I’m not the silent type. But I also am not the type that needs shout out about everything that I do. I've always known I had a voice thanks to incredible parents who encouraged me as a child to speak my mind, even when it went against their principles. They always listened to my young, naive perspective. Sometimes they would agree with my vision. Most times they would counter with whatever parental directive they thought was appropriate and we would move on. Even if I didn't get my way, it never stopped me from saying how I felt because I knew, at least I would be heard. As a Black woman, I don't always get that same level of respect. But I move forward in my power and speak my mind, even when others may not be listening. The senseless murders of my people that have been spotlighted in recent days and weeks are not new. History is sadly still repeating itself. What’s new is that modern technology has made it possible for ALL to see the atrocities that have been happening to people of color for many lifetimes. The sudden bursts of causal energy that I’ve been seeing are always necessary and welcome but what’s needed more than anything is a lasting passion and a committed fervor for blasting out hate, injustice and inequality. That requires talking to people to gain knowledge, listening to those whose opinions may differ from yours and doing the important work that is parallel with your life vision. And while I may not be a shouter, I am definitely a do-er.
If you are searching for ways to make your voice heard, here are a few suggestions:
Make sure you can be heard by electing local, state and federal government officials who are aligned with your beliefs. If you need to register to vote or want to check your voter registration status, you can get started at Vote.org or RockTheVote.org.
Identify organizations that are doing the hard work of fighting social injustice and racial inequality. Volunteer to help or donate. As an example, through our Giving Is Easy program, my company is donating 100% of the proceeds from sales of jewelry from a specially curated collection to several organizations we believe are standing for what’s right and just. I am personally matching every dollar spent. We salute Color of Change, Innocence Project and When We All Vote.
TALK AND LISTEN
Conversations with family, friends or co-workers on social issues can be very difficult, but they are some of the most powerful ways to create change. My life partner, a Black man, recently had one of these tough conversations with a co-worker. She, a White woman, asked him how he was doing in our current climate. She admitted that he was the only Black person that she really knew well. That, in itself, saddens me but if we don't travel in the same circles, for whatever reason, this is reality. In an effort to compliment him on being such a great co-worker, she quipped "You are the whitest Black man I've ever known!". My partner says he was immediately taken aback and deeply offended but he felt this was an opportunity to help create change and understanding. He explained to her that Black men don't aspire to be White men. We value who we are and love the skin we're in. He went on to say that all Black people want is to be respected for who we are and afforded the same rights as all human beings should be. It was a stressful interaction, I'm told. But when they ended the dialogue, they both felt a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the other. That's a step. When you decide to really open your eyes, ears and heart to speak truth, you become the change, and in turn, a real giver and do-er.
May we learn to live in love, compassion and harmony. Through our collective ongoing actions and efforts, we can help erase the scourge of hate.
Peace & love,