Happy #BlackMagicMonday, Kings & Queens! This week, I have the pleasure of introducing you to a woman who inspires me, challenges me, and is a true agent for social and racial justice in our country. Courtney Parker West is a community organizer, teacher leadership coach, writer, consultant, and aspiring connoisseur of moderately priced wines. She is interested in issues pertaining to race, identity, power, how our narratives shape the impact we leave in the world. She is black, Meskwaki, and Jewish and draws strength from the fortitude and legacy of her ancestors. Parker West lives with her husband, a fellow community organizer, public school educator, and womanist, in Raleigh, NC.
Happy #BlackMagicMonday! Meet Rae Burgess, entrepreneur, public speaker, event planner, and strategist. At only 23, Rae has started and led multiple successful businesses, mentored Black women who are interested in starting their own businesses, and continues to redefine and challenge her personal bar for success.
In a world where bad news is constantly drowning out good news, I’ve found it to be a healthy practice to carve out intentional time each week to reflect on the things that inspired you, brought you joy, and made you think.
That being said, this is the first installment of a new weekly series called What We’ve Loving This Week, a run-down of books, articles, blogs, people, and products that Black professionals should be loving! So let’s get right into it!
Donald Trump and I live in two very different Americas.
He lives in an America where irresponsibly spewing baseless judgments, accusations and declarations about anyone and anything without justification will win you an army of devoted supporters. I live in an America where presenting a well-researched argument with multiple scholastic references will still leave my knowledge and competence of the subject area at hand in question. He lives in an America where there are no consequences for a consistently poor and questionable track record of work. I live in an America where making one small mistake will impact my entire reputation and be leveraged as the reason for why I am unqualified for certain positions or opportunities. He lives in America where treating people with disrespect isn’t a reflection of anything but his own poor manners. I live in an America where emphasizing a point a little too strongly makes me aggressive, unapproachable, and part of the reason why Black women are so unlovable. He lives in an America that excuses and rationalizes his pervasive character flaws. I live in an America where my oversights are representative of everything that’s wrong with Black America.
It’s been a painful and challenging week. From stomaching the horrifying deaths of two unarmed Black men at the hands of white police officers, to watching or being among the protesters in Charlotte being teargassed, to being subjected to listening to the distorted, institutional biased media coverage, all while having to show up and be fully present at work and in our daily routines, I’ve straddled between feeling drained and distraught all week.
I am exhausted. Exhausted from seeing the final, tragic moments of my brothers’ and sisters’ lives plastered across TV screens and computer monitors around the country. Exhausted from living in a country where Black people are seen and treated as the dangerous and provoking enemy despite being on the receiving end of centuries-long genocide and murder at the hands of white people. Exhausted from having to explain to my white friends and colleagues why I seem to “always be talking about race.” Exhausted from carrying the burden of systemic racism on my back, knowing that it will rear its ugly head at some point in my day. Exhausted from the incessant reminders that Black lives should be feared and ended, rather than valued and understood. Exhausted from seeing white people go on about their merry lives while I struggle to feel safe in my skin. Exhausted from living within the confines of an inherently racist country, knowing that there are limitations to my freedom. Exhausted from having to explain why my life matters.
We are beyond excited to launch a new series called #BlackMagicMondays, where we will be featuring inspiring Black professionals who demonstrate and embody the essence of #blackprofessionalmagic in their lives everyday! While one of the key purposes of this blog is to provide critical insight and into the systems and institutions that we all engage within everyday, another important purpose is to elevate the authentic stories, perspectives, voices and accomplishments of Black professionals, to continue to show the world how magical and powerful we are.
So, without further ado, we’d like to introduce you to today’s #BlackMagicMondays feature, Joy Monet Kajogbola!