Discover more from Cruel Summer Book Club
Cruel compendium #5 🙌
Celebrating Juneteenth, huge civil rights wins, and my foster puppy
ICYMI: On Wednesday I wrote about my foster puppy Gouda, and how she’s totally blown up my life. But I’m rolling with it and giving myself grace, and plenty of time frolicking in the grass with this sweet girl.
Celebrating and remembering Juneteenth
First thing’s first: Today is Juneteenth. On this day in 1865—two months after Robert E. Lee’s surrender and two years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation—Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce the end of the Civil War, and the freedom of the enslaved. (Check out this interactive New York Times feature all about Juneteenth.) Most states now recognize it as a holiday (Governor Cuomo just declared it an annual holiday for state employees), though it is not a national holiday, and I personally do not recall ever receiving the day off work to recognize it. Senator Kamala Harris announced a Congressional bill to make Juneteenth a national holiday yesterday.
Some great examples of how you can celebrate Juneteenth and Black excellence are found here in chnge’s Instagram post. Examples include: Buy artwork from a Black artist. Venmo individual Black people doing good work. Buy and read a book by a Black author that does not center around racism, but Black joy.
Here’s how I’ll celebrate today:
Joining a protest and/or march. This Instagram account has a list of many of the protests and events going on in all five boroughs.
Calling the Kentucky Attorney General to demand justice for Breonna Taylor. It has been 98 days since she was killed in her own home by Myles Cosgrove, Brett Hankison, and Jonathan Mattingly. If you’re on your phone, click this link to automatically dial the AG. And here are all of the action items you can follow.
Uplifting Black creators I love to follow. (Here’s a list of Black-owned independent bookstores around the US so you can order books from the authors I list. Purchase a few today!) Tracee Ellis Ross. Lizzo. Janet Mock (author of Surpassing Certainty). Roxane Gay (author of several books I love, especially Bad Feminist). Donte Colley. Oneika Raymond. Layla F. Saad (author of Me and White Supremacy). Ashley C. Ford (I look forward to every single byline). Saeed Jones (author of How We Fight for Our Lives). Kimberly Drew (author of This is What I Know About Art and an art newsletter.) Humza Deas. Jessamyn. Busola Peters. My roommate and extremely talented singer-songwriter Melissa McMillan.
Buying lunch from a Black-owned business in my neighborhood. Peppa’s, I truly cannot wait.
Donating to The Okra Project, which pays Black trans chefs to go to the homes of Black trans people and provide them with home-cooked, healthy meals, free of charge.
Continuing to read and reflect on Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad. I’m learning a lot about my own complicity in white supremacy from this book, and recommend it to everyone who wants to explore their own white privilege and make real change toward being a genuine ally and anti-racist.
SO MUCH GOOD NEWS! Fifteen thousand people showed up to Brooklyn’s march for Black Trans Lives (I was one of them). LGBTQ+ workers are now protected by the Civil Rights Act. Seven hundred thousand Dreamers don’t have to worry about being immediately deported. NASCAR banned the Confederate flag. Britain went a record two months without burning coal.
The protests in this country have mattered and are causing change in real time. In this year of devastation, loss, and fear, it feels good to get a week packed with forward, positive momentum. Keep it coming.
The Foreign Bodies newsletter’s issue centering on the voices of Black immigrants. Author Fiz Pirani talks through the nuanced process of putting out this issue in a way that makes sense for her to write, and doesn’t ask too much of her subjects. She also amplifies the work of four Black immigrants to know. This issue is such an engrossing read and once again taught me so much information I haven’t seen anywhere else.
Plan who you’ll be after this by Ashley Abramson. Remember, life isn’t on pause; this is life. Let’s dare to create lives we dream about.
Ten people talk about their most significant relationships by Hilary Sheinbaum. Heartwarming.
Questionable self-care advice
Support I got that you might need to hear
I enthusiastically endorse
Under Ann Friedman’s endorsement section, she lists excellent anti-racism resources I haven’t seen anywhere else, including this simple tip for staying accountable:
The Nashville Public Library’s puppet rap video about curbside book pickup. I miss the Flatbush Library so much!
Minerva didn’t step foot in my room for a week after Gouda arrived. This is the constant “why are you putting me through this again woman” face she’s got on nowadays.
Anthem of the week
“Girls” by Vetta Borne. Can’t stop listening to this.
This cheered me up
My first byline for Marie Claire went live this week! I wrote about the empowering practice of swapping platonic nudes with my friends. Try it!
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