Over the past week, this country has experienced an outpouring of pain, grief, and anger in response to the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, by a police officer. The deaths of Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others have sparked a wave of mass demonstrations calling for justice. We at the Wellesley Centers for Women are energized by the thousands of anti-racist activists pushing for change and for dismantling the structural racism rooted in our daily lives. This change is long overdue.
We have been doing the work of anti-racism for a long time, and yet we still have more work to do. Peggy McIntosh’s seminal writings on white privilege grew into the National SEED Project, which uses conversational communities to drive personal, organizational, and societal change toward social justice. Open Circle provides a social and emotional learning program that develops children’s skills for recognizing and managing emotions, empathy, positive relationships, and problem-solving — key skills for living in a multiracial, inclusive society.
We’ve learned over the years that this work is ongoing, and it is personal. Each of us needs to take it upon ourselves to understand structural racism, and — just as importantly — take action to dismantle the systems that keep it in place. It is not easy, but it is necessary for creating a more just and equitable world for families and communities, in all their diversity.
We invite you to join us in these efforts by educating yourself. This anti-racist reading list is one of many ways to get started.
As our executive director, Layli Maparyan, wrote in her personal reflection on the protests, “...now is not the time to be silent. Rather, it is the time to recreate the world.”
June 2, 2020