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The Latinx Community Needs Allies: raceAhead

August 16, 2019, 7:00 PM UTC

Here’s your week in review, in haiku.

Not sure we need to
make Greenland America 
Again. Trump’s folly?

This week we welcomed
the bond yield explainers and
hyoid bone experts.

And lo, it came to
pass, a new ‘War on Christmas’ 
with tariffs named Scrooge.

Everyone is mad
at Jay-Z, and everyone 
is right about this.

Goodbyes are hard. But
Six Feet Under had the best
ending of all time.

Wishing you a tariff-free and merry weekend.

On Point

Declárate un aliado, por favor 'Declare yourself an ally' is the primary ask behind this heartfelt open letter, which is addressed to “Querida Familia,” or beloved family. More than 200 Latinx leaders, artists, and activists have signed the letter which was simultaneously published today in the New York Times, La Opinion, El Nuevo Herald and El Diario. “If you are feeling terrified, heartbroken and defeated by the barrage of attacks on our community, you are not alone,” it begins. “We have been smeared by political rhetoric and murdered in violent hate crimes. We have been separated from our families and have watched our children caged. We have been targeted with mass shootings and mass ICE raids meant to terrify us, squash our hope and break our spirits. But, we will not be broken.” The effort was spearheaded by Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, and activist Mónica Ramírez, and signatories include Rita Moreno, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Diego Luna, Gina Rodriguez, Diane Guerrero, Jennifer Lopez, and Ricky Martin. “This is a moment in our nation’s history that we have to show up for—not only for our community, but for every community,” Longoria told Vanity Fair. You can read and declárate un aliado below. #QueridaFamilia Querida Familia Letter

Ninth Circuit affirms that 'safe and sanitary' conditions for children include soap and showers The court ruled yesterday that the government must provide hygiene supplies to detained migrant children, which include proper sleeping mats and access to showers. Remember last June when a lawyer argued in front of visibly appalled judges that the squalid conditions observed by many were fine? This decision dismisses that dismal appeal. It’s a big win for the children currently being detained by immigration officials and the advocates who have been working so hard to get them the bare minimum of care. Read the entire decision here (h/t Aura Bogado, tireless reporter for Reveal.) More on the decision here.

Supporters of the Hong Kong protests call to #BoycottMulan It’s in response to a post by Liu Yifei, the actress who plays the lead character in the upcoming Disney live-action remake, expressing support for the Hong Kong police. The actress re-shared an image that sided with the police, who have been widely criticized for their excessive use of force during the demonstrations. Liu, whose casting was received positively when announced, also added a comment to emphasize her point. The move can be considered “good politics in China,” reports the New York Times, especially for a country that has a history of “blacklisting” politically-active celebrities. Still, she’s not the only Chinese or Chinese-American celebrity to comment on the protestsNew York Times

New York State moves to classify murders linked to white supremacy as domestic terrorism New York would become the first state to link “hate-fueled” crimes as domestic terrorism. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said a “new violent epidemic” of “hate-fueled, American-on-American terrorism,” needed a special designation. “Today, our people are three times more likely to suffer a terrorist attack launched by an American than one launched by a foreigner,” he said. “Now this is not just repulsive. This is not just immoral. This is not just anti-American. It is illegal. And we must confront it by enacting a new law to fit the crime.” New York Times

On Background

Found: A lost album from John Coltrane This is the second time lost works from the jazz giant have re-emerged. Last year, Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album was released, featuring never published 1963 studio recordings from the John Coltrane Quartet. (It gave 'Trane his first ever Billboard hit, too.) Now an album with other unreleased work from the Quartet is on the way, with McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass, and Elvin Jones on drums. Blue World features music recorded as a soundtrack to a Canadian art film. Because the recording session had been tacked on to another one, the work escaped notice from Traneophiles and other experts. The album debuts on Impulse!/UMe on September 27. If y’all having a listening party, you better invite raceAhead. NPR

‘Las Chuntá' a documentary on the history of Mexico’s ‘gender-benders’ This documentary, by Genevieve Roudané, explores the small Mexican town of Chiapa de Corzo, where the Chuntás, men in skirts and makeup, parade down the street for a colorful celebration called Fiesta Grande. Through testimonials, the documentary introduces the audience to a place “where gender-bending men stand in for larger conversations about machismo and homophobia.” It explores the history of the Chuntás, and how they’ve traditionally been straight men—in fact, gay men were once shunned. But it’s been evolving, with the help of queer Chuntá pioneers, into an LGBTQ-inclusive celebration. Click through to watch the truly stirring trailer. Really. Remezcla

Stephanie Summerville will put you on life support Summerville is a delightful storyteller. She brings a touching buoyancy to the painful twists her life has taken thus far: Her escape from racist Evansville, Ind., was foiled when the president of her HBCU embezzled scholarship money, her GPA was wrecked when an internship dried up, she became homeless and had to get a job at McDonald’s just to get the money for a bus ticket home. And while it predictably goes waaay downhill from there, what follows is an extraordinary and surprising tale of desperation and grief, of habitual racism and denial, and what happens when a new home health care aide down on her luck accidently gets a dying Klan member as her first client. The Moth Presents on YouTube

Tamara El-Waylly helps write and produce raceAhead.


“There is never any end. There are always new sounds to imagine, new feelings to get at. And always, there is the need to keep purifying these feelings and sounds so we can really see what we’ve discovered in its pure state. So that we can give those who listen to the essence, the best that we are.”

John Coltrane, Meditations liner notes as told to Nat Hentoff