Editor’s Letter

From the Supreme Court’s gutting of Affirmative Action and other attacks on civil rights to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, 2023 proved to be a tumultuous year. We culled the articles our readers most read and interacted with for each of the past twelve months. Your favorites include articles by longtime OHF Weekly writers and a few newcomers. Themes of the physical, emotional, and economic costs of racism, its impact, and ways to advocate for racial equity run through these articles.

But two themes in particular dominated our most-read articles: despair and hope. The top article for 2023 came in head and shoulders above the others. Catherine L. Pugh’s “Did Karma Ever Catch the Emmett Till Killers?” takes a frank look back at the lynching of Emmett Till and the fates of the trio responsible for his death. Our second most-read article of 2023, “10 Steps to Being an Ally to Marginalized Groups,” by Sherry Kappel, points out specific actions people can take to jump-start and sustain their activism. 

Regardless of where you are in your journey toward equity and equality, each of these articles is worth a read—or reread—for helpful insights into the fight against oppression. We hope you’ll take a look and join us in our ongoing efforts to make this world more equitable. Here’s to 2024!

Love one another.

Clay Rivers
OHF Weekly Editor in Chief

Sherry Kappel
OHF Weekly Managing Editor

OHF Weekly’s Best of 2023


The Race Massacres They Never Taught Us about in School

By Glenn Rocess

The destruction of “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921. (Wikimedia Commons)

Many would-be allies find themselves in the same place Glenn Rocess once was: informed of only one side of American history, one in which deadly injustices visited upon Black, Indigenous, and People of Color by colonizers are omitted. Rocess’s “The Race Massacres They Never Taught Us in School” deftly recounts his numerous “Wait, what?” moments and subsequent epiphanies when learning of specific race massacres and choosing knowledge or ignorance.

Read the complete article at OHF Weekly.


With Biases, You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

By Zhivi Williams

Photo by Etty Fidele on Unsplash

Zhivi Williams is an author we found on Mastodon, and what a great find! In “With Biases, You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know,” Zhivi starts by defining bias and discussing how biases are a normal part of life. We all have them, and many are unconscious; by exposing them, however, we can begin to see how they influence our interactions with others.

Read the complete article at OHF Weekly.

03 | MARCH

What Does It Say about Policing When Five Black Officers Beat a Black Man to Death

By Charles Estacious White

Photo by Tomas Ryant on Pexels

Charles Estacious White asks if Black officers are immune to systemic racism and bias in their work when dealing with young Black males. With keen insight, he takes readers behind the badge for a critical look at the forces some succumb to and others resist. He also takes a look at work that led him to his conclusions.

Read the complete article at OHF Weekly.

04 | APRIL

You Can Know Me

By Christienne Leigh Hinz

Photo by Adetola Salako on Unsplash

In Christienne Leigh Hinz’s brilliant essay “You Can Know Me,” she begins by pointing out that many Black people are of the mind that white people can’t understand Black pain. Ironically, she notes, Black survival hinges on understanding white people; she then builds the argument that white folks not only can but must make an effort to understand Black people if they wish to fulfill their moral obligations.

Read the complete article at OHF Weekly.

05 | MAY

Bethany Mandel, Wokeness, Intellectual Dishonesty and Perverted Right Wing Politics

By Elwood Watson, PhD

Briahna Joy Gray at SXSW 2019 by nrkbetaCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It is not unusual for someone on the right to distort a word or phrase with racial or other cultural implications. Even so, conservative activist Bethany Mandel took it to a new level when she couldn’t define “woke” in an interview, after writing a book about it. In “Bethany Mandel, Wokeness, Intellectual Dishonesty and Perverted Right Wing Politics,” Black Studies professor and new OHF Weekly contributor Elwood Watson, PhD explores why these distortions happen.

Read the complete article at OHF Weekly.

06 | JUNE

Moral Bankruptcy: The Hidden Cost of Privilege

By Walter Rhein

Photo by Tower Paddle Boards on Unsplash

Walter Rhein is the product of small-town (read: conservative) Wisconsin and a relative newcomer to OHF Weekly, demonstrating the power of empathy and critical thinking. In “Moral Bankruptcy Due to the Hidden Cost of Privilege,” Walter uses an interaction with his daughter to show the advantages of prioritizing vulnerability over privilege and then extrapolates those learnings to racism.

Read the complete article at OHF Weekly.

07 | JULY

Did Karma Ever Catch the Emmett Till Killers?

By Catherine L. Pugh, Esq.

“FACE TWO TRIALS—After their indictment on murder and kidnap counts yesterday, J.W. Milam (center of Glendora, Miss., and his half-brother, Roy Bryant (right) of Money, Miss., conferred with Sidney Carlton, an attorney, in the courthouse at Sumner, Miss. Dates of their trials — one for each count — will be set tomorrow. —Staff Photo by William Sorrels” The Commercial Appeal, Memphis Tennessee, Wednesday, September 7, 1955. Newspapers.com

Prompted by the death of Carolyn Bryant, Catherine L. Pugh, Esq. revisits the horrific lynching of Emmett Till and the fortunes and ignominy of the three Mississippians responsible for his murder. In “Did Karma Ever Catch the Emmett Till Killers,” Pugh provides a wealth of source material that substantiates the killing of the fourteen-year-old Till as “one of the most open, notorious, and unambiguous episodes of human depravity in our nation’s history.”

Read the complete article at OHF Weekly.


There Is But One Fight

By Terra Kestrel

Photo by Saki Busto, Unsplash.

In the deeply personal “There is But One Fight,” Terra Kestrel uses her experiences as a transexual to frame and extend Toni Morrison’s argument that the function of racism is to distract people from the real work of fighting greed and the struggle for power. Focusing on various forms of oppression—such as racism, sexism, homo- or transphobia—keeps us from the singular, more critical goal of tearing down the patriarchy that hurts us all.

Read the complete article at OHF Weekly.


10 Steps to Being an Ally to Marginalized Groups

By Sherry Kappel

Photo by roya ann miller on Unsplash

The author of this article would—and did—object strenuously to inclusion on this list. But the readership (and the editor-in-chief) held sway in the final decision. With “10 Steps to Being an Ally,” Sherry KappelOHF Weekly managing editor, has put together a practical, no-nonsense list of actionable and substantial steps white people — or anyone for that matter — can take to facilitate a better understanding of racial equity, allyship, and inclusion.

Read the complete article at OHF Weekly.


The Redux: If Not Now, White Folks, When?

By Clay Rivers

Photo by Chris Karidis on Unsplash

In “The Redux: If Not Now White Folks, When,” OHF Weekly editor Clay Rivers observes how Black people need to study the thoughts and actions of white people just to get by in this world, while white people—even very good white people—are often oblivious to even the most prominent forms of racism. Here, he discusses the long road to allyship, its cost, and its many benefits.

Read the complete article at OHF Weekly.


Losing a White Friend Due to His Racism

By William Spivey

Photo by VD Photography on Unsplash

As a follow-up to his article “When My Best Friend Was White,” fan favorite William Spivey addresses a little-discussed conflict more common to interracial friendships: racism. In “Losing a Friend Due to His Racism.”  Spivey shares his experience as a Black man reconciling the boundaries of his self-respect with a longtime friend’s freshly revealed racist views about Black people.

Read the complete article at OHF Weekly.


Why Organizations Fail at DEI

By Lecia Michelle

Most of us have been exposed to a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) workshop at one job or another; we sit through a session, promptly forget what we learned, and management does nothing to reinforce it. In “Why Organizations Fail at DEI,” OHF Weekly is excited to welcome back Lecia Michelle as she explains not only the ways in which organizations fail, but also how they can do better to achieve their goals.

Read the complete article at OHF Weekly.

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