What We're Reading: February 2021
As members of an organization that believes in the power of conversation to promote systemic change, the team here at The Lark often circulates, among ourselves, anecdotes and emails about materials we've read lately that have moved us. In accordance with our commitment to the amplification of necessary voices that reflect the world we live in, this monthly post compiles some of the media we have been tuned in to, to share with our wider community. We know these are only a sampling of all the insightful work out there, so if we missed anything that had an impact on you this month, we encourage you to share in the comments section!
By Nia Farrell
"The journey toward the present-future cannot be centered around power and material goods; it must center people and our values as a community, the stories we tell, dreams we make, and futures we actualize through our craft."
BIPOC Artistic Directors (Nataki Garrett, Jacob G. Patrón, Hana Sharif, and Eric Ting) helming predominantly White institutions, discuss balancing their new positions of power within organizations that continue to struggle with structural racism.
By Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Description from Bookshop.org: In this collection of essays, Lambda Literary Award-winning writer and longtime activist and performance artist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha explores the politics and realities of disability justice, a movement that centers the lives and leadership of sick and disabled queer, trans, Black, and brown people, with knowledge and gifts for all.Care Work is a mapping of access as radical love, a celebration of the work that sick and disabled queer/people of color are doing to find each other and to build power and community, and a tool kit for everyone who wants to build radically resilient, sustainable communities of liberation where no one is left behind. Powerful and passionate, Care Work is a crucial and necessary call to arms.
By Melissa Hillman
"The centering of abled people routinely takes the form of ableist tropes that present the lives of disabled people through an ableist lens. In these tropes, the disabled body is used as a container for the emotions able-bodied people have about disability."
By Edgar Villanueva
Description from Bookshop.org: Decolonizing Wealth is a provocative analysis of the dysfunctional colonial dynamics at play in philanthropy and finance. Though it seems counterintuitive, the philanthropic industry has evolved to mirror colonial structures and reproduces hierarchy, ultimately doing more harm than good. After 14 years in philanthropy, Edgar Villanueva has seen past the field's glamorous, altruistic fade, and into its shadows: the old boy networks, the savior complexes, and the internalized oppression among the house slaves, and those select few people of color who gain access. All these funders reflect and perpetuate the same underlying dynamics that divide Us from Them and the haves from have-nots. In equal measure, he denounces the reproduction of systems of oppression while also advocating for an orientation towards justice to open the floodgates for a rising tide that lifts all boats. In the third and final section, Villanueva offers radical provocations to funders and outlines his Seven Steps for Healing.With great compassion--because the Native way is to bring the oppressor into the circle of healing--Villanueva is able to both diagnose the fatal flaws in philanthropy and provide thoughtful solutions to these systemic imbalances. Decolonizing Wealth is a timely and critical book that preaches for mutually assured liberation in which we are all inter-connected.
By Vilissa Thompson
"The responses to the features over the years were astounding – the appreciation of spotlighting Black disabled achievers were seen from within and outside of disability spaces. What struck me was the anger some felt about not knowing Black disabled figures and their accomplishments; the erasure showed me that it was not just Black disabled folks like myself who needed to read these pieces. Recognizing our place in history DO matter."