Hey Soul Fam,
Ironically, I had planned to write about freedom this month. I wanted to celebrate our expanding liberties as society slowly begins to re-open after months of quarantine, enabling us to begin reconnecting, rebuilding, and reimagining. And then it happened. Again and again and again. More senseless and violent black deaths, including Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. The very idea of freedom felt privileged – because, for so many of us, it is.
I’m writing this edition of Soul F.U.E.L. with a broken heart, a beginner’s mind, and a relentless commitment to being part of the solution when it comes to fighting for (long overdue) racial justice in this country. I’m sad, angry, confused, grieving, and, frankly, ashamed that it took me this long to wake up to the depth of a pandemic that’s been around for over 400 years.
But, it’s not about my feelings.
It’s about how I’m choosing to show up – and speak up – for all of my sisters and brothers of color in pain. It’s about how I’m choosing to become an active ally or, better yet, a co-conspirator who is willing to take risks to be the change in our systems, policies, and businesses. It’s about how I’m choosing to understand and unravel my unconscious biases. It’s about how I’m choosing to do more and do better. As the wise Maya Angelou once said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
It is my unwavering belief that all souls are equal regardless of the color of the skin they inhabit. But that belief is not enough. That belief has lulled me into silence – and complicity. Now it’s time to take a stand – or a knee. So, my friends, I’m committing to:
Doing the hard work.
Having courageous conversations.
Leveraging my platform.
Voting with my dollars.
Engaging more diverse perspectives.
Ensuring this isn’t another “flash in the pan” moment in history.
And, yet, I’m still trying to figure out exactly what that looks like. One day at a time. As I’ve heard many black activists say, “You’re not going to become an anti-racist in a week.” This is urgent AND it’s the long game.
So, I’ve been immersing myself in reading, videos, forums, speeches, podcasts, workshops, and conversations with friends of all colors. I’ve been learning. A lot. And donating here, here, and here so far. But I’m crystal clear that upholding my commitments as a co-conspirator goes well beyond those actions.
I’m pausing our regularly scheduled programming to share with you (in real time) the resources that continue to be profoundly insightful in my ongoing journey to deepen my understanding of anti-racism and white privilege. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it’s a starting point for soulful reflection, conversation, and action.
I hope you’ll join me in knowing better so we can do better. Together.
WHO OR WHAT IS INTRIGUING ME AT THE MOMENT
I’m enraptured by the powerful voices on the front lines of racial justice – and in awe of their passionate service. Here are just a handful offering workshops and resources to help us learn, unlearn, and take action. This is about so much more than social media posts.
Rachel Cargle’s “The Great Unlearn” and 30-Day “Do the Work” Challenge (amongst other programs, lectures, and TEDx Talk).
Beyond these workshops, there are many other ways to take action. Check out this article on 75 things white people can do for racial justice. As well as the Anguish and Action section of Obama.org for a lengthy list of resources and organizations making a difference. And find a local chapter of SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) in your community.
I also love the perspective and suggestions of Rachel Rodgers in this Facebook post.
WHAT’S GOT MY ORANGE HIGHLIGHTER IN OVERDRIVE
I’ve set aside my original quarantine reading stack for these heavy hitters on the topic at hand:
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X Kendi
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
I’ve linked to Amazon for the recommendations above in order to provide access to all formats, but bookshop.org is an excellent alternative if you want a hard copy. The proceeds support indie booksellers, most of whom have taken a huge financial hit amidst the pandemic.
Another option for time starved, non-fiction junkies (like me) is to join Blinkist. It’s a subscription service that summarizes the key ideas from bestselling nonfiction books into 15-minute text and audio packs. I’m starting their free 7-day trial this week. My inner circle swears by it.
WHO/WHAT/WHERE IS GIVING ME ROCKET FUEL
What’s giving me rocket fuel, amidst the heartache and pain, is a sense that this time it’s different. This time the fury won’t fizzle. We won’t let that happen. We’ll embrace our shared humanity and heightened consciousness to make a lasting difference.
More than ever before, I’m being called to leverage my voice and platform, especially with my Rebel Souls podcast debuting later this summer. The signature question, “What are you rebelling FOR?”, feels even more relevant (and poignant) in this moment. I’m getting clear on the powerful and diverse voices who will share inspiring stories of rebelling for who they are, what they want, and the impact they want to have in the world. I am committed to spotlighting voices of all colors, especially those of my black brothers and sisters. I’m honored to be on this journey with so many of them as they create meaningful and heart-centered change in this world.
I encourage each and every one of you to get clear on the change you want to be and create. And the commitments that stem from that clarity. What are YOU rebelling FOR?
PODCAST EPISODES, VIDEOS, OR WORDS OF WISDOM
FROM MY TRIBE
Here’s my personal must-watch/must-listen list. I hope you find a few things that provide new perspective:
Rachel Cargle (Academic, Activist, and Writer) shares her public address for Revolution Now.
Trevor Noah (Host of The Daily Show) on the dominos of racial injustice and police brutality.
Verna Myers (American Activist) on overcoming our biases.
My Brother’s Keeper Townhalls with President Obama and Racial Justice thought leaders:
Brené Brown on becoming an anti-racist with Ibram X. Kendi (Author of How to Be an Anti-Racist).
Pod Save the People podcast with organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson. He explores news, culture, social justice, and politics with fellow activists Brittany Packnett Cunningham and Sam Sinyangwe, and writer Dr. Clint Smith. They offer a unique take on the news, with a special focus on overlooked stories and topics that often impact people of color.
Goop Podcasts on Anti-Racism, Privilege, and Trauma: Gwyneth Paltrow and Elise Loehnen speak with Layla Saad (Author of Me and White Supremacy), Robin DiAngelo (Author of White Fragility), DeRay Mckesson (Founder of Campaign Zero), and Bryan Stevenson (Author of Just Mercy and Founder of the Equal Justice Initiative).
Monique Atieno (Award-Winning Artist and Dear Friend) sharing her raw pain through song.
The New York Times’ 1619 Podcast reexamines the legacy of slavery in the United States.
Netflix Documentary 13th examines the intersection of race, justice and mass incarceration in the U.S.
I’m here for each and every one of you. Shoot me an email and let me know what lit your soul on fire, what shifted your perspective for the weeks or months ahead, or how I can support you in any way.
And don’t be shy. If you love what you’re reading, share it with friends, family, clients, and colleagues who need a little more Soul Fuel in their lives. I mean, in this day and age, don’t we all?
Stay safe and soul-full my friends. And please do whatever you can to make a difference in whatever part of the country or world you’re in. Lots of love.