What is privilege? Well, according to the dictionary…
priv·i·lege (noun) is a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people. synonyms include: advantage, benefit, freedom, liberty
I am certainly a woman of privilege. Even the hard things I’ve experienced (tragic loss of a sibling, neurological Lyme Disease, an abusive relationship) have been easier because of the benefits I have in navigating them.
I can afford therapy. I can afford great doctors. I can afford to take time off of work.
I am white. I grew up Catholic. I have more financial stability than most. All of this makes me a person of privilege.
So if I don’t speak up when things like #Charlottesville happen, is that a problem? If I stay silent, am I actually contributing?
In a way, I think so. And here’s why:
Another privilege — the one that REALLY sets me apart as a person of modern society — is that I have learned how to access my voice.
Not everyone has a voice. Some have been silenced by abuse, racism, grief, loss, PTSD and have not yet learned how to speak again. I know this is true because I work with many of these women on a daily basis.
Most of them have privilege in some sense of the word, simply because they have some level of disposable income and can afford more than food, shelter and clothes for themselves and their families. That alone is privilege. At one point, I was this woman. Privileged but silenced.
I am not angry at these women for not speaking up or speaking louder. I am angry they are silenced to begin with.
In case there was any question, we completely stand against the actions in #Charlottesville and are absolutely appalled by these horrendous, offensive, destructive and INSANE attacks.
We also fully understand this piece of writing is NOT enough. Nothing is enough when tragedy is running the show.
And so we will speak up. We will condemn the actions in Charlottesville and the existence of white supremacy. We will stand for equality and continue to work to create safe and safer spaces for anyone who identifies as a woman, of ANY race and ANY religion.
We will meet hate with prayer, with love, with our words and with our actions.
We will continue to teach women to find their voices again. To release the PTSD of trauma, abuse and manipulation, which includes racism, sexism, religious suppression and socioeconomic disadvantage.
We continue to see miracles happen inside of our coach training program and know we are, in some ways, on the right path. We see women finding their voices against racism and social injustice, women releasing toxic relationships, women healing from the tragic deaths of loved ones, women getting pregnant after years of struggling with infertility, women recovering from disordered eating, women creating the financial freedom needed to leave abusive situations, women finding peace and calm in sisterhood.
This is what we are doing with our privilege.
What can you do with yours?
Don’t let the reality that you’ll never be able to do ENOUGH, keep you from doing something.
Don’t let your sadness be an excuse to stay numb and checked out.
Don’t let your shame cause you to look away.
If you can see something,
Than you can say something.
If you can speak up,
Try standing up.
I’ve always said coach training is really a course in finding yourself, accessing your voice. And when women find their voices, so much change is possible.
This alone is not enough. It will not undo what has been done. It will not change the past and may only impact a small part of the future.
But it is something. And I encourage you to find your something, too. Even if it feels like nothing.
P.S. We have *officially* opened doors to our ICF Accredited Fall Coach Training program. We have space for positive change makers, social activists, philanthropists of any race or religion who identify as women. Are you one of them?
P.P.S. Thank you to my friend and mentor Nisha Moodley for inspiring me to write this piece.