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This is an email from Up to Speed, a newsletter by Momentum.

Halloween while Black was never “normal”

Up to Speed is a biweekly newsletter brought to you by Momentum, a Medium blog dedicated to the fight against anti-Black racism. Did a friend forward this your way? Sign up here so you don’t miss the next one.

Hey Momentum readers,

Halloween may be different this year for many in America, but it’s never quite been traditional for Black children. It’s why we’re excited to share Momentum’s first-ever package, Halloween While Black, which highlights the way Black children celebrate Fright Night — or don’t at all. Whether for religious reasons (Hallelujah parties, anyone?) or simply due to safety and frightening racism, Black families have a lot to consider on October 31, and that’s before you add a pandemic to the mix.

For this Queens kid, Halloween was more of a magical inside job. My mother made our home a Halloween wonderland, so I never felt like I missed out on festivities. Growing up, LEVEL writer Isaiah McCall had to explain to his friends why he dressed as Black Moses on Halloween, thanks to his Christian family’s stance on the holiday. And for Momentum’s co-editor Tracey Ford, the idea of celebrating Halloween in all-White spaces has always been terrifying.

🎃 My Family Didn’t Celebrate Halloween — We Had Hallelujah Parties Instead

We’re all grown-ups now, so we can’t wrap our heads around the way children will feel about having to adapt to Halloween during the Covid-19 pandemic. Stay tuned for Momentum’s report on Halloween along racial lines in 2020 later this week.

Before Hallow’s Eve though, we had our share of scare — and Black sci-fi wonder — thanks to HBO’s hit series Lovecraft Country. Writer Ronda Racha Penrice looks back at the series’ phenomenal Black women characters; it’s a total must-read for loyal fans and curious new viewers alike. As for me, I’m shedding one thug tear for Atticus, the love of my life.

📺 Lovecraft Country Shows Why We’ll Never Shrink From Sci-Fi Fantasy Horror Again

Halloween scaries aside, there’s another important date that’s steadily approaching: Election Day is on November 3. Keith Foster shares his experience with early voting in Cobb County, Georgia. Yes, he had to wait nine hours. No, it did not stop him from casting his ballot. And my current hero, 102-year-old Aunt Ora, was driven to her local polling station so she could cast her vote. Talk about tenacity.

Whether Black, White, or Brown, people like Aunt Ora, the late Rep. John Lewis, and so many Black people fought, bled, peacefully protested, and died for our right to vote.

Stand on the shoulders of these giants — these true forces — and make your voice heard.

Jada Gomez
Editor, Momentum

Illustration: Derrick Dent

More stories to keep in the conversation

LEVEL writer Andrew Ricketts pens a powerfully painful essay on his experience as a young Black student in an elite New York City prep school. We learn that biased algorithms used by the government are quickly becoming a concern as “predictive policing” leaves room for racial profiling. And lastly, but extremely important, we explore why Black communities are wary of becoming early adopters of a Covid-19 vaccine, considering fraught systemic inequities in health care for people of color.

Stand up and be counted, you are now Up to Speed.

How are you advocating for justice at home, at school, or at work? Drop us a line and let us know, and tell your friends to follow us and see what we’re up to.

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Momentum is a blog that captures and reflects the moment we find ourselves in, one where rampant anti-Black racism is leading to violence, trauma, protest, reflection, sorrow, and more. Momentum doesn’t look away when the news cycle shifts.

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Jada Gomez

Jada Gomez

Senior Platform Editor at Medium. Girl with the long last name from the Empire State. NYU Alum. Runner. Puppy Mommy. Smiler.

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