Lunchtime Discussion – Reimagining Public Safety

The Anti-Racism, Equity and Justice (AREJ) Organizing Team invites you to our next Lunchtime Discussion on Wednesday, May 5 at noon.

This will be the first of a two part discussion on “Reimagining Public Safety”.

In this first session we will engage with what policing and public safety looks like now, in our community and for us personally, and how that informs, influences, and sometimes interferes in the discussion of “reforming”, “abolishing” or “defunding” our existing policing paradigm.

Our second session will deconstruct the origin and evolution of policing followed by a discussion about how public safety could be reimagined from the ground up, absent present-day paradigms and institutions.

We welcome you at either one or both!

Some readings of interest on this topic locally (written by Tiana Headley, Vassar ’22):
How the Poughkeepsie Police Union Tried to Defeat Reform
Uneven Police Reform Compliance Frustrates Mid-Hudson Communities

Action Opportunity – How can we better avoid racial equity detours?

Flipping the narrativeIf those who raise concerns about equity in an institution face greater hostility, if they are labeled as militant or angry for telling the racial equity truth, if they are silenced or made to feel less central to this institution, then, we should see these actions as a failure of equity leadership and the signs of a “sick” institution.

Start where we need to be: equity is neither optional nor negotiable. We should be able to say: “This is who we are as [a school] and these are the values to which we will be held accountable.” 

Our best resources are equity minded individuals. When we make them the center of our institutions we are primed for equity progress.

Closer Look – Equity Detours

Pacing for privilege happens when the pace of change for an equity approach coddles the comfort and hesitancy of people with the least racial equity investment or interest. It punishes and ignores the people who most need and desire change  (students, families, educators or any individuals or groups experiencing racism).

Examples of pacing to privilege:

  • A cultural competence approach that talks about cultural differences without naming or confront racism
  • An administrative response that emphasizes the importance of staff buy-in, or “meeting people where they are at,” before implementing equity or taking a stance on an issue

Brainstorm of spaces we inhabit. Is racial equity alive in those spaces? How or how not?

  • When do we participate in avoiding or rearranging inequities?
  • How does that detour work? 
  • How was I disrupting or enabling that detour?

Literacy Moment – April 2021

From our Lunchtime Discussions – What are racial equity detours?

  • The detours that white people follow to protect their privilege and avoid the messy work of racial justice 
  • Detours create an illusion of progress toward equity while cementing or even exacerbating inequity
  • Detours can be initiatives and strategies that pose little threat to structural racism yet they can consume extensive resources, including those marked for racial equity
  • Detours relieve us of the responsibility to name and illuminate the ways that racism operates in our workplaces, schools, institutions and communities

Read, Listen, and Watch – April 2021

The Mellon Research Initiative in Racial Capitalism Presents:
Wan-Chuan Kao, “In the Lap of Whiteness”

What did the premodern hold look like? What cargoes and feelings did it traffic? If the hold, in Fred Moten and Stefano Harney’s formulation, is a periodizing and racializing technology of modern logistics, the two imbricated vectors do not necessarily coincide. Instead of approaching the premodern hold from a modern biologization of race or from a cultural-political mode of historiography, Kao proposes a method grounded in empathy studies. Kao takes as a litmus test “The Squire’s Tale” by Chaucer, in particular its image of a feminine lap cradling a wounded talking falcon that signifies whiteness as racial capital in the guise of courtliness. An alternative to the extraction model of racial capitalism, Canacee’s empathic lap is one figuration of the premodern hold that attempts to traffic whiteness as its terrible load. Next, Kao considers periodization as the historiographic equivalent to racial passing, arguing that the two phenomena share traits and tactics, and that classification and recognition do not always align. In fact, the empathic scene is often marked by the non-coincidence of subjects—a certain wrongness inherent in a failed encounter—that demands willful interpellation. Kao then turns to the reception history of “The Squire’s Tale” and contend that Spenser and Milton repurpose the text through a Foucauldian contre-move rooted in modernist, Orientalist strategies of differentiating texts, bodies, affects, and histories. Periodization is the racial logistics of time.

Anti-Asian Racism, White Supremacy and Cross-Racial Solidarity – Virtual Town Hall

Thursday, April 8th, 12:30 – 2 pm
Town Hall on Anti-Asian Racism, White Supremacy, and Cross-Racial Solidarity

On Thursday, April 8, we will bring together activists and nonprofit leaders working to create safety, build multiracial solidarity, and uplift community solutions to eliminate violence against Asian communities without overreliance on policing and other carceral interventions. We will reflect on the impact of these racist attacks, and unpack attempts to whitewash systemic racism and the erasure of gender-based violence. We will discuss deep cross-racial solidarity and interdependence as an organizing lens and practice for a more sustainable path to community safety and explore considerations for PPGNY in our work as a reproductive health care and advocacy organization.

The event will be moderated by Fiona Kanagasingam, Chief Equity and Learning Officer, and Merle McGee, Chief Equity and Engagement Officer, and is held in partnership with our External Affairs team.

Cathy Dang, former Executive Director of CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities

Wayne Ho, President/CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council

Alvina Wong, Asian Pacific Environmental Networks

Read panelist bios here.

Zoom link registration will follow shortly via email. Sign up here.

{Closed Captioning, ASL interpretation, and simultaneous translation available)

In Our Community – Poughkeepsie Healthy, Black and LatinX Coalition

Poughkeepsie Healthy Black and LatinX Coalition 

If you are interested in the Poughkeepsie Healthy Black and Latinx Coaction they meet every second Thursday from 9:30am-11am. You can register here:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.