Leading Below The Surface Jenn T. Grace, LaTonya Wilkins, and Jennifer Brown

[00:00:00] Jenn: [00:00:00] Hello,

[00:00:02] Jennifer B: [00:00:02] Jennifer Brown. Hello, T grace. How are we this week? It was a good week for LGBTQ rights.

[00:00:10] Jenn: [00:00:10] That is true. That is true. That was

[00:00:12] Jennifer B: [00:00:12] celebrate wins.

[00:00:13] Jenn: [00:00:13] That was a good win. I kind of felt weird in some ways, celebrating such a huge victory, given everything else that’s going on. But yes, that’s something that we’ve been obviously waiting for for.

[00:00:23] Way too long.

[00:00:25] Jennifer B: [00:00:25] Wait, I can’t believe

[00:00:27] Jenn: [00:00:27] until 2020 for that to actually pass.

[00:00:29] Jennifer B: [00:00:29] I know. And now we can’t say that horrible stat anymore where you can still be fired for being gay in 30 plus States or whatever it was like, that’s a thing of the past. That’s so amazing that even imagine that, but the equality act now is ahead and that’s where everybody’s turning their attention.

[00:00:46] A two next to really solidify the protections.

[00:00:49] Jenn: [00:00:49] Yeah. Yeah. Well, I know that we have a lot to discuss today because we have our special guests, Latanya Wilkins here with us. Welcome Latanya.

[00:01:02] [00:01:00] Yeah. So we already have been on like a, I don’t want to say heated conversation, but like a very like engaged, energetic, exciting conversation for like 30 minutes. And we’re like, we should probably go live now. So to kind of revisit some of the things that we were just talking about, but to kind of start us off, I would love Latanya.

[00:01:19] If you could just give a little bit of background about who you are and what you do, and then we’ll just get into

[00:01:23] Jennifer B: [00:01:23] some good stuff

[00:01:24] LaTonya: [00:01:24] here. Yeah. So, um, I’m gonna tell you walk-ins and I am a, an executive coach and entrepreneur. I run a company called, uh, the change coaches. And what I with the change coaches does is we inspire.

[00:01:39] People want organization to create meaningful awareness and change. And so that’s changed around, uh, the DEI that’s changed around leadership. Um, that’s changed around culture. So those are kind of our three areas. I’m also, like I said, I’m a coach. And so I work with underrepresented groups and also executives that, that want to [00:02:00] lead better, uh, especially that, um, what to lead their teams better.

[00:02:03] So, uh, that’s a little bit about what I do and. It’s pride month and it’s been a little crazy with pride month. So I’m kind of putting up my power pose here so I can just stay, you know, stay grounded because it’s been a crazy, crazy couple

[00:02:19] Jennifer B: [00:02:19] months. Yeah, I know. Yeah, for sure. And you were so right. I mean, the conflation of all the.

[00:02:26] Social movements happening now COVID coming into this of course and everything that had already changed and then having it be pride is fascinating. And it’s, um, it’s a truly intersectional moment, I think for, for, probably for someone like you on a personal level, um, how would you. Can you share a little bit about how you’ve been experiencing your intersectionality in this moment?

[00:02:47] And I would imagine it equips you with a very powerful lens right now, to speak to multiple things happening at once and help us make sense of this moment.

[00:02:58] LaTonya: [00:02:58] Yeah. I mean, [00:03:00] it’s, it’s interesting because I mean, obviously, uh, I mean, I’m, I’m queer, so I should put that out there, but visibly, everybody can see on black.

[00:03:07] And so that’s been that’s my visible identity has been the. You know, the identity that takes precedence these days, it’s been the one that’s glaring. And so I’ve been experiencing the world as a black woman. Um, and so, and it’s interesting, Jen, that you mentioned, uh, the Supreme court decision, because when I saw that, um, I just, it didn’t, I didn’t get excited.

[00:03:29] I had no reaction to it because I thought about all the discrimination that black people have faced, um, since the civil rights act. And, um, it’s just, it made me think. Well, this doesn’t really matter. I mean, it might matter for white men. Um, but for a lot of others, it won’t matter. It won’t matter for trans folks.

[00:03:50] And that’s another group I’m talking about are intersexual folks. Like I felt like it just really didn’t, it didn’t apply to me, but there’s still going to be ways that companies could [00:04:00] disguise, um, you know, pushing someone out and it doesn’t have to, you know, they could, they could make it seem like it’s nothing to do with sexual orientation.

[00:04:09] So I’m experiencing the world that way. I mean, Kobe I’ve also, I’ve known people that sick with COVID, um, have died. Um, and again, it’s the African American community. I mean, we are disproportionately affected by this, um, seeing black businesses suffer. I mean, we’re not getting the funding that other, um, majority businesses are, so yeah.

[00:04:31] So that’s intersectionality for you. I mean, it’s not. It’s it’s always this constant, um, balance that’s out of balance, right? Especially now in the black is out of balance with, with the queer.

[00:04:46] Jenn: [00:04:46] Yeah. There’s, there’s so much. And I feel like I’ve talked to a lot of people just over the last week and in relation to the SCOTUS ruling on Monday who are sharing very similar. Similar kind of thought patterns around us. There’s still so much, so much [00:05:00] exclusion. Even with this, you know, monumental feat.

[00:05:04] It seems like given the makeup of the, of the justices and yet there’s still so many ways that so many people in our community are not, not going to get the actual protections that they rightfully deserve.

[00:05:18] LaTonya: [00:05:18] Right.

[00:05:19] Jennifer B: [00:05:19] Yeah. I mean like Latanya, you, you, you work in organizations and you use this analogy of the, the iceberg and the above surface and then all the way down to the, the truth and you call it the MK.

[00:05:34] Um, and I, I get it immediately and the muck is where it happens, right. That’s where we need to kind of deepen way down. We tend to live in the superficial. I might argue superficial allyship. He’s you know, place and, um, you know, it’s not enough, it’s just not enough to change those systems that you were just talking about.

[00:05:53] We need to do more and we need to do more with a system, a systems lens. I think in addition to the individual [00:06:00] influencing we do with each other, we also need to be asking how can we change a racist. Biased system that can perpetuate this, and that’s why harder work, less glamorous work. Um, and the longer term work in a way, but that’s really, what’s going to lessen the suffering of so many, but, um, it’s going to take a lot of white people to partner on that work and know even what the work is.

[00:06:23] So anyway, um, tell us a little bit about the, the muck and sort of the deepening process that you’re, you’re seeing happening. And then what can organizations do to like keep us there so that real progress can be made.

[00:06:35] LaTonya: [00:06:35] Yeah. And before I get into the mock, I want to second what you said, we’re going to, we need a lot of white people, white people are the majority.

[00:06:44] And so if you are a white person and you’re listening to this and you were interested. You’ve got to stay involved. And the one thing I ask you is, um, that this, you don’t, you, you maintain your stamina and, um, maintain your stamina by talking to [00:07:00] Jen and Jennifer. Right. Um, figure out, you know, strategize in these circles.

[00:07:04] Start a book group. Sorry, you know, white women can talk about racism or, you know, just white people, but, but, but make sure that you do that because, um, you know, we, if you’re starting to feel fatigued, we imagine how we feel. Right. Um, a lot of your black colleagues are not okay. But with bleeding below the surface.

[00:07:23] And when we’re talking about the Supreme court ruling. So the way I talk about it as a tip of the iceberg, right? That’s like everything on the outside, right. A company can say, Oh, victory. Now, you know, we haven’t been discriminating for many decades and now we’re not anyways. So great. That’s the tip that the second level down is okay.

[00:07:42] Well, Strategically, this is what we’re gonna do for, you know, black businesses. This is what we’re going to do for a COVID. It’s like the things that, that strategically companies talk about, their mission, vision strategies, values, talk a lot about values and, and what those look [00:08:00] like. A lot of times they’re just in a drawer, but that’s where people talk about it.

[00:08:03] And then there’s the muck at the bottom, and this is the stuff I’m talking about. It’s the, it’s the muck at the bottom where, you know, someone like me where I’m saying, well, that doesn’t really matter that Supreme court ruling and being able to be a leader and get to that, right. Um, be able to get to, um, well, you know, How are you feeling about this and that?

[00:08:24] Not necessarily ask. And we talked a little bit about asking how are you doing, but instead of ask, you know, on a scale from, you know, a scale from one to 10, how do you think we’re doing in this crisis with supporting you? Um, and if you, and if it’s a six or seven, how can we get to a nine. Like, what, what else can we do?

[00:08:41] Get to the specificity and listen. Okay. And, and be accountable for that. And that’s how you get to that mug and getting to that muck. It’s also creating the psychological safety. If you say you ask someone that question, they tell you you’re a six and you say, well, you know, to get to an eight, I really want you to bring in some people so we can have real [00:09:00] dialogues.

[00:09:00] If you do that without any repercussions and the person’s feeling safe, then you’re going to that muck is going to start clearing out, um, with your employees. And so that’s where it’s really hard for us to get. And, you know, I talked about this on LinkedIn and I got so many messages cause I just talked about just a simple thing, a simple action.

[00:09:18] Reaching out to your employees. And I got so much, so many messages around that and it’s something so simple. And I think people are just afraid. They’re afraid of it coming out, clunky or being cocky. But this is not the time to think about that because a muck at the bottom required to get there and access that it requires vulnerability and imperfection.

[00:09:39] Jennifer B: [00:09:39] I’m talking a lot about imperfect allyship right now. Uh, and, and I think it’s part of I’m learning also about white supremacy culture and the very first hallmark of white supremacy culture is perfectionism. So this is deep, our want and training and socialization to be perfect as [00:10:00] strong and the imperfect way we have to show up because we have no choice.

[00:10:05] We can’t show it perfectly right now because we don’t have the chops actually. So it’s actually impossible. We, so we have to be okay. Being uncomfortable, imperfect, making mistakes, apologizing coming back the next day, metabolizing the right learnings and not getting bogged down with the wrong stuff, which I think the wrong stuff is honestly the fragility piece.

[00:10:28] Um, feel it. Don’t forget it, but don’t like, let it overcome you to the point where you’re paralyzed,

[00:10:36] LaTonya: [00:10:36] right? Yep.

[00:10:38] Jenn: [00:10:38] And so what do we tell them? Those that have some, what have good intentions or they’re they’re well, meaning, but yet they don’t really know what to do when they step in it or they say something wrong or they’re approaching it the wrong way.

[00:10:54] Like, do we have any just kind of. Advice for, for [00:11:00] those allies who were just trying to keep them, keep the momentum going. But we know that in the back of people’s minds, they’re like, I don’t want to be like, I, I don’t want this to go wrong. I don’t want to be viewed as, you know, our new word that Karen, like, I don’t, I don’t want to be a Karen.

[00:11:13] Jennifer B: [00:11:13] Um,

[00:11:14] Jenn: [00:11:14] so like how do we, how do we help them navigate that space?

[00:11:18] LaTonya: [00:11:18] I just, you just said it exactly. I think you, you just say, I don’t really know what to say and. I don’t know how this is going to come out. And, but I want you to know that I’m thinking about you and I w I want to know, um, how we can be an anti-racist organization.

[00:11:37] And I want to know how I can make you feel safe here in the company, speaking up as an, as a black employee. Right. And that’s all you have to say. And I think, um, There have been times when I’ve specifically talked to you. And one of the things that I, I think that you’ve done well is that you just listen and I can tell in your, like, [00:12:00] with your facial expressions, that, that you’re there with me and you’re empathizing and you’re in that moment.

[00:12:05] And you’re not thinking of, again, going back to the tip of the iceberg, like, well, maybe you could take some time off and that’s where a lot of leaders go. It’s like, they get really uncomfortable and they can’t sit in that discomfort. And you’ve sat there and I could see it. And especially when you’re talking to a white person, a black person is you could see their face, get red.

[00:12:23] Right. Or you could see, you could see a lot of signs of this comfort. And that’s when you’re really in that muck. So if you’re blushing, stay there, right. Don’t try to get out. Right. Cause that’s where, that’s where that luck is. And that’s how you get there. Hmm,

[00:12:39] Jenn: [00:12:39] that is such a great, like, just such a great tactical kind of thing for people it’s like, don’t try to immediately get out of that, that uncomfortable place and just, yeah, just sit in it and yeah, it’s not comfortable, but the more you do it, the more comfortable it becomes.

[00:12:52] And that’s kind of the whole point is to explain and to feel that that vulnerability, that you’re not used to [00:13:00] feeling. Cause you’re not, you may not have had to, which is a privilege in and of itself.

[00:13:07] Jennifer B: [00:13:07] That’s right. So stay in the muck, um, be comfortable being uncomfortable, uh, resist the urge to solve. Right. Um, solving, I think in a bias towards action is perhaps another hallmark of white supremacy culture. I think it’s another one. The list. And I’m sort of wanting to wrap things up in a bow and check the box and, you know, I mean, I’m sure Latanya, you’re constantly like me asking you to come in and do unconscious bias training, you know, and, and literally like right away, you’re on guard because you’re thinking they really don’t want to do the work.

[00:13:40] Do they? Like, they just want this. And

[00:13:44] LaTonya: [00:13:44] so

[00:13:44] Jennifer B: [00:13:44] we have to teach organizations, you know, what does sustained real work look like when they all assume. That this is box checking and it’s not. And I, I just wonder, are people really ready for the actual work that it’s gonna take to change this? [00:14:00] Um, you know, and all the chat, all the power, power sharing that’s going to have to happen.

[00:14:05] I don’t think anyone’s no losing power. You know, there’s a fear I hear sometimes, right. Which is the pie is finite. And if I give something to someone, it means less for me. And I wonder if you get that question. And how it relates to this current moment. Um, if you hear that it’s kind of lurking in people’s subconscious.

[00:14:24] LaTonya: [00:14:24] Yeah. So one of my, uh, leadership, I’m part of a lot of communities, which I’m sure the two of you are as well. And in some of those communities I’m going to I’m in a board role. And one of those communities, I won’t say which one, because I won’t call them out, but we were sending out a message about black lives matter and how to support.

[00:14:40] That’s a mostly white community. I mean, it’s just, that’s how it goes with. With this field. I mean, it’s with leadership. I mean, if you walk into a, if you, if you search leadership books on Amazon, I mean, look, how many are written by people of color. And that’s one of the reasons why I’m like so excited to get this book out my book because of that.

[00:14:58] But yeah, but one of the folks [00:15:00] said, um, one of the, one of the, uh, support, uh, tips that we gave is to support black businesses. And someone said, well, in my network, um, people are pushing back on that. Cause they’re like, well, why would you support a black business above someone else? Like, I mean, it’s, it seems a little unfair.

[00:15:16] Um, and, and so that’s, you know, and I, I, again, I stayed in the conversation. I try to lead below the surface as well, because I know, um, you know, I could clench my fist and then call like one of my really close black friends after that. And at least I did it. At least I could sit below the surface because.

[00:15:35] You know, I’m in this fight for the long run. I want to make, I want to leave this place better than, than it was when I got here. And so, um, but, but someone said that and I, you know, I thought about it for awhile. And then I sent them an article that I read in the New York times this morning and it talks, it lays out.

[00:15:50] Why the systems are messed up for black businesses. You know, we think about the stimulus package, we got less money. We get less lenders, we get less funding. Um, [00:16:00] we, we tend to be in neighborhoods that are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. And so, um, yes, I get that a lot and I think it’s that. When, when I get that question, people just aren’t understanding that the 400 years of, you know, that left us behind, you know, and that, that proceeded the black lives matter movement.

[00:16:21] And I think it’s economically explaining that to them. And, um, it’s really hard. And so I try to do it through articles, but it’s the same thing with leadership and organizations and equity and organizations like we just, we just never had that. Um, I mean, we were talking about boards and like, you know, paying to be on boards.

[00:16:40] I mean, financially it’s like we don’t have, um, I was having a conversation with someone yesterday and she was talking about, um, we were just talking about racist experience, we’ve experiences we’ve had, and she was buying her first condo and someone was her realtor was shocked that her parents couldn’t give her $25,000 for down payment.

[00:16:59] Like we just don’t [00:17:00] have it, like, and we’re just like that’s 400 years behind. Okay. Economic insecurity. When you burn down Tulsa, you know, like, like when we start getting these, getting economically stable, you take it away from us or, or you block us out again. And so, so yes. And that’s my response to it.

[00:17:18] Jennifer B: [00:17:18] Hmm. Who said a lot there? Yeah, really good. I mean, you’re talking about systemic multi-generations history. That’s unaddressed. Um, disparities pulling through to the present day systems, continuing like wash the 13th. If you haven’t seen it, just to give one example of the criminal justice system currently has being a reflection of the slavery institutions and practices.

[00:17:43] It’s, it’s, it’s over, it’s an overwhelming, but very critical thing that we’re not taught in schools. The fact that I didn’t, you know, had to learn about Juneteenth. So recently in my life, I’m so disturbed by that. And so many other things that were sanitized out apparently of the [00:18:00] curriculum that we could have been learning and wrestling with as white people, so that we would be more prepared for this moment.

[00:18:06] And it’s just, it makes me infuriated. I mean, I almost feel like I have days where I’m like, maybe I need to move into the educational space and like, apply that what I do is there, because we think in the corporate, it’s already kind of molded, right? We are. The who we are, you know, we’re adults, we can change incrementally, whatever, whatever, but the impact of not teaching this stuff and sort of pretending like everything’s a meritocracy.

[00:18:30] It’s inferior.

[00:18:31] LaTonya: [00:18:31] Oh my God. I hate that word. I worked for a company for a long time and that was one of their values. Oh, wow. Yeah. I mean, I’ve worked in a lot of highly admired companies and usually that was one of the values. I mean, to be fair and it’s a very male way. It’s a paternalistic way of defining success.

[00:18:54] Like what a male says to you. You’re not obsessed enough. Or, you know, they say it [00:19:00] to my clients. It’s like a white male way of saying, um, you know, I’ve excluding you basically because no, I, and I’m not obsessive. And I’m okay with that part of my personality. So I’m fine. I’m good. I’m good. Thank you.

[00:19:15] Jennifer B: [00:19:15] Oh, my gosh,

[00:19:16] Jenn: [00:19:16] circling back to what you were just saying, Jen, about like just kind of, even learning of Juneteenth in the last, even the last couple of years.

[00:19:23] Right? So like I’ve known about it for probably I’d say at least maybe five years, but that’s disgusting when you think about it, that even it took until like five years ago to know this was a thing, but I think that some of what we were talking about before. We went live was around just kind of like the, the ally fatigue that we all know is coming.

[00:19:43] And so I think that in, just in relation to the Juneteenth thing, I saw some someone’s posts the other day that was saying if you’ve never. Posted about it before, and you have no intentions of posting about gym teeth next year, then you probably should sit, sit this one out. And I thought [00:20:00] that was really powerful to say, to just think about the longterm of this, because we know that there’s a lot of people who haven’t stepped up to have conversations around this before, who are now feeling like it’s a safe enough space for them to do so.

[00:20:14] But at the end of the day, If it’s just a flash in the pan and they’re only doing it right now, because it’s like what everyone’s doing and it’s trendy, then that’s not providing any type of long lasting change that we’ve legitimately need. And then that kind of blends into this whole ally fatigue. And I know that we were talking beforehand, like we have the commonality of all being queer women here.

[00:20:34] And so I know that I’ve been advocating for the LGBTQ community. For the last 15 years and it is absolutely exhausting. And so how we, but I found ways to figure out how to, um, Cope with that cope with that fatigue and that exhaustion and, and take those times away to kind of come back up and et cetera, but like, what do we tell people now who like my fear is that people are going to burn out before we even [00:21:00] get to the election because we’re in June.

[00:21:01] Now we have months to go and we need this momentum to kind of sustain and fuel to keep us moving along. But what do we tell people who this is like their first four week foray into any level of advocacy whatsoever? Like what do we

[00:21:13] Jennifer B: [00:21:13] tell them?

[00:21:17] LaTonya: [00:21:17] I mean, I’ll start. I mean, I think, um, protesting is I think a really good start and, um, you know, I actually, um, I’m cautiously optimistic.

[00:21:29] I have some really good white friends and. Um, some of them took their small children out to protest and they let their kids make their own sign. And, um, I think that gets at the next generation. So that’s the first, the second thing I would say is that with the performative Facebook keyboard warrior, um, cause that could be really exhausting.

[00:21:49] Um, I see a lot of my white friends arguing with racists like their racist cousin or their racist uncle. That’s a waste of time. Instead of doing that. Why don’t you organize a [00:22:00] book group with other white women or other white people and read about this stuff and then how have a group that you can talk about it with and process with?

[00:22:08] This is hard work. It’s emotional work. If you’re doing it right, there’s going to be tears involved. There’s going to be a lot of reflection. Um, and you’re going to need that tribe. So, um, that’s the second thing. And the third thing is, um, and I, I hate to say this, but stop reading the news and focusing on Twitter and that person, that tweets a lot.

[00:22:29] Again, you have to focus on what’s in front of you, and that starts with local. Um, And just like really pacing yourself in those ways. But I think the most important thing that I said is number two, is finding a group of people that are interested in this and they might be, you know, brand new novices and start a book group and just talk about it.

[00:22:51] And you could do that easily on zoom and. That’s what I think, even if you have like two people start it, share it, people will [00:23:00] join. You’ll be surprised.

[00:23:02] Jenn: [00:23:02] I think that’s brilliant. And I think it’s our responsibility like Jen and I, as two white women, who’ve been having these conversations for a very long time to be able to engage in those conversations with newly.

[00:23:12] Newly formed, like people who are wanting to be an ally, but they don’t know how, like it’s our time that we have to be patient with them to like help them evolve with us as frustrating as that might be. I think it’s kind of a responsibility that anyone who’s been in this ally work for any period of time.

[00:23:27] Like we, like this is our role in this right now is like moving people through this kind of allyship continuum.

[00:23:34] Jennifer B: [00:23:34] I agree. That’s the labor that we can do and that we are uniquely suited to do. And I would argue we have the sort of stores of strength to do because we’re not experiencing the fatigue of racism.

[00:23:47] So we are actually coming to this moment. Like I, yeah, like I think I know so good. Right? Like we,

[00:23:55] LaTonya: [00:23:55] I have like,

[00:23:56] Jennifer B: [00:23:56] I am ready. Like I have the fortitude and I’m [00:24:00] resting and powered by my privilege in a way, because it’s protected me from so many headwinds. I, and so I’ve got, I’m like ready, I’m more than ready.

[00:24:10] I’m like, pass me the Baton and let me run with it for awhile. Like, let me. You take a risk like you you’ve done enough. You’ve witnessed your experience, your truth. You’ve shared enough, you’re exhausted. You need to rest. And those of us need to carry this. Now we need to carry the water. We need to drive for awhile.

[00:24:29] And like, I love that. I, if we could ignite that, Jen, I think we have a lot of energy for that. Um, And I’m. I think that almost is like the biggest gift you can give actually in the equation is, is convening is gathering, is safe. Spacing it is, is causing and enacting the learning and others and supporting the learning and others and not causing more labor.

[00:24:52] On those who have shown us what we need to see so many times, and it hasn’t been seen. And now it’s finally [00:25:00] finally landing on people. So, you know, I do think we’re cracking something very important open, um, and we need to, I love my, um, so the Gates foundation is one of my. The bill and Melinda Gates foundation is one of my clients and I’m going to have on my community, call their head of one of their diversity leads.

[00:25:17] And they have a white allies for racial justice, ERG, and they also have a men as allies ERG, and I’m going to have them all the leads on the call. And we’re going to talk about what the process was like of setting up that white allies for social justice group and all the pushback, you know, they got

[00:25:35] Jenn: [00:25:35] for

[00:25:36] Jennifer B: [00:25:36] really long time.

[00:25:37] Right. And they’re now who, you know, who knew right. We knew it was the right answer. And I would like to see that everywhere in corporate. Everywhere. I want men as allies groups, and I want white allies for social justice, why those need to be everywhere so that we can, we can bring this out of the closet and actually talk about it and sanction it and say, we are serious about this and go through [00:26:00] that same process of like acknowledging it and naming it and supporting it with executive sponsor, all the other ways that.

[00:26:08] Some of these other diversity dimensions are supported. And I know that the pushback of course is why do white people need a group? Why do men need a group? Right. And people just are not understanding perhaps like the pushback. I’ll hear. I’m curious, Latanya. I know we’re almost out of time, but like, what do you say to the, well, hold up, hold on a second.

[00:26:26] Like, why do white people need a safe space to learn? And when the whole world is their safe space?

[00:26:31] LaTonya: [00:26:31] Well, I think that the purpose is because again, it’s hard work and I, you know, I, and I know my pain is different, but I also think that. You know, any emotional change. I think I have more compassion because I’m a coach and I know that, um, any, any transformation is extremely emotional.

[00:26:52] I mean, I use the Google Ross change curve, and I talk about that a lot. Um, you know, where you’re in order to really truly have empathy, you have to [00:27:00] be at the bottom of, of the curve or at the, in the pit. And so you really have to get in the pit and sometimes I can’t empathize with you in that pit. Like a white person could.

[00:27:10] But, you know, and so I think it’s just easier. And I think it’s, it’s also the big goal of these white groups is elevating people of color, elevating black people. It’s not, so it’s Boohoo. It’s like, Oh my gosh. Now I’m going to feel sorry for you. I mean, in general, I know you were saying this, but I’m just being blatant about it.

[00:27:29] It’s not. This is not a group to soothe your tears yet. We’re going to work you through the process, but, um, this is about elevating people of color and, you know, making sure that you’re stepping out of the way for them to lead and understanding using your privilege to elevate them. And that’s what these groups are about.

[00:27:47] It’s not about, Oh my gosh. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Right, right. And that’s, again, that’s a, that’s a stage where you process, but [00:28:00] the ultimate goal is elevation and how can you do that? And so, um, and sometimes the people can’t go through all that, then you just step to, you know, how can you elevate, you know, how can you get more people on your boards?

[00:28:12] But it’s hard to do that without first. You know, walking in their shoes or trying to empathy stage.

[00:28:18] Jennifer B: [00:28:18] Yeah. I think it’s a team sport, you know, I think there’s some work we need to do individually on our own learning and growth and our journey, making sure we’re taking all the steps and doing it as quickly as we can, but there’s a group aspect to the learning that needs to happen now to where we can.

[00:28:33] Sit very similar. I think to the, the affinity groups, structure of LGBTQ people, for example, finding each other in these companies where they were totally closeted and coming together and having a space to say, Oh my gosh, that happened to you too. Oh, D like, what did you do? And generating ideas and community and warrant, you know, processing the microaggressions and the macro aggressions of data daily life.

[00:28:57] So for white gatherings doing this work, I [00:29:00] agree. It’s, um, it’s processing. But it’s not a complaint. It’s not a place for tier, like, it might be a play place for tiers, but not for sort of living in the fragility. It’s feeling the fragility because we’re all gonna feel it. And then moving through it and saying, okay, so like how can we educate our organization each other?

[00:29:20] How can we be role models? Because I think people follow other people that look like them. So I think more people will come out of the woodwork as we see these things starting to happen. Many white people are closeted potential aspiring allies. And so can we by sanctioning something more official and naming it, I feel like there’s a whole group.

[00:29:40] That’s going to come out, come out, so to speak and, and be imperfect. And, you know, that’s where we have to start. There’s no replacement, there’s no way around. But through with this thing, like we just thank God because I know we’ve all been waiting for this moment without even knowing this moment would come.

[00:29:57] I think we we’ve all been, um, [00:30:00] Wanting this kind of breakthrough that we’re potentially experiencing right now.

[00:30:06] LaTonya: [00:30:06] Yeah. I agree. Yeah. It’s just so just what you said, the only way out is through, and this is in through there’s there’s a lot of luck, right? Um, got to change your shoes a lot, you know, you’re going to have to, yeah.

[00:30:23] You’re going to have to get in shape. Right. Get some endurance to make it through all that muck. Yeah. It’s this is where we’re at and this is what it takes. And unfortunately it took so much to get here. Yeah, but, um, it’s going to even take more to get through. So

[00:30:40] Jennifer B: [00:30:40] beautiful words. Thank you, Latanya, for everything you do.

[00:30:43] And for joining us today, it’s really incredible to meet you and know that you’re out there and I have the feeling we will be collaborating

[00:30:51] LaTonya: [00:30:51] again. I think so, too. So yeah.

[00:30:54] Jenn: [00:30:54] So good. Thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate it. [00:31:00]