Image by Shaiyanne Dar

This month the Supreme Court upheld new voting restrictions in Arizona, even though the Republican-sponsored laws will disproportionately affect Black, Latinx, and Native American voters, in violation of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. The act prohibits racial discrimination in voting.

One of the new laws prohibits voting in the wrong district. Previously, if you went to a polling place other than your districted one, you were allowed to vote with a provisional ballot (which would be checked to make sure it was legitimate).

In striking the law down earlier this year, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals cited…


Photo credit: Allies Troop

The name of the holiday Juneteenth is a combination of the words “June” and “nineteenth.” Two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Union Army Major-General Gordon Granger read an order to the people of Galveston, Texas, that stated: “[F]rom the executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” The date was June 19, 1865.

The order delivered by Granger was meant to free the 250,000 Black people still enslaved in Texas, who had not yet been given the news by their white owners that they were legally emancipated.

Why had it taken so…


Photo: Liberty Hill Foundation

The “River Story” — a Parable

Three friends picnicking at a river’s edge suddenly see a baby floating down the river, with more babies coming behind it. Two of the friends jump into the water and start pulling the babies to safety. The third person, however, takes off at a run.

“Where are you going?” call the others.

“I’m going upstream to see who’s throwing babies into the river and get them to stop!”

This parable is adapted from a story usually credited to the late medical sociologist and activist Irving Zola.

The CHARITY approach (rescuing the babies) meets the immediate needs of individuals. Examples of…


While I realize that in writing this piece I am “centering whiteness” — that is, focusing on my feelings and actions as a white person rather than those of the person of color affected — I feel compelled to share an upsetting recent incident that I was party to. I — a self-proclaimed white anti-racist activist — did not offer support to the Brown-skinned attendant at a gas station in an affluent Los Angeles community as he was being called a “wetback” and threatened with the police by a very vocal, very pissed-off white woman at the pumps. …


Post-Election “Blues”: Who Was Really Responsible for the Biden-Harris Win?

Steve Sanchez

I recently joined an incredible SpeakOut webinar with anti-racist activists Melina Abdullah, Tim Wise, and Helen Zia. SpeakOut offers webinars with progressive speakers on a sliding scale basis.

In the webinar, I was schooled on who mattered more than I thought for the Biden-Harris win. Even though most white people that you and I personally associate with might have phone banked, gone door to door, and made donations in support of the Democratic ticket, it was brown and Black people who physically voted Biden in with their higher than…


I hope Biden wins — but even then, the fight will not be over. Think about this: After President Obama was elected, he was mocked for his looks, his birthplace, and his policies, and most of us white people thought it was THOSE bad guys — out there — who were racist. Not us! After Obama was elected, most of us stopped “doing” anti-racism work, if we ever had.

Think about this: While we now often hear the words “systemic racism,” we may not often think about how we, as individual white people, have personally benefited from it. …


— Junco Canché (Toltecatl)

Why Are We Still Celebrating Christopher Columbus?

“Ask an Old White Woman About Racial Justice” Post #3

We have no reason to celebrate an invasion that caused the demise of so many of our people and is still causing destruction today.

— Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne and Creek)

Sailor, explorer, and colonizer Christopher Columbus (born in Italy, settled in Spain) arrived on the shores of the Caribbean Islands in 1492, and on subsequent voyages landed in Central and South America (but never on the North American continent, as I had always assumed!). I want to pause here for a moment to reflect. I’m 70 years old. When I learned in elementary school that…


“Ask an Old White Woman About Racial Justice” Post #2

Letting My Readers Know Where I Stand

Who am I? Kesa Kivel — an old white woman working for racial justice! The purpose of creating an “Ask an Old White Woman About Racial Justice” blog is to help other white people — and myself as well — to learn about different racial issues and to follow through on our new awareness by becoming allies in antiracist struggles.

Please note: This blog is not intended in any way as a substitute for paying those who are Black, Indigenous, and People of…


“Why Don’t You Ask Another White Person About This, Instead of Burdening Me?”

Who am I? Kesa Kivel — an old white woman working for racial justice! The purpose of this blog series is to help other white people, and myself as well, to learn about different racial issues and to follow through on our new awareness by becoming antiracism activists. Together, let’s ignite the courage to do good that I believe we all have within us, and do so without burdening Black people in the process.

A photo of me, Kesa Kivel, at a “Stand Against Racism” rally that I co-organized at the YWCA in 2013

I’ve been doing racial justice work for 20 years through prison reform advocacy…


What? Implicit bias in the medical field? My friend and I recently attended a film and panel discussion on Black maternal mortality rates, not Black infant mortality rates, which at least I had heard of. The film “The Naked Truth: Death by Delivery,” presented on April 13th, 2019 by Black Women for Wellness as part of Black Maternal Health Week in Lancaster, California, provided facts and first-person accounts of devastating medical care, or lack of care, for Black mothers-to-be due to racial bias.

In California there are 44 deaths of Black women per 100,000 live births in contrast with 13

Kesa Kivel

FREE downloadable, educational “Road to Racial Justice” game, curriculum, and “Anti-Racist Art Activity.” “…a remarkable tool” — High school teacher

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