Chaz Sandifer and Dawn Johnson of Let Go Let Flow have joined forces with ModernWell to impact change. When Chaz, Dawn, and I sat down at ModernWell a few months back, I felt their passion, conviction, sincerity, and drive. When they asked about collaborating with us on their Wellness Wednesdays Virtual Program that would bring black and white women together to discuss racism, I didn’t hesitate. I told them that I am on the journey; that I still have much to learn, much work to do, and how clearly I understood my podcast co-host Steph Pierce’s statement she made during our “How to Be an Ally Series” that we co-hosted this summer after George Floyd’s killing.
Steph said to the group, “This is not just a summer project. This is ongoing work.”
The Wellness Wednesday event was powerful. Women of color shared their stories of how racism permeates their every day. Like the black woman lawyer who revealed that when most people come into her office they assume she is a paralegal or someone’s assistant. And how the people in their predominantly white neighborhood assume that her husband is a professional athlete, not that she and her husband are both attorneys. Or how three black women entrepreneurs recently sat outside a pie shop eating pie and were approached by some white people who assumed they would have some drugs to sell or that they were in a band. Or how people feel that they can touch black people’s hair whenever they feel like it. And guess what? Don’t do that!
And the white women listened. And we listened some more. Because that is what we need to do. We need to put down our defenses and feel the gut punches of these cringe-worthy stories and absorb their truths. And we need to make sure that the only part that we would ever play in these stories is the part of the person who stands up and advocates for our black sisters and calls out racism and micro-aggressions when we see them.
The pain of racism runs so deep. There is so much healing to be done and that is what Chaz and Dawn set out to do with their Wellness Wednesdays initiative, and that is why I am honored to join them in this work. Bringing black women and white women together to engage in open, honest conversations is exactly what we need to be doing to repair past and current hurts and foster more trust and understanding.
We can’t learn and grow unless we talk to each other, unless we listen to stories that are hard to hear. Stories that make white women ashamed and black women angry. And we need to put them out there and look at them honestly so we can heal them and then let them go. Only then can we heal from our country’s racist roots and move toward love and acceptance for all.
As we move into Black History month, I hope you will join us on this journey. The time is now, friends. Our next Wellness Wednesday free virtual event is on February 27th at noon. You can sign up here.