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    I’m a Black Woman and I Don’t Know How to Celebrate My Accomplishments

    “You are your ancestors’ wildest dreams, you are the epitome of what Martin Luther King Jr. marched for,” said my friend Steven. This statement took me back for a second. I knew what he was implying with his statement, I just didn’t know how to feel about it. During that moment, I started to think about how this a common feeling I had since I graduated high school. Hearing these words brought back a lot of feelings that have plagued my mind since I started my undergraduate studies. Were my accomplishments really that powerful that I made my ancestors proud? Was I really “making my ancestors proud”? Which is a popular saying in the Black community. I always had some of my family and friends hype me up about the opportunities that I have been fortunate to have. But honestly, I always felt like I still wasn’t good enough. It sometimes felt like I was living a double life. I was successful, put-together, and happy on the outside, but on the inside I was crippled with self-doubt, anxiety, and self-pity for some of the decisions I made and how my life turned out. 
    Feeling like I “made it” gave me sorrow about Black people who would never know the feeling because they had the opportunity to live to see their full potential. Feeling like I “made it” gave me doubt about what my future held since I accomplished a lot in my early 20s. The feeling of accomplishing a goal was never an easy feeling for me. I would feel immense gratitude for how far I came, and then a rush of sadness came over me because it was a voice in my head telling me I just got lucky and one day it would not always be that way. A feeling of self-doubt would tell me that I was not worthy of the dreams I had in my head. Anxiety told me that I was only achieving my dreams because I was the token Black girl and I made white people feel comfortable. Not knowing how to celebrate my accomplishments started when I was in elementary school. 

    Were my accomplishments really that powerful that I made my ancestors proud? Was I really “making my ancestors proud”

    In elementary school, I loved reading, and my mother did too, so we would go to the library every weekend to find a good book to dive into. Reading became my safe haven from the world and let me explore life beyond the subsidized housing I lived in. I was able to put myself in someone else’s shoes for a short period of time. I was able to learn about things that “project kids” never had the chance to learn or experience. Since I loved reading, this helped me excel in school and get ahead of many of my peers. I was always praised by my parents for my good grades and excelling in different subjects in school. 

    It sometimes felt like I was living a double life. I was successful, put-together, and happy on the outside, but on the inside I was crippled with self-doubt, anxiety, and self-pity for some of the decisions I made and how my life turned out. 

    The praise and congratulations went on into high school and college. I was always made to feel like I was on top of the world. In retrospect, I have learned that this was a contributing factor to why I felt like I couldn’t slow down and appreciate my wins. I always felt like I had to achieve more, go harder, and not settle too much on what I had accomplished or the opportunities I had opened up doors for me. I always had to think 10 steps ahead, and never get too comfortable with what I had. This is a problem that not only I deal with, but the reality of what people of color, especially Black people, have to deal with. When you are a Black person—a Black woman—society and systematic oppression make you feel like you no one cares about what you accomplished and that you need to always stay on your toes. If we celebrate, there is always something in the back of our heads telling us that it could be taken away or we don’t deserve the fruit we bear because we are not worthy of hitting that “glass ceiling” (whatever that means) that we see so many non-people of color hit. 

    I always felt like I had to achieve more, go harder, and not settle too much on what I had accomplished or the opportunities I had opened up doors for me. I always had to think 10 steps ahead and never get too comfortable with what I had.

    I recently spoke to a friend of mine who expressed on social media that she always felt like she wasn’t doing a good enough job at work and the pressure she always felt at work, regardless of what her superiors told her. She said that the hardest part about being a Black woman in corporate America/non-profit is, “We aren’t afforded bad days, passion, frustration, or disappointment. Every negative emotion we may have is an attitude of aggression. We aren’t even allowed to be introverted or shy because then we are mean, stand-offish, or unapproachable. This is especially problematic in the non-profit sector because of the emphasis put on the donor opinions and experiences.”
    When Black women constantly feel this way at work, it often seeps into our personal lives. We often think our accomplishments or wins won’t matter when the dust settles because it’s always “what’s next.” We never get extended the grace to reel in what we accomplished and the life we have built for ourself. If we get the job, the house, the man, or the promotion, we always get the rebuttal of “When are you going to get a man?” or “What do you even do?” I asked my same friend, “Would you say you know how to celebrate your accomplishments? And she expressed to me it is difficult for her to acknowledge them. “Honestly it is difficult. A lot of times I look at things like ‘this is what I was supposed to do.’ This is no different than what Black women also feel in their personal lives. Society looks at us as being the “strong” one because of what they have made us endure and what we keep allowing. But when you feel like you are already a minority, you already know you have to work 20 times harder than anyone else, Black and white people included, we often feel like being strong and enduring what is thrown at us is what we are designed to do. 

    When you are a Black person—a Black woman—society and systematic oppression make you feel like you no one cares about what you accomplished and that you need to always stay on your toes. If we celebrate, there is always something in the back of our heads telling us that it could be taken away or we don’t deserve the fruit we bear because we are not worthy of hitting that “glass ceiling” (whatever that means) that we see so many non-people of color hit. 

    In most of my jobs, relationships, and friendships, I always felt like I had to know how to take pain and suffering as the first step in order to reap the rewards. As I sit back and think of what I have accomplished and how I accomplished it, it all was derived from pain. I wanted to excel in college because I know most people like me don’t get the opportunity. Pain. I moved to New York to have better opportunities and felt ostracized and dealt with systematic racism. Pain. I found one of my passions for working in Diversity and Inclusion, but if I had not attended a predominantly white graduate school and faced racism and prejudice for the majority of my days, I wouldn’t be where I am today. But it was all derived from pain and suffering that America chooses as a weapon to make Black women feel inadequate for what they want to accomplish.

    We never get extended the grace to reel in what we accomplished and the life we have built for ourself. If we get the job, the house, the man or the promotion we always get the rebuttal of “When are you going to get a man?” or “What do you even do?”

    Sometimes it’s hard to decipher whether something is right for me if I didn’t have to suffer first to get it. This is an ongoing struggle for not just Black women, but also Black people. We always work 20 times harder, we are always thinking about our next goal, what we are going to do next and if suffering or obstacles are not attached to them—it feels too good to be true. 
    Black women don’t get the same grace from a society that we give everyone else. It is a never-ending cycle that we have to go through in order for people to see our worth. Just because you think we are strong, doesn’t mean we have to always showcase that trait every day. 

    Black women don’t get the same grace from a society that we give everyone else.

    There is no right solution to make Black women feel like they don’t have to wear the weight of the world on their shoulders. It is a learned habit that America and the people who have made up their own idea of what a Black woman is before getting to learn them. It will take years and decades to untwine the idea of what a Black woman is or is not. 
    Black women deserve the same dignity, rights, protection, and grace that is given out so freely to everyone but them. In order for Black women to get the chance to heal, feel, celebrate, and accomplish their desires, society has to change the narrative that has kept Black women in a box.  More

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    How I’m Learning to Live a More Authentic Life

    I love a romantic comedy. The predictability of the storyline and the inevitable happy ending sucks me in every time. I watch them on rainy days, I watch them on days when I have cramps, and I watch them on days when I’m feeling down. I’ve seen hundreds of romantic comedies, yet I’ve never seen one that is a true reflection of my authentic life. There’s no romantic story that features a Black bohemian femme who goes to college three times to figure out that the career she’s best suited for doesn’t actually need a degree at all. They have not written my story because my life doesn’t fit the typical mold. I’m a 37-year-old world-traveling free-spirit, living my most authentic life. My life wasn’t always this way, but today I can say that I love my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

    There’s no romantic story that features a Black bohemian femme who goes to college three times to figure out that the career she’s best suited for doesn’t actually need a degree at all.

    From a young age, I realized that I wasn’t your typical child. My interests were different from my friends, the way I wanted to dress was different from my sisters, and my Christmas lists for Santa were filled with non-traditional items. I remember one year I asked for a hot stone massager and essential oils—and this was the ‘90s, so the term “self-care” as we know it now wasn’t even invented yet.
    I struggled through high school because everyone was so excited to go to college. My friends wanted to be nurses and teachers and seemed like they had it all figured out at the age of 18. I didn’t want to go to college. I asked my mom if I could rent a van and travel the country (#vanlife) when I graduated instead of going to college, and she turned me down faster than the speed of light. 
    I was frustrated because I wasn’t given options to explore what I wanted and what was important to me. It didn’t’ feel like college was the right next step, and I wanted time to explore what felt right for my journey. I grew up in a small town, and the lifestyle that was available to me in my hometown was not the lifestyle that I wanted for myself. I had no idea how to mentally and physically get out, yet I was screaming on the inside for somebody to let me go. I was craving freedom and wanted permission to explore all the options that were available to me.
    Instead, I was pushed into following the same steps that everyone else was following, but those choices never made sense to me. I went to college and followed the rules, and if I look back on it now, college was a giant waste of time. Yes, I had fun, but that fun cost me $30,000 in student loans. 

    I was pushed into following the same steps that everyone else was following, but those choices never made sense to me.

    After I graduated from college, I was still trying to figure out how to lead a “normal” life. I got a 9-5 job, a one-bedroom apartment, and moved to Philadelphia to try my hand at adulting. I remember going shopping to get professional clothes (of which I had none). Everyone was so excited as I came out of the dressing room in different versions of dress pants, blouses, and black flats. I’ve never felt like crawling out of my skin more than I did on that day. 
    I believe that moving to Philadelphia (even though corporate life wasn’t for me) was the turning point in my life. Living in a big city on my own gave me the adult playground I craved for in highschool. In Philly,  I was able to encounter different cultures, lifestyles, foods, and careers that I wouldn’t have had access to in my hometown. I remember the first time I tasted Indian food. Wow! I fell instantly in love. The flavors and spices that I experienced that night were completely new to me. I was never exposed to Indian food growing and my mind was blown. If a simple dining experience could open up my mind in this way, I was excited to see what other new experiences were ahead of me. 
    It felt as if I was getting a second education, and this knowledge proved to be more beneficial to me than my geometry class ever was. Because I was able to interact with so many different people I felt confident to show who I truly was. Seeing different lifestyles exist and thrive allowed me to take that first steps to uncover my truth. I went from an unfulfilled, suit-wearing, meat-eating 22-year-old to a happy, thriving, afro-wearing, free-spirit 37-year-old! That transition didn’t happen overnight.  I knew what it felt like to live someone else’s life and I wasn’t willing to do it anymore, so I slowly began making changes that honored who I was. I wanted to celebrate what I loved about myself and stop hiding who I was from the rest of the world. It was time for me to step out as my full self, and I was ready to take that journey. 

    Seeing different lifestyles exist and thrive allowed me to take that first steps to uncover my truth.

    I spent 20+ years being someone I thought I was “supposed to be.” It wasn’t until I started paying attention and honoring who I truly was and what I needed that I began to lead my most authentic life.

    If you want to start living your life on your own terms, ask yourself these three questions:

    What do I love about myself?
    This was not a question that was posed to me growing up, so it wasn’t something I focused on until I was in my 20s. When you ask, “What do I love about myself?” you begin to unlock clues and truths that are meant to be seen. I discovered that I loved my creativity and that creativity was meant to be celebrated. As a child, I was always creating. I sang, danced, cooked, and came up with “science experiments” out of thin air. My thoughts bounce around and don’t necessarily follow a linear pattern. I think my creative mind frustrated the adults in my life, so I was never pushed to use it. Realizing that my creative mind pushed me to brainstorm and innovate allowed me to strengthen this muscle and has become one of my most valuable assets.
    Answer honestly. Let whatever answers come up to be the start of something new. Once you have your list, see if you can use that information to make some small changes. Did you realize that you love your funky fashion sense? Head out to the thrift stores and buy a few favorite items. Not everything on your list will change your life dramatically, but starting small can begin to build the confidence to continue living life on your own terms. Remember, the things you love about yourself may just be your most valuable asset too!

    What and how am I hiding?
    It was easier for me to hide in corporate work clothes than walk into a room rocking a tie-dyed kaftan with a full afro. Hiding who I was and what was important to me was a coping mechanism I created. In the ‘90s where I grew up, the kaftan version of me would have been too much for people to handle. It felt safer to hide that piece of me from the rest of the world instead of walking in my full truth. In hindsight, if I would have continued to stay hidden, I would have never allowed my creativity to help me build the successful business that I have today. That business has allowed me to help so many people, and I never would have gotten there if I continued to hide who I was. 

    It was easier for me to hide in corporate work clothes than walk into a room rocking a tie-dyed kaftan with a full afro.

    Are you hiding? Why? When you hide, who you are you limit yourself from experiencing your full life? You were created in your unique way, and the world needs to see you fully. Stop hiding and walk in your truth one step at a time. 
    In 2005, I decided that I wanted to do the big chop and begin to wear my hair completely natural. I gathered all of my courage and headed to the only Black salon in Philadelphia doing natural hair at the time and cut my shoulder-length hair down to one inch. When I walked out of that salon, it was undeniable that I looked fly. From that point on, I could no longer hide. 
    Discovering how and why you are hiding could require you to make some uncomfortable decisions. There is a reason why you have been hiding, and walking out as your full self may take some time. Be patient with yourself and take it slowly. Ask yourself, “Where do I feel safe as the real me?” Maybe spend some time there and see how it feels. It may just be five minutes, and that’s OK. Know that every day won’t feel like a party, but the work you are doing is important and necessary. 

    Where can I begin to walk in my truth?
    Living an authentic life takes time. It’s unlikely that you will be able to go from 0-100 in 24 hours (although if you do, I will be your biggest cheerleader), so find a place to start. The first unveiling of my truth came when I went cold turkey and became a vegetarian. I was no longer at home having to eat whatever was cooked for dinner. I could make my own choices, and vegetarianism made sense for me. Could I have quit my job, packed my car, cut my hair, and traveled the world? No. That wasn’t an option for me, so I started small. 
    You don’t have to make giant life-altering decisions to live your truth. Why not explore your love of writing by journaling for five minutes each day? There is much satisfaction from small changes that ultimately honor the real you. Take your time and discover the real you at your own pace; even one thing a week can lead to big changes! Every step forward unveils something new. Have fun and enjoy the process. 
    Living my most authentic life is non-negotiable. Our individuality is what makes us special, and we need to honor that uniqueness time and time again. Standing in your truth might be scary, but it’s what we are called here to do. Explore the freedom in being unapologetically you 365 days a year. Celebrate what you love about yourself, step into the light, and one step at a time, you will get closer and closer to living your most authentic life. More

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    6 Ways to Be an Advocate for Women of Color in the Workplace

    The workplace can present tricky situations and conversations to navigate for anyone. As we work as a nation towards actual change, it’s important to understand the places and ways where white people can make a difference and implement change, not just internally, but also on an organizational level at work. Being a leader, amplifying the voices of BIPOC colleagues, and advocating for BIPOC in the workplace are just some of the responsibilities of being a white ally. Your BIPOC coworkers shouldn’t feel as though they’re on their own. We connected with Dominique Fluker, Senior Contributor at ForbesWomen, to find out more about some of the most effective ways to be an advocate for your BIPOC coworkers—and why it’s so essential.

    1. Embrace discomfort
    Being an ally is going to come with feelings of discomfort. The conversations have the potential to be anxiety-provoking, like any road less traveled would be. Further, there could be an underlying guilt or shame behind the feeling of wishing you had done more sooner. The term ‘growing pains’ wasn’t coined without reason—with change of any kind comes uncomfortable situations, and embracing that idea will be a part of creating change. Acknowledge that in being an advocate for BIPOC in the workplace, you’re probably going to be faced with conversations or scenarios that you haven’t yet faced, and just because their newness doesn’t provide the same comfort as a routine scenario would, doesn’t mean they aren’t worthwhile. Discomfort and advocacy in the workplace are part of the necessary evolution we all need to have an active hand in creating. 

    Source: Bonnin Studio | Stocksy

    2. Amplify Voices
    Amplifying the voices of BIPOC in the workplace means more than posting infographics on social media. While that is a good first step, we asked Fluker the best ways to advocate. “Some powerful ways women can advocate effectively for WOC is to praise their work product, defend, and elevate them to the roles of senior leadership. Too often, you find Black women diminished and silenced within the workplace. Given the times that we’re living in, I encourage women to actively and not passively advocate for WOC and Black women in the workplace. We’re more than capable of making the tough leadership decisions and being visible on strategies and executing them.” Dominique highlighted key words: praising, defending, and elevating BIPOC in the workplace in an effort to make change. These verbs together all lead to amplifying the voices of BIPOC and give people a clear call to action in regards to what to do to be an advocate in the workplace. 

    Source: rawpixel

    3. Learn to Support in Multiple Ways
    We can all say that we support racial equality and that we want to have a hand in the change, but what does that really mean? Having the thought is a good start, but Dominique outlined clear ways to amplify BIPOC women in the workplace, and a lot of that amplification stems from trust. “Trust us to do our jobs well and support our creative ideas, without constantly second-guessing or doubting our abilities,” said Dominique. Trust is essential to teamwork and success in a workplace environment, and would build a solid foundation of support for your BIPOC colleagues.
    With a foundation solidified, other ways of support can come into play. “Elevate our voices, listen to our opinions, and encourage us to speak out more. Advocating publicly doesn’t JUST mean praising our work product and ideas, but it can also look like mentorship, sponsorship, and acceptance. Most Black women in corporate and in the workplace want to be promoted and paid accurately for our work. We’re now looking for sponsorship within the workplace; a sponsor is a senior-level staff member who’s invested in a protégé’s career success. We want senior leaders to be invested in us, just as much as we’re invested in producing quality and innovative work,” Dominique said. Perhaps in your workplace you’re in a position to shine a light on a BIPOC colleague’s work or success that’s going unnoticed by other senior leaders. By the same token, if you have that ability, you probably have the ability to make an effort to mentor a BIPOC colleague. 

    Source: Studio Firma | Stocksy

    4. Actively Educate
    Committing yourself to diversifying the media you consume, the influencers and accounts you follow, the articles and books you read, and the conversations you participate in revolving around white privilege and racial bias is essential to creating change. As an ally, take the responsibility to educate yourself, and don’t rely on BIPOC to educate you. The more you learn and progress, the more you can educate and help other white people to progress, and incite them to do the same.

    5. Be Unafraid
    “Most times, non-WOC are afraid to come forth and protect Black women in the workplace,” Dominique said. “I encourage all white women to be vocal when they know someone is being treated wrongly in the workplace, and if the employee has too heavy of a workload.” Speaking up for what is right can be scary, but allies must be unafraid of speaking up for change. There is a fear associated with speaking up, but as you flex that advocate muscle more and more, it’ll get stronger and you’ll learn and get better at navigating conversations. The work is far from over, which makes evolution increasingly important.

    Source: rawpixel

    6. Create Resources
    At your job, take note of the development opportunities. From my experience in a workplace environment and in graduate school, typically there are professional development requirements or training requirements, but are there opportunities for you and your colleagues to progress in terms of diversity and equality? Does the place you work for offer trainings around implicit bias and fairness in the workplace? If the answer is no, this is an opportunity for you to speak up about putting some of those trainings, discussions, or forums in place, and in turn, do your part of educating more people and spreading more awareness.
    At the end of the day, it comes down to the actual doing. Fluker said it well: “Don’t be silent. Silence is compliance. To be a true advocate and ally, try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and think of active and helpful solutions for WOC that won’t always serve you personally. It’s not beneficial to pry and be overly involved in their personal lives or make assumptions about their household and career trajectory. You don’t own Black women. They are your colleagues.” Our peers deserve our acknowledgment, advocacy and respect in the workplace, and we must all take on the responsibility to help push the movement of equality forward. For most people, an office or work environment is where a large chunk of their time is spent, and it should be a place where everyone gets a fair shake. We must do our part, as advocates for BIPOC in the workplace, to make sure that happens.   More

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    7 Ways to Practice Self-Care During Tough Times, According to Experts

    #Selfcare is trending on social media, and yet, putting that trend into practice is not as easy as posting a picture on Instagram. Our health can easily become last priority when greater things feel more urgent. It might even feel selfish to do a face mask and turn off the news when the world is changing and our communities need us. In fact, Rachel Ricketts, an international thought leader, speaker, healer, and author, uses a totally different term. She said, “I prefer to refer to soul-care, which is the act of caring for ourselves in a soulful, nourishing, healing way, so that we can best show up for the collective. It is an act of communal care, which is the opposite of selfish.” In other words, forget about bubble baths and candles (although those things are still enjoyable!). Really caring for yourself means recharging your energy and prioritizing mental health for not only yourself, but for the betterment of the community.
    Ricketts explained, “The difference is most notably in the intention: am I partaking in an act or behavior solely to serve myself, or am I doing so to serve the community (which of course includes, but is not simply about, you)? Soul-care focuses on those most oppressed and how we can best heal our own hearts, and get to work creating change to dismantle the systems of oppression causing harm.” Whether you call it soul-care or self-care, think of it the same way: prioritize taking care of yourself so that you’re able to fully take care of others. 

    Why is caring for ourselves so important when overcoming social injustice?
    “Unless and until we have faced our own inner shadows, wounded inner child, and race-based traumas, we cannot create effective or sustainable collective change that prioritizes those most oppressed (and when we try to do so, we wind up causing more, not less, harm),” Ricketts said. “Racial justice work is healing work, and the healing work starts with you and it starts within. It is from this space that we create and cultivate critical collective change.”
    Jasmine Marie, founder of black girls breathing who just launched a campaign to make virtual breathwork sessions free for Black womxn, agreed. “I think even for those of us who’ve been immersed in this work beyond just this year, you can feel the shift,” she said. “It’s impossible to keep doing this work without taking care of yourself. I’ve had to relearn what my body, mind, and spirit needs during this time, versus what I needed before. There’s lots of unlearning and learning, so self-care is a must.”
    You know the old saying that you can’t pour from an empty cup, so why do we continue to try? Aside from sharing resources, educating yourself, and doing what you can to make changes in your community (go vote!), prioritizing mental health and protecting your energy is essential for making lasting changes in the world. Here are seven ways we can all care for ourselves during a time when it may feel selfish to do so.

    7 ways to practice self-care right now:

    1. Set boundaries
    On a daily basis, Ricketts recommended to, “Acknowledge your privilege, set boundaries, and learn to say no.” Setting boundaries is essential to a healthy life, but it’s a skill that many of us never learn. Sticking to specific limits can help boost self-esteem, force you to routinely check in with your needs, and serve as a reminder to put yourself first. Marie agrees that setting boundaries is crucial. “Create boundaries with how much news you allow into your world on the daily,” she recommended. “Log off. Go on social media breaks. Tune inward and ask yourself what you need.”
    Since emotional boundaries are not as obvious as physical limits like road signs or fences (though wouldn’t that be nice?), they can be hard to enforce. Start by considering what you can tolerate, and then what feels draining or overwhelming in order to set limits. Acting on boundaries might look like turning off the news and taking a social media break two hours before bedtime, or it might look like saying no when a family member asks you for a favor that you know will make too stressed. It also looks like taking responsibility for your own emotions, but not taking responsibility for the emotions of other people. No matter what boundaries look like to you, you’ll be conserving emotional energy for much more important things. 

    2. Move 
    Working out for calorie burn is so last year (or like, last decade?). Instead, work out for mental health, and move for the sake of caring for yourself. Exercise, in general, can boost your mental health and help ease stress, so fit in some kind of movement every day that you look forward to, whether it’s a dancing around your living room or going on a hike. For self-care bonus points, try calming activities that focus on relaxing the mind and slowing the breath, like restorative yoga. Ricketts loves yoga with Dionne Elizabeth and Marie counts long walks as one of her go-to self-care practices. 

    3. Meditate
    There’s a reason that meditation is one of the most talked-about practices in the wellness world—this sh*t is powerful. Meditation is effective for self-care because it takes our focus off of the world around us, and puts it back on ourselves. Taking a breath (literally) re-energizes you so you can bring your best self to everything you do, whether it’s tackling your work day, chasing after kids, or fighting social injustice. Ricketts recommends breathwork sessions with Maryam Ajayi, or you can check out black girl breathing for virtual classes. And if sitting still isn’t your thing? Try one of these ways to meditate that involve movement, instead. 

    4. Rest (no, not just sleeping)
    “Burnout is an epidemic for everyone, but no one more than Black and Indigenous women and femmes (especially queer and trans women and femmes). Learning how to rest is imperative for our mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being,” Ricketts said. “Rest is more than sleep. Rest includes time offline, a break from feeling like we need to do it all or be helpful, turning phones off, prioritizing our peace, sitting in silence, spending time with people who nourish us (and avoiding those who do not), and doing absolutely nothing.”
    Think of yourself like the battery pack on an iPhone. If you just recharge for only small spurts at a time, your battery will always stay in red. In order to get all the way to full-charge, you must regularly turn the iPhone off and give it some time plugged in. Getting six hours of sleep and watching TV while scrolling through Instagram for 30 minutes a day does not count as restoration. Turn off technology, do something enjoyable and creative (like reading or painting), invite your best friend over, and give yourself permission to do less. 

    5. Check in with yourself frequently 
    Taking good care of yourself doesn’t have to mean long digital detoxes, consistent yoga flows, or never saying “yes” when you mean “no” (even though those are all good goals). Self-care can sometimes be as simple as feeling intuitive to your individual needs, and checking in with what you really want.
    We often look for outside validation for just about anything (does anyone else need to know what everyone is ordering before making a decision on which entree they want?). Instead, ask yourself what do I really want, and how do I really feel, so often that it becomes habit. Marie recommended, “Check in with how you feel. Validate internally before seeking external advice on your specific and particular experience. This practice is life-changing and will help you show up in all areas of your life.”

    6. Ask for help
    Remember that self-care is not just a buzzword, it’s health. “Therapy” should not be a dirty word, and we should not need to wait until severe symptoms or intense crisis to ask for help. Instead, think of therapy as an investment in your wellbeing. To find a therapist that’s right for you, click here, or check out online mental health resources like Therapy for Black Girls and Sista Afya.
    Beyond professional help, also make sure to ask your boss, coworkers, family members, and friends for help. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to depend on and connect with other people. Marie includes seeking help from other practitioners, having good conversations with friends, and allowing her tribe to support her, as some of her go-to self-care practices she does on a regular basis. 

    7. Seek out resources in a community setting
    If you haven’t gotten the gist already, self-care is not just about yourself; feeling a part of a larger community is crucial for optimal self-care. Even though the global pandemic might make it more difficult to feel community in the sense we’re used to (*sigh* does anyone else surprisingly miss crowds?), online resources are stronger than ever. Seek out resources that not only help you heal and take care of yourself, but make you feel like you’re not alone. 
    For some examples, check out Rickett’s Racial Justice Resources and her Spiritual Activism webinars and workshops, which she said are “rooted in the inner, healing work required for external, collective change.” To hear from more Women of Color on their favorite acts of self-care you can try for yourself, click here. 

    How do you care for yourself that has made the most difference? More

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    The Importance of Mental Health Awareness in the Black Community

    When I was a child, my mom would drop me off at my grandma’s house when she went to work. The entire time she was gone, I would sit at the window and wait, watching the road for headlights signaling her return. Later, family members would tell stories about how easy I was to babysit because I would only sit in the window and cry. They made jokes for years about how sensitive I was, how spoiled and attached. The truth is, I was developing anxiety.While I appeared to just be spoiled or a “mama’s girl,” I was actually sitting there in that window because every time my mom was late coming home, I was convinced she had been arrested or had died. And it was more than just a fleeting thought or worry. I could envision it clearly in my head, and it would replay over and over until she finally returned. I didn’t know it then, but I was experiencing several adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that were taking hold of my mental well-being and causing these types of thoughts and fears. Unfortunately, like many other Black people and people of color, I wouldn’t obtain the language to describe nor the knowledge to understand this for a very long time.
    There are several unique difficulties that underrepresented groups have to contend with relating to mental illness. The first step to addressing these struggles is reducing the stigma around mental illness in these communities; then, advocating for greater support and inclusion. Let’s begin with key reasons why it’s critical for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) to address mental health.
    1. Adverse childhood experiences
    Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, are potentially traumatic experiences and events that can have lasting effects on health and well-being in childhood and/or later in life. ACEs can include exposure in the home to factors such as parental separation/divorce, substance abuse, physical/emotional neglect, mental illness and suicide, incarceration, violence, and psychological, physical, and sexual abuse; but can also include environmental factors such as exposure to violence outside of the home, living in unsafe neighborhoods, homelessness, bullying, discrimination, and experience of income insecurity.
    In a 2018 study of ACEs by state, race, and ethnicity, it was found that nearly half of all children nationally and in most states have experienced at least one ACE. However, Black and Hispanic children and youth in almost all regions of the United States are more likely to experience ACEs than their white and Asian peers. These racial disparities reflect discriminatory policies and biases that systematically disadvantage black and Hispanic children, specifically, leaving them more vulnerable to traumatic experiences in childhood. Then, as they move into adulthood, ACEs are linked to chronic health problems, poverty, depression, suicide, and substance abuse. With 61 percent of Black non-Hispanic children and 51 percent of Hispanic children have experienced at least one ACE, it is imperative that the likely subsequent mental health impact is met with social/community support and treatment.
    2. Racism and collective trauma
    Racism itself is its own adverse childhood experience, disproportionately affecting BIPOC. Racism leads to feelings of inferiority, guilt, self-hatred, and helplessness; additionally, racism can be the cause of mental health issues such as anxiety (and related symptoms), depression, psychological distress, and intergenerational racial trauma. Racial trauma describes the physical and emotional response that BIPOC have as a result of being exposed to racism. The emotional responses to racism include fear, confusion, and self-blame; there are also physical symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, and increased heart rate and blood pressure. Black folks are regularly experiencing collective, intergenerational trauma due to a legacy of hate and discrimination that includes slavery, police brutality, and the lynching of Black bodies (both now and then).
    Oftentimes, when we (BIPOC) think about how racism has affected our lives, we are thinking about the racist encounters we have experienced, and how we felt in those moments. What we often forget to consider is how those racist encounters remain in our minds and our bodies, wreaking havoc in ways greater and more dangerous than the encounter alone likely did. Mental health awareness and treatment is imperative to the process of ridding our bodies of the poison and toxicity of racism.
    3. Self-perception
    Many factors lead to Black people feeling as if they are “less than” others, including internalized racism and negative self-evaluations. If I had to guess, I would bet this began during slavery, when Black bodies were up for sale at humiliating rates based on perceived fitness, agreeableness, and ability to “break.” Unfortunately, this discounting of Black bodies did not end with slavery.
    Black people are consistently underpaid and/or undervalued in the workplace. And instead of getting better as wages improve in the economy, the wage gap between black and white workers has grown significantly since 2000. And it’s not just about wages; Black people experience disparities in wages, opportunities, and treatment. And when Black people call attention to these disparities, we are often accused of playing the victim or exaggerating or outright lying. It’s no wonder, then, that many Black people struggle with feelings of inadequacy, self-hate, and blame. Left untreated, these feelings can compound into psychological patterns/issues such as anxiety, imposter syndrome, and depression. 
    For BIPOC, addressing mental health is a necessary step to healing—but it’s not that easy. There are also many barriers in place that prevent Black people, specifically, from accessing mental health care.

    4. Stigma
    In the Black community, there is a serious stigma around mental health. Another memory I have from childhood is growing up with an aunt who everyone called crazy. Much later, I learned that she likely suffered from dissociative identity disorder. But those words were never used to describe her. Instead, I heard words such as paranoid, not right, and crazy den a betsy bug. Growing up Black, I learned pretty quickly the things we weren’t supposed to speak about. Right in front of my eyes, there was mental illness, alcoholism, addiction, violence, and substance abuse; yet I knew better than to mention any of it.
    5. Black cultural values
    Although there are many merits of the traditional Black church, mental health awareness is not one of them. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I grew up being taught that Jesus could heal any issue I had. If I said I was depressed, I was told to pray. If I was still depressed after praying, well, that was the devil’s doing. And anything that was the devil’s doing was not to be brought up in the presence of God. It was a confusing circle that caused me to never speak up about my depression, not even once it became serious. Black cultural values, while well-intentioned, often lead to these types of inconsistencies.
    6. Fear of seeking help
    I recently attended a writing workshop for writers of color. When our cohort completed an exercise on cultural values, we discovered that many of us shared one particular value: an insistence on keeping family issues private. BIPOC tend to value privacy, even at the expense of getting help. This means that an issue in the family stays in the family, at all costs. BIPOC value privacy for a multitude of reasons, including the fear of persecution. When speaking out about an issue at home could put your family at risk of separation, deportation, arrest, etc., you learn right away to keep your mouth shut. While this level of privacy is certainly warranted, it often leaves BIPOC struggling and with nowhere safe to turn.
    7. Lack of access to quality care
    According to Mental Health America, Black people have less access to mental health care, due to issues such as insurance coverage, lack of Black care providers, and discrimination in healthcare settings. Even when Black people manage to get past the stigma and actively seek help, we are often met with challenges and denial. For example, Black people are more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia and less likely to be diagnosed with mood disorders compared to white people experiencing the same symptoms. Even when Black people can access mental health care, we are often treated poorly and/or not taken seriously. This leads to mistrust of the medical system, which further deters Black people from seeking help.

    I am actively working to break down the stigma around mental health and mental illness; and I challenge my Black community to do the same.
    It is not just about placing blame on someone or something else for your issues (which is what I once thought); it is about liberation. Liberating ourselves from our past traumas and our collective traumas. Demanding effective care and access. Fighting for our right to be whole. It was truly empowering when I obtained the language to describe the issues I’d been battling all my life. Once I learned about anxiety, I began to understand myself in a new way. I was able to understand and piece together how my childhood factored into my adult struggles. I was able to identify how slavery continues to impact me now, a Black woman born after its abolishment. And I was able to realize how racism, oppression, trauma, and fear factor into my everyday experience as a Black woman in America.
    In my journey towards liberation, I have found many things that work well for me, and others that don’t. For my anxiety, I utilize a combination of therapy, meditation, mindfulness, and physical movement/awareness. I’ve also found several mental health resources specifically catered to Black people, many of which have been compiled into this Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Mental Health Resource Guide. My best (non-expert) advice: find what works for you and do it.
    Having a mental illness does not make us weak. It makes us human.
    Acknowledging our struggles does not make us weak. It makes us strong.
    It is human to struggle. It is strong to keep fighting.
    It is human to fear. It is strong to face our fears.
    Human to question.
    Strong to speak up for ourselves.
    Human to hurt.
    Strong to survive.  More

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    The Emotional Labor of Being the Only Black Person on Your Team

    What would it feel like to walk into a room and be the only one who looked like you? How comfortable would you feel to be asked your opinion on a marketing ad that lacks diversity and inclusion if you were the only person of color being asked? What would you do if you were frequently asked to participate in conversations where the expectation is that your opinion speaks for all voices from your community? How would it feel to not be able to talk about specific shows, favorite foods, family traditions that are important to your culture because no one around you can relate from personal experience?Welcome to the life of being the only Black person on your team at work.
    Up until about a year ago, I have been the only Black person on my team in most of the professional jobs I have held. These jobs have varied in industries from being a server at several restaurants while in college, pharmaceutical marketing, to athleisure retail store manager, digital marketing coordinator at a small agency, and many more. Each time I started my job, I always had a pit in my stomach because being the only Black person on a team involves a lot of emotional labor that no one really signs up for.
    Growing up, my three older sisters and I were always taught to do our best, as most children were. The difference is, that when my parents said that, they meant: do your best and make sure it’s better than your white peers. For Black people, we have to put in 110 percent to get half the amount of opportunities, rewards, congratulations, or promotions than our white counterparts. For Black people, from the moment you’re in school all the way until you retire, there is very little room for error. The amount of pressure we feel to do everything perfectly so that we look half as good as our white peers to leadership is overwhelming.

    What is it like being Black in the workplace?
    We are proud to be in the professional roles that we have, we are excited about the work that’s in front of us, and we are determined to put our best foot forward and represent our departments and companies well. Unfortunately, there is more to our workday than projects and presentations—when you’re the only Black person on your team (or one of few), your work starts the moment you wake up. 

    When Black people wake up to go to work, we must think about:
    What we’ll wear—because many of us are born with curves, we’ve been shamed for wearing clothing that shows off those curves, whether it’s is a pair of jeans, a maxi dress, or jogger pants.
    How we’ll style our hair—because for years (and even still now), we have been judged for wearing our natural hair and being told it’s unprofessional, “different,” fun, or exotic.
    What makeup we’ll choose—because bold lip colors or eye shadows can look  “unprofessional” on darker skin, and we feel pressure to tone it down.
    How we’ll speak—because we have been shamed for our loud and boisterous laughs, our directness when correcting or addressing leadership, or being told we’re aggressive when what we’re actually doing is just speaking the truth.
    What we’ll eat or bring for lunch—because the looks you’ll get for heating up your mom’s collard greens and chicken from her infamous Sunday family dinners can make us feel like we’re perpetuating a trite stereotype.
    We’re thinking about most of these things before we even leave the house that day. But these things need to be considered each and every day so that we can make sure we’re doing our part to be seen as close to equal as possible as our white counterparts. 

    Source: Retha Ferguson | Pexels

    Tokenism is rampant in workplace culture
    Right now, as Black people in our work environments, we are going through an incredibly difficult time. Many of our companies are choosing to stand for or against the Black Lives Matter movement and many of the executives are pulling us, Black people, into those conversations for our opinions. What white leadership fails to understand about doing this is that it is not our responsibility to teach white people how to do the right thing. If we have been left out of important conversations in the past, it is very telling to just now be added to conversations and to feel like our voices finally want to be heard.
    Many companies are also tasking Black people with leading organizational initiatives to make their company seem more “woke,” diverse, and inclusive. To be clear, many companies are actually moving in the right direction, taking the necessary steps, and appropriately asking Black people if they’d like to be involved or not. On the other hand, there have been countless stories of companies who have gotten these steps wrong and unfortunately, the Black people in those organizations continue to feel the pain and dismissiveness that comes with those actions (or inactions).
    At work, we are often feeling so much societal pressure and are on such high alert that by the end of our days, we are absolutely spent. All day we have had to codeswitch—a term used to describe what people of color do when they leave their cultural language, style, or demeanor at the door to better fit in with their white counterparts. It is stressful and sometimes anxiety-inducing, to be honest. 

    All day we have had to codeswitch, a term used to describe what people of color do when they leave their cultural language, style, or demeanor at the door to better fit in with their white counterparts.

    Recently, I have noticed many companies making a change to their observed holiday calendar by adding in Juneteenth moving forward. This is a great change and a positive step forward, but up until now many Black people have felt like holidays that supported Black people and Black culture have gone unnoticed. I have worked for companies that have not acknowledged Martin Luther King Jr. Day but believe Columbus Day is worthy of recognition. I have never seen a company honor Kwanzaa, and of course as previously mentioned, it wasn’t until June 2020 that any company I worked for acknowledged and recognized Juneteenth.
    This matters. It is important to recognize as an organization that people from all different walks of life, cultures, religious faiths, and backgrounds may work for you or with you. And while I do understand that a company may not be able to grant a day off for every single important holiday in a calendar year, sometimes an acknowledgment email can go a long way to say, “We know this exists, we believe it’s important, and we want our organization to know.”

    Source: @christinajonesphoto

    What can workplaces do to affect change?
    If you are a leader, reach out to your Black employees and employees of color. Ask to meet with them and to listen to not only how they can help your organization, but also to what they need personally and professionally from you and other leaders. Maybe they’d like a resource group where other people of color can meet, create events or fundraisers, or maybe be a mentor. Listen—truly listen—to them, and do your best to implement real change to improve their career path and working environment.
    Do your own research to become more informed on Black history and how it pertains to your company—think about what discriminations or biases might be occurring at work. Promote Black people just as much as you would promote a white worker and put Black people in places of power and pay them what they are worth. When you’re having conversations that impact the company, make sure Black people and people of color are present in the room and are listened to.
    If you are a coworker, speak up when you don’t see a Black person present in the room for important conversations. Voice your opinion when you notice marketing or brand presence lacks diversity and inclusion. Fill out those yearly surveys leadership often sends around and ask about their diversity and inclusion plans. Take the initiative to learn about racism and racial inequality in the workplace. Stay curious about Black history and Black culture and ask questions if you’re truly interested in being informed. 

    Being the only Black person on a team is an emotional role to play. It is great that many companies are waking up and recognizing that they need more diversity in their teams and within leadership. The next time you have a conversation with a Black employee know that there is often way more going on behind the scenes for them than what meets the eye. 

    This article originally ran on The Everymom. More

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    My Name is My Identity: Why Having a Ghanaian Name Means So Much to Me

    To commemorate the 400 years since enslaved African people departed from West African shores and landed in the United States, Ghana declared 2019 the “Year of Return.” Hundreds of thousands of people from the African diaspora around the world went to Ghana to rebuild a lost past and connect with their roots and ancestry. I heard countless stories of people adopting new Ghanaian names that connected them to their unknown history. There was an electrifying atmosphere and I felt proud to be a Ghanaian with a Ghanaian name. My name is one of royalty and purpose. I own my name; it’s who I am and I’m proud of it. My name is NaaDei, pronounced ‘Naa’ (like in ‘na’tural) and ‘Dei’ (as in ‘day’). These two ordinary syllables have perplexed many for my entire existence, causing much confusion, dismissal, disapproval, and negativity. When I was younger, I didn’t appreciate my name and, if I’m being honest, I wished I had an English, easy-to-pronounce name. Sadly, campaigns like My Name, My Identity didn’t exist in my childhood, so as a consequence, my sister and I literally changed what we called ourselves. That uncomfortable, constant, lengthy, arduous, and repetitious dialogue about my name was so draining that I ended up using an easier “nickname” until my late teens.

    That uncomfortable, constant, lengthy, arduous, and repetitious dialogue about my name was so draining that I ended up using an easier “nickname” until my late teens.

    Unsurprisingly, many people have a similar experience. Whether it’s too ethnic, too different, or too awkward, I know I’m not the only one who has shortened, changed, or abbreviated their name to make it “easier” for others. We change it because we don’t want to constantly reinforce, explain, and justify our identity. I say “we” because this happens far too often in society. Our society is diverse and multicultural, so differences should be expected and accepted. Yes, a name may sound different, but it still deserves enough respect to be pronounced correctly. 
    My most vivid memory in relation to my name is from my university graduation ceremony. The school asked us to write any “unusual” names phonetically on paper to make it easier for the announcer. My name phonetically is ‘Nah–Day Neek-Way’ and this is exactly what I wrote in bold black marker. As I walked up to the podium, I handed the paper over and smiled, as I was about to walk across the stage after four years of hard work. But to my dismay and embarrassment, I heard, and I quote, “Natalie Negwalski!” What? How? I was horrified! I had a million thoughts running through my mind in that millisecond but the loudest one was, “NO, NaaDei, you need to correct her!” And, so I did! Normally I’d let it slide, but not that day. With thousands of onlookers, I politely shook my head and index finger simultaneously, saying NO, please say it correctly! After three attempts, she got it, and I finally walked across the stage feeling an immense sense of pride. 

    Our society is diverse and multicultural, so differences should be expected and accepted. Yes, a name may sound different, but it still deserves enough respect to be pronounced correctly. 

    That was the first time in my life that I wouldn’t accept being called anything else but my exact name. And what made it more empowering was that several strangers of different races approached me after the ceremony either giving me high fives, hugs, or applauding what I had done, because they too knew how I felt. They shared my experience and were happy to see someone stand up unapologetically about something that was different.
    While my name appears to be different, it’s not. The Ga-Dangbe tribe’s cultural norms are based on the family surname, gender, and birth order. The prefix “Naa” signifies respect and royalty and “Dei” is given to all first-born females in my family’s clan. I’m a first-born girl that can be traced back to the Neequayes in Accra from centuries-long ago, and I’m connected to all of this because of my name. These types of rich customs and traditions exist all around the world. Millions of people have different types of names with deep-rooted meanings signifying a meaningful family, culture, or legacy. My identity is part of who I am and my name connects me to my ancestors, and that is not strange.

    Millions of people have different types of names with deep-rooted meanings signifying a meaningful family, culture, or legacy. My identity is part of who I am and my name connects me to my ancestors, and that is not strange.

    I acknowledge that saying new names can be uncomfortable, even for me. However, if you find yourself in that predicament of saying a new name: ask how to say the name correctly, clarify if needed, apologize if you mispronounce it, make an effort to learn from your mistakes, and lastly, don’t make excuses. The old excuse of “I’m sorry, I’m just horrible with names” doesn’t cut it anymore. People should no longer dismiss their identity in an attempt to appease others. Be respectful of the millions of people with “unusual” or “strange” names. It’s not only courteous to pronounce someone’s name correctly, but it shows an effort in creating an inclusive and diverse environment. 
    Your name is arguably the most important thing about you because it’s the one word people use to identify you. It’s part of who you are, and that will always matter! So, to all the women and girls like me with “ethnic,” “different,” or “unique” names I say to you, be proud of your name and where it comes from. And correct them, sis! Correct them—EVERY TIME! More

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    There Is a Staggering Lack of POC in Wellness—Here’s How We Can Change That

    The wellness industry has been historically homogenous and well, white. If you’re a white woman googling tips on self-care and mental health, you’ll find books, articles, and endless resources written for and by white women. On Instagram, a quick #wellness search propagates a feed dominated by images of white women caressing smoothie bowls, meditating, and doing yoga on the beach. I’ve spent the last five years working as an editor in the health and wellness space. Often, I’ve been the only Person of Color in team meetings and one of a handful at international conferences where thousands have attended. As a Filipina working in this space, I’ve rarely seen my fellow People of Color genuinely represented and acknowledged by this industry. 
    This all begs the question: where are all the People of Color? And more importantly, what’s a Person of Color to do when the lack of representation makes them feel unwelcomed, othered, and unseen in the wellness world? 
    For many People of Color with large social followings, a brand’s representation is a key factor when it comes to collaboration. “If I don’t see BIPOC [(Black, Indigenous, and People of Color)] represented, then I cannot believe in you. Our intentions just don’t align,” said Nikia Phoenix, the founder of Black Girl Beautiful.

    With the renewed Black Lives Matter movement bringing greater attention to the harsh systemic injustices faced by the Black community, many corporations are forced to examine how they are addressing diversity and actively fighting racism in the workplace. Among these corporations are a slew of wellness companies pledging to better represent People of Color. While this pledge of solidarity is no doubt a step in the right direction, the greatest and most significant change has come from Black entrepreneurs, speakers, and teachers in the wellness field creating spaces and self-care tools for their community. 
    According to Kelley Green, a certified yoga instructor and founder of Rise in Color, this is crucial. “As a community, in order to make the wellness experience more inclusive, BIPOC need to create and own more spaces for gatherings, whether virtually, in-person, including apps. More of us need to take ownership of the ability to lead and provide spaces that didn’t previously exist. This is how we create massive change in the lives of the communities we represent,” Green said. 

    A Needle in The Haystack
    “I realized finding Women of Color in the physical wellness space was like finding a needle in a haystack,” Green said. “When I was first introduced to yoga, I quickly noticed the majority of the studios where I live in NYC were filled with predominantly white women. The staff, the instructors, and the students were mostly of Caucasian descent, so I often found myself being either one of two People of Color in the class—or maybe even the only one.” Building spaces where Black voices feel safe and supported has far-reaching implications.
    Black women are at three to four times the risk of pregnancy-related deaths for white women; while both Black and white women develop breast cancer at about the same rate, breast cancer death rates are 40 percent higher among Black women. The adult Black community is more likely to have feelings of sadness and hopelessness than adult whites, yet there is a glaring absence of culturally responsive health care providers available to their community. The work done by Black wellness advocates brings awareness to these disparities by providing the tools and resources needed to take action. 

    Yasmine Cheyenne, a teacher, and speaker on mental health sought to create free mental health resources for BIPOC, as her experiences as a Black woman were not welcomed at the predominately white wellness groups and retreats she attended. “In BIPOC communities, I think we’re still unlearning a lot of the ways we haven’t been taking care of ourselves based on the way we’ve been taught to live in ‘survival mode’ all the time. Creating spaces where black people and POC feel comfortable healing, and where we can also have people who look like us and viscerally understand us is important for our community and our individual growth,” she said. As wellness brands proclaim their commitment to fighting racial injustice, how they move towards change will be telling. The task cannot fall on the Black community alone, and changing the wellness space to truly be more inclusive will itself be an effort in solidarity.
    Beyond bringing more diversity to their social feeds, who companies hire to leadership positions, how they plan to implement long term processes to fight both overt and covert racial discrimination, and how they persist in creating platforms for People of Color long after the public eye is gone will be the real test.

    To do your part in turning the tide, here’s what you can do:

    Educate Yourself
    Be aware of the ongoing public health crisis in the Black community rooted in centuries of systemic racism and prejudice. America is Failing Its Black Mothers is a good place to start. After that, read The Black Women’s Health Book: Speaking for Ourselves. When you’re done, don’t stop. Listen to black voices in the wellness space, have those tough conversations with those in your circle, and continue to educate yourself through the many resources available. If you’re looking for more reading material, here are 20 books on Black stories, white privilege, and how to be anti-racist.

    View this post on Instagram

    I recently shared why our collagen is great, but you might be wondering: “what makes Truvani Protein so special?” . Here’s what real customers have to say about it: . “Right out of the package, it smells good…Like cocoa. It doesn’t smell sour or bitter like so many I have tried in the past. It mixes easily in a blender bottle – No chunks or pieces left in the bottom edge of the bottle. And finally the taste… The texture is smooth, not gritty and the flavor is of cocoa with slight “protein powder” flavor underneath. I am thankful to have a trustworthy source of protein and one that I can confidently recommend to my friends and colleagues! Nice work!!” – Corinn Tiwari . “I received the chocolate protein powder sample and tried it this morning. It was delicious !! I’ve had the hardest time finding a protein powder that I like and that my body likes. I can’t have dairy and whey and I’m also so picky about taste, so I gave up looking for protein powder. You guys totally nailed it!! Thank you for creating this. I love the ingredients and that it’s good for me and tastes so yummy and that I feel good after!!” – Lisa Oidvin It’s so nice hearing this. I built a brand that will never compromise on ingredients… and our products taste great, too. We live in a world where big companies fill their products with garbage ingredients and at Truvani we just won’t stand for it. Some other protein powders load up with artificial sweeteners, sugar, or other unnecessary additives. But Truvani cuts all of that out. We use only 5 ingredients in Vanilla. 6 ingredients in chocolate. And it tastes amazing. Just look at our labels (Swipe Left!) Plus, it’s USDA organic. And, we also obtained 2 new certifications: CERTIFIED VEGAN and NON-GMO Project Verified. (You won’t see the logo on the bags just yet because we just got our certification, but those certifications will be displayed prominently and proudly as we change over our packaging). So, if you’re ready to try Truvani’s Plant-Based Protein, check out the link in my bio. I know you’re going to LOVE it!
    A post shared by Vani Hari | Food Babe (@thefoodbabe) on Jul 10, 2020 at 9:22am PDT

    Support Businesses That Embrace Inclusivity
    Whether it’s the yoga studio you attend or your favorite skincare brand, do a little research, and consider how that company’s messaging and images are helping to create a place of inclusivity. If you’re only seeing one type of woman being marketed to and for (or if their feed just recently includes People of Color), that’s problematic. And if you don’t see any People of Color as instructors or in executive leadership roles, it might be a sign to take your money somewhere else and support a business that is actively working to create diverse and inclusive spaces.

    View this post on Instagram

    We all need a little reset sometimes, however most of us don’t have the time or funds for a full fledge week long destination vacation, I know I sure don’t. In the name of accessibility..thank you blessed “staycation” for coming into save the day! One of my favorite ways to reset while not completely breaking the bank is a proper staycation. I have been using @hoteltonight loyally since 2015, and the magic of this app is that the longer you wait, the more you can save, making your last- minute craving for a staycation a REALITY! – – I always find that even one night away from cooking, writing recipes or curriculum for an event, etc REALLY helps reset my body, mind, and spirit. Pictured above you’ll find that I’ve ordered basically the entire room service menu lol Who says a staycation for there weekend can’t be just as healing as jumping on a plane? and like I honor of accessibility, this is also a really wonderful option for those on a particular budget, but with major staycation needs. – – Do you have a favorite hotel to staycation at in your city? If you’re in NYC, What is your favorite hotel to stay in? Why? I am always on the lookout for new places to have a restful weekend away, but not too far away 🙂 #myhoteltonight #ad
    A post shared by i am sophia (@sophia_roe) on Mar 10, 2020 at 9:47am PDT

    Hold Wellness Companies Accountable
    On that note, encourage those in positions of power to actively work towards addressing and dismantling racism in the wellness space. Message companies (studios, gyms, wellness brands, etc.) on social or email them asking how they are taking part in the current conversation on systemic racism—let them know that this impacts your decision to support them. Remember, as a customer, you hold purchasing power.

    Amplify Black Voices
    Support black leaders in the health and wellness space by listening to their podcasts, watching their videos, and following them on social. Repost, retweet, and reshare their work. Better yet, discuss their work in conversations with friends, family, and coworkers. Attend yoga classes, workshops, and retreats led by black instructors and teachers. If the wellness spaces you go to are mostly white, reach out to the owners to see how they can create more inclusive spaces where People of Color feel safe, welcomed, and acknowledged. More