Sphere of Influence
Because I had committed to doing something differently, I witnessed my sphere of influence grow. In fact, when I take into account the numerous training sessions and personal growth courses I have taken over the years, I am able to recognize just how vast my sphere of influence is:
Parents and Caregivers
After completing the Jai Institute for Parenting course, I became a certified Parent Coach. In no time my network of parents expanded across the globe.
What did this mean on ground? Well, it legitimized my racial equity talks at school parent counsel meetings when I was asked to present on doing anti-racist work differently. And it allowed me to share ideas with other parents about how to become anti-racist caregivers at home and in community.
People Who Disagreed
I was able to connect with people who denied the need for anti-racist work today. This was primarily because I had committed to releasing the urge to judge people for beliefs I disagreed with. Instead, I got curious about why they might believe what they did. When I could, I even created spaces to ask them if my guess was right.
When I was right, I could share my thoughts about the impact of their beliefs on people in my circles. Many times this openness was met with gratitude – people don’t know what they don’t know. And most times they don’t want to hurt others. With new information, they, too, were willing to re-think some of those beliefs.
If I was wrong, I had a better sense of the depth of the resistance to change. I considered this data as I developed new strategies to do this work.
We cannot deny how dangerous anti-racist work can be. And so when I have had an opportunity to engage with people who do not agree with the need for racial equity, I am also able to assess the level of danger I may be working with. In those moments, I could actively protect myself and my circles. Sometimes that looked like safety planning. Or, when I needed to, I called in people to engage in these conversations in my place.
Because I have worked in public spaces, the opportunity to share what it means to do anti-racist work differently has also included opinion pieces and news stories. There, I share my concerns about the state of anti-racism in today’s context. And that allows me to spread the word on key issues at hand – ones that often need all of our networks to plug in and actively address.
The Power of Commitment
Because I was committed to doing anti-racist work, I was committed to speaking about what it meant to “do it differently.” And it was my commitment to both of those ideas that allowed me not only to recognize my sphere of influence, but also to get creative with how and when I would make use of it to bring on anti-racist change.