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Black Girl Magic

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, and National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman.

You’ve probably seen or heard of “Black Girl Magic”. It’s a movement that was popularized by CaShawn Thompson as a way to recognize women around the world who are persevering, despite adversity, and to celebrate their accomplishments. It’s such a powerful sentiment that Michelle Obama references it, as well as singers, athletes, and journalists. As a Black woman, I definitely believe in it, witness it daily, and think I have a healthy dose of my own Black Girl Magic that I bring into the world. One thing I’ve always yearned for is more collective Black Girl Magic. Wouldn’t that be the natural extension? 

I spent the early years of my life exploring ideas of culture. How does culture work? Why do cultural groups behave in certain ways? As part of my reflection, I often observed other cultures--Jewish, Italian, Mexican,...

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How do you find your leadership voice in the face of racial injustice?

Over the past 6 weeks, we have been in conversation with thousands of Black, Indigenous and People of Color as well as managers and leaders. We have shared in trauma-filled spaces with other Black folks. We have facilitated sessions for allies–those who are trying to act to end injustice–even though that injustice that has (arguably) not had a direct negative impact on them. We’ve also coached managers and leaders who are committed to action but cautious about their own level of understanding and not wanting to misstep. 

The question that has come up over and over when talking with managers and leaders boils down to this: 

How do we find our leadership voice in the face of racial injustice? 

My first suggestion is not to begin with what you will say. Many leaders immediately believe that we have to say something, do something, fix it. Trust me, 400 years of racial injustice is not going to be undone by the great speech you make now or ever....

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