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How are you feeling at the start of this week?
For myself, I’m laser-focused on my activism while I continue to support my clients and the Bold Living Today community.
The last few weeks have been highly traumatic for a lot of people.
It felt like a pile-on coupled with the challenges of the pandemic.
And for many people – the trauma created a ripple so deep that it eroded any facade that things were getting better; especially for Black people.
As an educator and coach, I have dedicated my entire career to creating an inclusive space to support marginalized people. This includes dismantling systems that uphold the structures of racism.
My focus has always been on elevating underserved voices, creating tools for access, and (re)building inner wellness strategies that help people stay the course – no matter the obstacle.
And even with that being the case – I found myself feeling weary.
Last week revealed an extra layer of what it means to be an ally of action vs. a performative ally.
In several professional groups of which I’m a member, I saw the participants unravel under the strain of loving the ideals of diversity – while not having an action plan for anti-racism work.
I read posts, observed dialogues, and witnessed the denial that comes with wanting to be known as a good person at the expense of silencing Black voices.
I saw the cacophony of social media posts that jumped on a trend of calling out racism – instead of putting direct action into this fight for equality.
It was a lot.
If you read the above and can map your behavior to any of it, here are 6 things to work on this week – and amplify going forward.
Understand the work of anti-racism.
This is a lifestyle. It is not a trend and it’s not simply a hashtag. Accelerate your anti-racism education without making any excuses.
Spend more time listening.
The conversation may make you feel bad, and there is no escaping that. Racism is bad and it adversely affects all of us – even if you’re just figuring that out at your current age. Sit in the discomfort of what you hear without becoming defensive.
Expand your understanding of what it means to be political.
Now is not the time to say you don’t want to get involved – unless you want to get left behind. There are too many people who are staying silent which equals complicity and violence. People are dying. Speak up and out.
Separate your self-improvement work from the work of anti-racism.
Self-improvement is the process of making yourself better or more knowledgeable. With self-improvement, you’re at the center of your learning so you can feel better about yourself. Anti-racism work is about putting yourself on the line to protect Black bodies and empower the lives of Black communities.
Audit the brands, organizations, and workspaces you support.
Some organizations are treating the current Black Lives Matter movement and protests as a social media challenge. This is performative allyship. Call, send letters, and engage the leadership team of these groups and brands. Ask them to share their anti-racism plan. Have them show you and tell you how they’ve created an inclusive membership or work environment. If they don’t respond or don’t have an anti-racism plan in action – take your business, time, and talent elsewhere.
Update your wellness plan.
Anti-racism work is hard and daunting. It also can’t wait. Create wellness rituals that will help you decompress, reduce stress, and re-energize so you can keep your foot on the gas.
What is your anti-racism focus right now?
How are you fighting for equality?
Where do you want to increase your activism?
How can I support you?
Kanesha Baynard is an author, teen activist, creativity expert, and productivity specialist.
She also considers herself to be the love child of Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart.
Kanesha founded the Bold Living Today community which helps people disrupt unfulfilling patterns through creativity.
She specializes in helping teens and parents (re)connect through her Individual Connectedness program. Kanesha also supports creatives through brainstorming sessions, ideation bootcamp, and business development mapping. Kanesha’s expertise has been featured in Fast Company, HuffPost Live, U.S. News and World Report, TiLT Parenting Podcast, Parents Magazine, The New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on the Dr. Oz Show.
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