Articles Tagged with: Sacred Fire Creative

Value in the Valley: Empowering Women to Reach Their Highest Potential

On September 27, 2021, the Oregon Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO Oregon) will hold a virtual event entitled “Value in the Valley.” It is a message to encourage every professional woman to climb their highest mountain and become who they are capable of becoming. The guest speaker for this event is Tammy Butler Robinson.

We invite you to join us at this event. You can register here: https://bit.ly/33FVY7g

About the event

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, and how you can still come out of it.” – Maya Angelou

Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once wrote that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. You may know which destination you’re headed to, you may know how to get there, and you may even have that strong desire to arrive there. But you will never reach that destination if you don’t make that first, small, single step.

Our journey to greatness begins this way. We may have the passion, the drive, and the plan to make our dreams a reality. But without taking that first step, our dreams will be just that—dreams. And there’s no assurance that the journey itself will be easy. More likely than not, we’ll be called upon to make sacrifices, as well as to face setbacks and heartaches. Nonetheless, if you truly believe that your dreams are worth pursuing, that you’re willing to persevere against all challenges, that you stay true to your values, and that you exercise self-care no matter how hard it gets, you will see the value in the valley and finally reach your destination.

About NAWBO

The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) is the unified voice of over 10 million women-owned businesses in the United States representing the fastest-growing segment of the economy.

Founded in 1975, NAWBO propels women entrepreneurs into economic, social, and political spheres of power worldwide by:

  • Strengthening the wealth-creating capacity of our members and promoting economic development within the entrepreneurial community
  • Creating innovative and effective change in the business culture
  • Building strategic alliances, coalitions, and affiliations
  • Transforming public policy and influencing opinion-makers

About Tammy Butler Robinson

Tammy Butler is a proven leader with a strong background in housing and community development, expertise in public finance and management, and a deep commitment to improving communities and the lives of women in Indiana. As a Managing Principal with Engaging Solutions, she has successfully led and managed the company’s call center business and co-managed the firm’s planning and community outreach sector. Prior to that, Tammy spent over a decade in State government as a fiscal analyst for the Indiana House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee; Assistant Director of the Indiana State Budget Agency; Director of Claims Management for the Family and Social Services Agency; and Data Director for the Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning.

Tammy’s passion for improving the lives of women and families in Indiana extends beyond her corporate life. She is pastor of The House of God Church in Indianapolis, leading a congregation whose members are among the most underserved and underrepresented populations in the state. Her problem-solving skills, knowledge, and experience engaging stakeholders in the community planning process have led to the creation of multiple programs that have changed lives.

Tammy lives in McCordsville, Indiana with her two children, Myles and Brian Jr.


Maria Ressa, Journalist and Activist

Journalism wasn’t always a life-threatening field of study. Times have changed, however, and some journalists have become activists who risk life and limb—even their freedom—to publish the truth. According to a New York Times article, 2018 was the most dangerous year on record for journalists; this trend has not shown any sign of waning.

No one knows this better than Filipino-American journalist Maria Ressa. She was Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2018, part of this year’s Bloomberg 50 List, former bureau chief of CNN Philippines and Indonesia, and founder of Manila-based news outlet Rappler. In June of this year, in the middle of a global pandemic, she was convicted of cyber-libel.

Who is Maria Ressa?

Maria Ressa was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States with her family as a young child. She spent her early years living in New Jersey and studied English and Theater at Princeton University. In the 1980s, after the regime of dictator Ferdinand Marcos came to an end, Ressa decided to return to the Philippines. Back to her roots, she discovered journalism and spent the next 30 years as a television and broadcast journalist working around Southeast Asia. While working as a journalist, she had her first interview with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who would later become president of the Philippines in 2016.

She is the Chief Executive Officer of Rappler, which she founded in January 2012 along with three other female founders and 12 journalists. With the ultimate goal of building communities while using social media to do good, Rappler has grown into a well-respected independent news outlet known for its investigative journalism.

Before founding Rappler, Maria Ressa spent six years as the news division leader of ABS-CBN, formerly the Philippines’ largest TV network. Earlier this year, ABS-CBN was shut down due to legal issues, although many believe President Duterte had a direct hand in closing the networking giant down. This closure is just another example of the kind of political climate Ressa and other Filipino journalists face.

Covering Duterte’s “War on Drugs”

In 2016, under Ressa’s guidance, Rappler first started to cover President Duterte’s “army of trolls” who were seeding and spreading fake news to millions of his followers online during the Philippine presidential campaign. When he eventually won the election and became President, Rappler began to write stories on the administration’s “War on Drugs,” which killed over 7,000 people between July 2016 and July 2017.

During this dark time, President Duterte ordered the Philippine police to kill anyone they suspected of drug connections. Unsurprisingly, only small-time and usually lower-class drug users and street-side pushers were caught and killed in this brutal war. It left international syndicates and influential drug dealers who control the drug trade unscathed. Reporting on this is what put Rappler and Ressa in the spotlight and right in front of President Duterte’s line of fire. That would be the beginning of Ressa’s legal battles.

Her Legal Battles

Maria Ressa’s current legal battles stem from an 8-year old story that Rappler published alleging a Filipino business person had links to illegal drugs and human trafficking. The story was published in 2012, four months after the “cyber-libel law” was passed. In 2014, the story was re-published due to a typo, and the courts declared that it fell under the jurisdiction of the said law.

During the proceedings, the judge stated that Rappler did not offer proof of their allegations and convicted Maria Ressa with cyber-libel. She now faces the possibility of serving six years in jail. According to Ressa and Rappler, the case was politically motivated. Since 2018, there have been 11 cases filed against Rappler, including tax evasion and foreign ownership violations.

As her legal battles grew, so did her profile, both locally and internationally. She has become known worldwide as a symbol of standing up for the truth and battling an authoritarian president and would-be dictator. As Maria Ressa has said in an interview, “In a battle for facts, in a battle for truth, journalism is activism.”

An Inspiring Voice

The 2020 documentary “A Thousand Cuts,” produced by fellow Filipino-American Ramona S. Diaz, features Ressa. The film covers Maria Ressa and Rappler as they put up a fight against President Duterte’s attack on them and, inevitably, on freedom of the press. Throughout the film, Maria Ressa is a beacon of hope and strength-showing her humanity by voicing out her fears, yet never giving up on what she believes is right.

She has become an inspiring voice around the world. When Ressa talks about the attacks on freedom of speech, the truth, and facts, she is not just talking about the state of the Philippine press and politics but the state of the world. In this day and age, where people can get the news with a click of the button, they can also get fake news and lies at just the same speed. It has become Maria’s advocacy to stand up for facts and not give in to political pressure.

Currently, Maria Ressa is out on bail and still publishing. Rappler continues to cover the Philippines’ daily news, together with fearless views on the current Philippine administration. Ressa continues to stand for what she believes in and to fight the legal cases piling up against her and Rappler. It is interesting to note that in “A Thousand Cuts,” she asks the lawyer what the worst case can be filed against her. Her lawyer answered that it didn’t matter because the government would find the opportunity to file any claim against her, even child abuse, in their attempt to silence her.

From journalist to activist, Maria Ressa inspires journalists and women around the world with her strength and poise. She is an excellent example of the power of an individual who refuses to give up on facts and continues to fight for the truth.


NAWBO Oregon Past President Chosen for Exclusive Accelerated Growth Training

NAWBO Oregon past president and Sacred Fire Creative founder Malee Ojua joins a select group of 25 women business owners undergoing the NAWBO Accelerated Growth Program, a 10-month business leadership training created by NAWBO and sponsored by Wells-Fargo. 

Portland, OR, March 2021—Sacred Fire Creative (SFC) announced the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) selected SFC CEO Malee Ojua as part of its new learning program. Open to only 25 participants, the NAWBO Accelerated Growth Program helps women business owners scale up their enterprises.

The NAWBO Accelerated Growth Program aims to increase its participants’ market competitiveness.

The NAWBO Accelerated Growth Program is an offering of the organization’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Development. The program, launched in 2021, is a top-tier educational plan designed to help women business owners increase their competitiveness in their respective markets. It’s also meant to set them up for higher levels of growth and expansion. Wells-Fargo sponsors the program.

Participants are to attend eight one-hour online learning sessions for four months. Topics covered in these sessions include developing a leadership mindset, building successful teams, strategic planning, and brand messaging. After completing the program, they will take part in mentorship/mastermind groups for six months. They will also receive other benefits that will help them grow their business.

According to NAWBO, women own 40% of all privately held companies in the country today. Still, the size of their revenues remains significantly below other types of businesses. Educating women business owners enables them to progress to the same or greater levels.

NAWBO is a network of women business owners in the US formed in 1975. Its purpose is to share resources and to provide mutual support among its members. It also lobbies economic and public policies benefiting women entrepreneurs.

Sacred Fire Creative is named one of the top digital marketing agencies in Portland.

SFC is a Portland-based digital marketing agency specializing in helping its clients build a legacy through solid branding. With a unique and robust brand, SFC clients can forge deep connections with its customers, thus creating a loyal community. Among the companies that SFC has worked with are ArisGlobal Software, RiverWest Acupuncture, Johnson & Johnson, and NYU Langone Medical Center. Expertise.com named SFC one of the top digital marketing agencies in the city.

Aside from her role as SFC head, Malee Ojua is also involved with NAWBO’s Oregon chapter. She is the chapter’s current program director and served as its president in 2020. Additionally, she hosts bimonthly virtual forums on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB). Ojua participated in the Goldman Sachs 10KSB program in 2019. A former aeronautics engineer, she founded SFC in 2014.


Kamala Harris – A Woman of Many Firsts

The year 2020 has been historic in more ways than one. Despite being a year that many people would like to forget, it was also filled with remarkable firsts. It was the first time the US elected a woman to the second-highest position in government. Vice president-elect Kamala Harris made history and has become a bright light in these dark times. Not only is she the first woman vice president, but she is also the first African-American and first Asian-American to occupy this esteemed position. 

She shattered the infamous glass ceiling for women by being elected vice-president. More than that, she also broke through the “concrete ceiling” – a term used to describe the obstacles women of color particularly face. She went through it all with positive energy and a smile on her face. Kamala is a beacon of hope for women around the world, as she herself said during her victory speech, “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.” 

Her early years

Kamala Devi Harris was born in 1964 to immigrant parents, her mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris from India, and her father Donald Harris from Jamaica. Both her parents migrated to the United States to study for doctorate degrees at the University of California, Berkeley. This is where they met, got married, started a family, and continued pursuing their own careers. It would be natural to assume, and rightly so, that the environment that Kamala and her sister Maya were exposed to at a young age helped shape who they are today. With both parents being accomplished in their own fields and active in the civil rights movement, it was inevitable that these factors would influence Kamala and Maya in their own career choices. 

Kamala has said, “My parents marched and shouted in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. It’s because of them and the folks who also took to the streets to fight for justice that I am where I am.” 

Her parents divorced in 1971, and Kamala and her sister were mostly raised by their single mother. They moved to Montreal, where Kamala finished high school before going back to the US to study political science and economics at Howard University. She, later on, obtained her law degree from Hastings College. 

Her mother Shayamala had a huge impact on Kamala’s life, and she often mentions her even today. In her own words, “There is no title or honor on earth I’ll treasure more than to say I am Shyamala Gopalan Harris’s daughter.” Sadly, her mother passed away from cancer in 2009 and is not here today to see how far her daughter has come. Despite this, Kamala never fails to mention just how much influence her mother had on her life and accomplishments.

A woman of many firsts

Throughout her life and her career, Kamala has been breaking barriers. We all know that she’s about to become the first woman Vice President, but she had many firsts even before she made her presence known on the national stage. She was also the first woman, the first African-American, and the first Asian-American woman to become the attorney general of California. In the Senate, she is the first Indian-American to serve as Senator while also being only the second African-American woman to hold this position. She is also the first Vice President to graduate from a historically black college, Howard University. 

Her husband Doug Emhoff also contributes to her string of firsts – he will be the first second gentleman and the first Jewish spouse of a US Vice President. Kamala didn’t set out to become the first in all these things – she accomplished them by following her own path and working hard towards her goals. Something we can all learn from. Kamala serves as an inspiration to women all over the world. She also shows that women can truly be trailblazers in any field.

Her love of cooking

For all her professional accomplishments, Kamala has also become famous for one more thing – her love of cooking. She is a self-professed passionate home cook and has shared a few of her personal recipes on her social media accounts. Recently, she shared a step-by-step recipe of her family’s favorite cornbread dressing for Thanksgiving. “During difficult times, I have always turned to cooking,” Kamala has said. Cooking is a source of comfort for her, and this passion started when she was a young child watching her own mother in the kitchen. 

“One of the things that I do to relax at the end of the day is I read recipes,” she shared in 2018, something many people can relate to. Now, we can all imagine her flipping through her favorite cookbooks after a long day at work. This open love of cooking is another thing that makes Kamala stand out from other career politicians. Her willingness to share snippets of her personal life with others is a wonderful way she connects to people. 

Kamala Harris and the future

The past few years in the US have not been easy, with racial and political divisions growing and becoming more evident in everyday life. Kamala Harris winning as vice president is a much-welcome change and a refreshing breath of fresh air. She serves as an inspiration to both women and people of color everywhere. 

We can all learn a lesson or two from Kamala and her journey — the importance of family, the influence of a mother’s love and example, and the greatness you can accomplish when you combine hard work and heart, no matter your circumstances. It will take many years to overcome the negativity and discord that have been sown in the US landscape. However, when there is someone like Kamala Harris helping lead the way to heal these wounds and to create a more equitable and just society, we can allow ourselves to envision and believe in a better future.


10 Questions with Abby Tarsches

In her own words, Abby Tarsches loves photographing people. A fine art photographer whose work has been published in the likes of Vogue and Bazaar, Abby strives to capture her subjects in their most beautiful and authentic. Every photo is a moment of memory and should, therefore, be timeless and enduring.

With these ten questions, Abby shares her insights on her work and life.

If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 11-year-old self?

Nothing stays the same. Go with the change.

What advice do you wish you had been given when you first started your business?

Get educated regarding running the business side of things.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned the hard way (in life or business)?

You cannot control everything. Live and let live.

What do people always get wrong about you or what you do?

That my work is glamorous and sexy all the time.

What shifts did you make in life or business as a result of the pandemic?

Focusing on shop local. Using all my skills as a photographer to help others keep their memories alive.

What do you love about what you do?

I love how a camera can freeze a moment in time. That people’s portraits and special occasions will have a history that will be remembered. I love that every time I photograph, I learn and see something new. That hopefully, I can make someone’s life better through the art of photography.

What is the best thing about doing business in Portland?

People are very friendly here. I like the connections I have made.

What is one of your favorite things to do where you live?

I love to hike with my dog at Mt Tabor!

Who has been the most important influence in your life and why?

My two children, Iris and Cara. They have expanded my heart and soul and give me new perspectives on life every day!

Who do you help in your business?

Women with body positivity and empowerment, business owners, families, and individuals.

Sacred Fire Creative features the members of Portland Connect Online in this series. Our goal here is to help womxn realize that they are extraordinary, that they can make a difference in their own lives, as well as in others’.

For Abby Tarsches, making a difference means capturing her subjects’ inner beauty with her photographs and helping them keep cherished memories alive.


10 Questions with Winslett Carr

Winslett Carr is an acupuncturist specializing in treating a range of women’s health issues, including sexual and reproductive health. It gives her great satisfaction in seeing her patients find relief from stress, chronic pain, and other conditions.

Her patients’ experiences mirror her own. In her 20s, Winslett led a stressful lifestyle working as a researcher for a non-profit in Washington, D.C. The day-to-day stress led her to get diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. It was rather ironic, considering that the non-profit she worked for is in the women’s health niche. Her quest for better health led her to study Chinese medicine and switching careers.

Winslett’s years of experience, both as a patient and as a clinician, have equipped her to help other women find healing. She shares her insights on her work and her life with Sacred Fire Creative by answering these 10 questions:

1. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 11-year-old self?

Enjoy your time growing up: play softball, have fun with your friends, keep enjoying your favorite subjects, but most importantly, be your most authentic self. This will guide you to where you need to be.

2. What advice do you wish you had been given when you first started your business?

Start now, even if you start small. Find a mentor who can show you the ropes. Connect with colleagues in the field and beyond and stay in touch with your community for support. Send referrals; receive referrals.

3. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned the hard way (in life or business)?

If you have no expertise in an area (tax planning), do not hammer yourself about it. Find and pay for excellent professional help and re-focus on what you do best.

4. What do people always get wrong about you or what you do?

Acupuncturist is a title, not the act of what I do. Acupuncturists study Chinese medicine and East Asian medicine theory, modalities, herbs, and nutrition. We are not just technicians with needles; we practice the complete art of medicine.

5. What shifts did you make in life or business as a result of the pandemic?

Although I spend as much time in the room with a patient as before, I do it wearing scrubs, masks, protective eyewear. I crinkle my eyes more to show people I’m smiling behind the mask. That, and I spend more time allowing Cavicide to dry on every surface between patients and before resetting the treatment room for the next patient. New normal.

6. What do you love about what you do?

I love hearing each person’s unique story. They’re not just sharing a health history but the way they shape their lives and what their dreams and goals are for the future. If I can help them, in some small way, to continue moving towards their dreams and goals, well, there’s nothing better than helping people in that way.

7. What is the best thing about doing business in Portland?

Portland is still a wonderfully small city with 7 degrees of separation. There are many entrepreneurs here. Everyone understands that if you are an effective and caring professional, your business will steadily grow.

8. What is one of your favorite things to do where you live?

I hike to see everything that the area offers. Portland and the entire Pacific Northwest are filled with world-class vistas—Douglas fir-covered capes with trails to secluded beaches, the snow-covered Cascade Range of still active volcanoes, prehistoric forests with cool mountain streams, and even high desert landscapes with wild horses.

9. Who has been the most important influence in your life and why?

My mother is a force and a force for good for everyone who surrounds her. She returned to graduate school with my then-infant brother in tow. She works smart for sure, but she gets more things done in a day than almost anyone I know. She’s a “Type A” and also very intuitive and caring. I aim high because of her, and I help others where I can because that’s what she always did.

10. Who do you help in your business?

I help women working on goals and really pursuing their dreams of having a family, having health, living authentically and pain-free.

Sacred Fire Creative shines the spotlight on the members of Portland Connect Online in this series. Through this series, we aim to help womxn realize and believe that they can be extraordinary and make a difference in other people’s lives.

For Winslett Carr, making a difference means assisting women in their journey to better health and a family of their own through her acupuncture practice.


10 Questions with Brittani Pomeroy

Brittani Pomeroy is a great believer in autonomy. As an Insurance Advisor with Elliott, Powell, Baden & Baker, she works closely with her customers as their advocate. She believes it’s her job to help her clients feel secure that they have the best options in place in case they meet with unforeseen losses.

Brittani answers ten questions for Sacred Fire Creative. Through these answers, she lets us into her thoughts on the work she does and the life she lives today.

1. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 11-year-old self?

Change is constant; we must learn to look for the positive in every transition.

2. What advice do you wish you had been given when you first started your business?

Slow down and make sure to build the proper foundation for your business. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

3. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned the hard way (in life or business)?

The impact of not having the proper foundation. It makes it harder to maintain the same level of success and service.

4. What do people always get wrong about you or what you do?

I am a very direct person. At times I’ll have a coworker tell me that I am not open to their opinion. But that is not correct. Instead, I like to understand their reasonings so I can process and make my own determination.

5. What shifts did you make in life or business as a result of the pandemic?

I now have to make time to help my son with his homework. So at times, my work hours are not the typical work hours.

6. What do you love about what you do?

I truly love partnering with my customers to make sure they have the necessary coverages for unforeseen losses.

7. What is the best thing about doing business in Portland?

Portland is a city with a small-town feel. The individuals I have worked with seem to like to sell based on relationships.

8. What is one of your favorite things to do where you live?

I love that I can walk to my grocery store, bakery, ice cream shop, nails. Plus, I have an amazing view of Mt. Hood.

9. Who has been the most important influence in your life and why?

My grandmother. She always taught me to be true to myself and pay attention to actions over words.

10. Who do you help in your business?

I partner with companies that want to make sure they have the proper insurance for their business today plus future endeavors they have planned.

Sacred Fire Creative showcases the members of Portland Connect Online in this series. Our aim is to let all womxn realize that they are capable of doing extraordinary things. Womxn can make a difference, not just in their own lives but also in others’.

In Brittani Pomeroy’s case, it’s all about helping people put down safeguards that will protect them against uncertainty and unforeseen losses. She encourages her clients to be proactive about their future.


10 Questions with Jennifer Armenta

Jennifer Armenta started many businesses, but it took some trial and error and plenty of effort to succeed and thrive. Like most womxn, she realized the value of enjoying life a little too late. She also learned ideas don’t simply bring success; research and empathy do.

Jennifer is a Highlands Certified Consultant and Certified Career Services Provider. She revels in helping her clients find confidence within themselves to do what they need to do. She believes being true to yourself is great, and having plans for your future is even better.

Here’s an insight into Jennifer’s personal and work thoughts:

1. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 11-year-old self?

I would tell myself to remember to always have fun. Being an adult is full of responsibilities. It is important to have fun and laugh every day.

2. What advice do you wish you had been given when you first started your business?

Make sure that what you are offering is something your customer needs or wants. Just because you think it is a good idea does not mean that everyone will. Do your due diligence before you launch your business.

3. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned the hard way (in life or business)?

I have started many businesses in my life. Some have been successful, and some have not. After my last business did not work out, it took me several years to get back up. My current business is thriving, but it is because I learned from the past. I had to look back at what didn’t work and create new strategies that led to success.

4. What do people always get wrong about you or what you do?

Thinking that all coaches are the same. I distinguish myself by taking a very intuitive approach to each client. Each person that I work with has different fears, goals, and expectations. So, I develop a unique plan for each client I work with, providing the most value I can with the time we spend together.

5. What shifts did you make in life or business as a result of the pandemic?

I have been very lucky that I have not had to make significant changes. Although I genuinely miss in-person meetings, I can provide all of my services virtually.

6. What do you love about what you do?

I love helping someone confidently make a big decision about their future. There is nothing better than seeing someone’s face light up when they finally figured out what their next steps are. It feels good to be there for someone through these milestones.

7. What is the best thing about doing business in McMinnville?

The amazing community. McMinnville is a wonderful place to do business. The Chamber of Commerce, McMinnville Economic Development Partnership, and other local groups truly support local business owners.

8. What is one of your favorite things to do where you live?

I love spending time with friends and family in downtown McMinnville. There are fantastic restaurants, coffee shops, and pubs that we frequent regularly.

9. Who has been the most important influence in your life and why?

My parents. They always taught me to be true to myself and follow my intuition. With this solid foundation, I am now able to help my clients do the same.

10. Who do you help in your business?

I help people who are in career transition. I love helping older students clarify their next steps in life. I also work with new and aspiring leaders to identify their strengths and help them confidently develop their leadership style.

We’re trying to let all womxn know that they can make a difference. You don’t need to be special, above average, or anything else but yourself to be significant. Sacred Fire Creative showcases members of Portland Connect Online to show you that ordinary womxn like you and me can do extraordinary things.

In Jennifer Armenta’s case, she encourages people to find themselves and set goals for their future. She enjoys empathetically leading people as well as managing employees and developing organizations. With this, she empowers not only herself but also others.


Developing Allies and Advocates for DEI with Latonya Latamore, Ph.D.: A Recap

Sacred Fire Creative continued its virtual forums on diversity, equality, inclusion, and belonging on February 8, 2021. For this specific forum, guest speaker Latonya Latamore, Ph.D., led a conversation on developing allies and advocates for DEI.

About Dr. Latonya Latamore

Dr. Latamore is a Fairfax, Virginia-based educator and founder of Harmony Strategic Solutions, LLC. While her organization is still in its infancy, Dr. Latamore said she has personally encountered racism professionally and in her day-to-day life.

The insights she imparted to the group included the way holidays are celebrated in the US. She said holidays in the country are primarily based on Christianity. Christian Americans don’t have to use their paid time off to enjoy a Christian holiday. On the other hand, Americans of different cultures or religions will have to use their earned vacation days just so they could celebrate what they believe in.

Dr. Latamore also shared her daughter’s experience as a figure skater. Her daughter has been criticized and overly judged because she’s Black. Moreover, she doesn’t look like a traditional figure skater who is white and of a certain height and build.

Points to understand about conversations on race

Dr. Latamore raised the following points about open conversations on race:

  • It may not always be the most comfortable or pleasurable conversation to be in. That’s because the journey for allyship and advocacy isn’t the same for everyone. Everyone is in a different and unique area of the learning curve.
  • Conversations on racism are forever evolving. Once we believe we have found the solution, some other element or variable will surface.
  • It’s important to continuously analyze and monitor goals and projected outcomes. This will ensure that we are diligently helping to eliminate the inequities that racism causes.
  • We can achieve these goals by continuing to self-educate through attending webinars and talks and reading published materials on the topic.

Defining allyship and advocacy

Dr. Latamore defined the terms “allyship” and “advocacy” using the book Allies and Advocates: Creating an Inclusive and Equitable Culture by Amber Cabral.

Allyship

Allyship is when someone with privilege and power seeks to learn about the experiences of a marginalized group of people, develops empathy for them, and identifies ways to extend their own privilege to the marginalized group. Allies are identified by their ability to apply what they have learned about a group of people and find ways to transfer the benefits of their privilege to those who lack it.

Allyship requires taking the time to become invested in and have an emotional connection to marginalized people who are different from you. The part to zoom in on is the labor part of allyship. An ally seeks to learn and do the labor of understanding so they can connect and build empathy. To be an ally, you have to do the work, and most of the work is on yourself. “Ally” is not a title; it is a verb.

Advocacy

Advocacy is defined as the process where someone with privilege and power is willing to take steps to protect, publicly support, and dismantle systems against a marginalized group of people. To be an advocate, you have to be willing to do additional work beyond getting familiar with the nuances of marginalized groups and developing empathy for them. It is about taking action to change how others experience the world. Similar to allyship, advocacy is not a title. It is a verb.

Points to understand about the allyship and advocacy process

When it comes to starting the process of allyship and advocacy, Dr. Latamore raised the following points:

  • We need to understand where we are right now. Racial situations are occurring and in public, and even racial scarring from past government administrations.
  • We need to be honest with ourselves about what happened historically. We need to understand the different types of legislation that have been developed to protect certain classes of people, and why different legislative initiatives have been developed for marginalized people.
  • We need to start conversations about allyship and advocacy, not only in our individual groups but also within an organizational structure. All of this should begin at the executive level or with the people who actually make the decisions within the organization. These decisions can include providing additional training for line-level staff and mid-level managers.
  • It’s important that the right people are doing the work of allyship in the organization because it’s not easy work.
  • Change management, continuous auditing, open lines of communication, and transparency are necessary.

Questions to discuss

The forum participants were then divided into breakout groups to discuss the following questions:

  1. Where are you positioned with power and access to make change?
  2. Where do you have influence?
  3. Where do you have privilege, and who developed the standard that you are using?
  4. Is that standard necessary? Why does that standard exist? Is the standard preventing other cultures to participate?
  5. Have you considered how you’re limiting yourself and missing out on resources, opportunities, talent, and relationships because of unreasonable standards?

Sacred Fire Creative continues the dialogue with its lineup of DEIB virtual forums. Check the schedule of these events and join the conversation today: http://bit.ly/3bC6fV7.


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