To My Community,
We can no longer turn away from the violence being targeted at Black and brown citizens. The recent murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Riah Melton, Oluwatoyin Salau, Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others speak to the truth: that racism and white supremacy and police violence in this country have never gone away. Like many white Americans, I used to think racism was a thing of the past. I was wrong. I’m sorry.
As we gather together virtually in health and nutrition spaces like this, it’s no longer possible to not address, head on, the effects of racism on health outcomes and quality of life for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
It’s no longer possible to keep turning away from systemic racism or to put it at the fringes of the wellness space.
Justice matters. Equity matters.
Black Lives Matter.
As a nutritional therapist and certified Intuitive Eating counselor, my role is to help guide my community to finding more peace when it comes to food and to step away from the diet wagon for good.
If at the end of the day, we don’t put the energy we used to spend on diet rules and hating our bodies outward into the world to fight for something greater than ourselves, what’s the point?
But as we work to find a more peaceful relationship with food and our bodies, part of that work must address & acknowledge the systems of oppression – racism, classism, ableism, etc. – that underpin diet culture.
When it comes to taking that awareness of oppressive systems forward and using our energy to fight for justice and collective liberation, there are so many incredible teachers from marginalized and oppressed communities at the forefront of this education who we must all learn from.
Let me be clear: I’m not an anti-racism educator. I’m learning. Making mistakes along the way. Thinking deeply about how to change. Committing to doing better. And taking action.
Though I began unpacking my own white privilege and understanding and dismantling my own white supremacy a few years ago after Charlottesville (late to the discussion as it is), I know that this work is ongoing.
My journey to doing anti-racism work and making my business more anti-racist is ongoing.
Here’s what I’m doing (Please note: none of this deserves praise. It’s necessary work.):
1) Taking the Anti-Racist Small Business Pledge.
Part of taking the pledge is to post publicly so I can be held accountable.
2) Engaging in anti-racism education.
I’m committing to investing in anti-racism education from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color organizations and educators. Currently I don’t have an anti-racism or diversity/equity/inclusion (DEI) plan for my business. I’m working on hiring a DEI consultant to guide this process. (Update 6/30/2020: Instead of hiring a consultant, I’ve joined a 6 month DEI mastermind with Trudi Lebrón.)
My plan is to formally engage in anti-racism and DEI education for business at least twice a year. I’ve recently taken several workshops and am currently enrolled in a longer course.
On a personal level, I’m getting more involved at the local level here in San Diego with a group focused on racial equity and defunding the police. (Update 7/7/2020: Showing Up for Racial Justice, San Diego)
I plan to read books exclusively from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (purchased from Black-owned bookstores when possible) for the remainder of the year. Beyond that, I’m committed to reading BIPOC-written works on an ongoing basis.
3) Investing more of my monthly business budget into the Black community.
My long-term plan is for 20-30% of my monthly business budget to go into the Black community.
Currently, I’m missing this mark almost entirely.
I have no employees besides myself, but if/when I need to bring new contractors on board, I will make diversity a top priority. I’ll seek new software and tech solutions from Black owned businesses. If that’s not available, I will work with companies that have a clear commitment to engaging in anti-racism work.
Finally, though I’ve recently made donations to several organizations, I’ll be setting up a recurring monthly donation to a Black nonprofit that’s aligned to my business values of growth, compassion, and equity. I’m still in the process of researching organizations. My plan is to select one by the end of July 2020. (Update 7/7/2020: Currently making recurring donations to UltraViolet.)
4) Making my podcast more diverse and inclusive.
My long-term goal is that at least half of all guests will be Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
Whenever possible, I will highlight guests from marginalized communities. Though I was making progress toward that goal before I changed my podcast name in February, I have fallen far short in recent months.
I also want to explore the possibility of donating podcast ad space (at no charge) to Black-, Indigenous- and People of Color-owned businesses. If you know of a BIPOC-owned company in the health space that may be interested, please contact me.
My aim is to revisit and update this plan quarterly.
Thank you for allowing me to share openly where I’m going from here.
If you’d like to share your thoughts or ask questions, please reach out. I’m here, and I’m listening.