One White Woman’s Tiny Plan of Action

One White Woman’s Tiny Plan of Action


One White Woman’s Tiny Plan of Action – Write Now Columbus – June 2020

I’m a white, middle-aged, middle-class woman who lives in an affluent central Ohio suburb. While I was in high school, growing up in rural Ohio, the first family of “colored people” moved into our district.

They were Italian.


Despite my lifelong desire to reform racism out of myself, that lack of people of color during my formative years skewed my perspective. What I don’t know and haven’t experienced could make me dangerous to the black friends I love. I’m committed to facing my white privilege and racism. Until I own it, I can’t do anything about it.

I’m ashamed to admit it took a Facebook friend calling out we “white folks” on our silence after George Floyd’s murder for me to finally, decades too late, take more specific action. I am listening to my black friends, watching black leaders, and allowing their actions to guide my steps.

This week, an article in The Columbus Dispatch explained how business owners were signing a “Letter To Columbus City Council in Support of Resolution Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis.” As the publisher of Write Now Columbus, I added my voice. It felt ridiculously small in the face of so many deaths, but I had to begin somewhere. Maybe it would help turn the tide.

As a runner, today I would normally celebrate Global Running Day. Instead, I consciously “exercised” my white privilege by running three miles without being killed. Sound harsh? A few weeks ago, 25 year-old Ahmaud Arbery, a black man, was chased, gunned down, and killed by several white men while he was running. Today, I ran for him, used the hashtag #irunwithmaud to bring awareness, and donated to the fund set up for his mother.

I also donated to The Bail Project. Many black and impoverished people sit in jail awaiting trial because they cannot post bail. Meanwhile the white and affluent accused go home and to their jobs.

And I thought about my writing life. While some of the individuals in Depression Hates a Moving Targetare people of color, I did not point out anyone’s race. It didn’t seem to serve the story and might have been seen as gratuitous. I worry I missed an opportunity or responsibility.

I added black-owned bookstores to my lists and pledge to read more black history and books by black authors.

When my coauthor Brenda Knight and I chose author quotes to use in our new writing journal, You Should Be Writing, we carefully gathered from authors of all races. I’m especially proud of the final chapter about the role and responsibility of the writer. Words have power. May we use them wisely.

As others protest—I choose not to because of Ed’s compromised immune system—I continue to take good notes. I record my thoughts, feelings, and sensations, all things I may forget when later I want to reflect on this time.

I will add to my tiny plan as opportunities arise.

What’s your plan?

Notice I didn’t ask if you had one. We’re way beyond that.

It’s not my job to tell you want to do. But please, figure it out.

Meet & Greet with Nita Sweeney in Corte Madera, CA

Meet & Greet with Nita Sweeney, author of “Depression Hates A Moving Target: How Running with my Dog Brought Me Back From the Brink”

Author Event, Author Reading, Author Signing
Friday February 14, 2020 2:00 PM
(Biography, Exercise, Health & Fitness)
Event Description
Before she discovered running, Nita was 49-years-old, chronically depressed, and unable to jog for more than 60 seconds at a time. Using exercise, Nita discovered an inner strength she didn’t know she possessed, and with the help of her canine companion, she found herself on the way to completing her first marathon.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

“A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking.” – Jerry Seinfeld

Twenty-five percent off everything at Liberty Books and News in the Shops on Lane Avenue!

Okay. I know you’re not reading this blog to see advertisements, but one of the few independent bookstores in central Ohio is in trouble. I hate to admit this is no surprise. It seems to be the fate of independent bookstores across the country. And, if recent news is correct, it might be the fate of bookstores in general. I recently read a blog post suggesting that even Barnes & Noble and Borders aren’t doing that well. Just the same I’m foregoing this month’s essay space to send out a cry for help on behalf of Liberty Books and News.

Located in the Shops at Lane Avenue, Liberty Books & News is a sweet space with free coffee (the sign says they’re here to sell books, not coffee) and nice chairs and a lovely table on which to write or study or lounge. They have a wide range of cards, magazines and books with nice people to help you find what you need. The store also offers a venue for author readings and provides the space for Rattlebox Poetry’s monthly events.

Again, my apologies if you find this plea offensive. I just can’t imagine the day when there are no bookstores left in which to browse. I hope you will swing by the store and spend a few bucks. And if you don’t live in central Ohio, find an independent bookseller in your area and go drop a few bucks there. Please!

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