I’m up very late tonight because my heart is heavy and my blood is on fire.
Something you might not know about me is that I used to be a teacher. I taught in kindergarten and preschool classrooms, and I have a Masters Degree in Urban Education and Social Justice.
In my first year as a Kindergarten student-teacher, I received a heart stopping lesson about Race in America.
In the first two weeks of the school year, a pattern showed up everyday during Art Hour… TEARS! Fighting! Hurt feelings!
Over what? Light colored crayons and paints.
Please note that all of my students were children of color.
These Black and Brown 4-5 year olds preferred lighter, whiter skin tones when painting pictures of their own faces, bodies, and family members.
When I asked these precious 5 year olds why they wanted the lighter colors their answers ranged from:
Because I want my mommy to be beautiful.
Because I want my daddy to look strong.
Because white is powerful.
Dark colors are ugly.
Brown is a dirty color.
Lighter is more pretty.
In the eyes of these loving and innocent children, WHITE was GOOD & DARK was BAD.
This is internalized racism. By the age of 5, these kids feared the color of their own skin.
I spent the rest of that school year bringing as many Black and Brown voices, songs, pictures, books, scientists, stories, movies, raps, posters, athletes, artists, and myths into the classroom so the kids could see the beauty in their bodies and see their own precious lives depicted in the world. We processed feelings, healed friendships, and built a community where trust was the bottom line.
And then… two years later… I left my social justice education to pursue my certifications in Life Coaching and Somatic Healing. I’ve been a coach and a facilitator ever since.
My White Privilege has afforded me the luxury to turn my back on Social Justice Education. That makes me a part of the problem.
I’m writing you today to let you know that I’ll be taking a break from your inbox as I do my inner and outer work to combat the racism that is killing Black and Brown lives in my country.
My work looks like:
Working with Anti-Oppression Coaches.
Donating money to programs that are working to dismantle systems of harm (NAACP Grassroots Law Project )
Amplifying Black and Brown Voices as I take a break from posting original content on Instagram.
Reading books about the trauma of racism and learning everything I can about White Supremacy and how to defeat it.
Having a zero tolerance policy for racist rhetoric.
Journaling out my internal bias using these prompts from Leesa Renee Hall.
The United States is going through a massive awakening right now. I refuse to look away. I’m diving in.
To my White Audience… Will you join me?
To the People of Color in my audience. I see you. I hear you. I’m so sorry for the pain I have caused with my apathy, my silence, and my privilege.
With love and humility,