June 1, 2020

Dear friends,

I don't know what to do or what to say. I'm so scared of saying "the wrong thing" that I've been saying and doing nothing. What is happening in our world has woken me up and made me sick to my stomach at the same time. I know the power of editing content. I also know that people like to be led. In the absence of great leaders to bring forth a new and created context we will still follow those doing the talking and taking the actions. I'm seeing that we need more people talking and taking the actions on the side of freedom and equal rights and equal treatment for all races; all men, women and children but especially our African American Community. There is no longer a doubt in my mind that they are the ones that continue to be targeted generation after generation.

I've discovered for myself that the terms right and wrong are empty and useless. There is only what works, and what doesn't work. Racism doesn't work. Murder and Abuse doesn't work. Targeting minorities doesn't work. Restricting people's basic human rights... DOESN'T WORK! Abusing authority doesn't work. Violent protest doesn't work.

Looking at all mankind the way Jesus did... that works . Loving each other works. Kindness works. Understanding works. Acknowledging and apologizing... that works. Standing up for others and standing for what you believe in works.

I know there are lots of things that could be said much better than what I am doing here. So what. It doesn't work for me to sit quietly while my people (black, white & other) are suffering abuse, wrongful death, and suppression. So I'm giving up doing it right and my right to hide out. I'm saying - No More! NO. MORE. I'm for the people especially those of a minority race who have had to fight for every inch of freedom and equality. Whose parents, and grandparents, and great grandparents and so on, have carried the weight of enduring ignorance, cruelty, and abuse so that their children, the ones that are here with us today could have a better life. A life where they were truly free. I'm getting out of their way and standing with them. I'm scared but I can still get on the court. I'm looking at actions I can take. I'm looking for ways I can make a difference.

I'm not looking to debate anything I've said here. Opinions are useless. Action moves the world. I don't know how and I don't know what that action looks like just yet. But I am powerful when I speak and when I share. I'm looking and I'm creating all people are free to be and free to act. ALL PEOPLE ~ FREE TO BE & FREE TO ACT. If you have ideas on how we can fulfill on that creation, then I'm listening and I'm looking. My request is that we keep taking actions that work to leave no one out. No one left behind. And no one held down by the hand of another.

Updated June 3, 2020

I was sent an incredibly powerful email this morning from a vendor of mine that included just what I have been looking for -- action items! I hope you'll review the items below and find a way to take action along with me.

~ Love Jen

Where to Donate

8 Non-Monetary Acts of Support

(that work from anywhere in the world)

  1. Be actively involved in the conversations circulating social media by sharing Black experiences and Anti-racist resources to spread awareness
  2. Educate your self beyond the hashtags (racism doesn't stop when the news stops trending)
  3. Research and learn publicly, specifically the consequences of White Privilege, Anti-Blackness, Colorblindness, Micro-Aggressions, White Supremacy, Appropriation, and silence
  4. Remember that racism and oppression aren't exclusively American problems, they happen worldwide
  5. Refrain from sharing graphic videos of Black Individuals or People of Color being murdered without warning
  6. Sign petitions and register to vote
  7. If you are a White Person, speak up (Silence is an immense privilege, one that acts in direct service to upholding the system of white supremacy)
  8. If you are a White Person, pay attention to your white experience

Books to Read

  • "Freedom Is a Constant Struggle" by Angela Davis
  • "The New Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander
  • "Born a Crime" by Trevor Noah
  • "British Museum" by Daljit Nagra
  • "Beloved" by Toni Morrison
  • "Noname in the Streets" by James Baldwin
  • "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Mary Angelou

Podcasts to Listen to

Free Resources to Read and Access

  • Template For Employer Accountability by Rachel Elizabeth Cargle (Access here)
  • "Making America White Again" by Toni Morrison (Read here)
  • "How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change" by Barack Obama (Read here)
  • "I, Too" by Langston Hughes (Read here)
  • "Nothing to Add: An Excerpt from Understanding and Dismantling Privilege" by Robin Diangelo (Read here)
  • "Why you Need to Stop Saying 'All Lives Matter" by Rachel Elizabeth Cargle (Read here)

Books to Share with Children

  • "My People" by Langston Hughes
  • "Homemade Love" by bell hooks
  • "Momma, Did You Hear the News" by Sanya Whitaker Gragg
  • "We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices" edited by Wade Hudson & Cheryl Willis Hudson
  • "Shades of Black" by Sandra L. Pinkney & Myles C. Pinkney
  • "Not My Idea" by Anastasia Higginbotham

Videos to Watch

  • 13th (Stream on Netflix)
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (Stream on Hulu)
  • I am Not Your Negro (Rent on YouTube)
  • The Hate U Give (Stream on Hulu)
  • See You Yesterday (Stream on Netflix)

Thank you Trainual for this extensive, action filled list. Your dedication to making an impact for good is heartfelt and refreshing. trainual.com.

Nominations for #LiftThemUp

#LiftThemUp is a photography project to photograph and highlight our African American; Civic Leaders, Educators, Entrepreneurs, Clergy, working class hero's, and all around good folks who have a message to share. Their message doesn't have to be on racism and it can be on racism. I'm really just looking to get to know them and give others that same privilege. We will share their stories with our pictures. I've been noticing just how "white" my world is (maybe yours too) and I thought we could all get to know some new, beautiful and powerful people of color.

I am asking you to nominate these fine people so that we may treat them to a special in-studio photo shoot where we will do our best to capture them in a way that lets the world know who they are and what they stand for. Then we will simply release those images and stories out into the world in hopes that they will make a difference to someone, somewhere.

Important note: I need to know why you are nominating them. This is happening and it needs to be efficient so we can make the biggest difference. Depending on the number of nominations, I may not be able to take everyone. But we don't have that problem yet. So nominate with confidence.