As a business owner who loves living and working along with a diverse population, I feel called to respond to the civil unrest we are experiencing in the United States. It’s something that has been going on for hundreds of years, and is deeply rooted into the structures and institutions in our society. I would like to state that I stand by the Black community and the Black Lives Matter movement. I’m listening, learning everything I can about racial injustice, and speaking out in my everyday life.
I became a professional organizer because I care about people and it makes me feel good to help them. My work involves helping people declutter their homes and schedules, so that they can make space for things and activities that matter most, and that includes making time to connect with our community and helping others.
I know the perfect statement doesn’t exist. While these conversations are difficult and uncomfortable, they are necessary. In the past, my rule (like many other business owners and family dinner tables alike) was, “don’t talk about politics or anything controversial.” As we may discover while we’re decluttering our homes, change is often difficult and uncomfortable, but without it, we can’t experience growth or move toward a better situation. The work toward anti-racism doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a marathon. The COVID-19 crisis has shown us that we can respond quickly for the greater good, and justice for the Black community is no exception.
What follows is not a “definitive guide” on how to fight racism, this is what I have been doing to learn more and take action. If you're feeling like you want to get involved but don't know where to begin, this could be a start. And likewise, I welcome feedback and constructive conversation! Just like with getting organized, it’s those consistent, small steps that lead to big changes in the long run.
I’ve learned that no matter who we are, we all experience some levels of bias. Merely by living in a society where laws and rules disproportionately affect people of color means there's an effect on everyone. This can get uncomfortable, but self-awareness is a great first step in improving the situation for marginalized groups. I’ve been thinking about how I value differences and what I can do to encourage more diversity in my day to day living.
Reading & Listening
It has been especially helpful to take a step back from social media in order to read books, watch documentaries, and listen to podcasts. It’s also felt really supportive to listen to friends, colleagues, and clients talk about their experiences - what is it like to live your everyday life as a Black person? This is by no means an extensive list, but the following have been helpful so far:
The Super Organizer - James Lott, Jr.: James is a certified life coach and fellow professional organizer. As a black male in a predominantly female industry, he openly shares his insight with us. James radiates positivity, confidence, and joy - his clients in LA are lucky people!
The Super Organizer Man In The PO Industry: I'm A Big Black Man!
Super Organizer Man in the PO Industry: A Message from a Black Male PO!
An award-winning documentary about the prison system in America. This was an eye-opening watch: 13th
Brené Brown - Unlocking Us
Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations “Where do we go from here?” Part 1 and 2
Kimberlé Crenshaw - Intersectionality Matters!
Robin Diangelo - White Fragility
Ibram X. Kendi - How to Be an Antiracist
Layla F. Saad - Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor
Frances E. Kendall, Ph.D. - How to Be an Ally if You Are a Person with Privilege
There are many ways in which racial inequalities are built into our society. Do you have any issues that are near and dear to you? Just like when we’re organizing and decluttering, trying to focus on too much at once might be counterproductive. Consider your own interests and resources nearby. Donating money, time, mentorship, etc. can be a way to contribute to a cause that feels meaningful:
Do you have any additional resources to share that have been helpful? I’d love to hear from you as we continue on this journey together.