I posted this on Patreon, where I’ve been uploading a chapter a day of my translation of A Voyage Around My Room.
Hi all. There would normally be a new chapter of A Voyage Around My Room coming to your inbox at 9:00 Pacific time this morning, but not today. I took the past few days to mourn the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, to think about the kinds of change I’m hoping rise out of this nightmare of a spring, and to make a plan for creating that change.
I do not much like talking about my activism; I prefer to just do what I can. But I realize that some people, especially those who are new to the fight or can’t join a large protest, might be feeling at loose ends about what to do. Maybe this little list will help you get started.
- I took 8 minutes and 46 seconds to sit alone quietly, the length of time Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck.
- I took stock of my budget and decided I can commit 10% to monthly ongoing donations. I split that money into neat quarters so I can support four different organizations.
- I researched and picked three of the four organizations because I know and admire their work at the local, national, and global levels (The Urban League of Portland, The Malala Fund, and Four Directions, which encourages Native American voter turnout). I’d like the fourth to be related to climate change, and there are so many choices I haven’t been able to pick.
- I tried to go to my small neighborhood protest because I saw a post on Instagram and everybody was six feet apart and wearing masks. But by the time I saw the post, it was almost over. I chanted with my mask on for 10 minutes and went home.
- I put notes in my Bullet Journal to check in quarterly with my donations and my actions to see if anything needs to be adjusted. I brought the nerd even to my activism.
- I almost forgot! I finished reading Mitchell S. Jackson’s memoir of growing up in North Portland before it was gentrified, Survival Math. Great story, but moreover the man’s way with language is powerful. Highly recommend it.
I forgot two more little things:
- I used Postable to create a birthday card for Breonna Taylor and send it to the Attorney General’s office in Kentucky to pressure him to charge the police who murdered her.
- I asked some fellow editors to request But Not Jim Crow, an oral history compiled by Pearl Alice Marsh about a community of Black loggers in Eastern Oregon.
I’m not saying you need to do any of these things, and I’m not super comfortable even sharing this at all. But if you’re struggling to find a way to help, maybe one of these things will spark an idea for you.
Back to the musings of a housebound nineteenth-century Frenchman in the morning. – khg