Black Lives Matter: Statement of support, and June benefit for empathy and strategy sessions

Let me start by saying that I’m afraid of getting this wrong.  I’m afraid I’m going to say, or do, the wrong thing.  But my Black friends, and folks I follow, are urging us white people to speak anyway.  To do what we can anyway.  To know that yes, we will make mistakes.  We will need to allow ourselves to be corrected, with humility, and then go out and keep risking making more mistakes.  So I’m doing this, and I hope that all of you—especially my fellow white people—will join me by speaking up, in your own ways and in your own spaces.

Racism, and specifically anti-Blackness, is at epidemic proportions right now.  We’re seeing people mobilizing to change this, in many and varied ways, including in-person protests; calling and emailing elected officials; signing petitions; donating to Black-led and Black-justice-focused nonprofits; financially choosing to support Black-owned businesses; talking with friends and family about racism, and gently but firmly speaking up when we hear them making remarks that may in some way uphold white supremacy.

We need to recognize that the United States (and surely other countries as well, but I will speak to my own) was founded and built on white-supremacist beliefs.  And we need to now do everything we can to reverse that.  To dismantle it.  To replace it with a society that truly reflects liberty and justice for all.

I’ve been asking myself in what ways I can best lend my power and privilege to the cause.  So far, I have donated money, signed petitions, emailed decision makers, joined Facebook groups dedicated to unpacking and overturning white supremacy… and I have been making more efforts to speak up, both in person and on social media, when I see and hear statements that uphold white supremacist systems and ways of thinking.  I have also been posting action alerts on social media, encouraging other people to take these actions.

I plan to continue with all of these efforts.

But I also think that my greatest strength as a person, and as a professional, is in my abilities to empathize and to strategize.  I want to bring these skills to the revolution.

So, for the remainder of June, I am doing another sliding-scale, pay-what-you can offer for my empathy and/or strategic planning sessions by phone or video chat.  My normal rate is $95 per hour, but I ask that you pay whatever you are able and willing to pay, and I will donate 20% of June’s proceeds to Black Lives Matter. 

If you are Black, I will offer these services completely free of charge, and I will also donate $20 per session to the organization of your choice (up to $200 total). I recognize and respect that you may not want or trust a white person to hold a safe space for you to express yourself, and I completely accept that.  If you are open to it, I promise that I will listen and hear whatever you say, without any “yes, but” or “well, have you considered…” or similar nonsense.

White people (and non-Black people of color), if you need someone with whom to process your feelings of shock, sadness, anger, guilt, shame, or stuckness, please message me to schedule a time.  I will hold a no-judgment space to help you work through these.  We have all been steeped in a racist society, and we need safe spaces to help us talk about it, unpack it, and begin to move forward.

An hour with me could look like me simply listening to whatever you need to say, holding space and offering minimal feedback.  Or, it could be more of a dialogue if you prefer.  Or, it could be helping you to brainstorm ideas for actions you would like to take.  Regardless, I will listen with respect and care.  And 20% of your sliding-scale payment will go to Black Lives Matter on July 1st. Message me at maren@dreamintochange.com to schedule a session.

We are in this together, folks.  We can do this.  Let’s be gentle with ourselves, while taking consistent action.  The momentum has begun; let’s see how far we can shift our culture, together.

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