Dear Followers and readers,
Race Files has moved! If you’re a current subscriber, please visit my new website and resubscribe there at the new ChangeLab site. It’s easy. Just look to the right of the posts and you’ll see a place to subscribe by email.
I love having you along and chatting with you on my journey. I’ve come to rely on many of you as sources of inspiration and as teachers whose corrections and comments have helped to shape the way I see some of the issues. So please, please do be sure to resubscribe. It means the world to me to know you’re out there – a bit of reassurance that I’m among friends, and that those of us fighting to erase the color line are many and committed.
But, it’s time for Race Files to go from being about me, to being about the “we” that is ChangeLab.
What is ChangeLab?
ChangeLab is a grassroots lab for developing analysis and strategy to promote racial justice from the bottom-up. I started ChangeLab with a long-time political colleague and friend Soya Jung. ChangeLab is an act of love, both for each other as friends and for the communities in which we’ve worked for all of our adult lives. Race Files has always been a ChangeLab project, and now ChangeLab has a home of its own on the internet.
The Story of ChangeLab:
We started ChangeLab in the way that seasoned community organizers begin any successful project – by listening. We got on the horn and spoke with colleagues in the racial justice movement whose vision and analysis we’d come to trust. What we heard reinforced what we had both come to believe after more than five collective decades of struggle against racism and American chauvinism. That while there is incredibly courageous organizing happening today, the racial justice movement needs to get bolder. We need to develop a fresh and truly radical vision of change.
We know that the word radical is scary for a lot of people. But we believe we need to reclaim it in its truest sense – meaning proceeding from or getting at the root of things. Over the last two years, organizers and leaders have told us over and over again that they’re hungry for new conversations, those that just aren’t possible within the limited terrain of nonprofits, foundations, government, and academia.
Racial justice organizers yearn for much more than the tools and strategies they have now. The dominance of the political right makes us, on the left, overly pragmatic, too defensive. How do we bust out of our organizational constraints, our funding constraints, our messaging strategies, and our specific issues, to think expansively about what racial justice means today? What gives us hope is that lots of people are asking these questions.
One of the main themes that we heard was the need for honest conversations about solidarity among people of color. What does authentic solidarity require of us? We started with a strategic focus on Asian American identity, not just because we ourselves are Asian Americans, but also because we heard from movement leaders that something crucial has been missing from conversations about Asian Americans and racial politics. While not all Asian Americans have the same access to power and privilege, the idea of Asian Americans has served to prop up white supremacy at the expense of other people of color. In our initial research, we heard from dozens of Asian American organizers that the failure to acknowledge this, the glossing over of the places where we have relative race privilege, gets in the way of campaigns for justice on the ground. Our research is intended to help spark the real talk that we need to move past such barriers.
ChangeLab is, first and foremost, dedicated to ending racism. For us, that is our life mission. If you share it, we humbly ask that you consider us fellow travelers. Being a lab means trying new things, testing new ideas, and making mistakes along the way. We invite you to contribute to this process. We welcome new ideas, including disagreement and debate. It’s the only way for our movement to see clearly where to draw the line in the sand, and to know where we must stand if we are on the side of justice.
An Invitation to Get Bolder!
We hope you’ll keep checking out our site, our blog posts, and our research reports, and will accept the invitation to join the conversation. We couldn’t be more excited to get bolder, especially alongside those impassioned and courageous organizers in the movement today who are eager to do the same.
P.S. ChangeLab has also just released a new research report we created called Left or Right of the Color Line? Asian Americans and Racial Justice. Check it out. You can download a copy for free. New projects will soon be released including a media study that looks at how political media deals with race and racism.