This is a painful time for Black people. We are not okay. I had to go for an intense Peloton ride to calm my rage enough to formulate this message.
There are many Black women in this community who are exhausted, deflated, and defeated. They’re asking, “How do you continue working and growing your business when the world you live in continues to actively and intentionally threaten not only your livelihood, but your life and also the lives of your friends and family?”
Working on your business and growing your bottom line as a Black business owner is activism. Do your powerful work in the world, share your voice loudly, take up space, make money, step into your power, lead. Black people winning visibly is revolutionary. Let the world see you living in your purpose and winning everyday.
“To truly be free, we must choose beyond simply surviving adversity, we must dare to create lives of sustained optimal well-being and joy.” – bell hooks
Allies, I want to make it clear that you are either racist or you are anti-racist. There is no in between. If you are not taking active steps to dismantle racism, you are causing harm and propping up the system that killed George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery (only the three most recent Black victims of this system. Each time a life becomes a hashtag, it is too quickly replaced by the next victim of this system). The same system that elected a racist president.
I want you to know that anti-racism is not convenient. It is not easy. It is not a FB post or one donation. It is an active and daily fight against racism. Not just when it appears in the news cycle but every single day. It will cause you to examine your conduct. It will cause you to risk something. I urge you to take that risk.
We have to get more vocal, more in your face, more demanding. Nothing changes if we continue to be nice.
Here are a few things you can do today and everyday:
- Amplify Black voices. Share messages from Black activists, entrepreneurs and leaders. Lend your platform to a Black person. Help make sure Black voices and perspectives are shared widely.
- Have hard conversations with your white friends. Hold the white leaders you follow accountable. Tell your racist aunts and uncles and moms and dads that you do not agree with them and why.
- Vote with your dollars. Let it be known that you are choosing not to support businesses or organizations that choose to be silent during times like this.
- Read and educate yourself. It is not the job of Black people to teach you. Here are some recommendations: This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jenkins, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Renni Eddo-Lodge, White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson, So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo & How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.
- Follow and pay Black activists. Here are a few: Rachel Cargle (Instagram handle: @rachel.cargle and her project The Great Unlearn @thegreatunlearn), Brittany Packnett Cunningham (Instagram handle: @mspackyetti), Desiree Adaway (Instagram handle: @desireeadaway), Ericka Hines (Instagram handle: @erickahines) and Sonya Renee Taylor (Instagram handle: @sonyareneetaylor)
- Donate and support the fight. It’s not enough to be an armchair warrior posting in solidarity, sharing stories, and speaking your outrage. It’s something, but it’s not enough. Donate money to protests, activist groups, and individuals leading the charge. Call your local government and lend your voice and privilege. There’s a list compiled by Medium of 75 things white people can DO for racial justice. Start doing those things. Donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund to cover bail and legal representation for protesters who are risking their lives to hold police and our government accountable. There are an abundance of opportunities to take action engulfing the internet.
- Ask the Black members of your community if they are okay. Provide extra support to them. Give your Black employees the day off (that’s what I did today) when things like this happen. Take extra steps to serve Black people. This is what equity looks like.
If that is too much to ask then I invite you to leave my community. You do not get to enjoy my content, my teachings and learn how to make money from me, a Black person, and at the same time do nothing while my people are systematically attacked, murdered and treated like animals. I will not allow it.
To those who are willing and ready, I appreciate you. We will fight together.
To my Black sisters and brothers, rest and restore. We must take care of ourselves. And we will continue to fight.
PS: Yesterday I went live on social media after hearing about how Marie Forleo and other “good white liberals” have responded to hurting communities of Black people during this crisis. Here are my thoughts:
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How self-proclaimed good white liberals respond to police brutality and violence against black people is insufficient and harmful. In this video I share how white liberals (especially entrepreneurs and coaches like Marie Forleo) can be true allies instead of engaging in performance allyship.