This is an email from Up to Speed, a newsletter by Momentum.
Up to Speed is a biweekly newsletter brought to you by Momentum, a Medium blog dedicated to the fight against anti-Black racism. Every other week, we bring you a collection of stories to consider as we all learn, evolve, and fight for racial justice and true equality. Did someone forward this email your way? Subscribe here so you won’t miss the next one.
Hey Momentum readers,
In late August, an image of the Milwaukee Bucks’ crew packing up basketballs as the team announced that it would not suit up for a scheduled playoff game shook history. NBA stars were willing to force the league’s hand at the season’s height; they would no longer let anyone tell them to “shut up and dribble.”
But the image of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics players on their court, kneeling in shirts with seven bullet wounds to symbolize the number of times Jacob Blake was shot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is seared in my brain forever.
As the NBA returned to its season in “The Bubble,” women athletes keep their feet on the necks of police brutality and anti-Black racism. Tennis star Naomi Osaka continues to spread awareness at the U.S. Open by wearing masks honoring those we’ve lost to police brutality. She also chose not to play one day at the Western & Southern Open in solidarity with the Milwaukee Bucks.
And while we acknowledge the athletes who are forging a new path currently, it’s vital for us to also remember change agents of the past. In a Momentum piece on Peter Norman, we get a potent reminder of genuine allyship. Smith believed that the right to raise a fist belonged to the Black men who have faced a kind of discrimination he would never encounter as a White man. As 2020 has sadly ushered another era of unhelpful performative activism, Norman’s story reminds us that we should all be genuine in everything we do, especially in how we fight for change.
And while we are all bewildered and beaten up by a brutal year of illness and violence, Momentum continues to celebrate Black joy. Serena Williams is having a sensational U.S. Open run, and who can resist her daughter Olympia’s excitement in the stands?
Even though we must continue the fight for justice, we also need to adhere to our needs and pain with self-care, we need to find laughter — we need to live. And that means living the 360-degree, high-def-and-in-color lives we deserve.
Until next time, and don’t forget: Masks go over your noses, cool cats and kittens.
More stories to keep in the conversation
Christian Cooper will not let any racist incident define him. The comic-book writer and birder turned his Central Park encounter into art his way. 13,000 fans petition for a memorial of Chadwick Boseman in his hometown to replace the current confederate statue. In a new series for GEN, Hanif Abdurraqib explores how we reconcile our organizing lives with our working lives. In LEVEL, contributor Jordan McGowan pens his own eulogy in the event that he is gunned down by police one day and unable to tell his story. And how did Rodricus Crawford wind up on death row for a murder that never happened? Jessica S. Henry explains the harrowing world of no-crime wrongful convictions that steals so many Black lives.