I dare not lie and say I have all the answers to fighting systematic racism or the social injustice that continues to plague black folks. In fact, a few weeks ago I was just as angry, tired, and confused as the next person. I cried my tears, stewed in my frustration, and vented until I could vent no more.
I had an honest moment with myself, admitting that all the reposting in the world did little to fix the issues at hand. After coming to grips with this reality, I decided I was going to do something that mattered, but what? Between work, a baby, and COVID, I knew protesting in the streets was a no go for me. Thankfully, my Sorority sent out a call-to-action that included several ways I could make a difference from home. Once I worked through that initial list, I stumbled upon resource after resource and even created a few ideas of my own.
Here is a rundown of some of my faves thus far.
When We All Vote
If you are like me, you have seen activists everywhere harping on the importance of voting. There is a reason for that. Our vote dictates more than who becomes President, it influences who serves as District Attorney, Mayor, City Councilmen, and so forth.
Make a concerted effort to learn more about the issues affecting your state and hometown. Next, look at which candidates seem most aligned with the needs of your community. Take note of their stance regarding social injustice and other issues facing the black community. Mark your calendar with reminders of election days in your city. Finally, if you've moved, changed your name, or just aren't registered to vote, you can visit whenweallvote.org to register.
See Something, Say Something
We often discount the power of our voice. If you notice a lack of diversity or an instance of social injustice, call it out and ask for help changing it. It is as simple as writing or calling your Congressman to state your concerns and what you'd like to see happen as a result of those concerns. If you're not sure where to begin, NAACP.org does a great job of laying out some of these concerns in an easy-to-understand format that you can use as a guide.
Lack of diversity at work? Write your CEO to respectfully explain your experience as a black employee, why it matters and solutions for change. You may be surprised to see the impact your voice truly makes.
Participate in the Census
There's not enough emphasis placed on truly understanding the importance of the census.
The census is vital to change because it directly affects billions of federal government budgetary allocations. These allocations could be the difference between funding community centers in black neighborhoods or elsewhere. Nearly everything you can think of is impacted by the census – public transit systems, highway repairs and construction, free lunch, daycare, and housing assistance just to name a few. In addition, the census determines congressional representation. It is also used to draw congressional legislative districts as well as state legislative districts. The opportunity only comes once in a decade and it's here now. If you haven't already completed your 2020 Census, visit 2020Census.gov. The process is quick and painless but makes a world of difference.
With black consumers spending more than any other demographic group, now is the time to put your money where your mouth is. Only shop with socially responsible companies who reflect good diversity practices and are in the fight for equality with us. Be conscious about supporting Black-owned businesses and double down on your philanthropic efforts by contributing to organizations that are making a difference in your community. Not sure whether you should support a brand? Go follow @pullupforchange. You will find diversity stats and action plans for a ton of major brands with the list growing daily.
Use Your Influence
Been sitting on a great idea? Now's your chance to put it out there. Get creative about effectuating change by leading your own movement. Do not despise small beginnings. If everyone did something positive, imagine the difference we could make.
For my part, I have hosted a little black dress photo challenge to bring awareness to the slaying of Breonna Taylor and raise funds for justice. Aside from this, I created an email template that can be used as a starting point for discussing workplace diversity. The outcome of these efforts has been phenomenal. A huge reminder that we all have what it takes to fight the power by using our voice and our resources.
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Kandice Guice is a lifestyle and beauty writer who doubles as an attorney and entrepreneur. She prides herself on helping multidimensional women discover personal and professional fulfillment by encouraging them to live with ambition, sass, and a whole lot of pizzazz. When Kandice isn't closing corporate transactions or writing blog posts, she is usually cheering on her husband as a football coach or looking for new travel adventures with friends and family. Check her out at kandiceguice.com and follow her on all things social @kandiceguice.
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September is National Self-Care Awareness Month, so for my girlies who have been putting off self-care, here’s your opportunity to start. Self-care means exactly what it says: taking care of self. Why is it important? Well, many of us have busy lives that may include careers, family, and activities that consume us daily. Taking some time for self regularly can help prevent depression, stress, anxiety, and burnout.
In February 2023, Future Forum polled 10,243 people in six countries, including the U.S., and 40% said they are experiencing burnout, and 46% of that number are women. According to CNBC, many factors contributing to burnout include companies demanding employees return to the office, hiring freezes, and layoffs.
Psychologist Debbie Sorensen explained to CNBC why women and millennials are experiencing burnout in higher numbers. “We haven’t had time to recover from the trauma of what we’ve been through the last few years,” she said. “Women and young people, in particular, are putting an immense amount of pressure on themselves to keep going, keep working, no matter the cost.”
As women, particularly Black women, we tend to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. Other people's problems become our problems, and then we are expected to show up to work and show up for our family and friends with a smile on our faces. Whew, chile! What if we are having a bad day? How are we supposed to cope if we have to be everything to everyone? Well, here’s your sign to make time for yourself, especially on the days when you are feeling down.
Below is a list of self-care ideas for when you are having a bad day.
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Spend time in nature
Sometimes something as simple as surrounding yourself with trees, grass, and/ or water can improve your mood exponentially. The American Psychological Association’s (APA) research shows that spending time in nature can improve attention, lower stress, and reduce the risk of psychiatric disorders.
Got to a Spa
There’s nothing like going to a spa. You can relax in a sauna, get a massage, and just be. According to research, massages help release serotonin and dopamine, which are often referred to as “feel good” hormones, that will instantly perk you up and have you going about your day with a smile on your face.
When was the last time you did arts and crafts? Drawing a picture, painting, or even coloring can help you discover your inner child, thus boosting your mood. Purchase an adult coloring book, or go to a paint-and-sip class by yourself, or you can make it a group activity and bring your besties.
Look your best
The old saying, “When you look good, you feel good,” didn’t just come out of thin air. There’s some truth to it. The Kentucky Counseling Center shared a link between self-care and feeling good. “Self-care regimens are extremely important not just to stabilize your day but to make you feel great. Simple things like getting a facial, taking care of your hair done, or exercising can make you confident because when you look good, you also feel good,” according to its website.
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There’s a reason why it is suggested that you breathe when you begin feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. Breathing brings oxygen back into your body, and WebMD reports that it can decrease the fight or flight response that happens when you are stressed.
Spend time with babies
I don’t know about you, but nothing makes me smile quicker than a baby, especially a smiling baby. If you’re the same way, then spending time with a baby or babies may help put you in a better mood, too.
Last but certainly not least, do nothing. There’s nothing like laying in your bed and not being forced to do anything. Stay in this moment and use this time to relax and replenish your energy.
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