The importance of paying attention and holding the humans in positions of power accountable has never been more vital. But you know what else is vital? Maintaining your personal health, and sometimes, that means disengaging from the toxic mess that is social media. Thankfully, though, there are plenty of email newsletters that are great for staying informed even after you've deactivated your social media accounts. It may be true that 62 percent of adults in the United States get their news from Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center — but you don't have to be one of them if you don't want to be.
Until last year, my understanding of newsletters was limited to the type-heavy, neon colored handouts the altar boys passed around after Mass during my school days. You used them for bake sale notices and gutter cleaning coupons, and then, later, for that school project you left until the last minute. But email newsletters, well-designed and overflowing with links and .GIFs and information on everything from contemporary Black fiction to the latest immigration protests, have become increasingly popular over the last few years. Why? Well, for one, they're a way around internet trolls.
In utilizing subscriber-only platforms like TinyLetter (to receive these newsletters is free, but you have to provide an email address, eliminating that whole "anonymous vigilante" horror-trend), writers have more freedom to express their opinions; in moving their publishing platform to email, they're unfettered by character counts or link limits. The result is, in many instances, a contemporary cultural critique that veers away from the mainline narrative. Or if you're a nerd like me, it's like a really cool, digital research paper complete with citations and a cover page. Either way, brighten your inbox with one or all of these. Stay strong and get to work.
The companion newsletter for the podcast Another Round with Heben & Tracy is a weekly roundup of what these two inspiring humans are reading, watching, discussing, and listening to. in focusing on work produced by folks of color and female-identifying people, Heben and Tracy smash through media trends and honor the talent so often ignored by the mainline narrative's spotlight.
2STAT: Morning Rounds
Take your discussion of the healthcare situation in the United States to a whole new level with STAT: Morning Rounds newsletter, which sum up the daily health, medicine and science technology stories covered by its sister site, STAT. Want to know, for example, how the immigration ban affects medical research so you can integrate another level into your argument? Subscribe. (Hint: U.S. research and healthcare rely on the international workforce, so thank you for that, Trump.)
3Two Bossy Dames
Friday nights are for grabbing the goss and reading the latest from Dame Margaret and Dame Sophie, who "boss the internet with impeccable discernment & insouciant charm." (Their GIF game is also on point.) A recent favorite topic: The cultivating of joy, contemporary domesticity, and its relationship with racial, gender and economic politics.
The Outline is the newsletter of the future — like, literally, that's one of its main topics. In focusing on power and culture (as well as the future), The Outline provides a summation of where we are, how we got here, and where we're going. Its design is also sleek AF, so if you're someone who considers appealing aesthetics to be imperative, this is your newsletter.
Created by Derek Nelson, re:act provides a weekly list of concrete actions you can take during the Trump administration. In 10 weeks, the subscriber list has ballooned to over 1.5 million individuals. Yeah, that's a record. And yeah, that's probably the best endorsement I can give.
6Well-Read Black Girl
Founded by Glory Edim, WRBG is a book club and digital platform that "celebrates the uniqueness of Black literature & sisterhood." The bi-monthly newsletter serves as the initiation process for the book club, which you can attend both online or in-person. Not all activism needs to be vaguely apocalyptic; staying informed of the good in the world is also an act of resistance.
Launched in the wake of the Women's March by New York-based writer Marisa Kabas, "a proud Jew, granddaughter of immigrants, and firm believer in the right of all people to come to this already great country and help make it even greater," RESISTABLE provides information on marches, community activists meetings, and grassroots events across the United States. 2017 is the year to show the fuck up. This newsletter can help.
8Daily Action Alerts
The final newsletter isn't so much a "newsletter" as it is, "Your mom calling you about a geographically-specific issue affecting you, about which you can take concrete actions." If your mom was Daily Action Alerts. But yeah — sign up, get one brief voicemail or text a day, do that action, do your part. Be the generation your descendants will be thankful for.