From the desk of Lauren Palmer
Good morning friends!
A few months ago, I came across an Instagram account called Brunch & Slay that had me intrigued and kept me scrolling through their feed full of dynamic and diverse women, all looking to enjoy time supporting eachother (Brunch) while working hard to make a difference in the world (Slay). At the time I was in the middle of compiling my Spring magazine about racial diversity and I fell in love with the Brunch & Slay vibe. I had been craving a diverse group of friends who were also female entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and Insta-artists (as Ameerah Saine, Founder of Brunch & Slay calls it), and the Brunch & Slay platform promotes that very thing! I had coffee with Ameerah just a few days ago and was so crazy impressed with her vision, drive, and desire to support women of all races. Although racial diversity is something I work hard to prioritize in my own life, I look at Ameerah and can’t help but be inspired to do better, to do more. Her entire platform, let alone her person, drives unity, justice, support, and opportunities to teach and learn.
A few months after I began following Brunch & Slay on Instagram, Ameerah reached out about being a guest on The Brunch & Slay podcast. We had an incredible conversation about work, finding courage, recognizing that fear is a lie, and how to fly like the proverbial eagle.
You can listen to my interview with Brunch & Slay HERE.
In her opening monologue, Ameerah provides some insight into her experience and perspective as a black woman regarding the racial disunity occurring in our country today. Like many of you, I’ve been thinking about racial unity and social justice non-stop recently.
If you haven’t read my testimony called The Art of Diversity within Friendships, you can read it HERE. In this piece, I discuss a time when I looked up and realized every relationship in my life was with a white person. There was no diversity, and I felt God urging me to break the barrier I had allowed in my life. And although I have no racist thoughts about any person of color, I recognized that my actions took on a form of racism of their own: I didn’t have a diverse group of friends because I didn’t think, or realize, it was necessary. As embarrassing as that is to admit, it was liberating to recognize this truth and make a change. It was the first step for me. I opened myself up. I prayed for diverse friendships. I changed my way of thinking and began engaging with everyone I was near from a race different than my own. This occurred most often at the grocery store.
I remember one morning I was at the local market picking up from the breakfast taco line and a black man was standing in front of me. This is an excellent chance to engage, Lauren, I thought to myself. I started chatting and commenting about the food, my favorite combinations, cheese vs queso…His smile was kind and he politely responded to my chatter. Later on, I laughed at my eager attempt to be friendly when I recalled the encounter. I imagined him telling his friends about it, “There was this crazy white girl at the store and she would not stop talking to me about queso at 8:30 this morning.” Although I find this story humorous, I don’t intend to trivialize the significance. I imagine there are several of you out there that are in the same boat as I found myself in yet don’t know where to start. Can I give you some really valuable advice? The best way to stimulate change is to make a friend. In this case, make a friend that doesn’t look like you.
Because the struggles of your friends become your struggles. For 35 years, my friendships primarily with white women perpetuated a blindness to the needs of people in the Black community. Nothing outside the bubble of my comfort zone could penetrate the blinders. The antidote was to make a friend that didn’t look like me. In fact, I made several. With the addition of new precious, diverse friendships, my perspective changed and my depth of field widened.
It shouldn’t have taken the murder of George Floyd to truly recognize the oppression of the African American community, but for some of us that’s what it took. I feel awful about that and the other truths I’ve shared with you today, and yes it is embarrassing and was difficult to face. But I share this with you in hopes that you will be inspired by my story to be brave and to make a change where one is needed.
As Ameerah and I talked over coffee earlier this week, she challenged me to make 3 changes in my life that will create movement and stimulate change. And I want to pass that challenge on to you. What are three things you can do today? Maybe start with reaching out to an acquaintance of a different race for coffee with the intention of learning. Make it a weekly meeting.
To learn more about Lauren and The Art of Living Beautifully, please visit our ‘about’ page.