Privilege, Perspective, and Power

It's been a long time since I have written a blog, sent a newsletter, or shared any of my work. I've been up to a lot this summer, including selling a house and moving across the country, but have felt a block when it comes to posting my work or sending out a newsletter. If I'm being honest with myself, a lot of the resistance comes from doubts and fear about my work feeling frivolous and tone deaf during a time in our country that feels very serious. I'm so damn lucky to have a house to sell, to be able to run my own business, and to afford to move to one of the most expensive cities in the world. I recognize my privilege but haven't been able to figure out what to do about it, so I do nothing. 

When the protests in Charlottesville turned deadly, I was working at a retreat for progressive movement leaders on a lake in Onaway, Michigan. There was no wifi and little cell reception, so we all learned of the news in the evening when everyone was together to close out the day. The moment of stunned silence is something I hope I never forget. I resolved after the retreat to double down on my commitment to my craft and to use it for good- personally as an outlet for exactly what had been blocking me in the first place, and more broadly to help others can learn and engage with each other.  

I got back to San Francisco and fell into a social media shame spiral, reading and watching post after post I could find about what happened. So much of what I saw was informative, depressing, and scary. Then I found Brené Brown's Facebook Live conversation, "We Need to Keep Talking About Charlottesville". As soon as she dove in, I grabbed my pencil and started taking notes--  not thinking about sharing, just thinking I need to write this down so I remember it. Then I heard Brené describe privilege as "opting out of the conversation because we feel we can't do it perfectly." I realized that I have been opting out this entire time, and that I need to engage and that I can do so in a way that might also help others. 

So- first of all I think all white people should watch her video. Brené explains why it's so important to keep the conversation going, and how we can do so in a productive and shame-free way. She also provides really helpful definitions, explanations, and examples of what exactly people mean when they are talking about privilege, perspective, and power. 

Once you've watched it, if you want to have a little pocket guide/reminder, you can find it here or on my Instagram


Next, please send me other informative videos or texts that I can translate in my way. I will try and incorporate them into a #100dayproject that I'm starting TODAY. It will be a blend of more serious topics and frivolous ones, because another thing I learned in Brené's Facebook live talk is that I need to take care of myself and continue to find beauty in the world. "We are fighting for civil rights, equality, justice-- but also so that people have access to the most meaningful experiences in life: Love, Joy, Belonging, Purpose. If we don't have those in our hearts, we can't fight for other people to have them.' 

PS. The first version of this didn't include the screenshot of the Video, but I want to use more photos in my work and will incorporate them into each of the 100 day project posts. Here is a video of how I made the update to the sketchnote in Procreate