“The Water, Not The Shark”

A conversation with Sam Chavez at Roots of Change

Hello friends,

I recently had the chance to have a couple of conversations with Sam Chavez on the Roots of Change Media podcast. The first was about our work at Mission Equality and the second was about anti-racism. We covered lots of topics including how we can show up as anti-racists in this moment, and the way white supremacy hurts everyone. Here’s an excerpt:

Sam: We also have the elephant in the room of the genocide in Palestine perpetrated by the Israeli government. So I'm just curious. This is obviously a very big question. But what is your reaction to this moment? And how can we, as anti-racist and heart-first humans move through this moment?

Sharon: As anti-racists we have to fight oppression where we see it. I think that's foundational. right? You can't be anti-racist and see other people being oppressed and not feel something and not want to say something, if that's how your activism happens, or write something or have conversations with the people in your circle. However you choose to tackle oppression, you can't ignore this moment. You can't ignore the fact that tens of thousands of people have been murdered in Palestine. You can't ignore the genocide that is happening in other countries in the Congo, in the Sudan, in many other places around the world. You can't ignore the rise of far right rhetoric in many countries. You can't ignore any of that.

What we choose to do about it depends on how our activism happens. I'm a writer. I have an anti -acism newsletter. so I write about it. I will post about it on social media, in certain instances. Where there are situations where I don't know a lot, part of my role is to highlight the voices of the people who do. You don't have to be the loudest voice in the room on every issue. You just don't … sometimes what you can do is recognize when you don't know enough and push forward the people who do know enough and make sure that they get out to a wider audience.

Sam: The values of the anti racist movement - so much of it is disconnecting from that individualism and being that conduit for truth and justice. So I think that's another piece …recognizing when we are being pulled by those algorithms to be more vitriolic than we normally would be.

Sharon: We have to hold fast to what we know in our core to be true and what our values are and how we live those values. And I'm not here to tell anybody what that should be for them. Everybody has to know what that is for themselves. If you know what your values are, and you know how you express those values, you know when your voice is most needed, or when it is your time to help others to shine.

Sam: I think a lot of the where we are now, too, is very rooted in identity. Rightfully so in many cases. There are so many marginalized folx across the globe who have been hurt by colonialism, white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism.

Sharon: We've all been hurt by it, no matter what our identity is. You know white supremacy is the water, not the shark. That is not my quote. It was by someone called Guante in in one of his songs. It has always resonated with me, and it's something that I've used a lot in anti-racism training and some of my writing. You know this idea that it's not only the people who have been deliberately disadvantaged that are hurt by it, because in disadvantaging those people, you also make it harder for other people to thrive.

How does this land with you?

Thanks for reading,


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I am an anti-racism educator and activist, Co-Founder of Mission Equality, the author of “I’m Tired of Racism”, and co-host of The Introvert Sisters podcast.

© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2024. All Rights Reserved. This newsletter is published on beehiiv (affiliate link).

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