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Anti-Racist and Social Justice Resources
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Welcome to Participant Observer repository of social justice resources that educate, illuminate, enlighten and facilitate action. Learn and then do! Updated and expanded weekly.

Anti-racism, social justice and "People of Color" experience reads and resources:

• Articles
• Web Sites
• Books
• Organizations and Funds
• Television Shows
• Films
• Podcasts

Television Shows

Another avenue to learn more about social justice affecting communities of color is to watch TV series and Movies directed by, written by and starring people of color.

Insecure (United States) Hulu, YouTube, Google Play, Amazon Prime, HBO Max

Insecure was selected by the American Film Institute as one of the top 10 televisions series of 2017. The show revolves around two black women who are best friends who attended Stanford together. The fictional show explores the experiences of the two women (one works for a nonprofit that helps junior high school students and the other is corporate attorney). The show's creator and lead actor in the series, Issa Rae, says the goal was for the show to explore "The complexities of 'blackness' and the reality that you can’t escape being black" and "We’re just trying to convey that people of color are relatable. This is not a hood story. This is about regular people living life."

Queen Sugar (United States) Hulu, YouTube TV, Fubo, iTunes, Google Play

Based on a novel of the same name by Natalie Baszile, Queen Sugar is a contemporary drama about three siblings who live in rural Louisiana, not far from New Orleans. After their father passes away his daughter, Charlie, inherits his 800 acre sugar cane farm and Charlie along with her teenage son move from Los Angeles back to Louisiana to manage the farm. The show is unique as each of the episodes is directed by a woman. The show's characters confront many of the issues that affect black people in America such as racial profiling, the continuing and embedded after effects of slavery, unequal social justice and more. The show has been recently renewed for a 5 series. The series was created by Ava DuVernay who also wrote and directed several of the episodes. Oprah Winfrey is an executive producer and the show is produced by the Oprah Winfrey Network. You can find out more about the show Here.

Atlanta (United States) Hulu, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Prime

In 2018 Rolling Stone and the Guardian both declared that Atlanta was "the best show on TV". The brainchild of actor/musician/dj/producer/writer Donald Glover, Atlanta is a comedy/drama that revolves around two cousins (one, Earn, is played by Glover himself) trying to make it big in rap music in Atlanta Georgia. The creator, directors, writers and most of the cast are people of color. Whatever your views or interests in rap and hip-hop, this audacious and wonderfully unpredictable series is brilliant show that "contains multitudes". As the NY Times observed, Atlanta is a "a comedy in which anything could happen without warning." The cinematography is masterful; absolutely nothing looks like it takes place on a Hollywood set. Wickedly funny at times, it nevertheless pulls no punches and it is subversive and unsettling. The show embraces many critical issues in America today, but Glover's acute sense of irony and skill at looking at situations with subtle nuance defies expectations at every turn. Donald Glover said he wanted to show people "what it feels like to be black". If you are worried that the show is only for young people who love hip-hop and rap, prepared to be surprised.

Black-ish (United States) ABC, Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube TV

Black-ish is an ensemble comedy about a upper-middle class family that lives in the upscale LA neighborhood of Sherman Oaks in Los Angeles. Last month it was renewed for a 7th season. The father, "Dre", is an advertising executive and his bi-racial wife, "Rainbow" is an anesthesiologist. The Johnson family has "made it": the kids go to private schools, live in a big house, drive fancy cars and confront many issues that any family at the socio-economic level might. But because they are black, that requires them to deal with a wide range of issues their neighbors, their co-workers, and classmates don't. Each episode revolves around one or more of these issues. The general style of the series, its cinematography, pace and humor are rather conventional and undoubtedly this is intentional. It has absolutely none of the cinematic grit of the aforementioned show Atlanta. But underneath the gentle comedy are real social issues that have a much wider relevance to black experience in American society. Two episodes?""Hope" which centers around an instance of police brutality and "Juneteenth" which dramatizes the lack of general appreciation for the end of slavery were re-aired by ABC on "Blackout Tuesday". The show's creator, Kenya Barris, wrote on Instagram, "Black Rights are Human Rights, and this continued injustice impacts all of us. So while we hope these episodes can bring your families together in watching and learning, the real hope is that it inspires you to join us in demanding Liberty and Justice for All - Once and for All."

The Chi (United States) Hulu, YouTube, Google Play, Amazon Prime, HBO Max

The Chi is a coming-of-age drama set in south Chicago. The drama in Chi revolves around 4 shootings and how these events affect the characters in the large cast. The show has been praised for its humanizing approach, seeing each character as a complex individual, not a stereotype, and Variety observes, "It transforms the word 'Chicago' from something approaching an epithet into a three-dimensional place". Several reviews speak about the consequences (sometimes life and death) of small actions set in an unforgiving world. The show's creator, Lena Waithe, the first Black woman to receive a prime time Emmy for comedy writing (and she stars in Master of None and was a writer for Bones) said about The Chi, “It’s not, ‘Let’s show Black people in Chicago in a positive light. . .I want to show people in a human light.”

Teach Us All (United States) Netflix

In 1954 the US Supreme Court unanimously decided that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional as were "separate but equal" schools which had been allowed under the prior Plessy vs. Ferguson. School systems, particularly but not exclusively in the South, resisted implementation by closing schools and displacing Black educators and, despite the ruling, a very large number of schools implemented policies that ensured de facto segregation. (Ed note: I grew up the 50s and 60s in a suburb outside of Philadelphia and all the public schools I attended were internally segregated). The documentary Teach Us All was produced by the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heros and they have developed an associated curriculum. The LMCUH says: "Through case studies in Little Rock, New York City, and Los Angeles, our feature-length documentary film seeks to bring the critical lessons of history to bear on the current state of U.S. education and investigate: 60 years later, how far have we come - or not come - and where do we go from here?" The film's director, also wrote and directed Black Boys. The Executive Director of the film is the two-time Super Bowl Champion Malcolm Jenkins who co-founded the NFL Players Coalition in 2017 to address social injustice and racial inequality.

Other shows to watch: Insecure, Empire, Dear White People, Power, Queen Sugar, Greenleaf, Snowfall, Grown-ish, Black Lightening, The Haves and Have Nots.

You can find a huge Pinterest page of movies and TV series featuring African-American actors, casts, directors and stories here.
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