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Wednesday Wisdom: Women of All Colors Can Hopefully Work Together in the Future

June 3, 2020

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration, Motivation for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Businesses

For 15 years I’ve written an inspirational editorial for the “Wednesday Wisdom” enewsletter to educate, inspire, and motivate my female constitutents. Often the inspiration for the editorial topic comes from a conversation, program notes, hot topics in society, events, and my own experiences. I’ve learned when my emotions build up inside they need a place to flow coming out in my writing. Today is no different after daily news reports of uprisings, peaceful protests, and unprecedented times in our nation as we deal with the Coronavirus Pandemic and George Floyd’s death.

Growing up in a mostly all-white city, I simply did not have opportunities to meet or befriend brown or black women. I did grow up in a family of Italian immigrants who decided when they came to America they didn’t want people to know they were Italian so they dropped speaking their native tongue. My family had food and traditions but never spoke Italian. I love my heritage and roots and am proud my grandfather’s father brought him here when he was 8 years old to have a better life. My family were kind, loving people who opened their doors to anyone who wanted a dish of macaroni or cup of coffee. Homeless men ate at our table, my cousin’s basketball friends and gay friends ate with us. Unfortunately, we didn’t have many brown people in our city to invite but they would have been welcomed at my grandparent’s table.

When I became an entrepreneur in Syracuse, I started meeting diverse women and struck up an immediate friendship with Gwen Webber-McLeod, a dynamic African American woman I adored and respected. I would ask Gwen why more women of color and white women didn’t do business together more often. I couldn’t understand why there was a natural divide. I would share with her times brown women would come to my events solo scanning the room for other women of color to sit with. Many asked me why more African American women weren’t there. I told them, I didn’t know why because they were certainly welcome. Many times I would tell these attendees about Gwen and her work to lift up women of color to higher levels of professional success so they could connect with more diverse women. I simply didn’t know how to keep them interested in coming back for more events though.

A couple years ago, Gwen directed a play at the Auburn Theater called “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.” I bought a ticket not only to support her but to gain a better understanding of African American women. By the end of the extremely moving play, I walked out speechless understanding I could never totally grasp the difficulties black women experienced in America because I was white. I couldn’t walk in their shoes no matter how empathetic I felt. It was an eye opening experience that gave me a new appreciation of their struggles and why I might never have a handful of African American women in my event audience.

What I learned that day and continue to consider in light of our nation’s current situation is to be more empathetic to a black woman’s past and present and helpful when they ask for support. As a woman who fights for pay equality for women, I understand the frustration of inequality in the way it affects me. Don’t we all fight stronger for things that affect us personally? It is no different than our brown friends right now fighting for things they believe strongly in and want changed. We must listen, support them if they ask or find a way to help with change if we are moved to do so.

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to inspire you to be as compassionate as you can to other people’s struggles especially when it comes to inequality. There is so much more to be done for equality across the board in our country. I encourage you to consider what injustice moves you most and get involved. If you don’t have something you are trying to change, offer empathy to people in desperate need for change to make life or business more equitable.

Just like my grandparents, any woman is welcome at the Women TIES table and that includes more women of color. I stand by you.

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