Last week, I muted myself on social media to amplify the Black voices in my community and around the country. I vowed to hold and make space for BIPOC on social media and in my life- but not just for the week, always.

Throughout the week, I not only followed, read and reshared, I also learned, listened, reflected and had (sometimes tough) conversations.

One thing that I always came back to was how much white privilege prevails and how it benefits me in so many unintended ways. There were so many times as I tried to sort through my feelings that always circled back to white privilege. 

I’ve known for years and years that it exists and regardless of how I feel about it… I have it.

Like so many, I’ve been debating on what I can do to help. And a lot of my feelings and reflections of white privilege has had me wondering what meaningful ways I can make an impact. I’m well aware that there’s not any one thing I can do, but knowing that several small steps can add up over time.  

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

Continue to share. Whether it be educational resources, point of views or stories of Black women and people, SHARE, SPREAD, SHOUT what they have to say. It’s important and needs to be heard.

Donate. Donate to Black Lives Matter and set up a recurring gift- this fight is ongoing and I want to continue to support the mission for as long as possible. Even more “close to home” helping with tuition for a local Black midwife, Joi @birthyourjoi (insta) who I know will help and empower so many mothers bringing healthy babies into this world.

Unlearn/relearn. There are so many things that are ingrained in us from society that have become subconscious acts/thoughts/ways that aren’t right. I’m always of the mindset of “never stop learning” and this is no different. Unlearning some of my norms and habits, understanding the meaning behind them and why they should be forgotten is key now and always.

Partnerships. Staying #muted last week was a great opportunity to not only share the voices of my Black friends, colleagues and leaders, but to branch out of my immediate social media “bubble” and follow and learn from new voices and POV, both in my community and otherwise. As an entrepreneur and newer business, I am always eager to meet like-minded people, but even more so now. It’s so important to me to move forward in my business by networking and partnering with POC and I’m excited to leverage social media to find more Black women in my community to work with.

Take ownership. One thing I know for sure is that I’m not perfect. I never have been and never will be. Like everyone, I’ve made mistakes. I’ve used words and phrases that I clearly see now were incorrect and ignorant … singing and rapping along to songs on the radio without missing a word and not thinking twice about it. I take ownership for everything I’ve done in the past that hasn’t pushed us forward towards change. I also take ownership for anything I may do or say that is incorrect in the future. Sometimes, you make mistakes in the process of learning, and I’m sure I won’t always say the right thing, but I do know that it will always have good intentions behind it. And if I learn it’s wrong, I will make the change. Because that’s what it’s all about. Doing the work, being accountable and making the change.

Converse. Have the conversations. As hard as they may be at times, we HAVE to keep talking about the racism that is woven SO deeply around us. Silence is no longer an option.

Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, change is coming. And I, for one, am eager to be on the right side of history, fighting with my Black brothers and sisters.

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© 2020 Erin Brier

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