous other Black and brown people killed at the hands of police. We condemn all forms of institutional racism in the strongest possible terms.
We are proud to join the Greater Cleveland Partnership and over 20 local organizations in declaring racism a public health crisis in Cleveland and committing to take action to undo the structural racism present in our community. You can read the full statement of community commitment on the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s website.
College Now was founded in 1967, the same year that Cleveland elected Carl Stokes, the first Black mayor of a major U.S. city, and the year that Martin Luther King, Jr. announced the Poor People’s Campaign, a movement to bring economic justice to the poor and disenfranchised of America, regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion. It is with heavy hearts that we reflect on the last 53 years of our existence and recognize that so many societal problems continue to plague our community since we first opened our doors to help Cleveland public school students go to college.
College Now works to overcome racial inequalities by ensuring equal access in education, which is a key factor in creating an equitable society. To America’s first Hispanic and Latina Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor, education means equality. She said, “Until we get equality in education, we won’t have an equal society.” To American hero, former slave, and famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass, education meant opportunity. He said, “Some know the value of education by having it. I know its value by not having it.”
We must acknowledge that, due to our country’s 400-year history of marginalizing Black people, racial disparities exist at every point along the higher education pipeline, from the application process to degree completion. Research has shown that segregation is a contributing factor to disparities in college completion rates. Furthermore, financial and social resources, which are impacted by racial and social inequalities, also have a major impact on enrollment and completion.
College Now recognizes that it is not enough to simply be “not racist.” We must be anti-racist. We must call out racism when we see it, even when it is implicit, and we must recognize that racism is not a problem to which Black people must figure out solutions. It is a problem that must be addressed individually and systemically by all of us.
Here at College Now, we have been talking and learning about issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion more intensively over the past few years. We recognize, while we may not always have lived up to it, we have an important role to play, as access to education is one of the keys to social and economic mobility in the U.S., and because the communities we serve and work with are directly affected by systemic racism every day.
College Now will continue to listen to and to support Black people, and we will use our platform to bring systemic change so our society can fully realize equality and justice for all. Black lives matter.
In love, anger, justice, and hope,
CEO, College Now Greater Cleveland
Anti-Racist Resources and Support Links
Updated: June 13, 2020
The following list has been compiled and continues to be updated by College Now staff. We encourage you to take some time to explore the below resources and to share widely. This is work we all need to do and to truly commit to doing. It is a lifelong process and one that we all must take personal responsibility for. Thank you for joining us in this work – you are helping to make our organization and our community a more just and equitable place.
Resources for White Allies
Discover your Baseline
Lists and Compilations
- Scaffolded Anti-racism resources for white allies. Find the appropriate stage on the chart, and use the resources recommended.
- “Institutionalized Racism: A Syllabus,” Catherine Halley, JSTOR
- “Anti-Racism Resources,” list compiled by activist and filmmaker Sarah Sophie Flicker and social media strategist Alyssa Klein
- “75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice,” by Corinne Shutack, Medium. [Especially #4!]
- “Here’s How White People can Support the Fight Against Police Brutality,” by Jessica Probus, BuzzFeed
- “The 1619 Project” New York Times. [See especially the essay by Nikole Hannah-Jones.]
- “Anti-Racism Resources,” categorized list compiled by activist and writer Rachel Ricketts
- “First, Listen. Then, Learn. Anti-Racism Resources for White People,” by Julie Wuench, Forbes
- “KidLit: Anti-Racist Resources for Children, Families, and Educators,” by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, The Brown Bookshelf
- “Resources for Helping and Healing,” Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring
Articles and Interviews
- “James Baldwin: How to Cool It,” Interview with James Baldwin in Esquire
- “The Death of George Floyd, In Context,” by Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker
- “Of Course There Are Protest. The State is Failing Black People,” by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, New York Times
- “This is How Loved Ones Want Us to Remember George Floyd,” by Alisha Ebrahimji, CNN
- “You shouldn’t need a Harvard degree to survive birdwatching while black,” by Samuel Getachew, Washington Post
- “George Floyd Could Have Been My Brother,” by Rita Omokha, Elle
- “How to Make This Moment the Turning Point for Real Change,” by Barack Obama, Medium
- “I am So Tired,” by Robert Sellers, Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion & Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Michigan
- “For Our White Friends Desiring to be Allies,” by Courtney Ariel, Sojourners
- “White Anti-Racism: Living the Legacy,” Teaching Tolerance
- “KidLit4BlackLives Rally,” The Brown Bookshelf via YouTube
- “How to Talk to Kids about Racism, Explained by a Psychologist,” by Anna North, Vox
Films and Series
- Just Mercy (film, watch for free!)
- When They See Us (series, Netflix)
- 13th (documentary film, Netflix)
- Let It Fall (documentary film, Netflix)
- 10 Documentaries to Watch about Race DOCPlay
- 29 Movies, Shows and Documentaries to Educate Yourself on Racial Justice, The Every Girl
- “What Matters,” series of interviews and short documentaries on timely issues produced by Black Lives Matter
Podcast and Radio
- Still Processing podcast
- Code Switch podcast
- For more suggestions, see “The Anti-Racist Podcast List,” by Brea Baker, Elle
- Any winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, presented by the Cleveland Foundation
- Khan Academy Resources on Black History, Politics, and Culture
- America’s Original Sin, Jim Wallis (2015)
- An African American and Latinx History of the United States, Paul Ortiz (2018)
- An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (2014)
- Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015)
- Biased, Jennifer Eberhardt (2019)
- Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald (2013)
- Chokehold: Policing Black Men, Paul Butler (2017)
- Citizen: An American Lyric, Claudia Rankine (2014)
- Conversations in Black: On Politics, Power and Leadership, Ed Gordon (2020)
- Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations, Mira Jacobs (2019)
- Have Black Lives Ever Mattered?, Mumia Abu-Jamal (2017)
- How to be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi (2019)
- I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, Austin Channing Brown (2018)
- Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson (2014)
- Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor, Layla F Saad (2020)
- Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out, Ruth King (2018)
- So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo (2018)
- Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas, Ibram X. Kendi (2016)
- Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America, Michael Eric Dyson (2017)
- The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, Richard Rothstein (2017)
- The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin (1963)
- The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race, edited by Jesmyn Ward (2016)
- The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander (2010)
- The Racial Healing Handbook, Anneliese A. Singh (2019)
- The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, Isabel Wilkerson (2010)
- What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays, Damon Young (2019)
- When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, Asha Bandele and Patrisse Cullors (2018)
- White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo (2018)
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?, Beverly Tatum (2017)
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, Reni Eddo-Lodge (2017)
- Women, Race and Class, Angela Davis (1981)
- Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013)
- Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)
- Go Tell It on the Mountain, James Baldwin (1953)
- Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi (2016)
- Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison (1952)
- The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead (2019)
- Rainbow Milk, Paul Mendez (2020)
- The Water Dancer, Ta-Nehisi Coates (2019)
Children and Young Adult
- A is for Activist, Innosanto Nagara (2013), non-fiction
- Anti-Racist Baby, Ibram X. Kendi (forthcoming), non-fiction
- Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson (2014), fiction
- The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas (2017), fiction
- This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work by Tiffany Jewell (2020), non-fiction
- Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi (2020), non-fiction
- Follow these organizations and amplify their content:
Support Resources for People of Color
- “Coping with Race-Related Stress,” University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
- “How to Deal with Racist People,” by Jens Korff, Creative Spirit
- “Mindfulness and Stress Reduction Resources for People of Color,” Perinatal Support Washington (but resources are for all, regardless of gender!)
- “Surviving Oppression; Healing Oppression,” Tarakali Education
- ”Students’ Coping Strategies Against Racial Microaggressions,” University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
- “Surviving Institutions that Weren’t Created for You,” by Yareliz Mendez-Zamora, Huffington Post
Resources for Educators
- Antiracist Pedagogy Reading List, by Andrea Aebersold, University of California, Irvine
- Becoming an Anti-Racist Educator, Wheaton College
- Keep yourself motivated!
Call to Action
- Register to vote
- Sign a petition (or two):
- Justice for George Floyd (change.org)
- Colors of Change #JusticeForFloyd
- Justice for Breonna Taylor (change.org)
- Justice for Ahmaud Arbery (change.org)
- Showing Up for Racial Justice’s list of black-led racial justice organizations
- George Floyd Memorial Fund
- Minnesota Freedom Fund
- Reclaim the Block
- National Bail Out
- Black Lives Matter
- Bail Project
- Black Visions Collective
- Campaign Zero
- National Bail Fund Network
- The Innocent Project
- Run with Maud
- Justice for Breonna
What I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Started College
By Olivia Rawley, AmeriCorps Career Pathway Coach
I can still remember how it felt when I first started college, even though it was almost seven years ago (that’s crazy!). Surprisingly, I don’t remember being all that nervous. If anything, I remember experiencing a relaxed confidence. I was a good student – almost neurotically so – in high school. I didn’t think I had anything to worry about going into college. I thought the classes would be at least somewhat similar to high school classes, but with even more freedom! I told myself that my high school teachers were exaggerating when they said college would be a “rude awakening.”
All I can say is that this confidence was, probably, ill-founded. I had the foundational skills I needed to succeed, but that was only the beginning – and that is only pertaining to academic work! Academics is not the only significant part of college; it’s an opportunity to grow emotionally and socially.
I have to admit, this was something that I wasn’t prepared for. When it came to building a social life, I assumed it would just “happen,” even for an introvert like me who struggled with social anxiety in high school. But it doesn’t just happen like it would in high school, when you are surrounded with the same people, day after day, for years. I failed in this regard, and I struggled my first semester, and my first year in general, to build a solid group of friends. And that was rough, to say the least.
I wish someone would have sat me down and told me all I needed to know to succeed, both academically and socially, in college. But no one did, really. Like I said, we only received abstract threats from our high school teachers.
So, I guess it is up to me to tell you now what I wish I knew then.
DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE.
If you hear about the people who write papers the night before they’re due—that was me! Hello, hi, I’m Olivia and I’m a recovering procrastinator (it’s an ongoing process). It worked for me for a short while in college, but I’ll never forget when I was forced to change my ways.
I was standing in the hallway waiting for my class to start, talking to a friend. I had turned in my first paper for this class and received a rather lackluster grade. I was extremely disappointed. I don’t get bad grades! I told myself. I’m also a recovering perfectionist, by the way. (Again, it’s an ongoing process.)
So, anyway, I was talking to my friend about this paper, and we were discussing our paper-writing methods. I was telling her that my write-the-night-before method is the only method I use. Clearly, it was working out well for me. A woman standing nearby, obviously overhearing our conversation, chimed in: “Yeah, that simply doesn’t work.” I was taken aback by this curt, perfunctory criticism. Doesn’t work?! It worked for me in the past, so it must work now! I was adamantly against changing my ways; I am stubborn, after all.
But this woman went on to explain her own experience as an English graduate student, and the importance of editing. Your first draft is essentially word vomit, and you can’t turn that in without a good edit. But, if you’re doing it the night before, there is no way to edit! You simply don’t have time.
It’s important to start your paper days, or even weeks, before it’s due. It takes the pressure off completely. You can feel confident when you start that what you’re putting on your page right now does not have to be perfect, because you’ll be going back to make edits anyway! I recommend writing a paragraph to a page per day, and then dedicating at least a couple of days for your edits, depending on how long your paper is. It’s all about taking it chunk by chunk and piece by piece.
This also applies to studying in general. If you’re studying for an exam the night before, you’re binging on the material. Yeah, maybe it will be “fresh” in your mind the next day, but you’ll forget all the information shortly thereafter. You’re not in college just to study for exams.
So, thank you to the woman who I met in the hallway that day. You taught me the importance of editing, and to give your writing the proper time it needs.
BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUR PROFESSORS.
I talked about this a bit in a previous blog post, but I’m going to reiterate it here because it is so important.
I guarantee you are more likely to succeed in a class if you are on friendly terms with your professor. You need to go to their office hours. It doesn’t mean you need to be there every week, but I recommend at least twice over the semester. Definitely go within the first couple of weeks of classes to introduce yourself and ask how you can best succeed in their class.
It also doesn’t only have to be in office hours where you build a relationship with a professor. Stay after class for a couple of minutes and discuss the lecture. Say what you liked about it/didn’t like about it. Ask clarifying questions. These are bonding moments, I’m telling you. And you’ll earn mad brownie points.
GO TO CLASS.
This is a given, but I had to include it.
Even if your professor doesn’t take attendance, just do it. You never know when you’re going to miss something important. Don’t think you can cheat the system. You’re not that slick!
JOIN AN ORGANIZATION.
Just do it—that’s all I need to say.
Just kidding! But seriously, this is how you build friendships with like-minded people. I understand that it might be easy just to start hanging out with people that live on the floor of your dorm (that is, if you live in a dorm), but don’t hang out with people just to hang out with people. Does this make sense? You want people who share the same values and interests as you do. And maybe you don’t even know what your values or interests are yet! Which is fine, of course, but that’s why you need to join an organization to figure it out.
Eventually, you may find something you are passionate about. As a result, you’ll find people you’re passionate about, as well.
Overall, try to steer clear of the superficial friendships when you start college. I know you may be lonely and out of your element, but these friendships can be draining. They won’t get you any closer to “discovering” yourself.
Do what you can to maintain your health; it is so important. Many of us were active in high school, playing sports, so we didn’t even have to think about exercise. But it’s something we have to actively work toward for the rest of our lives.
It doesn’t even have to be “formal” exercise, like lifting weights or getting on the elliptical. It can simply be playing pick-up basketball with friends, taking a walk, riding a bike, etc.
OVERALL, GET UNCOMFORTABLE.
This applies to all of the things listed above. You’re going to have to get uncomfortable to put yourself out there. Show up to a meeting where you know no one; introduce yourself to someone in class; ask if you can join a group of people who are having a study group in the library.
You’ll feel anxious, and that’s okay. It’s scary to show up to a meeting for a club where you know absolutely no one. Not everyone can walk into a room and be charming and charismatic. You think to yourself: I’ll make a fool of myself; I’ll look dumb; people will think I’m weird, and on and on it goes. Accept the anxiety and don’t shy away from it. Act despite it. You’ll become a stronger and more resilient person. And remember, everyone has been in the same position you are in now and has had these same fears.
And if you make a fool of yourself (which is inevitable, so accept it), then okay. But the great thing is that no one will remember you! Seriously. We are all so busy navel-gazing, worrying about our own mess-ups, that we hardly remember anyone else’s.
Honestly, this was something I struggled with all throughout college. It probably diminished my experience as a result. It wasn’t until I started traveling internationally that I learned this skill. At the moment, it was an absolute necessity.
Don’t be pushed to that breaking point. Choose to actively engage. That’s all I can say.