Listening to our Community

Community is very important to me and my business. My success is a direct result of the investment I put into my community and the people in that community because, at times, I need their help as well. In my opinion, we all help each other grow.

I recently talked about how our community was fighting against COVID-19 and the economic impact it was taking on our country but now we are faced with a new challenge. The Black Lives Matter movement.

For those who may not be paying attention, there were two huge events that happened in the last few weeks: the Amy Cooper call to 911 and the murder of George Floyd. These two events really started the Black Lives Matter movement. So far this movement has sparked protests, demand for reform, and people finally taking a stand.

My Experience.

As I’m writing this I know that my experience as a white, homosexual, female, I will never understand but I do stand behind this movement, and here is why.

A few years ago I was a part of a year-long leadership program called EDGE which helps mid-career women in technology get “unstuck”, but for me, that wasn’t the biggest impact. The largest impact was being exposed to a more diverse group and I started to listen. I started to listen to the stats about black people in programs and I started to listen to the black women in that program.

For me, I originally thought, “Well I need to find a black person and sit them down and have them explain to me what is going on,” but that is not their job. They have worked hard enough to fight systemic racism, rise against odds, and stay alive. I quickly realized that I had two things that I needed to do.

Listen.

This was the biggest thing I could have done. Instead of having people explain to me what needed to be done, I went to the communities, and then I started to listen. I started to get involved. I started to hear and understand what I wanted a black person to explain to me.

Pass the Mic.

I read an article called White People are Broken awhile back and it had one succinct statement that completely changed my perspective about my white privilege and how I can help.

“People of color don’t need white people to speak for them. They need us to hand them the mic.”

For me, that meant that I needed to take the space that I had, invite a person of color to that space, and then get out of the way.

My Request

I hope by sharing my experience I’m able to help people think outside of themselves and start to listen to the community around them and the struggles they have gone through.

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