Blackness in Business: 

A Reflection

 

This is written as the world around us shifts with protests, demonstrations, and conversation around Black Lives Matter. I took some time to really think about what had to be said and to fully express what this movement (and it’s firmer hold on the world) means to me and my business, and, ultimately, your experience working with me.

I’ve waited a while to write and share this. 

Mostly, I needed some space to breathe and sit with my feelings. I wrote this multiple times. 

I wrote it with anger. I wrote it with fear. I wrote it with worry. I wrote it with raw emotion.

And this time, while in the middle of a yoga session, I realized that I had found, momentarily, the mood I needed to be in in order to write and express what has been happening for me these past few weeks.

And what all of these happenings mean for me and my business.

The reality is, nothing changes in values for my business. I have always been #BlackLivesMatter in all it’s meanings. 

When I create a website, run your business, or update a website I do it as a woman of black heritage.

I cannot detach that reality from myself. We do all things without being able to detach it from the person we are.

We are a combination of our values, beliefs, experience, heritage, and ethnic backgrounds.

I speak, often, of how, when you set up your business, you must identify your values, your expectations, and your audience.

You must be comfortable navigating the world as yourself. That there is a safety in being yourself.

There are two realities that need addressing in this approach.

The first is that often, as a woman of black heritage, I do not always feel safe navigating the world as myself. There is, often, less safety in being 100% myself and I constantly feel I’m having to figure out how to navigate spaces that, most often, do not reflect what I see in the mirror or that of my familial environments.

The second is that everyone has the right to feel safe in any given space. Equality means that everyone is seen as equal and of value. It also has to be said that, right now, my focus is on black lives; embracing that richness of my kinship while also fighting for a rectification and a shift from current inequalities that are steeped in historical actions, cultures, approaches, and colonization.

I speak of identifying my values and expectations, or stating my audience and, today, I need to clarify this a step further.

    1. My values are #BLM. I recognize nuances. And believe that we can be many things in one moment. That as humans we are not one thing. I am many things. And a Black Lives Matters advocate and supporter is one of them. I stand proudly with this cause because of my personal experiences, my values, my heritage, and (if that is not enough) my ability to research, read, and critically evaluate everything I consume.

    2. My expectation extends to my audience. I expect that my audience, especially my white and non-black PoC clients, understands the humanity of me, my black peers and colleagues, my friends and family, the truth of my lived experience, and recognize that this space is BLM. And, not only do they accept that but that it brings joy and happiness that this is a place that actively supports and spends time with BLM, BIPoC, and is headed by a woman who is continuing to learn to extend that integrative effort beyond her own lived experience.

    3. By it’s extension, this space is not for people who are:
    • not on board with these values because they go against their own deeply engrained views of the world and

 

  • not willing to understand the collective and individual trauma that has been going on these past months and years with the loss of life: Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery… right through to Stephen Lawrence, which is the loss that started my lived experience of black murder in 1993 (although, of course, this goes beyond both my and your lived experience)

 

This space, this business, these services best fit with people who are looking to make the world a better place, who are striving to do better and be better, and who believe and understand that society is stronger when we work together and love each other. This is not a space for debating alllivesmatter over blacklivesmatter.

This isn’t a space for stating that love conquers all – because it doesn’t.

In this space, love is about being willing to listen, learn, and adapt to other peoples’ needs, to accommodate other people’s pains and to be better with the ways we impact and influence other people’s lives.

I deeply hope that this space continues to be right for you. I hope that you will continue to share my space and that we can connect further with a shared connection of our approach to the world.

In the coming weeks, I will share a list of resources that will help any white and non-black BIPoC clients to do better and understand more about what is happening very personally to me and my community. I ask that if you need those resources and/or want to talk about these things that you are mindful that to ask me or to ask another black person can be very emotionally draining for us. We live and breathe this 24/7. While I do not want to push you away, I also reserve the right to not reply and/or not reply quickly. This is not personal to you, but more of a self-care barrier for me.

Moving forward, this space will talk more and promote more of my personal values. There will be posts about challenging internalized structural racism and white supremacy, and about how we can use this new awakening to do better.

Please remember this is not a 2 week glitch in history, this is movement that isn’t going anywhere. 

All the best,

Hannah