It's been over a year since I posted on this blog. I have meant to write - I even have posts already finished waiting to go, and many ideas drafted, but it was one of those things that kept sliding down my list of priorities. Until now.
The Black Lives Matter movement and incredible global uprising over the last few weeks has taught me so much in a short time, and I am ashamed that I didn't seek out the information before the death of George Floyd. I've learned of horrific things that I should have been aware of, I learned about biases within myself that I shouldn't have been blind to, I learned how much good can be done when people stand together, and how much bad there is still to undo, to acknowledge, to make right.
I've had awkward conversations, I've made a fool of myself, I've had uncomfortable realisations. Black people have been expected to step up again and do so much emotional labour, so much explaining, so much defending when they need that energy to fight for justice and to preserve their mental health and their very safety. When does it end?
To my non-Black readers - I know it is easy to feel helpless. Like you're too small and the problem is too big, but some incredible things have already been achieved. The key is to keep moving. Keep pushing, keep talking. Keep up the momentum.
S T A R T W H E R E Y O U A R E
Last week I shared prompts and suggestions in my Life, Aligned Facebook group for members to use when reviewing their own work and how they can create a more diverse and inclusive business. I am not an expert on these things - my own antiracist work before the last few weeks was shamefully minimal but I wanted to share the work I’m doing on my own business in the hope that it’s helpful to you.
This is not the kind of work that you can stick on a To Do list and tick off, but needs to be conscious, ongoing work, decisions and actions.
Before we get on to my suggestions, please read the suggestions and calls to action of people who are experts on these things:
How To Create Diversity Within Your Online Business - Rachel Rodgers
Listen to Trudi Lebron's Business Remix podcast. The latest episode: Dismantle and Reclaim with Louiza Doran.
I have learned a lot this month, but there is a lot more to learn and I will make mistakes. We’ll all make mistakes. Please let me know if you find any of the suggestions, prompts or wording here poorly thought out or insensitive - I am here to learn from you too! Thank you.
S O C I A L M E D I A
“Break your echo chamber.
If the people on your feed all look the same, have had similar experiences, and have the same views as each other (and you), you’re missing out on the diversity of thought that comes from different lived experiences.
Having your thoughts and beliefs reinforced and amplified back to you is easy, it’s comfortable, and it’s a terrible way to learn. ”
- Sophie Williams, Millennial Black -
Review your social media channels. Whose voices are you hearing on the regular, and whose are you sharing and amplifying on your own platform? Is it a diverse group, or does everyone look and sound the same?
What kind of accounts do you like to follow? Artists, mothers, gardeners, musicians, political activists? Lols and cute puppy videos? All of the above?
Can you actively find some new accounts who post within those subjects? This is not about finding token Black people or minority figures to follow. Find accounts and personalities you genuinely want to support and engage with long term.
If you are seeking out antiracism resources (and you should be) please know that it is not the job of every Black person to provide you with this information. Find accounts that specifically teach antiracism, and actually read and repost what is shared.
Some Instagram suggestions for the latter (but there are many amazing teachers, writers and speakers across the various platforms. Do some googling):
Y O U R W E B S I T E
Looking at the visuals and wording on your website, if you have one, consider who will see themselves reflected back?
"Seeing oneself reflected in your business means more than sharing the same skin color or ethnic background. A person can see themselves reflected in your business if you share the same values, you have experience supporting people like them, and you use language in your marketing that signals that you get them."
- Trudi Lebron -
How can you ensure your website reflects your inclusive values and beliefs?
If you have a blog or podcast, share the BLM stories, antiracism books and resources you have been sharing on social media. Interview/feature Black-owned businesses regularly.
If you use lifestyle shots - hands holding products, people chatting, etc - ensure they're diverse.
Share causes you support. After all, that's your customer's money you're paying forward - where are you donating?
Remove language that assumes the reader has had all the same choices and opportunities as you (for example, a lot of mindset and manifestation coaches speak as if everyone need only focus on what they want in order to achieve it, when in fact the system is set up to keep minorities and marginalised people from getting ahead).
Personally, I will be adding a My Values page to share more about who I choose to work with, the organisations I support, and the future I hope to be working towards, and I'll be sharing more antiracism resources here on the blog.
A C C E S S I B I L I T Y
How can you make your business more accessible? Please consider all people and groups with less privilege than you, not only those with different colour skin.
If you run workshops or courses can you offer subsidised/pay what you can places?
Do you book venues that are accessible to those less able-bodied? In less affluent areas?
If you run groups or spaces, online or offline, how can you ensure it is a safe and welcoming space for all?
Can you collaborate with a charity or supporting organisation in order to bring your products or services to a less advantaged audience?
If you make and sell products, are you approaching retailers and markets who share your inclusive values?
This is life-long work and your heart needs to be in it, and it should be in it. Please keep reading, learning, sharing, and taking positive action.
We all pay close attention to our environmental policies and review our choices regularly to ensure we're always doing right by nature. It should be the same for our inclusivity, and doing right by people.