A letter from Jhmira Alexander, President and Executive Director of Public Narrative

We have arrived at a monumental moment in history. 

It is a moment that carries the promise of attaining real racial equity. But, with over 400 years of racial trauma, it will be a process that demands that we show up and do the work. We’ll need to show up through the pain and discomfort of hard truths, and through the perceived dangers of speaking truth to power. It will not be easy, nor will it happen overnight. 

At this moment, we have a chance to create and embody the changes we want to see. Together, like a perfect storm, we are here–forced to decide whether we will show up, speak our beliefs and values out loud, and back up those words with action. Will we show up for the freedom and justice for Black lives? Will we show up for journalists being targeted and attacked by police while covering protests across the country? Will we show up for and with our families, friends, neighbors, and colleagues? Will we show up for that voice within ourselves that says, this is the time we have been preparing for?

Many have just awakened to the harsh realities that run rampant throughout America’s DNA, and they’re learning about what it means to be an antiracist. Those who have long engaged in this work know how critical it is to take good care of mental and physical health. Practice patience and empathy with ourselves and others. Take breaks away from social platforms and news media. Remember: we’re still in a pandemic, so it’s critical to continue practicing social distancing.

The weight of the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks, and countless others, have all been too heavy to carry. The scales of justice are still imbalanced. They will remain that way until we shift the energy of this moment towards systemic change. 

No longer can we leave this work to someone else. It is our civic responsibility to show up to the polls. It is up to us to elect the ideal candidates. It is up to us to show up for younger generations. We must be the leaders to catalyze change. Together we must carry the weight. 

Toward Solidarity: Juneteenth + Pride

Issue No. 02 of our zine: TOWARD SOLIDARITY

With this second issue of the Public Narrative zine, we aim to connect intergenerational readers to Chicago stories, trusted community journalists and media outlets, and nonprofits working to create a more just and equitable city.

Click here to read TOWARD SOLIDARITY

A Constant Struggle: Reporting on Black resistance and getting it right

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