I’m scared but I’m still showing up (and so can you)

Written by Rorri Geller-Mohamed, LCSW

January 14, 2020

Finding my place as a white woman and mom in anti-racism and racial equity work has been a lifetime journey. It’s one that I continue to be on. I still worry about saying and doing the wrong thing but also know that I can’t allow my fear to keep me frozen from taking action or let it keep me silent. Anti-racism work can feel uncomfortable, scary, and risky. But I also know that if I don’t step up, I’m being complacent and allowing racism to continue. And it’s only an option for me because of my white privilege.

So instead, I’m committing this year to do more. You may have heard of the strategy of picking a word or phrase for the year that guides you and helps to keep you in your intentions. This year the word I chose is FEARLESS. I’ve decided that I’m going to show up more and do more in my life, with my family, in my community, and professionally so that my anti-racism values are aligned with my actions and I’m taking part in building a racially equitable world. Guiding my intentions with the word fearless means that I can focus on taking brave and courageous actions. The 2 ways that I’m starting the year to do this are by launching my podcast Racially Responsible and opening registration for our Anti-Racism Parenting White Affinity Program.

I’m excited about the Racially Responsible podcast because it gives me an opportunity to learn, grow, and share as I interview people around the best practices of being anti-racist, hearing racial equity success stories, and feeling supported by other people in the trenches. I also want to use it as an opportunity to be vulnerable and share some of my journey with this work, including the lessons learned and mistakes that I know I will inevitably make along the way. My hope is that it will take away some of the fear, shame, guilt, and worry that prevents white people from taking anti-racist action.

The other action that I’ve been working on and developing with Kendall Glover, our Racial Equity and Liberation Consultant at U Power Change is the creation of an affinity program for white moms on anti-racism parenting. It’s focused on helping white moms do the emotional and internal work that is needed to live an actively anti-racist life, gain the skills needed as a parent to both have the difficult conversations related to race and racism, and strategies to build a more racially equitable world for our kids to grow up in.

There is a lot of responsibility, accountability, and openness to learning and growing that comes with developing and running an effective affinity program in ensuring that it’s anti-racist and can actually achieve its goal of helping white people to take anti-racist action in their life and parent in a way that not only helps to build the racially equitable society that our kids deserve to grow up in but also helps them to navigate our current white supremacy culture.

Here’s an example that you can read where it was done poorly and caused a lot of unintentional harm: Safe Space for White Students’ Backfires at University of Maryland

Here’s an example of how it can make a positive difference when done well: Becoming an Anti-Racist White Ally: How a White Affinity Group Can Help

Taking fearless action despite that it can feel uncomfortable and scary is what it looks like to align your anti-racist values with your actions. It also means being open and ready to be called out for messing up. It means that I have to be prepared to listen and make changes.

That being said, I hope that you will join me in taking fearless and brave action in 2020 to be aligned with your anti-racism values, your desire to live in a racially equitable world and to raise our kids to navigate and challenge the world we live in now as we work together to build a safe, loving, and inclusive world.

If you are ready to take action and are looking for somewhere to start.

Here are 2 ways that we can help:

  1. Join our new Racially Responsible Podcast Community Facebook group. Get a behind the scenes look at what we are working on, be the first to hear about new episodes, have a supportive space to continue the conversation, and have the opportunity to suggest what you would like to hear.

  3. Register for our Anti-Racism Parenting White Affinity Program. Plus, if you register by Jan 24th you receive the BONUS: Challenging Our White Privilege Self-Reflection Kit and an invitation to join a live virtual Self-Reflection Circle.

To being fearless.

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