Black Lives Matter. No qualifications, no exceptions.
Supporting the Black community is not just the right thing to do, it‘s the only thing to do.
Last week, George Floyd’s horrific and unjustifiable murder by Minneapolis police officers exposed a culture of police brutality and a level of racism that the Black community lives with on a daily basis but that has not been given the attention and action it deserves by the rest of the population.
The list of Black lives lost to a racist system at the hands of police sworn to serve and protect is unconscionable – Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee, Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin – and countless other individuals we know of and don’t know of.
In the past, I have chosen to stay silent on my personal views around politics, religion, and other topics that might be considered “hot button” on my platform, not out of fear of difficult conversations or reputation management – I don’t shy away from hard conversations – but because 1) I try not to speak on subjects on which I am not educated and informed and 2) I don’t like to add to the noise when my voice could be used to help in other ways. (ie. You might not care about my political views, but my knowledge on building a personal brand online may help you amplify your voice on issues you do care about.)
This conversation is different – addressing systemic racism is not a two-sided “controversial” debate. There’s only one right side as far as I’m concerned: racism is unequivocally wrong.
Over the last week, there have been necessary, complex, and long-overdue conversations being had very openly online and offline around systemic racism, the political and societal structures that support it, the oppression of black people that has been going on for centuries, and the actionable steps we need to take to dismantle racism and truly achieve justice and equality.
The reality is, many people who believed themselves to be allies (including myself) have realized that there is still massive room for improvement, growth, and action. This requires being willing to be vulnerable, uncomfortable, and honest with ourselves and in our conversations with others—recognizing, unlearning, and calling out deeply-rooted biases and privilege.
It has never been more clear that silence is not an option. Ignorance is not an option. And social media posts are not enough.
On my end, I have been having necessary conversations online and offline, both inside and outside of my business, and in my personal life with friends and family.
Education is the first step to thoughtful action and while I have expressed public support on social media of Black Lives Matter this week to signal my solidarity, I have held off on sending this email while I did the appropriate research for myself. For those who don’t know, I am a person of color (Latinx/Jewish), but I am not Black. And I will not pretend to understand the feelings and the experiences of the Black community. This week has been about educating myself and doing the necessary learning and listening so I could express my support from a place of informed consideration, but also so I can continue educating myself and others around me and share the voices of those who know much more than I do on the subjects that need discussing.
Instead of a Beyond Influential episode today, I want to share three resources I have found to be incredibly valuable in my journey of learning more about anti-racism, and how to be a better ally moving forward. These resources aren’t just informational – they are actionable. Take time to go through them – they are well-organized and contain a wealth of knowledge and action steps – whether you’re an ally new to anti-racist work, or you are part of the BIPOC community looking for additional support at this time.
On top of education, action is also necessary.
My team members and I are each committed to continuing to educate ourselves, having an open and ongoing dialogue, and taking necessary steps to ensure the anti-racist values of my business are clear and upheld through our actions.
From Day 1, my goal with this Beyond Influential community has been to empower you to use your voice to help you create the life you want, and the way I’ve strived to do that is by providing you with the knowledge, tools, and resources you need to grow your brands and businesses.
However, I don’t want it to get lost that your platforms can be used for so much more than personal gain – you can help educate, elevate, and amplify other voices that need to be heard. Speak up when other voices might not be as loud or can’t say what needs to be said. And support each other as we continue to take the actions required to create true change.
I am still on this journey. And I know I may not always get it right. I might say or do the wrong thing, but I am committed to growing and evolving. Please know my door is always open if you see room for improvement – whether you want to send an email or DM me.
I am committed to supporting you and I’m grateful you’ve chosen to be part of this community.