It’s time to have the talk…
February is Black History Month. A month that reminds us of the work done by those that came before us. For me, it is the time to think about building the next chapter in our story, because it’s important to create our own history. As you think about your next chapter, consider the actions you will take because each step can and will impact your future. Here’s a video I recorded about being underrepresented and how you can use it to connect with others:
Looking back on history is great but you must also remember to look forward and create your own. That is why I share monthly highlights to boost you and help you think about how to live that SUPERCHARGED® life. For this Kwanza Jones Chronicles, here are some highlights:
- Did you know that Black investors are only 3% of venture capitalists, with the majority being white males at about 58%? More importantly is that these 58% control 93% of the venture capital dollars! Where does this place Blacks and other minority groups? That is why I love organizations like Harlem Capital, a venture capital firm on a mission to change the face of entrepreneurship by investing in 1,000 diverse founders over the next 20 years. Instead of waiting for other VC firms to solve the problem of inequity in the VC space, they are taking action.
- This Black History Month was marked by the horrific circumstances around the killing of Tyre Nichols (and, Keenan Anderson and so many who came before them). In this year’s SOTU, President Biden mentioned “the talk” — the conversation that all Black Americans know too well. It wasn’t that long ago that I was stopped by an officer for Driving While Black. I was driving from Venice to Santa Monica, enjoying a conversation with a colleague, laughing and bopping to a song that was hitting right. I looked in the mirror and saw the lights and pulled over at the first chance. The officer came to the window and asked if it was my car. I asked him why he had stopped me and he, again, asked if it was my car. I responded by asking him why he thought that it wouldn’t be my car and that I would be driving someone else’s car. He couldn’t (wouldn’t, let’s be honest) answer. It never ends. Our encounter ended without incident, although it certainly changed our mood.
- I was at an event recently where I had the pleasure and privilege of meeting Dr. Jennifer Lynn Eberhardt, a MacArthur Genius Grant recipient who looks at racial bias from the standpoint of reform. Dr. Eberhardt is a catalyst. She has reviewed the body cam footage from interactions that have resulted in tragedies, including the George Floyd footage. Her findings are striking! From interaction to interaction, she can tell in the first 27 seconds if an interaction is going to take a violent turn. There is a set of words and actions that are common and identifiable in each scenario. We need consequential action every single day.
- If you know me, then you know I like to use my voice and speak my truth without constraint. We need to share our experiences with others. We need to have these conversations with intention and action. That’s what will bring about real change. That’s why my team and I created this playlist. Let it ignite your inner fire and inspire you to RISE to action.
- As you may know, I am a proud supporter of Bennett College. I have served on the Board of Directors and provided financial support numerous times. HBCUs are an integral part of American history and Bennett Belles have been playing a part, being #Queens since the start. The Greensboro Four famously sat at the lunch counter one February afternoon; the next afternoon (and many afternoons after that), they were joined by Belles. This is why Bennett College holds a special place in my heart. While I didn’t attend Bennett College, my mother, and aunt are both Belles, so it’s a significant part of my story.
- Last month I had the SUPERCHARGED building demolished to make space for a new one. I consider it an opportunity for a fresh start with new memories and new energy. Looking at the demolition process, I was reminded that tearing down old walls can sometimes be the best way to make progress. That is why, instead of always looking back at the things that have happened in the past, I focus on looking forward and creating history. The new space will be a place for all members of the Kwanzaverse to collaborate and connect. It will also be an inclusive space where we can have open and important conversations as a community.
- You know that when it comes to health equity, not only do I talk the talk, I walk the walk – I served on the national board of Susan G. Komen as a means to expanding programs and education for Black and Brown people. I am thrilled that my time had an #impact. Recently, I was approached by the American Heart Association to discuss equity barriers around heart attacks and strokes in diverse populations. These are important conversations that my team and I are passionate about.
This Black History Month, I encourage you to challenge yourself and walk the walk with me — pick up Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice that Shapes What We See, Think, and Do — it is an excellent read that has the power to change the way that you look at the world. Let me know here in the Boost Friends™ Community how it goes! If you’re not already a member, check out this link to learn more.
Who loves you? I do!
Bye for now,
Upcoming: March is Women’s History Month. Just like the month of February, it’s a month that reminds me of the work done by so many. In the upcoming Kwanza Jones Chronicles, I’ll be talking about how you can make powerful moves by owning your power, just like the Queens that came before us. Stay tuned!