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What We're Reading: May 2020

What We're Reading
Scattered newspapers and magazines rest on a wood surface.

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!

This Facebook Post from Dominique Morisseau

Has Anyone Asked Artists What They Need?

By Raja Feather Kelly

"In-between my Zoom meetings and Zoom rehearsals and Zoom tutorials, I start to see an influx of emails all asking for me to donate to artists in need. I begin to see institutions and organizations, newsletter after newsletter give the call to action...It's Monday, May 4, 2020 at 6:20 pm and I start a text chain with 10 artists I find in my phone. No one is asking me what I need right now. As one of these artists who everyone is out here fighting to protect and save and bring home, no one is asking me what I need...So I asked my colleagues, What do you need? Who's got your back? And, What's next?"

Some TRUTH from Dance Magazine.

Pushing Back Against Habits of White Supremacy During a Crisis

By Kad Smith

"Antidote #1: Letting go of productivity for productivity’s sake... this pandemic has demonstrated that one of the clearest failures of Capitalism is how we’ve designed a society and economy fueled by the production of a lot of non-essential things. Just as we are letting go of non-essential things in other parts of our lives, we should—where we can—slow down and reflect on what we’re holding onto to feel productive for the sake of productivity in our organizations. In our respective areas of work, we need to ask the question, “What’s essential right now?” And we need to keep asking it."

CompassPoint blog expands on the ideas put forth in popular instagram post from Joanna Gattuso: “White Supremacy Culture.. But Make it Remote” (which was part of last month's What We're Reading post!)

Saleem Haddad on Shelving the ‘Gay Novel’

"The specific requirements for what constitutes a ‘gay novel’ remain unclear to me, a novelist who happens to be gay... Is there such a thing as a gay ‘perspective’? Is a novel ‘gay’ if the writer is gay, or does the main character need to be gay too? Is it a question of the degree to which the novel’s plot or theme is gay? If so, what is a gay theme or plot? And what’s the tipping point?"

A guest essay from The Literary Sofa that questions the categories art often gets slotted into.

Our Companion Animals, Our Selves feat. Kay Ulanday Barrett

"When you're in worker's comp or SSDI and the whole world, like the medical complex, got you down, there's a dog that be there for you. And you can't rely on people the same way because we're people. Because there's so much systemic oppression happening, I can't rely on the same consistency, that's impossible."

From the Power Not Pity podcast, a conversation on what a companion animal can mean to a disabled person of color.

From Generosity to Justice

By Darren Walker

" is impossible for philanthropists to shift their mindset and their work towards justice, without acknowledging that their means to do so, the vast sums of personal wealth that endow so many foundations, is often itself the product of injustice."

An audiobook by the president of the Ford Foundation that envisions a future for philanthropy that can truly disrupt inequality.

Breaking Down the Gates: A Conversation About Curation and Inclusion in the Arts

"Creativity doesn't have to be in service to capital. It can just be what we need to do right now. And we don't have to rationalize it, it doesn't have to be pumped through a spreadsheet."

A Zoom panel conversation produced by HowlRoundTV with the department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley.

‘Can People Pay Rent This Month?’ The Consensus Was No

An interview with Lucy Picocchi and Fox Rinne

"We knew that if we didn’t stick together, that if we each individually tried to negotiate with them, there wouldn’t really be a negotiation. And this is why we realized we have to do collective bargaining."

Two Brooklyn rent strikers on why they organized their building to withhold rent and how other renters can do the same.