So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive.
Audre Lorde, Excerpt from A Litany for Survival
The professional archetype has always been strange to me. The appearance, language, physical environment and social norms never harmonized with my body and how I authentically move in the world.
I remember when I was interviewing for IT jobs right out of college. I was feeling discouraged. I felt prepared and had engaging conversations with employers. But, I received no offers. My boss at the time said I should wear a wig to hide my natural hair. I was hurt by this suggestion. I questioned my appearance.
Was it really my hair? Probably. Or, it may have been something else. I never received real, honest feedback. This is a real on-going mind replay that many Black women have in their heads as they navigate finding a job.
LinkedIn feels like that same moment over 20 years ago. I get on the platform and I see a digital form of the norms that don’t seem to welcome how I authentically move in the world.
And, so what? My community and team urged me to share my thoughts and work anyway. But, I still could not bring myself to engage.
I began to contemplate what was stopping me from sharing and showing up. I show up on other platforms. A couple of things came up for me.
During journal time, I responded to the following questions:
- What is stopping me from sharing my voice?
- What is blocking my throat?
- Who do I wish heard me?
Big tears began to fall.
The word “protection” came forward as a theme after all the tears and all that I wrote.
I personally know Black women fighting for racial equity and justice that are berated, ridiculed for their words describing their experiences. And, these same Black women have received death threats.
I want to be protected. They need to be protected.
I also longed to be heard and protected by my father.
The healing for me is acknowledging the real fear of not being protected, And, sharing my voice freely in space whether others think I belong there or not.
So, I am here sharing. This is my first step.
What can you expect from me?
- At the end of 2022, I shared harmful practices that impede understanding, embracing and embodying racial equity. I will share potential antidotes.
- I will share how my team and I at CommunityBuild Ventures are creating a pro-Black culture by providing an insider view of how we build community with each other.
- I will lead a monthly live series, So You Think You Know Racial Equity, to unpack 10 competencies to center racial equity.
- I will demonstrate learning in public by providing a monthly book report.
So, stay tuned. I am here.
Natasha is an award winning racial equity practitioner and philanthropist. She provides community and heart-centered conversations and experiential learning opportunities to help leaders and organizations understand, embrace and embody racial equity.