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Sept. 16, 2020, 8:38 a.m.
Audience & Social

Anti-Racism Daily is a newsletter that helps you read the news and do something about it

“People tend to get very outraged when there’s a death, when something terrible happens in the news, and then the conversation caves. But in the wellness community — in the world that I work in — people are really familiar with the idea of practice.”

If you have an Instagram account, you may have seen this post when you were going through your friends’ Stories:

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Update: A GoFundMe has also been set up for Jacob and his family. Please support (link in bio, too): On Sunday, August 23, a Black man was shot in the back seven times by police officers in Kenosha, WI. Reports indicate that the police were on the scene to respond to a domestic dispute, and the victim was attempting to help settle it (Kenosha News). A video of the shooting was widely circulated on social media. In the video, the victim can be seen walking to his car and opening the door before being restrained by a police officer and shot point-blank in the back. A reporter for WISN, a news channel in Wisconsin, later confirmed that the victim is 29-year-old Jacob Blake (Twitter). A large group of people was present to witness the shooting, in addition to his fiancée and children. As of the time of writing this, Blake is in serious condition.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Call local officials to demand the police officers are held accountable:⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Kenosha City Attorney⁣⁣ 262-653-4170⁣⁣ Kenosha Mayor and City Administration: 262-653-4000⁣⁣ Kenosha Police Non Emergency Line 262-656-1234⁣⁣ Wisconsin DOJ ⁣⁣ (608) 266-1221⁣⁣ ⁣ Donate to the Milwaukee Freedom Fund, which is extending support to protestors in Kenosha:⁣ This story is still developing. #justiceforjacobblake #jacobblake #kenosha

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The post explains how, on August 23, 29-year-old Jacob Blake of Kenosha, Wis., was shot in the back by police. The caption gives more details on the shooting, and the text slides offer ideas on how to take action in protest. The post went viral and has been liked more than 870,000 times.

The Jacob Blake post might seem to blend in with the social justice slideshows that have been circulating on Instagram all summer, but its background is a little different: It was adapted from the Anti-Racism Daily, a newsletter written by Nicole Cardoza.

Cardoza is the founder and executive director of Yoga Foster, a national nonprofit organization that provides educators with yoga and mindfulness resources to use in their classrooms. Because Cardoza is outspoken about the intersections of racism and wellness, she was getting a lot of questions about what people could do to support social justice movements in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

Constantly fielding those questions can be exhausting, especially as a Black woman living in the United States. That’s why, in early June, Cardoza decided that, instead of answering the same things over and over, she’d start a newsletter to give people actions to take to “dismantle white supremacy.”

“I just said, ‘I’m going to send everybody one email every day with an action item,'” Cardoza recalled. “People tend to get very outraged when there’s a death, when something terrible happens in the news, and then the conversation caves. But in the wellness community — in the world that I work in — people are really familiar with the idea of practice. People that practice yoga and mindfulness usually are talking about creating a practice, building a relationship with their well being, consistently and over time. I knew that people in my community would [like] having a daily call to action on something that they can do and ideally they’ll stay in this work past the protest.”

More than 1,000 people signed up for the newsletter within a few hours, and a few days later the subscriber count was 10,000. Three months in, Cardoza said, Anti-Racism Daily has more than 100,000 email subscribers. The Instagram account has 256,000 followers.

Each weekday edition of the newsletter usually takes a deep dive into a major news story through an anti-racist lens and is written either by Cardoza or a guest writer. On Saturdays, Cardoza sends out a “Study Hall” edition, where she answers reader questions and comments on the previous week’s issues. On Sundays, she sends out a weekly review of racial disparities related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Every weekday issue is divided into three sections: “Take Action,” which gives people actionable things they can do to address an issue; “Get Educated,” a deep dive explainer; and “Share This Issue,” which includes easy-to-read slides versions of the newsletter that people can share on Instagram and other social media platforms. The subject line of the emails are written as commands, as active actions people can take, instead of summaries of what the issue contains.

For example, one issue in June titled “Diversify your media consumption” delved into the American news media industry’s reckoning with racism in U.S. newsrooms. Cardoza explained how journalism influences the public’s perception of race. She wrote, in part:

When it comes to dismantling systemic oppression, representation and equity in media reporting is essential. Historically, the media has done more to uphold racial bias against people of color than dismantle it. Racial bias is a form of implicit bias, or the unconscious attitudes or stereotypes that distort our understanding, actions and decisions. Our racial biases are largely influenced by the media and how it chooses to center and elevate people and conversations.

The action items in that issue were:

1. Add one of the recommended news sources below to your reading list.

2. Replace a lifestyle magazine subscription to one with a more diverse lens. Here are my favorites >

3. Reflect on your go-to news source:

How many articles do I read by people of color? By women?

Who is on the executive leadership team of this news organization?

What stories, if any, have come up in the past two weeks about representation and equity in their workplace?

Reading news about racism is draining and can leave people feeling helpless, overwhelmed, and unsure of what to do next. But offering actions to take helps reduce the passive or performative activism that’s common on social media, Cardoza said. While ARD does use social media (and quite well) to raise awareness about issues, followers and media consumers are always encouraged to get the full story behind what they’re reading. At minimum, they can find that in the daily newsletter.

“People can save that. It’s in their inbox, it’s something that’s getting sent to them, and I think that psychological difference between getting something in your inbox that’s asking you to take action, versus going to a website and just reading, shifts our participation and the stories that we experience from a passive place to an active place,” Cardoza said. “I’m looking to build a practice over time. I have no accountability for people to come back to our website every day. But I do have accountability with ensuring that people get the actions to take in their inboxes every day. It makes me a more active participant in the conversation, instead of expecting people to take action based on things I published.”

When Cardoza is writing the newsletter, she usually works one or two days ahead of time. Many ideas come from her own personal experiences with racism and the impacts of white supremacy, she said. She scans the news for ideas and reads all responses she gets from subscribers. “One topic will spark another,” she said.

Cardoza emphasizes that she’s not a journalist by profession. The newsletter doesn’t typically break news or produce investigative journalism. Rather, she sees it as amplifying the journalism published around each issue that might not have reached her audience otherwise. Cardoza said she links to at least 15 news outlets and sources per issue and focuses on centering the work of journalists of color and journalists of other marginalized groups. She doesn’t hesitate to correct misleading or vague language that’s often used in writing about racism.

“When we don’t use the right words to describe the pain and suffering of people, we further minimize it and we reinforce the same system of white supremacy that is creating that harm,” Cardoza said. “Those are things that I’ve been really clear on. Calling Donald Trump a racist. Saying that it wasn’t an ‘officer-involved shooting,’ it was an officer that shot a black man. To me it’s really important that we name things…because this is the time to be exposing the things that we have to change. We can’t heal what we don’t reveal.”

Along with naming racism and injustices as such, Cardoza makes sure that Anti-Racism Daily doesn’t contribute to harmful and insensitive media practices. She doesn’t publish body-camera footage from police shootings, mugshots, or any other visuals that depict the suffering of people of color and marginalized people.

“I know how difficult it is to read news that isn’t taking into account that toll that it has on our bodies,” Cardoza said. “There’s plenty of people that are going to share the videos and plenty of people that are going to report on people as if they’re bodies and not humans and souls. This platform is not designed to make entertainment out of pain and suffering of communities of color. I don’t write this space for white people to become engaged and informed. I write this space to help protect and center the needs of those most vulnerable.”

The email newsletter is free to subscribe to, though Cardoza encourages people to donate in a variety of ways to help with the upkeep of the product. There’s a monthly subscription on Patreon or a one-time contribution option. People can also donate through Venmo and PayPal. There’s no business model yet in terms of making the products profitable, as Cardoza and the guest writers all work on Anti-Racism Daily on a volunteer basis (though there are three part-time remote positions posted on the website for a graphic designer, a reporter, and an editor).

Cardoza does, however, offer team subscriptions to ARD for workplaces and classrooms. The group subscription includes the daily emails, weekly discussion guides, and monthly engagement reports of the team’s participation, with open rates and the actions taken. A subscription for a team of two to 10 people is $360 while a subscription for a team of 400 or more is $7,200.

Still, Cardoza said she doesn’t wake up thinking about ARD’s bottom line, and hopes to keep it that way.

“The only true benchmark of success is whether or not racism is has ended in America and around the world, and we’re still far away from that.”

Photo by Oleg Laptev on Unsplash.

Hanaa' Tameez is a staff writer at Nieman Lab. You can reach her via email ( or Twitter DM (@HanaaTameez).
POSTED     Sept. 16, 2020, 8:38 a.m.
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