February 1 signifies a new month and also the start of Black History month. And while I have my own longer thoughts about why this should not be just a month that are connected back to the original intent of what this month was created for, I also recognize that companies across the country are preparing to celebrate…and in sometimes ways that may actually not honor our history and/or what your team members would like to experience at work.
Sharing with you a few of my thoughts on what to consider if you haven’t already:
Ask first if Black employees…
We’ve been living in two different countries my whole life.
My father’s whole life.
His father’s whole life.
His father’s father’s whole life.
And I could keep going in building this list, except for the fact that at some point, I won’t be able to trace any further back because that history was never given to me. It was never given to my family. It was never captured because we were never intended to have history in same way as white Americans do.
Two different countries.
And as I wake up this morning, watching the latest in a long history…
As 2020 comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting a ton on the where organizations should go next in moving from a place of D.E.I. programs not resulting in real change to ones that are centering racial equity always.
9 things that I think are holding companies back? See below:
1. Attempting to make diversity, equity, and inclusion (d.e.i.) synonymous to racial equity or anti-racism
The work, approach, and even the core definitions are not the same and are important to distinguish before you commit to doing the work.
2. Removing the word equity and even more specifically racial equity…
First, I usually hear it in your voice. Then, I see it in your body language: the SHIFT.
We’re on a call to discuss your newfound interest in diversity, equity, and inclusion work as an organization and as a leader. The second I shift from the word inclusion to the terms anti-racism, there is a visible shift in your demeanor. And maybe you don’t notice it, but I do because it happens so much that I’m prepared to expect it.
You didn’t reach out to me because you want to talk about race — you don’t want to unpack White…
I stopped sharing my personal experiences with racism a long time ago.
One, because they happened so often that it was normal and the last thing I wanted to do after experiencing it was to re-live this normalcy in any way by experiencing it through my own words again.
Second, because when I did share it with people, particularly white women,
I would get responses like:
“Oh, I totally understand where you’re coming from because I too have experienced the same.”
(which would then be followed up with a story that was not racism but some other ism)
I saw you coming.
it was the night of the Vice-Presidential debate where Kamala Harris said to Pence “ I’m speaking” and the internet lost its mind, you included. I saw you the next morning sharing posts that said “ I’m Speaking ”, telling everyone you knew what an important moment it was for women, cheering these words on, and celebrating them as your own.
Ironically, on that same day, I saw you writing on Black women’s Instagram walls chastising them for speaking too “harshly”, for not being “ kind enough to you”, for being too “ loud” and sharing…
On November 9, 2016, I woke up, heard the results of the presidential election, and immediately laid back down in my bed. I stayed that way for a while, thinking, “I have to be at work in an hour, but I’m not even sure I can move right now,” and then cried while showering and getting dressed. All day, as I did my best to push through, I wished someone, anyone, would ask me, “Is this meeting really that important right now?” or simply, “Are you okay?”
Fast-forward to 2020. We’re talking a lot about Election Day on November 3…
Watching Meg Thee Stallion’s performance on Saturday Night Live recently and her usage of Malcolm X’s words sticks with me daily:
“ The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman.
The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman.
The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.”
Daily as a Black woman, I wake up incredibly grateful for all that comes with being one. And daily, I wake up equally exhausted for all that comes with being one. Sharing 8 things I wish everyone around me would stop doing, to myself and fellow Black womxn…
A personal reflection from a Black Woman fighting against our own self-imposed silence…
I’m actually not sure when it shifted for me. When the place became a place where it wasn’t safe anymore. When the place of me, the world I live in, the world I work in, was no longer safe. The truth is, it never was. But if I’m being really honest with myself, I remember the exact age I decided to stay silent about it.
Third grade. I was 8 years old. There was a white boy named Brett who really struggled with me because at the…
It’s the start of a new week and while there is still an incredible amount of work to be done that will result in permanent change, many employers are feeling like we’ve done the hard work. ⠀ We sent an email, we donated money, we created space for the team to talk last week, we used the appropriate hashtag and shared on social media. ⠀ In short: We’re good, we’ve done the work. The reality is, though, the work has truly just begun. ⠀ In the same way, we personally have to get beyond temporarily using a hashtag, so do…