Because Black Lives Matter
This started as a train of thought over the weekend, was meant to be a quick note and instead has turned into a personal essay and written promise of sorts.
I believe Black Lives Matter.
Having young kids to care for is not an excuse for me to stay silent.
Having a small email database and social media following is not an excuse for me to stay silent.
Having a business in transition (is it even a business yet?) and trying to pivot during a pandemic isn’t an excuse for me to stay silent.
In fact, as a white woman of privilege with access to a contact database, my Canadian dollars, my authentic words and my determination to learn and express anti-racism activism, I am very much committed to NOT remaining silent.
Don’t get me wrong, I am also reading, watching, listening and learning.
Unpacking my privilege, enquiring within, asking myself hard questions and looking at my actions to date.
But I am all about creative expression, community building and sharing resources–which are sometimes difficult to source–with the general public.
I often link to things in my newsletters, this blog and social media, so there are some links for you below if you would like to explore the topics of racism and social justice in your own time and in your own way.
The rest of this post is about what I am doing about it.
Because as a human being, a parent, a mother, a sister, a friend, a wife, a cousin, a neighbour, a colleague, a connection, a citizen, a blip on your scrolling radar, I feel it would be an irrevocable step for me to sit still and be quiet.
In Rachel Cargle’s Public Address On Revolution (linked below) she asks:
“How will you show up in this time of human history? How will you tell the story to your grandchildren about what action you took during the civil unrest that happened in the year 2020?”
This quote is taken from an article written by Damaly Shepherd on Medium (linked below). She is a member of two online business programs and communities I belong to, which as she details in her article, had very different responses to discussions around race and social justice in their groups.
After I had my first son a few years ago and participated in an entrepreneurship startup school with him, I wanted to create a similar environment in a business space where you could bring your child(ren) and feel like you belonged because things were designed with your needs in mind, not as an afterthought.
I officially launched the Babies, Business + Breakfast™ idea as a pilot program for parents interested in pursuing professional development alongside their kids in May 2018.
A new community focused on diversity, inclusion and belonging.
It was designed for all parents.
All children (not just babies).
All about the topics of business, entrepreneurship and flexible work.
And I failed in many ways.
My original content was aspirational of the type of community I envisioned creating: Everyone meeting up with their children in a safe, diverse and inclusive converted corporate space to make connections, learn from experts and fill their own cup during a rare opportunity for themselves.
I designed branding based on stock photography, my own personal family images and some from our first official event, where a photographer was kind enough to volunteer to take photos.
To date, I’ve only had three face-to-face professional development events for parents and am in the process of transitioning to an online community going forward.
But I am writing to you now to say I want to do better.
I am going to do better.
I am going to continue building a more diverse and inclusive community of parents.
I am going to focus on connecting these parents (while they care for their children) with a more diverse range of industry experts and guest speakers.
I will advertise more widely.
I will start as I mean to go on with this online community.
It may fail to have an impact.
It may fail to grow or gain traction.
You may unfollow me or unsubscribe.
I can’t control any of those things.
All I can take ownership for are my thoughts, my words, my dollars, my actions and for now – how I raise my children.
My ‘why’ has always been the belief everyone deserves to design a life that works for them and their family.
My background is in marketing and communications but that doesn’t mean my message is always on point or in the right tone.
Please know I have the best intentions and am actively working on being a better version of myself.
Right now it looks like focusing on education, compassion and small everyday actions.
Because I wasn’t born to sit here and stay silent.
Resources I am engaging with, which you may be interested in exploring:
- ‘No reader is too young to start’: anti-racist books for all children and teens by The Guardian
- 31 Children’s books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance from EmbraceRace
- Rachel Cargle’s Public Address On Revolution
- Anti-racism Educator Monique Melton
- This too is Figureoutable by Trudi Lebron
- Suggestions for action by Tabitha Brown
- Dear White People by Emmanuel Acho
- An Open Letter To Allies And Friends by Vivian Kaye
- 3 Suggestions For Having Difficult Conversations Right Now About Race by Monaca from Sweet And Simple Social
- Stop Making Your Groups Safe Havens for Racists by Damaly Shepherd
- OBJ Op-Ed: What it’s like to be a black entrepreneur in Ottawa by Kevin Bourne
- Black Lives Matter Toronto
- Canadian Race Relations Foundation
Organizations I have worked with over the past few years to learn how to create a more diverse and inclusive community for parents:
- Impact Hub Ottawa: Program Directors, Guest Speakers and Members
- CreativeMornings Ottawa: Organizers, Guest Speakers and Members
- Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards: Advisors, Guest Speakers and Staff
I am committed to continuing to learn.
Thank you for reading, my writing has always been meant to be a two-way conversation.
Please comment or send me a message contact[at]amymaureenlynch.com if you would like to share your perspective or additional resources.
– Amy (+ Family)