I'm Rising & Thriving

I’m grateful to everyone who has supported me in getting my Rise & Thrive webinar off of the ground. So many of you have encouraged me. My first FB announcement got more than 100 shares—that’s totally unheard of! I’m grateful for those of you who shared my post, participated in my first presentations, have signed up for a future session and so on. I have posted the link to the upcoming webinars in Comments or so you can sign up or pull the coattail of a friend whom you think might be interested.

Today a friend asked why I’m doing this.

In a nutshell:

1) Because my parents, ancestors and countless people I’ll never know fought for me to be able to participate relatively fully in American society.

2) As someone who has dedicated much of her life to helping to create a world in which everyone can thrive, I will not sit back and watch our nation become more racist, more bigoted and more uncivil without fighting it—even at the risk of people thinking, well, I don’t really care what other people think. I have done the things that I’m supposed to do inside the existing systems: I’ve called my congressional reps, contributed to campaigns, registered voters, protested, participated in grassroots meetings, spoken publicly, and more. It hasn’t been enough, so I'm making a way out of no way.

I’ve said here before that Allen Iverson is my all-time favorite basketball player—up there with LeBron, of course. #Believeland ;-) At 6’0” he was a little guy by basketball standards. But I loved the way he would dive for the ball, leave skin on the floor and check to see if his elbows and knees were bleeding. The big lesson that AI taught me—an example for which I’ll always be grateful—is that the way in which you show up has the power to change a game’s outcome. I can’t tell you how many times I saw the 76ers losing—only for Iverson to turn it on. When he shifted into high gear—and he would do it in a mere moment—everything changed.

Maybe I shift into high gear, I too, can change something. Perhaps if I shift into high gear, some of you will in your own way, too. The people I’m friends with are such an amazing community that perhaps if all of us shifted a little—or even a lot—our shifts could make a difference. Collectively, maybe our changes could change the trajectory of a society in which racism, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and other “isms” and “obias” are becoming increasingly normative. What step might you take to do something new?

I’m offering my Rise & Thrive webinar to help protect the people who I know best—Black, African-American and Black biracial families who are concerned about their children’s wellbeing—against the resurgence of racists, bigots and people who are rolling back our rights. As we speak dozens of judges are being confirmed with lifetime appointments to do things like roll back voting rights, women's rights, affirmative action, women's right to choose, and so on. My conversations are intersectional, as always—that is to say that if you’re Black and lesbian, or Black and Jewish, or Black and an immigrant, for instance, you’re welcome. But since I'm only one person with limited resources I’m starting unapologetically with the demographic I know best: Black folks!

If you’re interested in attending and fit the bill, I'd love to have you. Sign up by clicking through Comments below. If you think a friend might be interested, please tag, invite them or otherwise spread the message.

And if you, too, feel inspired to dive in your own unique way, please let me know how. I welcome both your contribution and the conversation.


Grateful to Speak Publicly about Implicit Bias @ Philly's GreatPHL Ideas Fest

Black in November, I was honored to be invited by entrepreneur and Renaissance Man Christopher Plant of Kismet Coworking to speak at GreatPHL. When I accepted, I told Christopher that it would be a stretch. I literally completed a book the afternoon before. Though I’d been thinking about my topic and preparing for weeks, I’d had no mental bandwidth to write my presentation until the morning I was scheduled to step out on stage. YIKES!

Though I speak publicly about bias when I do professional-development in-service trainings in schools, it’s a sensitive enough topic that it’s important to speak thoughtfully. Then again, part of my point was that we all need to relax and give each other room. Unconscious, or implicit, bias is natural. Every human being is biased in one way or the other. Once we accept that, we can consciously work on reducing our biases.

I don’t know a lot of people who wake up each morning intending to be unfair. That said, reducing and or becoming aware of our biases does take intentional effort. It’s a great area in which to practice the growth mindset, Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck’s work where we get comfortable stepping outside of our comfort zone and being uncomfortable so that we can grow. I decided to do that with this presentation — and I learned that I could trust myself do decently with less prep time than I’d normally have.

In this 20-minute presentation, I talk about how examining my own biases helped me release attitudes and behaviors that I was secretly ashamed of and freed me to be the person whom I’d always aspired to be. Enoy!