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Two Years of Sharon’s Anti-Racism Newsletter
Looking back, looking forward
It’s been two years since the first issue of this newsletter dropped. How things have changed.
Starting the newsletter was a bit of a gamble. Even though I knew that people were reading writers like me on Medium, I didn’t know if that would translate into subscribing and reading regularly, and I didn’t know if it would be sustainable.
Looking at the numbers
My first edition went to just 5 people. The last one went to more than 2800. People are subscribing every day and, importantly, a few people are supporting the newsletter with paid subscriptions every month. Thanks to them, I recently hit my first paid subscriber milestone - 250 subscribers - and am now pushing hard for the second one: 500 paid subscribers. If you have chosen to support the newsletter financially, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
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I believe my work has value and luckily, I’m not the only one to think that. Recently, I added some of people’s statements about the value they get to the newsletter’s about page, where they cheer me up every time I look at them.
When I reach 1000 paid subscribers and more, I’ll be able to run the newsletter full-time (though there are a couple more things I’d do as well, by choice, like my work at Diverse Leaders Group).
There’s still too much racism
As I look back over the last two years, what’s less good is that the issue I talked about in the first issue - the assumption that Black people are always in the wrong - hasn’t changed. This year alone we’ve seen several more examples that have resulted in the death of Black people for no other reason than the color of their skin.
I share their skin color, and I am acutely aware of what that means when I move in white majority spaces. I often say that I’ll never run out of material - at least, not in my lifetime. But I’ll also never stop fighting to make the world less racist and more equal.
When I started the newsletter, I began with the experiences I’d had living, working and visiting different countries: the UK, Barbados, the US, France and elsewhere. It’s always been clear to me that racism and anti-Black racism operate globally, emerging from settler colonialism, enslavement, capitalism, patriarchy and other oppressive systems. So there are always parallels between what happens in the USA, for instance, and what happens elsewhere; between the white supremacist systems in Barbados, and those in the UK. I hope I’ve been able to make some of those links plainer.
A foundational principle: sharing the mic
From the start, I was clear that it was important to use this space to uplift and highlight others, particularly those who tend to be most ignored: Black women. That’s why I started my activist interview series. But this year I started a new series, highlighting Black founders, because one way of fighting racism is to show how we are meeting our own needs and filling any gaps left by the systems that exclude us. I plan to keep this series going, and have new interviews coming up soon. And I'm also contemplating a new series, where people can share their stories of racism.
With all this, sometimes there are issues I choose not to write about. The reason can be as simple as not having the time or, in some cases, the emotional bandwidth. Sometimes the issue has been well covered elsewhere and I have nothing to add. In those cases, I’ll usually include the best article in my monthly reading list, which has proven to be one of the newsletter’s most popular features. Yet again, I started that because it’s not all about me: we are not a monolith and there are lots of other people out there with valuable perspectives.
Some of the newsletter is now a book!
Finally, it’s fitting that the first collection of newsletter pieces, including some pieces you’ve never seen, was released for pre-order this month. It feels like another way to reach people with the message of anti-racism.
So, what next, now that I’ve reached the two-year mark? My mission of fighting racism, one article at a time, remains. My commitment to creating equality remains. My aim of getting the newsletter to as many people as possible who will DO something with what they learn, remains. I hope you’ll stick around and commit to allyship and action, too.
Thanks for being here,
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2022. All Rights Reserved.