APW Happy Hour


#BlackLivesMatter

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

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Hey APW,

I–and the whole team at APW—comes to you today without the right words. Most of us have been crying on and off for days. The team tried to work on an essay on whiteness and race yesterday, which involved us all arguing with each other for hours, because well… no words seem like the right words right now. Other than their names: Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, and two additional Dallas police officers.

As a human, I’m hit by overwhelming fear for so many people I love, for my East Oakland neighborhood and community, and for the heavily black city where I grew up. I’m struggling with the knowledge that I benefit from the construct of whiteness, and there is no specific action I can take that will offset that. So in the face of an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and grief, I’m trying to take small actions. Listening. Reading. Donating to the ACLU Civil Defense Fund for police brutality. Standing in solidarity. And living with the knowledge that nothing I can do alone will be enough.

Here is your open thread.

MEG

Link Roundup

This: “Concrete Ways to Be an Actual Ally to Black People.”

Curriculum for White Americans to Educate Themselves on Race and Racism-from Ferguson to Charleston

What You Can Do Right Now About Police Brutality

This is what white people can do to support #BlackLivesMatter

The Counted: people killed by police in the US

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com. #NASTY

Staff Picks

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  • CMT

    This week . . . Fuck this week.

    • Danielle

      But doesn’t it feel like… every week lately?

      • CMT

        Yeah :(

  • Fiona

    I feel helpless right now…and like there isn’t much I can do to protect the people I love except put my white body in front as a shield because that’s all I know how to do.

    • Spot

      I saw a suggestion that white people should do what they can to supervise police encounters with people of color. Park on the shoulder a short distance away if you see someone being pulled over, if someone looks nervous during a police interaction on the street ask if they are okay, etc.

      • Fiona

        My husband and I have a game plan (we’ve used it once) that involves me doing all the talking, reaching, etc. Donating to ACLU is another good one.

  • Jessa

    I’m a Canadian of Chinese-Malaysian heritage and I have so many thoughts today on racism, gun control, Canada/US similarities/differences…but none of them seem right at this moment. Sending thoughts of love and comfort to the families of those who have died this week, and to all of you in this APW community.

  • joanna b.n.

    I am sad and mad because I am now realizing how much work white people have to do to fix the system, and even more so because it took me way too long to realize it.

  • savannnah

    2016 can just walk itself right back out the door from whence it came.

  • Sarah

    Great links this week. There is a link in the Norman Nathman piece on what happens when a child is told police killed his father. Brought me to tears.

    • stephanie

      Avital is an ammmaaazing person and writer. I super ♥ her.

  • Danielle

    In case anyone needs a break from the horrible news cycle, please see the picture below of my tiny new kitten. We found him abandoned on our street last weekend, and are now bottle-feeding him every 2-3 hours around the clock. He is growing every day and just opened his eyes on Wednesday :) We named him Rocky because he’s a little fighter, and seeing him every day gives me hope and fills my heart with so much love, that I didn’t even know was possible <3

    • touchdownton abbey

      I’m so glad for a different kind of cry. <3 What a little charmer.

    • emilyg25

      KITTY SO WITTLE

      • Danielle

        He’s less than half a pound, according to the vet :)

    • accidental_diva

      OMG – I severely dislike cats (thanks to ridiculous reaction my sinuses and skin get to them) – and even I can see the cute here

      • toomanybooks

        I used to want one so bad but couldn’t get over the part where I can’t breath around them. This one is a little cutie though!

    • MC

      Awwwwwwwww! What a stinkin’ cutie! I feel the exact same way about my adult cat – it’s ridiculous how much love & joy he brings into my life. Thank goodness for pets.

      Also, my boss is a big believer in looking at cute animal pictures during hard times.

    • Emily

      TINY BABY KITTEN! Thanks for posting this. I have already had to turn off the news, and take a big break from facebook. Glad I stopped here before going off the grid completely :)

    • Lawyerette510

      Yes!!! Our cat came into our lives as a tiny kitten we bottle fed and she is such a great cat because she is so very bonded with us.

      • Danielle

        That’s so nice to hear. I’ve been worried because apparently a lot of these tiny infant kitties don’t make it without their mama’s care. Ours seems to be doing well, but I’m still nervous. It’s great to hear your little one turned out just fine.

  • I had a full-on breakdown yesterday morning after I woke up and learned about Philando Castile. For context, I live maybe 10 miles from where he was killed. He was only 3 years younger than my husband, also a Black man. I don’t know if it was pregnancy hormones or fear or just being tired that yet another Black man was murdered by the police, but I just lost it. I cried when my husband left and I told him I love him about 20 times. I cried on the way to work. I cried when I got to work, and I’m so thankful that my manager allowed me to work from home, once he saw the state I was in. Everyone in my circle has had similar reactions, and I’m so appreciative that my community has come together to support each other and the Castile family.

    APW family, I encourage you to do what I’ve encouraged my community to do: take care of yourself, hug your loved ones, speak out in a way that’s meaningful to you, and participate in the movement in a way that works for you. DO SOMETHING but don’t feel that you have to do it all, none of us can do it all. And remember the self-care, it’s just as important to keep your sanity.

    #BlackLivesMatter

    • emmers

      I thought of you when I heard, since I know you live in that area. This is a shitty time. Thinking of you, still.

      • Thank you, it’s so appreciated.

    • Danielle

      I thought of you too. I’m so sorry. Hugs to you and your husband. I’m glad you have each other. Please take care of YOURself <3

      • Thank you for thinking of me :-) My mom reminded me that I have to take care of myself for #BabyPi and that has helped me calm down. *hugs*

    • Christina

      Thank goodness they let you go home.

      The Philando Castile murder is one of the most insane situations I’ve ever witnessed. Thank God for camera phones.

      • Yeah my new manager “gets it” and I’m so thankful.

    • Jess

      Jubilance, you were my first thought yesterday. I’m so sorry for your local community, and for the nation. Take care of yourself and your family.

      • I’ve been binging on Netflix and eating cookies, getting some self-care in. Thank you for your thoughts, and you hug your loved ones.

    • rg223

      I thought of you too, and just want to say, I appreciate your voice and writing SO MUCH. Please keep sharing it with us and the world.

      • Thank you :-)

        • Nancy Deleon

          <<o. ✸✸✸✸✸:✸✸✸✸✸:✸✸✸✸✸:✸✸✸✸✸:✸✸✸✸✸:✸✸✸✸✸:✸✸✸✸✸:✸✸✸✸✸:✸✸✸✸✸:✸✸✸✸✸:::::::!bw461p:….,..

      • damienkarlylan

        the real shop.

        • damienkarlylan

          thanks

    • Jessica

      I’m glad you’re finding ways to self care/cope. I have friends who send their kids to the school that Philando Castile worked at, and they have no idea how to talk to their kids about this tragic death. I can’t even imagine what your thoughts about the future with a child are like, but my only hope with this event (like my only hope with all the previous events) are that this is the tipping point. I pray that this is the final event to implement broad reform.

      • I am absolutely heartbroken for the children at the school and in his community, everything I’ve read says he was a huge part of their community. I can’t even imagine having that conversation with my children.

  • Christina

    I have not looked into the Alton Sterling killing yet, but I will,

    Philando Castile – I watched the live stream his girlfriend posted twice, and then I watched the video where she was surrounded by supporters and reporters and asking for justice.

    What the actual fuck was the cop thinking? I mean, if Philando wanted to kill a cop that day, he would not have announced that he had a concealed carry gun!

    How twitchy and scared do you have to be to shoot someone who’s on the level with you? I noticed that when the emotional cop shouted at the girlfriend that he had told him not to move his hand, she corrected the cop and told him he’d commanded her boyfriend to get his ID, and that’s what he was doing when he shot him. Four times.

    The cop said nothing. Nothing. He didn’t even deny it.

    And THEN, after murdering her boyfriend, they have the audacity to handcuff her before hauling her to jail. I don’t know how she stayed so calm. I am white, and I would have gotten shot in that situation because I’d be all over my boyfriend and screaming my head off at that point. She knew better. All she had was her words. Her behavior was impeccable in the middle of complete insanity.

    Tell me she isn’t going to have PTSD from this nightmare.

    • MC

      Re: what the f was the cop thinking?! I think a lot (a LOT) of it is implicit bias in seeing black folks/POC as criminals, dangerous, etc. But I also wonder if there’s also an element of untreated PTSD on the side of cops. I haven’t seen the most recent videos, but the disconnect between the action of the victims and the cops’ response to an action & the level of threat that police officers perceive… and knowing that cops often have really hard jobs and see some shit, I feel like there are underlying trauma responses that aren’t addressed. Not that that excuses the racism, just adds another layer onto why this is happening SO often and why so much needs to be addressed in regards to the profession.

      • Amy March

        Untreated PTSD from what? Shooting black men? I think it is utter bullshit to excuse this conduct by the cops as untreated PTSD. We aren’t seeing a wave of traumatized cops shooting white ladies. I’m not sure how this could possibly not be seen as excusing the racism- you are literally providing an “acceptable” excuse to explain away the conduct. I’m really not at a point of caring what the cop, the one with all the power, and all the training, who is paid to do this job, is thinking.

        • Kaitlyn

          I don’t think they’re trying to explain away the conduct, but is more adding that there is so much going on here. For example, a friend of mine is an officer and won an award for not using deadly force (the other person was trying to get her to fire her weapon). While we were happy she does a great job, it’s mind-boggling that NOT using force is literally awarded. What this says to me is that there is either training or a cultural mindset within the police departments where the first action is discharging weapons. I think there needs to be a lot more training (ex. @Jubilance:disqus ‘s comment above) so officers can truly assess a situation and learn how to be truly calm, rather than perceiving people as threats and using that gut reaction to fire a weapon.

        • MC

          100% not trying to excuse it, like I said above. Sorry if that was implied or not articulated well enough. I think most of what we’re seeing comes from implicit/explicit racism and allllll the places that comes from, but I think trauma exposure is also a factor, along with a bunch of other things (dangerous masculinity, shoot-first training, etc.). I work with trauma survivors and have seen that many men who have experienced trauma firsthand or secondhand become much more aggressive and reactionary, so that’s just one thing I think of when news stories like this come up. If you also have the implicit bias against black men or POC, that’s where you’ll most likely direct that aggression.

          This also definitely doesn’t apply to every police officer (or any, for all I know!). Just from what I know about how our local police forces work, there is not a lot of discussion around how exposure to trauma affects your responses and decisions to different situations. So I wonder if that is a factor that needs to be addressed, along with racism and shoot-first training, etc.

        • Lisa

          Someone told me the cop had only been on the street for one year.

          Anyway, I found this link to an even more disturbing aspect. Diamond Reynolds said all the other cops were busy comforting the cop and telling him “you’ll get through this”, while treating her as if she was the one at fault.

          https://reason.com/blog/2016/07/07/witness-cops-comforted-philando-castiles

      • For context, trash collectors, cab drivers and pilots all have jobs that are more dangerous than being a police officer. The idea that being a cop is the most dangerous job out there is a holdover from the really violent past, but over the past 20 years it’s been a very safe job.

        I think the bigger problem is that most cops only receive months of training before being let loose on the public, and most are taught to shoot to kill in all situations, instead of trying to de-escalate. Add to that the studies the show that White people are more likely to view Black people as older, bigger and more violent than they actually are.

        • Danielle

          Yes, training. My husband (who is white — we both are) has been stopped by the state troopers as well as city police, and he said the two encounters were so different. The state trooper approached him calmly and respectfully, while the local police officer was aggressive and blaming him right away.

          It seems like the state troopers, at least here in Ohio, are subject to more rigorous training and perhaps stricter qualifications than the local law enforcement.

        • Christina

          This is true. Firefighters die in the line of duty far far more than cops so. Yet hardly anyone knows it.

          Yes, someone pointed out recently that cops receive very little training, considering the impact of their job on the public. Hairdressers receive more training than cops!!!

          • I will say, MN does require cops to have a 4-year degree in criminal justice or a related field, and I think they do at least a year in the academy. But more training doesn’t necessarily help when it doesn’t cover how to de-escalate, building relationships in communities of color, or implicit bias. So there’s still work to do.

          • Christina

            I can’t know for sure, but my hunch is that this particular cop isn’t good at reading intent or judging situations or listening.

            Seems like he might not be suited to the work and should have been weeded out.

          • Absolutely! And we need better systems for weeding out cops who want to just shoot people and use big guns.

          • Christina

            Yes, you have hit on a big problem that’s gone on for decades. It is almost impossible to fire a cop. They give out awards at the drop of a hat, so when something goes horribly wrong they can point to all the awards.

            The police are not good at policing their own. They are terrible at it.

          • lady brett

            there was an interesting point in an article i read (i’ve forgotten which of many), that there’s generally a double meaning to the term “bad cop” after these horrific shootings: not just “bad people” or “bad apples” or “racist cop,” but that in a lot of these cases there is a paper trail of them being bad at their jobs – they are “bad cops” in that sense as well, and usually people knew that before they killed someone.

          • CMT

            Ugh, when people write off these incidents as “bad apples” they are forgetting the rest of that idiom!! “One bad apple spoils the bunch.” You have to actually get rid of the bad apples, not just excuse them.

          • lady brett

            yes, for sure. it is a much bigger problem, but an interesting small aspect.

          • Amy March

            Guarantee if he’d been going around “accidentally” shooting white people because he just struggles at reading intent and listening he’d have been removed from the force. My hunch is that this cop is racist, his force is racist, our country is racist, and this isn’t about training or active listening or more support, it’s about making it clear that black people are, in fact, human, and that you can’t shoot them with impunity.

            We do not have a nationwide crisis of cops just really struggling with traffic stops. You can’t remove the racial aspect from this.

          • Christina

            Oh, I’m not trying to remove the racial aspect.

            I do think it contributed to his insane reaction, but I also think on the scale of reading intent, he is probably not very skilled. Combine that with fear of other races and you get a powder keg.

            I keep going back to the fact that Philando TOLD him he had a concealed carry gun. To me, Philando was sending the message that he was forthcoming and complying, which should have caused greater trust in the cop.

            This cop seems to have no reason or perception, combined with the racial aspect.

          • Dess

            this

        • Spot

          True. And this career path has a specific kind of culture deeply embedded in it, and it attracts a specific kind of person.

          Oakland is my hometown and we’ve been in the thick of yet another hideous scandal with the shitshow that is our police force. Red paint was splattered across their doors and over one thousand people stopped traffic last night.

          My heart is broken for Lavish Diamond Reynolds, and it breaks again for her baby daughter. A four year old child comforted her handcuffed mother in the back of a police car after they both witnessed an extrajudicial execution. That’s the American experience in 2016.

          • BSM

            Man, Oakland PD. How can it be so bad??

            (Current resident, here)

      • Alex K

        I don’t know about PTSD but lately I have wondered about what kind of training materials are being used in police training. I would not be surprised if in training videos/modules there is a large racial bias (ex. using black men as criminals out of portion with the population) which only exacerbates an implicit bias (again not that this excuses anyone). I taught high school in NYC and now work in a corporate job and it stuns me how often I have to call out the racial bias in training videos. Has anyone seen anything written about this? I have looked a little and have not found anything.

    • Christina

      I just read an excerpt of his girlfriend’s statement. She said the cop asked Philando for his license and registration. Philando said they were in his wallet and informed the cop he had a concealed carry gun as he went to retrieve them. The cop said “Don’t move” and the girlfriend said “He’s licensed to carry”. As Philando was raising his hands back up, intending to comply, the cop shot him.

      It seems like the cop expected him to freeze in motion, whereas Philando thought he was supposed to raise his hands back in the air?

      In the video which started after the shooting, the cop was losing his mind. Even after they had his girlfriend out of the car and in handcuffs, the cop could still be heard in the background saying “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

      I have to question the training techniques that failed to teach him not to over-react. Or his state-of-mind or ability to reason is in question. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that he didn’t seem to consider that Philando showed nothing but honesty, and he still felt threatened.

  • JC

    I am so grateful for this brilliant, progressive community that believes in honoring emotions, including grief.

    • Dess

      hear, hear.

  • emily

    This week. This month. This summer. This year. This decade.

    When I woke up this morning, my husband rolled over and said, “Did you hear about Dallas?” and my stomach just dropped.

    After the Pulse shootings in Orlando, I was totally broken. I had no idea what I could do, so I started a tiny project on my Instagram/Twitter called The Every Single Day Project where I post every day about gun violence in our country. Someone asked me earlier this week, “Isn’t it hard to find a new story each day to share?” My response was, “It’s shatteringly too easy…it’s too difficult to choose which story to share.”

    I exchanged emails yesterday with a former APW bride of mine, about visiting with her when I’m in NYC in a couple weeks and we both expressed a desire to find more to do to change the world, more to do with our lives that will bring hope to the younger generation. I discussed it at dinner with our friends over pizza, we all agreed we need to do more, we need to use our voices to bring change….It was a day after Alton Sterling’s death, mere hours after Philando Castile was killed and hours before Dallas.

    And now this.

    I’m a public school teacher and a wedding photographer. These two jobs pull my brain in totally opposite directions daily. Lately I’ve been feeling that I need to do more. I need to become more active and become more of an advocate for marginalized communities. I find myself often restricting my views and voice in my classroom because I do not want to offend students or families, and so I hear language of disrespect and bigotry, that, unfortunately, many of my students likely believe is normal.

    I find it telling that my first instinct this morning was, “I need to be on APWs Happy Hour today,” I haven’t checked in here and written anything lately, but I have been reading, and I am so, so, so overwhelmed with gratitude that this little corner of the internet exists and that I have had the unbelievably privilege to meet and work with so many members of this community. This community gives me hope. My clients who are now friends from APW give me hope.

    Sometimes hope is all you can ask for on a day like this.

    I’m usually a much more eloquent writer (I am an English teacher afterall), but today my words feel hollow and are falling flat even to me as I type them in my silent office….I turned off the news. It’s too much for now.

    I hold all of you so tightly today and hope you will all do the same for your own communities of love. We can do this. As Lin so wisely reminded us mere days ago, “Love is love is love is love is love.”

    xoxo,
    Emily (@watassa)

  • C

    Oh man.

    Just now, I was lunch in the break room at work. A peer (we’re both white women, 20 somethings) is looking at her phone and says “I’m debating if I should unfriend this person on Facebook…she always posts cool makeup photos but she’s been really nasty lately about cops and so vocal on Black Lives Matter. I have a lot of cop friends…” All I could get out was something about emotions running high lately. This is the same person who said she thought Amber Heard was making the domestic abuse allegations up. I was able to say something then, but I don’t have the words now.

    I have so many feelings and thoughts and observations on my lily-white workplace and just….everything this week….aughhhhhhhhhhhh.

    • I hear you. This is so similar to what I experience daily at my workplace (a high school) with my co-workers and students; the privilege is so difficult to swallow on the reg. Let me know if you have any ideas of how to handle it–I’m all ears.

      • Jess

        When I have the energy, I try to at least shut it down around me. This weekend, I see my family, and I’m planning on using the phrase, “Can we not talk about this? I don’t agree and would rather not fight about it right now,” a whole lot.

        It’s tough at work, because unlike a bar, I can’t just say, “The fuck is wrong with you? Your perspective on this is so much bullshit.” I just can politely end the conversation.

    • Danielle

      This woman… does not sound like the most reflective type.

    • eating words

      She might not be open to reason, but maybe there’s a way (and a place and a time) to tell your peer that it’s important to listen rather than unfriend people, and to try to understand where BLM activists are coming from?

  • Unhip in Brooklyn

    I shared this article on Facebook for everyone (especially white people) who wants to do something. As others have mentioned, a BIG problem in our society is our often unconscious categorization of black and brown people as more aggressive and dangerous. Fixing this takes intention and effort. Here are several suggestions for counteracting implicit biases.

    For those who are time crunched (or too lazy to click), it suggests exposing yourself to a wide variety of counterstereotypical examples, thinking of those counterstereotypes when you find a stereotype of a particular race, individuate people of a race rather than defining all of one by the other, increasing empathy by actively considering others’ perspectives, and interacting with people of different backgrounds. If you live in a homogenous area, perhaps searching out culture or making online connections can help. It also suggests being aware of biases within group cultures (such as workplace hiring) and remembering that even in your efforts, you are not perfectly unbiased.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sound-science-sound-policy/201501/overcoming-implicit-bias-and-racial-anxiety

    For self-care amidst the crazy, I’m taking satisfaction in writing wedding things down on a list JUST so I can cross them off. And I’m going to the ocean and swimming a 5k! That was pre-planned, but the small joy of overcoming a personal challenge will help. Going to church doesn’t work for everyone, but that will also feel good this Sunday.

    Hope everyone can find something good while surrounded by both chronic and acute BS.

    • JLily

      I’ve been doing the same thing. I started with a list from the internet and delete/added as necessary, but lately I’ve been writing every little thing down. It’s so satisfying to check it off and stop thinking about it (at least that one thing)!

    • laddibugg

      Sometimes the bias is so ingrained into a society that black/brown people categorize other black/brown folks as dangerous or aggressive. :-/

  • Laura C

    I never watch the videos of the events themselves, but this week I am completely haunted by the video of Alton Sterling’s 15-year-old son breaking down at the press conference. Screw prison — I want to sentence Sterling’s killers to hearing that in their minds, not being able to get away from the pain they caused.

    • Christina

      This time, the videos are everything.

      • Laura C

        My heart is too broken as it is. I’ve read a million detailed descriptions but that’s all I can take.

        • lady brett

          i also agree with the take that it is really dehumanizing to see/watch black death in such detail and repetition. the videos are indispensable to knowing what happened, but my watching them seems more like voyeurism than research, when others have done the research already. (in full disclosure, i would not watch them anyway, but i think this is important, too.)

          • Laura C

            I think the way you put it is key: the videos are indispensable but *I* don’t need to see them.

          • Christina

            I think that Diamond Reynolds wanted the videos to have a wide audience. Everyone has to do what’s best for them, but what feels dehumanizing for you, helps with empathy in others. We are not all the same.

          • Laura C

            What the people close to the victim want is important, for sure. Some want it seen to bear witness, others want their loved ones remembered as they were in life.

            There is though an argument that beyond any one case it is dehumanizing in the bigger picture to have these images of dead and dying black people spread in ways that images of dead and dying white people are not. As individuals watching individual videos, we are grieving over the human life lost, but there is a cumulative effect beyond us to think about.

      • BSM

        I’m not sure that’s true. We have videos of countless black people being murdered by police (Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, John Crawford), and what justice has been brought as a result of them?

        People keep saying body cameras are the answer, and, well, those cops in Baton Rouge we’re wearing them. That video has not been released and has been deemed effectively useless because they somehow became detached? There’s security camera footage from the convenience store – where is that? I guess I’ll wait and see if this time around is any different, but I’m skeptical.

        • toomanybooks

          The police officers’ cameras always somehow became detached whenever I hear about them

        • Spot

          The videos are the only reason we know that the brutality/murder actually happened (not that it means a damn in our justice system). How many times has the official account by police been wildly different than what the footage shows? How many times has other evidence–convenience store footage, etc–been seized or otherwise removed?

          The footage is valuable but the way it is spread–videos of the violent deaths of human beings autoplayed on Facebook and Twitter, still frames of those snuff films created into headers on news websites–is absolutely abominable. The footage and photos of the body of a white murder victim would never be treated like some kind of “everyone needs to see this” PSA essential for gaining empathy.

          • BSM

            “The videos are the only reason we know that the brutality/murder actually happened (not that it means a damn in our justice system). How many times has the official account by police been wildly different than what the footage shows?”

            Oh, I disagree. Both of the recent murders had eyewitnesses – completely credible, real people who saw exactly what happened. Why isn’t that enough when cops murder black people? When has a discrepancy between what we see on video vs. the official account ever changed things? It’s seriously absurd how little having this footage does.

          • Christina

            I think it changes the viewers and embeds in their consciousness. No, it’s not enough, but it’s not nothing either.

          • BSM

            Not nothing, but not “everything.”

        • Christina

          I found the video of Philando Castile very powerful.

          The video starts from right after he was shot and is still alive, all the way to his girlfriend being handcuffed and sitting in the backseat of a squad care with her little girl.

          At one point, after being so strong, she starts sobbing and her little girl says “I’m here with you.”

          Very powerful. Very emotional. It touched a lot of people from what I’ve seen of comments elsewhere.

          • BSM

            I am in awe of Diamond Reynolds’ sense of calm as her world was imploding, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being moved by her video. I just don’t think they’re “everything,” as you said before.

  • I am a wreck this week. I was barely starting to come to terms with what happened in Orlando, and then this week happened.

    And to top that all off, a friend shared a post about another college friend (one I’d lost touch with) who had a baby. So I clicked through, I was excited to see photos of her little girl. But it turns out that her daughter was born 10 weeks early and due to some crazy rare infection complications, died after 6 days.

    Somehow, I have to pull it all together tomorrow and photograph a wedding. Somehow I have to find joy and happiness. All I want to do is cry. :(

  • Sosuli

    As a glimpse of happiness in a bleak time… our wedding was last Saturday, and it was beautiful! Moomins were thrown, toddlers danced, rain gave way to glorious sunshine and my husband was kidnapped by cybermen. I’m currently on a train and can’t figure out how to post pictures on my phone… but will attempt it when I get home.

    Trying to focus on the joyful memories to get through the general awful news this week, and personal struggles… husband’s wonderful grandmother passed three days before the wedding and a friend’s father suddenly died right after. Too much to process.

    • Amy March

      Congratulations!!!

    • Congratulations on your wedding!

    • Charley

      Congratulations on your marriage! I can’t be the only one who is looking forward to seeing your MIL’s eventual outfit choice.

    • Jess

      Yay! Congratulations on the wonderful wedding!

    • Sosuli

      I figured out the photos! First is a flying Moomin, second is right after the ceremony… will delete these later but thought you guys might enjoy for now. Also MIL is in the second one, in the foreground on the left with the pink fascinator… the top of her dress was actually white, but she had a pink cardigan thing so I didn’t care!

      • Jess

        Hooray for the pink cardigan and pink fascinator!

        You look so lovely and happy!

      • Keri

        That is an awesome pic! Congrats!

      • PrettyUglyCrier

        Congratulations, Sosuli, you’re adorable!! And OMG Moomins! That’s my childhood right there ;)

      • Lawyerette510

        Congratulations!

    • rg223

      Huge congrats to you!

    • Congrats on your marriage; I am so glad it was wonderful. And I am so sorry for the losses of your husband’s grandmother and friend’s father. Thinking of you…

    • Lisa

      I’m so sad I missed the pictures! But congratulations to you and your new husband!! May you have many happy years together. :)

  • KK

    I am still processing the events of this week, and trying to listen more than I speak, so I will not address them now.
    But one issue I am ready to discuss is the shameful partisan politics preventing Zika funding. House Republicans are trying to block any Zika funding to go to Planned Parenthood, even though the current best directive is “don’t get pregnant if there’s a risk of Zika” and PP is pretty damn good at providing contraceptives!! My House Rep, a Republican, keeps emailing me about how focused he is on getting Zika funding… no mention of the fact that he wants to do so by blocking funding to PP. Ugh. About to write to him about it so that I feel like I’m doing something, but not really believing it will have any effect.
    (Side note, as I was looking up PA House Representatives to see how others were voting, I realized all 17 are white men. ugh)
    This LA Times OpEd is a more detailed look at what’s going on: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-zika-planned-parenthood-20160707-snap-story.html

    • eating words

      Write your rep! Tell him how you feel. Your note alone may not change his mind, but it’s so important to let our reps know what their constituents care about. I was feeling cynical about this kind of thing, but a friend who works for our (amazing) congresswoman said that they absolutely take note of how many calls and emails they get about which issues. Even if your rep DOES agree with you, call and write to let them know that too.

  • lady brett

    my honey got a job! the job they wanted! and they don’t start ’till almost two weeks after the baby is due, and i have just enough vacation time accrued that i can get paid for those two weeks. perfect timing (excepting that the baby may well do anything ;).

    everything else, on the other hand, can screw off.

    • Eenie

      Yay!

    • MC

      Congrats to your honey and yay for a baby!

    • AmandaBee

      Yaaay for the job!

  • Charley

    I won’t comment on the events of the week, because I have nothing to add except another enraged, heartbroken voice.

    In better news, I’ve finally decided that I’m going to propose to my boyfriend this year. I recently ordered a pocket watch and had it engraved with his name and a message (he doesn’t know about any of this). He’s away at the moment, so I’ve got a Skype call with one of our friends over the weekend to help me plan out the details. I’ve been thinking about proposing for over 18 months now, so it’s been kind of a relief to actually start putting some plans into motion! I keep switching between super excited and really nervous, but I guess that’s normal for this situation (googling “women proposing to men” did NOT help, don’t know what I was thinking there).

    • Sosuli

      Solidarity from a lady who proposed! It is super nervewracking – but you know your guy so it will all be OK! Sounds like you’ve got some very nice plans in place. Just hold your ground and don’t listen to the doubters. The silversmith I got my husband’s engagement ring from asked quite a few times whether I was sure, which was unnerving… but hell he changed his tune when we went in together as an engaged couple and it had all gone well!

      • Charley

        Thanks! That does help! The one friend I’m discussing the plans with this weekend, when I first mentioned the idea of me proposing 18 months ago (while we were running on the track) stopped dead and said “wait, that’s a thing?”, thankfully he’s been much more helpful and eloquent recently and is excited to help me plan.

    • Alison M

      I proposed to my now-husband also – it went great! A few people were surprised when we told them that was how it had happened, but overall it was not a big deal (that I proposed rather than him – obviously getting engaged is still a big deal).

    • JLily

      I didn’t do this but really wish I had. Nothing to add but that I think the pocket watch is a great idea!

    • Rose

      I also proposed (although to a woman, so not quite the same social situation). I’d had a ring for nearly a year, which was definitely a good idea in terms of me getting used to the idea, but the day that I really went “I’m done waiting, now” was still very exciting and nerve-wracking! I didn’t do a lot of planning, just took her to the local public gardens and asked her there. Enjoy the planning! And the actual proposal when that comes, too, of course!

    • JC

      Bravo!! How exciting. My mom was going to propose to my dad, but then she says he casually mentioned this old wives tale about how a woman would propose to a man, and if he wanted to say no, he would give her a red dress. She then panicked and decided not to propose because this story meant he *knew* she was going to propose and he was preemptively saying no.

      My dad says none of this story ever happened, and when he finally did propose, it was on the beach when they were both pretty drunk, and when he scooped her up, romance-novel style, he promptly dropped her on the ground.

      Therefore: Your way is much safer!

    • Thinking About Asking, Too

      If you’re still checking this thread I just read this article http://www.harpersbazaar.com/wedding/planning/a16446/i-proposed-to-my-boyfriend/. It’s not bad. It doesn’t really have any advice–just one woman’s experience.

    • Emily

      I proposed too. With a wrist watch. He was ready for marriage before I was so it made sense that the last person ready was the one to propose. Go for it!

  • Alison M

    Anyone have good advice about where to buy womens suits? My old one doesn’t fit and I’m thinking I need a new one. Looking specifically for a skirt suit, since I don’t really wear pants that often. I’m curvy (size 14) and I feel like it’s hard to find something that is flattering – seems like pencil skirts always look awful, though I feel like in theory they’re supposed to look good on most people.

    • Amy March

      Ann Taylor, Nordstrom (I like Halogen, for cheap, and Boss, for spendy). I’m also really into dress suits- so much more comfortable for me than skirts but just as formal. Anne Klein sometimes has good ones.

      • Sarah

        Halogen at Nordstrom is nice they have he best customer service. Free alterations too.

    • eating words

      I like Banana Republic’s suits. Not all of their styles are good for curves, but some are.

    • emilyg25

      I need petite, so Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Talbots or Macy’s.

  • JLily

    I am so angered and saddened by the events this week. Posting on social media is not really my thing, but I will say that the one glimmer of hope I have seen is the intense reaction from my particular circle on facebook, instagram, etc. People’s sentiments really seem to be that we are done with praying, with hoping, and with being complacent, and it is time to figure out what to do and to do it. I reallllly hope that that continues, and that we all find a way to fix our broken system and our broken society.

    “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
    begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
    Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
    Through violence you may murder the liar,
    but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
    Through violence you may murder the hater,
    but you do not murder hate.
    In fact, violence merely increases hate.
    So it goes.
    Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
    adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
    Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
    only light can do that.
    Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
    –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Maya

    This has been a hard week for me. I am black, engaged to a black police officer, raising two black sons(3 and 7) . Ever since the death of Alton Sterling, I have been filled with grief and fear. Fear that my fiancé could be next, fear that it could happen to my sons in the future, fear that one day I would have to explain to them the world’s prejudice towards black men. These fears multipled with the murder of Philandro Castile. And I reached a breaking point when I heard about Dallas. Those men in blue were doing the same job my fiancé does and they were killed by snipers. And today, my oldest came home from summer camp in tears. Some older (white) boys had told him the police will kill him. And when he said his dad is a police officer, they said the people will kill him too. Needless to say, I called the camp director to report the boys. My son is calm now, he finally stopped crying, the first time since 1pm.

    • rg223

      Oh god. I’m so sorry that happened to your son. WTAF.

    • BSM

      God, I am so, so sorry.

      • Maya

        Thank you all so much.

        • Danielle

          <3

    • eating words

      I’m so sorry. Awfulness on top of awfulness.

    • emilyg25

      I’m so sorry. How terrible for your son, and how stressful for you.

    • Christina

      Maya, you and your sons are getting it from all sides. I’m sorry.

    • God I’m so sorry… It’s inexcusable that you and your family have to go through this.

    • CMT

      Oh my god, I am so sorry.

    • Katherine

      I’m so sorry Maya. You have all of our love and support.

    • *hugs* I can’t imagine how hard this week has been for you. People think that kids today are “post racial” but then incidents like what you described tell me that racism is a generational curse. I’m so sorry for you and your babies.

  • CommaChick

    Work in Dallas was rough today. The non-white members of my team didn’t feel safe coming into the office today, so they worked from home. On account of parts of downtown still being blocked off and the DART officers being shot, the DART trains didn’t run to downtown today. The trains that did run were mostly empty. Our employer encouraged us to go to the interfaith vigil downtown, but not everyone felt like it was safe to attend. People worried that with such a big crowd so close to last night’s protest and shootings, something might happen again.

  • EF

    The shootings in the usa are heartbreaking.

    the racism, the fire-bombing, the attacks on transport, are heartbreaking in the UK.

    the world turned upside down. how many more marches and calls to congresspeople and MPs and community vigils will it take?

  • CW

    In such a difficult week, I had my last day of work after 8.5 years with my employer and am starting a new job on Monday!

  • LP

    Okay APW. One week away. Week from hell. FHs parents ant FH got into a fight over God knows what. Threatened to not come to the wedding. Said they weren’t paying the bar bill two days before it was due. Randomly went and paid it and upgraded it. It was just emotionally exhausting. All is well now, but oh god I am ready for 7/15.

    • Here’s hoping your wedding day is drama free!

  • JLily

    Anyone have any good ideas for gifts for parents? My parents are spoiling me rotten with their generosity of time, effort, and cold hard cash for this wedding and I have no idea how to convey the gratitude that I feel. I was thinking something sentimental, but maybe also useful? Also need something for our officiant, who is a family friend and is doing a really great job.

    • S

      My dad always carries a pocket knife, so I got him a “fancy dress knife” inlaid with turquoise. So maybe think of something your parents like, then do a fancy version? Or a special experience – nice restaurant, concert, so on?

    • Lindsay

      I struggled with that too. No one item seemed to convey how much everything they did meant to us so we went for experiences. For my parents – we got them large $$ gift cards to Mohegan Sun (casino/resort in CT where we live) so they could go and have a fun night out on their own and use it how they wished – dinner and drinks, a concert, comedy show… whatever they wanted!

    • Orangie

      A little late to the party, but my parents just bought a little farm and worked their butts off to get it ready for my wedding. My husband and I bought a custom metal sign on Etsy with the family name on it for them to hang in their front yard and gave it to them the morning after the wedding. It made my dad cry, so I consider that a win!

  • jmaney28

    I just started my own event company this year and as a black woman I was so afraid to even mention it on my business page but I’m so glad I did and I’m so glad I found a space for like minded professionals. I’ve been anxious for days. I couldn’t sleep last night and I barely ate today. I want so much more than this fear and anger for me and my loved ones and I’m grateful to all of my non-black friends who stepped all the way up this week. I’m worn out but I know I can’t stop pushing forward. Too many people have sacrificed their lives and liberties for me to stop what they fought for.

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