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LeBron James and the NBA picks up where Colin Kaepernick left off

July 31, 2020, 10:25 PM UTC

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NBA players and coaches keep up Kap’s work with the anthem, prison walls can’t keep in the coronavirus. Elsewhere, the Esselen tribe gets back what’s theirs in Big Sur, while the amazing MacKenzie Scott gives away her wealth.

But first, here’s your holiday-inspired week in review, in Haiku.

Long distance pilgrims
on a social distant quest.
The kitchen table

joys of food, chatter,
family delight subdued:
Eid during COVID.

This year’s feast is a
sacrifice for those who grieve;
loved ones lost,

rituals curtailed
in an Eid Mubarak Zoom.
Still, there are blessings

to be found in the
world, and a wish for love and
peace, moments of joy.

Wishing you many moments of joy this weekend.

Ellen McGirt

On point

The Esselen Tribe goes home Some 1,200 acres of undeveloped private property near Big Sur, California, are being transferred to the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County, who will return to their ancestral home after being driven off the land over 250 years ago. “We are back after a 250-year absence – because in 1770 our people were taken to the missions,” Tom Little Bear Nason, chairman of the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County said. “Now we are back home. We plan on keeping this land forever.” The property known as Adler Ranch was sold via a $4.5 million grant from the California Natural Resources Agency, awarded last fall. The Tribe plans to build a traditional village on the property which will be available for use by several Central Coast tribes, including the Esselen, Rumsen, Chalone, Sureño, Chunchunes and Guatcharrone. The property is a pristine ecosystem of endangered species and old growth redwoods, and home to the Little Sur River, a spawning stream for endangered steelhead trout.
Monterey County Weekly

NBA players and coaches kneel during the national anthem In the first professional games to be played in the COVID-delayed season, players and coaches the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans Pelicans, and Utah Jazz, all took a knee to support the movement started by Colin Kaepernick. "I hope we made Kap proud, I hope we continue to make Kap proud,” Lakers star LeBron James said in a post-game interview. “Every single day, I hope I make him proud on how I live my life, not only on the basketball floor but off the floor. I want to always speak out against things that I feel like are unjust," James said. See? Not so hard. Also, the Lakers beat the Clippers 103-101.
CBS News

COVID-19 jumps prison walls to communities  In this eye-opening interview hosted by Reuters, Lawrence Bartley of The Marshall Project and author/activist Piper Kerman discuss the alarming relationship between coronavirus hotspots in prisons and broader communities. Prisons are not designed for social distancing; even the director of the Ohio prison system has tested positive, they note. “There are more than 7,000 prisons, jails and detention centers in the U.S. and nearly half a million workers pass through them every single day,” says Kerman. “I can’t overemphasize that it’s impossible to keep COVID-19 behind prison walls.”  Find The Marshall Project’s essential state-by-state tracker of coronavirus infections in state and federal prisons here, more on the conversation below.

The wonder of MacKenzie Scott  Last year, the author and philanthropist, who also played an important role in the founding of Amazon, pledged to give away the majority of her wealth, and do it thoughtfully. This week, she did just that — giving money to 116 organizations, most of which directly promote racial, gender, and LGBTQ equity, and which had been vetted and selected for their transformative work. “There’s no question in my mind that anyone’s personal wealth is the product of a collective effort, and of social structures which present opportunities to some people, and obstacles to countless others,” she wrote in a Medium post. While many of the individual gifts, like her contribution to Howard University, have been well-publicized, it’s worth spending a little time with her entire list, filled with remarkable people working on important ideas. She really did something here.
MacKenzie Scott on Medium

On background

It’s time to rethink White Jesus Robert P. Jones, author, CEO and co-founder of PRRI, a nonpartisan religion and public policy research organization, is unsparing in his assessment. Decades of research confirm a difficult truth. “White Christians are consistently more likely than whites who are religiously unaffiliated to deny the existence of structural racism,” he says, and racist ideas are most strongly associated with frequent attenders of church. He melds a history lesson with his own research—his Racism Index sounds fascinating—which leads him to the appalling conclusion that racist ideas are tightly bound with white Christian identity and a central part of the white Christian worldview. “The unsettling truth is that, for nearly all of American history, the light-skinned Jesus conjured up by most white congregations was not merely indifferent to the status quo of racial inequality,” he says. “[H]e demanded its defense and preservation as part of the natural, divinely ordained order of things.”
NBC News Opinion

Wake up, sheeple Annie Lowrey has written an essay that will make you laugh…until you cry. If you’ve spent even a minute online you’ve already met Facts Man, the prolific user of every communications medium, aiming to bring order to the chaos with the unvarnished truth. “The conclusions that the social-justice warriors and sheeple professors will not let you reach. The conclusions that mere mortals, including lauded subject-matter experts and the people who have actual lived experience of the topic at hand, have not yet grasped.” Yeah, that guy. And the business world generates plenty of ‘em.  While she breaks down the stereotype pretty handily, it leaves you with a pretty tough question: What to do about a “guy” who grabs the mantle of authority and then ruins the conversation for everyone? Seriously, not a hypothetical.
The Atlantic

The enduring whiteness of recipe writing Cookbook authors Priya Krishna and Yewande Komolafe recently took to FaceTime to dish, not about food so much, but about how hard it was becoming to present their recipes to American audiences without whitewashing them. Part of the problem, says Komolafe, is that lots of home cooking doesn’t use exact amounts of ingredients. “I think too often the expectation is that if you as a home cook follow a recipe exactly, then it's going to look like the picture,” says Komolafe, who has been called the “voice of Nigerian cooking.”  She says that sort of Western expectation misses the point. “A recipe should be more like a set of guidelines.” The pair also dig into the power dynamic associated with colonization, and the practice of taking credit for the recipes of enslaved people. And what to do with oral traditions? “[I]n Nigerian cooking there's this process where you take a starch and you pound it, but there’s no technical name for it,” says Komolafe. “I think the way we write recipes now almost demands that we have one word for a given technique.”
Bon Appetit

raceAhead is edited by Aric Jenkins.

Today's mood board

I picked you some wildflowers from the summit of Huckleberry Knob, part of the Unicoi Mountains in North Carolina. Wish you were here.