Standing In Solidarity + Resources For Change

We stand in solidarity with our black readers, friends and community members at this time of tremendous pain. Our nation has been reeling with accounts of grave injustice within our criminal justice system over the last decade, made all the more traumatic and impactful through video footage captured by our communities. Our greatest hope in this time is that this intense period of protests around our country give way to a long period of substantial institutional reforms.

As former President Barack Obama spoke in this important article in Medium earlier today, “The point of protest is to raise public awareness, to put a spotlight on injustice, and to make the powers that be uncomfortable; in fact, throughout American history, it’s often only been in response to protests and civil disobedience that the political system has even paid attention to marginalized communities. But eventually, aspirations have to be translated into specific laws and institutional practices — and in a democracy, that only happens when we elect government officials who are responsive to our demands.” He later goes on to note, “…the elected officials who matter most in reforming police departments and the criminal justice system work at the state and local levels.”

We echo this call to civic engagement in our local communities, as well as Obama’s call to keep ourselves bound to the standards we wish to uphold; “let’s not excuse violence, or rationalize it, or participate in it. If we want our criminal justice system, and American society at large, to operate on a higher ethical code, then we have to model that code ourselves.”

At The Chalkboard, we don’t often veer into politics, however, our desire to stand in solidarity with our team members, readers, and communities of color who may be feeling vulnerable, hopeless or alone, outweighed our desire to stay in our lane. In the coming days, we will be modifying our editorial calendar with resources we think will serve our community best at this time. We are a guide to living well. Right now, the very right to life itself must be spoken for. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

We welcome your feedback, as well as comments about what kinds of resources you’d like to have at this time. If you’re looking for a place to start to turn heartbreak, frustration, overwhelm and hope for change into actionable reform, one of the best resources we’ve found yet this week is Obama’s Advocacy Toolkit for Fair Safe and Effective Community Policing.

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  1. I hope this pushes this site to include a more diverse representation of those in the wellness community. Btw, wellness and health is political. As a cis WOC and recently sometimes reader, it’s difficult supporting this site that fails to feature more women and men of color. Whether it be stock photos, interviews from health experts, or products from POC owned businesses, the representation is lacking or absent. For example, out of the 63 guest editors highlighted, only four are WOC. Part of systemic racism is the inadequate access to proper healthcare to black and brown communities and a close example is the effect of COVID on the black community. So wouldn’t it behoove the wellness community to step up and fill that gap by using their privilege and power to provide information and education to those affected by a broken system?
    Listen, I’m here for powerful statements and the commitment to allyship, but it’s far more impactful if companies and the individuals that makeup said organizations that benefit from the system look within and see how they can change what’s broken and do the work to really be agents of change.

  2. Thank you so much for your comment Jak. Conversation is welcome. First of all, we’re a multi-racial team and we hear you. We’re working on diversifying. We feature so many people of color. We’ve published multiple stories a day for most of a decade. When we’re pitched stories from pros, skin color rarely comes up, to be honest, its also rare that the featured pro is shown in their leading photo – period. Its just not what our readers most often respond to. You can’t search the site to find an author’s race because it would never cross our minds to tag or filter that way, however you’ll find black trainers, doctors, nutritionists, healers and aspirational influencers among some of our favorite recent stories – among many other ethnicities as well. Search the term “skincare” for example and you’ll find we source beautiful faces of all colors. Thanks for hearing us.

    The Chalkboard | 06.04.2020 | Reply
  3. Obama had 8 years to do something about racism and now he has a plan??? What a joke!

    Denise | 06.05.2020 | Reply
  4. As a caucasian women growing up in a semi-desegregated city, I knew that racism was evident but it wasn’t until I had children with a man of color and watched and defended my own children children from racism, did it really hit home. And it’s definitely blatant as 2 of my kids look like their dad and the youngest being fair skinned like myself. I had to constantly monitor my 2 older kids in school for discriminators but not the last one. I continue to ask the question, how can we still be going through this in the 21st century?! It’s appalling!!

    Carol Guzman | 06.05.2020 | Reply
  5. I stand in solidarity against any act of injustice and always have. I don’t need to see color to do that. Maybe that’s part of the problem. We keep seeing color instead of seeing humanity. I have black friends who are completely against make this about race. They can’t express their voices in any way. That should be of grave concern to all of us!

  6. Thanks for responding Chalkboard Mag, but your reply is also riddled with problematic statements. After the events of late, it would be irresponsible for me to not point out how your frame of perspective is still not addressing the omission of POC voices (with clear distinction) and continues to participate in covert systematic racism in a structural pretense. For example
    1. “When we’re pitched stories from pros, skin color rarely comes up, to be honest…”, Of course this would not come up due to Title VII Civil Rights Act of 1964. You are correct as in most pitch meeting spotlight “skin color” unless your Fenty, but as an entity aligning themselves with allyship work, you hold the power to elevate stories of all backgrounds and the responsibility to bring marginalized voices to the forefront. Especially in the wellness community where access to healthcare is often an economic barrier that mostly effects the POC community.
    2. “…its also rare that the featured pro is shown in their leading photo – period. Its just not what our readers most often respond to.” Clearly, this is incorrect because the point of my comment was to share my voice as a reader of color that the lack of diverse representation was repelling. But why not change that narrative and champion the diverse group of wellness gurus you follow and allow your readers to see that the world of health expands beyond white experts.
    3. “You can’t search the site to find an author’s race because it would never cross our minds to tag or filter that way…” Again, championing the work of Asian, Latinx, or Black American health experts is not a bad thing. Highlighting the work from persons in these communities will only strengthen your efforts to present a whole and accurate picture of the wellness community. And it also will serve as a welcome banner for other potential POC readers to feel included in a conversation that often leaves them out. Representation matter in front of and behind the scenes.
    Great to hear that you have a “multi-cultural” team and it sure would be nice to meet them, so it rounds out the story of Chalkboard Magazine. At the end of the day, I hope my words make you less defense and more receptive to learning that discovering blindspots are an opportunity to learn and grow. I’m sure your readers appreciate you taking the time to reevaluate how you operate as a site and how you will present yourself going forward. Thank you for listening and I encourage you to continue to do so.

  7. Chalkboard Mag-
    You need to LISTEN to the person of color (JAK) who is calling you out. Don’t make excuses, don’t tone police. Representation matters and it is mind-boggling that in your meetings “skin color rarely comes up” this is the essence of privilege! Go read your own instagram quotes that you’re suddenly posting…
    I’ve been less and less interested in your thin-pretty-white-straight- leaning content and will discontinue following this blog. It’s problematic. Commit to some radical shifts.

    Madigan | 06.07.2020 | Reply

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