We’ve all seen the Black Lives Matter protests calling for change the past few months. Some of us are already familiar with these issues, some of us are not. Now that more people are becoming aware of deep rooted systemic racism, they are rightly becoming concerned.
There is a lot of fear and discomfort around this subject, and this can be manifested in many ways. I’ll list some examples and how our group will work to combat these fears and discomforts.
Creating a Safe Space for Women of Color
First example, fear that, as a person of color, if you speak up, people will (again) dismiss you, resent you for causing discomfort, invalidate your emotions and experiences, be aggressive or violent with you. These are valid fears people of color, especially Black people, have been feeling for all of their lives.
In this group I hope to create a space where you can come to build trust and a sense of safety with non-BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) members of our community. It is a space where the main message is to listen and learn from BIPOC women but only on their terms, we will not seek free labor from you.
I will be presenting resources from BIPOC women who educate about anti-racism and will facilitate discussion around these topics. If you are a Black woman who educates on this topic or wishes to contribute in some way, we will never ask you to work without compensation, but welcome any resources you wish to offer. I will be personally moderating the group and I am committed to ensuring your safety in this space as best that I am able.
Guiding Dialog for Allies
Another example, the discomfort in knowing, as a white person, you most likely have been unknowingly helping to perpetuate and support systemic racism, the fear that if you join the conversation you might make a mistake and offend someone, the fear that someone might hurt your feelings if they call to attention and correct you on a mistake.
Those are all very uncomfortable thoughts, I have these thoughts every day even as a mixed raced (assumed white) person. Discomfort can often cause hesitation or inaction. We are stronger than that!
As women in business we have had to overcome many uncomfortable challenges. For me it was public speaking, networking (yup I said it!), striking out on my own, moving to a foreign country…you get it.
All of those things held massive amounts of fear and discomfort, but I went through the growing pains, I made mistakes, learned from them and moved forward. I did what it took to learn and grow, because the goal at the end would be worth it.
The Goal of Black Lives Matter is Equality for Everyone
I think we can all agree on this goal, yes? We have to push past the fear and discomfort to reach this goal, nothing in my opinion is more important than true equality for all humans.
And for the mixed race people, like myself, the fear and discomfort is so complex in many different ways. I hear you, I can relate and we will address this in the group as well.
I’ve faced a lot of fear and discomfort in my life and the best way that I have found to get through it, is with community. That’s why I created IWNG and that is why I am creating the Anti-Racist Action Pack.
In IWNG we like to talk about being a part of the “wolf pack”. We have each other’s back, we lift each other up, we push each other towards our goals.
Now we are going beyond business, although racism affects women in business very much, this is about humanity, equality. So join the pack and let’s do what we do best, show up for one another and lift each other up. In the words of Maya Angelou “The truth is, no one of us can be free, until everybody is free.”