Listen to the podcast here
This week we invite you on a journey of discovery as you are invited to open your mind, admit your imbedded biases, remain curious, and march forward to play your part in dismantling oppression, and breaking down the power majority so that minorities can thrive. You’ll meet Dr. Kimya Nuru Dennis who shares her story with conviction, with presence, and with passion. She has worked for a lifetime to move people from conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion into real work and real action.
Throughout this conversation, Dr. Kimya course corrects the conversation from time to time, pointing us away from ideas of being “good allies” to truly act. She may not be your typical diversity, equity, and inclusion trainer, but that’s exactly why we should all give her a listen.
In honor of pride month, your host, Corinna Bellizzi, also shares some of her personal story. She may look like a cisgendered woman since she’s married to a man with two young children, but she is also bisexual, having frequently dated women before choosing her life partner. Some minorities can be invisible, and as we approach the monumental day of Juneteenth, and celebrate LGBTQIA+ pride the month of June, this episode touches on topics we all need to consider. It will get you thinking about your preoccupations and what you can be doing differently to push for change.
About Our Guest: Dr. Kimya Nuru Dennis
Dr. Kimya Nuru Dennis is a community advocate, sociologist and criminologist, educator, and researcher. Dr. Dennis connects with local, national, and international communities, schools, businesses, and organizations.
- Being A Black Man In America and Supporting Women’s Rights (Roe v. Wade, #MeToo) with Martin Hanson, Founder of BMen Foundation: https://caremorebebetter.com/being-a-black-man-in-america-and-supporting-womens-rights-roe-v-wade-metoo-with-martin-henson-founder-of-bmen-foundation/
- International Women’s Day Feature: Diversity, Communication & Investing in Women with Sedruola Maruska, Host of Diversity Dish: https://caremorebebetter.com/international-womens-day-feature-diversity-communication-investing-in-women-with-sedruola-maruska-host-of-diversity-dish/
- An African Refugee’s Adopted American Experience and His Mission to Elevate Underrepresented Groups With Godfrey Coker, Social Entrepreneur & Clinical Scientist: https://caremorebebetter.com/an-african-refugees-adopted-american-experience-and-his-mission-to-elevate-underrepresented-groups-with-godfrey-coker-social-entrepreneur-clinical-scientist/
- Stay Fearless! Create A More Inclusive Ghana with Nana Aba Anamoah, General Manager of GH One & Star 105.3 FM: https://caremorebebetter.com/stay-fearless-create-a-more-inclusive-ghana-with-nana-aba-anamoah-general-manager-of-gh-one-star-105-3-fm/
DISMANTLE OPPRESSION: Break Down The Power Majority with Dr. Kimya Nuru Dennis, 365Diversity.com
Hello, fellow do-gooders and friends. I’m your host, Corinna Bellizzi, an activist who is passionate about social impact and building a truly sustainable future. Today. I am joined by Dr. Kimya Nuru Dennis, a community sociologist, criminologist, educator and founder of 365diversity.com. Dr. Dennis connects with local national and international communities, schools, businesses, and organizations. She specializes in reducing the tendency of minoritized people to rely on permission, opinions, and emotions so they can move into action without fear of oppression.
Dr. Kimya Nuru. Welcome to the show. Thank you so much for being here.
Thank you so much for having me.
So today I’d just like to get a start by hearing your perspective and really what motivated you to start the 365 diversity website business. Everything that you’re doing outside of being a professor in your daily life.
Well, so being a professor is not my daily life. I’m now part-time so I’m no longer full-time faculty and haven’t been for years. And so I’m first and foremost, a community advocate and an educator. And so that’s what I do. I am born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, which is the second capital confederacy. My brothers and I were raised by two black sociologists parents who taught us how to learn beyond the narrow curriculum provided in the schools and to think outside of what we are told is right. Outside of what is to be learned because what we’re told to be learned, including in PhD programs and medical degree programs is based on a narrow scope of intellectual wisdom and knowledge.
And real life. It’s a selective vision and selective choice of knowledge that my parents taught us to not comply to that. And so that’s the work that my FA my work is the basis of centuries of black work indigenous work on Western hemisphere alone. That’s based in hundreds of thousands of years of African knowledges around the world.
So when I became full-time faculty in 2010, I initially started being on board of directors, being a consultant, doing health-based trainings, doing community outreach programs, being the community advocate for board of directors that clearly wanted theoretical racial equity, but did not want real work to be done.
I also have a disability. So a lot of times people want to do a bunch of trainings, but they really don’t want to do the full scope of work that has to happen to include people. So throughout all these years of doing this work, I became opposed to equity trainings. That’s back when DEI trainings and committees started happening back when people started doing bias trainings. I was opposed to that, and I still am. I do not attend those. I tell people that those are not doing real work. Black people have done equity-based trainings, racial equity trainings for generations. So this is not a new thing based on a New York times bestseller book, but they’re not going based on centuries of books, centuries that are not bestsellers books that are covered in most libraries and most schools, but you can find them at some black bookstores and some indigenous bookstores. So that’s what 365 diversity as a foundation, I was told over the years that my work needs to actually be more than consulting work, because I need to challenge what people are being falsely conveyed as change making.
And so that’s what I do. 365. My models are not your typical diversity training and discuss diversity daily. A lot of times people will waste time debating how you define diversity, just like they waste time, debating how you explain equity and racism and sexism and homophobia. I tell people you can spend the rest of your life debating definitions, but the question has to always be what are you going to do now to make changes beyond wasting hours of trainings on definition.
We’re no longer in kindergarten. There has to be more. And that’s what I specialize in doing changing policies, doing annual assessments. Which I’ve also done in academia when I created an academic program, creating a curriculum. So there’s real work to be done based on centuries of works that have been done.
And it’s not the popularity contest.
Well, when you say that you don’t attend these so-called diversity equity, inclusion trainings per se. Why what’s behind that. Why, why wouldn’t you participate in that type of a conversation that is meant to further to the discussion and to integrate people into a greater understanding of what it might be like to be black in today’s world and even over the past several generations.
Well, those are not meant to integrate discussions. They’re not meant to make changes. We don’t need trainings to show people what it feels like to be black. That’s actually an insult to black people. Just like we should not have trainings to show people how it feels to be indigenous.
We should not have trainings to show people how to be transgender. People don’t have to know how it feels. Instead, they have to know how power harms people’s lives through curriculum, through policies, through medical and health practices, through police and law enforcement practices. I don’t waste time on bias trainings and other wastes of time where we tell people let’s discuss how it feels because you literally will spend your whole entire life trying to convince people that this is an important issue and the people who actually need the help, the minoritized people are ignored. So the same thing happens, unfortunately, when many LGBTQ organizations do safe zone training. So when I was helping doing a training, it was mostly an audience of cisgender heterosexual, white women who needed these constant explanations, dictionary explanations.
The appeal was to get the cisgender heterosexual, mostly white women to understand cis-gender power, heterosexual power, cisgenederism, heterocentrism, and therefore homophobia and transphobia. The cisgender heterosexual white women at the end thanked the prisoners. Smilingly thank the presenters. Always tell people at the end of the training, if the majority is smiling and happy, you have to understand that nothing is really being challenged and changed after all.
So that’s an example of the focus is on the wrong thing. So that’s why I always tell people when you’re doing an equity-based training, whether it’s based on race, sexism, sexuality, health, religion, economics, who are the planners for the training, who are the trainers, who’s the audience and whose interests and emotions and results are you focused on?
For example, people understand that’s what I’m talking about gender. A lot of times, if you’re in a training regarding sexism, patriarchy, unequal, pay people understand if men should be a little bit uncomfortable, right? Because women can comprehend transgendered system. The women can comprehend that we’re making changes beyond men’s opinions and men’s emotions, but it’s when we’re talking specifically about race that unfortunately, most people want white people to be accommodated.
And white people to not be offended and white people to not be challenged. And this is white people across every sociopolitical affiliation and voting pattern. So I tell people, if you can understand the power, majority being challenged, as it pertains to age health, gender, sexuality, the same thing has to happen when we’re talking about racism in training.
So that’s why I don’t go to most trainings because most people don’t want to really challenge people.
Well, let’s see, we’re all open to being challenged. I mean, what do you recommend instead of what is traditionally being done at the corporate level and even within our schools and, and other systems that we have the operate in our society today?
Well, first we have to not pretend we are all open. Okay. 99% of people are not open. So this is where I always say. Instead of pretending most people open what needs to happen, despite most people not being open. So if we’re talking about change in the curriculum, whose decision matters most, that’s where I always ask people.
If you’re talking about making the curriculum, represent the population more at the end of the day, are the politicians opinions that matter the most or school officials opinions that matter them. Are the white taxpayers opinions that matter the most, despite the indigenous people, black people and Asians and nonwhite, Hispanic and nonwhite, Latin X, Latin, a Latin old people who screamed for centuries that the curriculum needs to change.
I never pretend that most people want changes. Most people want a book club most people want to hashtag, and they want to be told that they are kind. So instead of pretending, mostly we want changes. That’s where schools, organizations need to discuss whose opinion and whose decision-making power impacts everything, no matter what we discuss in this training.
And that’s the intro level to actually figuring out what chang is possible?
Well, it seems like, uh, for one it’s a tall. Mountain to climb because regardless of even, you know, my personal perspective, I carry baggage of my history with me. Every person really does. And so getting to a space where we are truly open and willing to have these difficult conversations.
I mean it’s hard work. So how do you convince organizations? Cause I think in many cases the world needs convincing that we even need to have these transparent conversations and talk about the difficult struggles that different people have been through because there is an oppressing majority class, or even if that majority class isn’t even majority anymore, because I even hear people kind of leaning back on that going, well, I feel like I live in this area and I’m a minority in “my town”.
So because I’m a minority in my town, I know what it’s like to be oppressed. And therefore you’re, you know, arguments are invalid. So I’ve heard this from people in different communities. And I just love for you to comment.
Yeah. So white people have actually said that for more than a century. So when we talk about power, it includes population size and majority which white people remain over 60% of the population, which includes people of Hispanic ethnicity who identify racially as white.
And that’s from different nations, origin and power also includes population size, minority. So examples are South Africa, apartheid, which still exists in some form. Examples include no matter how much Canada and United States of America become quote unquote browner, white people will still be the main controllers of whose paying and voting matters will be the still main controllers of the congress, the white house, nearly every school system. Most of the teachers school officials school decision-makers are white. Most publishers with textbooks and journal articles, are white. That actually does not change based on population shifts. Why? Because why people remain the power majority around the world.
Including war times in medical and health facilities. So whenever people say they know what it feels like to be oppressed that’s because they’re using their situational consciousness and their situational peripheral vision. They pretend that oppression only means that you feel. By yourself. They pretend that oppression only means that you’re offended by something.
And that’s not what oppression means. Black people are not oppressed because we’re walking around with our feelings, hurt. Oppression is about five centuries of medical racism, scientific racism and health racism around the world. Oppression is about what’s represented in literally every school around the world where you can even get a medical degree in Jamaica, but despite hundreds of thousands of years of African sciences, you’re learning most of the European version of sciences. Again, people understand this when talking about gender, because they’ll say, why is that only men represented in this? But when we talk about race, that’s when people tend to get offended because they pretend racial objectivity and racial neutrality, but they never pretend gender objectivity in gender neutrality.
They’re offended when it’s white men represented, but they don’t highlight the fact that it’s a white person represented. So that’s where, in doing this work, we can keep explaining the same thing over and over again, but we have to acknowledge that eventually people already know, but form of a distraction from change is when we’re told to constantly explain it.
Like as cis-gender women, even we understand what it means when men try to distract us, they will say, we’ll explain the problem. And then next week, explain the problem. And then next week, explain the problem. And then next week, I didn’t understand you the last three weeks. That’s a distraction, right?
Because we’re supposed to find just more polite ways to explain the problem, fancy it up, put some smiles there, maybe. Right? And then a century later. Explain the problem. Nothing has changed.
Yeah. I hear you. Um, you know, I’m brought to another moment and my podcast journey thus far, when I interviewed Godfrey Coker, who is actually working in the medical field and he’s trying to increase the diversity.
And specifically so that black people are included in more clinical studies because they’re underrepresented as a part of any clinical study groups. So the drugs that are even created in our current system don’t necessarily work the same way on people of African descent and that has to do with their genetic makeup as much as it does to do with the habits of the communities that are being underserved.
And so there’s all sorts of little bits that are essentially getting overlooked along the way. We might say we have some new novel cancer treatments or some new treatment for heart disease. And it simply won’t work in this portion of the population the way it’s intended. And this has happened for years too.
If you’re talking about gender, you know, drugs being tested more on men than on women, especially when it comes to heart disease. And so of course there are all sorts of reforms that are needed. But even if we can start by talking about that thing, that might be a little bit more comfortable for people. Let’s say that the sexism issue within that community, it can open a door to having this conversation about the fact that you have underrepresentation of groups, of Hispanic descent, of black Americans, of Asian Americans that are all part of these clinical studies, even.
So I just think it’s important that we all kind of come forward and acknowledge that like the first step is acknowledging, right. We acknowledge the problem and then head forward from there.
Well, the minoritized people have acknowledged this problem for centuries. So this is what I tell people. It’s where we’re past the acknowledgement part.
So, I always tell people from people who do like the whole, they just learned something since since 2016, they’ve chosen to ignore things for second. Because it’s not presented in the textbooks that they learned in K through 12 in their undergraduate program, in their PhD program, whatever the case may be.
So these are not revelations it’s. It’s exhausting. When people keep saying they’re acknowledging it, we don’t need that anymore. We don’t need any more hashtags. We don’t need any more book clubs and committees. The acknowledgement part means that people have ignored our cries for centuries. We have literally centuries of marching, protesting we’ve written proposals to schools. We have Henrietta lacks. We have the Tuskegee syphilis experiment. We have indigenous people, black people. We have Sarah Baartman who have been used as nonconsensual quote, unquote case studies and experiments. And again, we have thousands of years of African science is universities and so forth.
So I’ll always tell medical and health professionals, if you want to do a case study, You can’t reach black people and tell us to be part of your case study, if we’ve never seen you before that request. Any medical and health school (and I do trainings for medical and health students and MDs in residency) I tell people if we have not seen you before, if you don’t come to our annual Juneteenth festival, if you don’t come to our events and then you show up trying to encourage us to do be part of a case study or to do some COVID vaccine. Study or talk to you about anything regarding COVID because again, people are pretending that code vaccines are equally accessed.
I tell people five centuries of medical and scientific racism. Don’t pause for COVID. So anyone who’s thinking that everyone has equal access to a vaccine and people are just not choosing to get vaccinated, then they are ignoring centuries of reality. Vaccine access varies still by city and state in terms of people who have access to consistently safe.
But when people say, well, CVS pharmacy lets you just do a drive-through that requires you have a place to drive through and you have to have a vehicle. Right. Also, there are places in the United States of America that have had expired vaccines. There are places around the world that have been given Americans expired vaccines.
That’s happened locally, nationally around the world. So this is where I tell people, if you’re doing a medical health case study, you first have to read the African medical research that exists. It’s alive. It’s peer reviewed research, and you have to come prepared to have conversations with black people, but also to be challenged by black people. They can’t show up as the experts who are unchallenged, they can’t show up as the most educated people who feel threatened if black people do not take them seriously. We have five sensors of reasons not to take them seriously. And so that’s why I tell people. And beginning of COVID, before the vaccines were finalized, I did a training for a distributor of vaccines. And I explained to them how you need to reach the communities.
And of course, this is 2020. So of course they said, well, we already know that. We’re already doing the community work. I always tell people when you say you already know, that means you don’t, that means people are not challenging. Their confidence. Equity means you have to admit that you think you know, but when you actually go into communities and start canvassing, it’s not going to come out the way you thought, including if you have black people out there doing the canvassing.
Yeah. I, I would have to agree with you. I think the, the thing that I lean back on consistently, especially when it comes to something as complex as the topics that we’re covering today, is that you have to remain curious. And if you’re not curious, if you’re not actually asking questions, if you’re not thinking, then you’re essentially in this place of stagnation and when you’re in a place of stagnation and just using a hashtag or placating your own sensibility. By doing that and saying black lives matter and oh, it’s black history month, so I’m going to share something about black history as opposed to having deeper conversations in your community, as opposed to getting out there and marching with people on Juneteenth, as opposed to taking action, to actually change things. And so if we are wanting to consider ourselves Al. What does that really mean?
Like how can we support minority populous? As in my case, Hey, I look like a cis-gendered female. I have had many, many, many lesbian relationships in my life, so I don’t necessarily identify as that, but that’s how the world sees me because I’m married. I have two kids, right. I’d consider myself. Uh, person I’m pride in this community of being a part of something that, you know, the rest of the world, it’s like your.
I’ve chosen my life partner. He’s a man I’m married to him and I’m, you know, I’ve got two kids. So on the outside, everybody who knows me, if they haven’t seen me in these various walks of life, they wouldn’t necessarily know. It’s essentially something that I hold in my heart. I know I stand with the LGBTQIA+ committee.
Every day and every way that I can, I’ve helped to educate friends who have children who decide that they’re not the gender that they were born and that they don’t identify as that. And really just trying to walk them through. The real challenges that come from realizing your child that was born as Brittany doesn’t want to be known as Brittany, like doesn’t have that identity at all and may even want you to burn half the pictures you have, you know?
Yeah. And that’s, and that’s why, when we talk about the flow of gender identities and non identities and sexualities, right. People act like this is a new concept though. They say things like those liberals are pushing this on us as though they were taught facts since birth about their own. Uh, and again, we can even talk about when people talk about biological sex, female, male, there’s no 100% fact inthat as well.
So that research has changed over the centuries as well, because people like these X, Y chromosomes thing, you know… We’re not quite sure what it really means besides telling people that that directly connects to their gender identity. And that’s where the whole cisgendered terminology comes in. So this is just why it’s important to get people to understand that we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of years of what humans have done around the world.
And there’s different cultures in which people assume genders. Like they’ll say, well, this culture always had just two gender system, but that’s not true. We have documentaries about some societies that now have three gender categories. And they’ve been doing that now for a couple of decades. Right. And that’s important because we’ll always, cis-gender people and heterosexual people always pretend to be the power minority, like being cis-gendered heterosexuals, minoritized.
It’s not minorized, in the least bit. It’s the only, those are the only groups protected in terms of laws and policies, including for employers as pertains to gender and sexuality. With that said, though, I don’t believe in a such thing as ally. And I always explain that to people. When people say, how can I be an ally?
I say, first stop calling yourself an ally because the title of ally is more likely a confidence booster. Like when white people say I’m a white ally, I say, no, Instead of celebrating that meaningless phrase. Just talk about what you’re going to do to challenge your own power as a white person, whether it’s in your family, your place of employment, whatever the case may be, because what tends to happen is that white people will declare themselves white allies celebrate it.
And then when you say, okay, what are you doing to change the curriculum at your school? What are you doing to change this policy at your place of work? Then people say, well, I’m busy. Right. So that’s also why I don’t say cis-gender ally heterosexual ally. When I go to LGBTQIA parades and other programs, which were originated by black LGBTQIA people generations ago, when I go to these spaces years ago, when I still lived in North Carolina, my friends told me to wear an ally button and I felt horrible because I believe that power majorities have no right. We have enough power — stolen and abuse power. I don’t think we should ever be celebrated. So I always tell people don’t do the ally buttons. Don’t do ally awards. It’s enough that we see ally trainings, like people are literally paying to get trained, to make changes as an ally. I keep telling people again, be a contributor and a collaborator for changes because I’ve allied title is more so about people looking at you and say, thank you for being here.
And if you cry, because now you feel guilty for your own power, the minoritized people are supposed to say, oh my goodness, let’s hug you. So the focus becomes on the power majorities. The focus has to remain on the minority.
You know, if we were to flip that and say, we need to train people to be better activists, you know, it’s like, that is one thing that they could do that could have some power for them, right?
Like they could understand. Here’s the things that you can do to support your local community. You can write to your Congress people, you can show up at town hall meetings, you can actually canvas your neighborhood and post flyers. Get out a majority of people to actually March in a parade. I mean, there’s all sorts of things that we can do to propel activism forward that’s to stand with the things that we actually believe in.
And in those cases, I mean, there’s no button that you need, you’re showing up. And so the thing that I, I keep leaning back. Even throughout this podcast is like, okay, so you care about these things. That’s fantastic. We all should. I’m inviting you to care more so we can all be better. But part of that is learning what your voice can do.
And so if I am spending this time with you on a podcast to say, raise the exposure and talk about these difficult things and navigate some terminology that I may get wrong, because guess what, I’m going to say the wrong thing. Sometimes I’ve made mistakes on the air when I called something, something else, I can’t even think of a specific example yet, but I noticed it when I listened to it later and I’m like, oh God.
Why did I use that term is because it’s like embedded in my psyche and I have to move through it. By listening to myself, I can then alter even the language I use and I have to be aware of that. I have to work through it. It’s not always easy. And you can make, you know, I’m going to make fumbles.
I appreciate you saying this. It’s what everything you just said is very important. It’s a daily reminder, right? Because doing these changes. Or contributing to the changes requires people to remind themselves daily. This is not about perfection, right? Our input and our impact on any kind of inclusion work. We’re not going to ever tackle every inclusion-based issue locally, nationally, or internationally.
That’s just not a realistic way to live. But the whole purpose is to challenge ourselves as much as possible to know when we’re contributing to problems. Because you can’t criticize problems theoretically, and then you’re perpetuating it. So the example that people use, if you’re critiquing the horrible ecosystem, but then you’re littering.
That’s an example. The same thing pertains. If we’re talking about gender equity, racial equity, you can’t critique. Inequities and schools based on racial misrepresentation, but then you don’t challenge what you’re being taught in the classroom. And so that’s why I always tell people the changes that we make, they get reversed as soon as we fall asleep. So that’s why these are constant changes.
People like to blame politicians, but it’s literally. Every decision maker in a school, every decision-making medical and health facilities, every decision maker, everyone, they contribute to the politicians and they will pretend it’s only the politicians to blame, but literally the power majority is in every place and they try to hide.
That’s why I tell people they actually like it when you say terms like structural systemic, systematic institutional, because you’re not calling them out by name or. They know that changes won’t happen if you use abstract and vague language. So the work I do is I tell schools, organizations. I said, actually, here are the decision makers.
I feel like you could preach that when you were talking about, uh, ecological issues and sustainability too, because even within that community, now there’s this push to shift from personal responsibility to corporate corporate responsibility or to structural challenges like manufacturing. The reality is most of the pollution is happening at the structural level. But I think when we make it this other big lofty thing, it feels impossible to tackle. It feels like you don’t have a spot in that. And so part of my beef with that perspective is that while it’s structural, you can acknowledge it. You can say, yep.
Okay. It’s pretty much everywhere. I need to also still engage with the problem and work to fix it. And so if you say it’s all these. Manufacturing plants in China and we’re kicking the can down the road over there that are creating this pollution or the burgeoning population growth of a particular area or advancements in technology and availability of resources to another country where they’re suddenly using more power.
That’s creating more dirty power, dirty energy, so to speak because they don’t have the same resources that we have in the west or that they’re starting to have the same resources that we have. So they start to consume more. Then we’re just kind of saying, oh, well, you know, I can’t do much about it.
Exactly. And that’s why it’s very important.
And, and we’re talking about like centuries also of people on this Western hemisphere alone who have addressed how the individual connects with the collective have a collective connects with every collective and it all builds together. And so that’s why we always have to tell people that. The work that we do is a contribution to local national and international issues.
We’ve got to remember that everything that happens, even if we don’t notice it, it’s impacting us. Tragedy is not strike just because we notice it for our own personal lives. It’s literally happening. I tell people don’t go based on a new story or what you see trending on social media. These problems are 24/7, 365 days a years.
Even if people don’t notice, in fact, governments and corporations, oftentimes profit based on this promise that most people don’t read, they’re not learning. And they will only be conscious of something. If it’s put on the news. And so that’s another thing to think about when we’re talking about changes, problems, inequities, and justices will exist as long as humans exist. It could be for hundreds of thousands more years. So, I just tell people that don’t stress out, pretending you’re going to change everything, including your school, but just realize that there’s some things that we might feel like we have to ignore because we can’t fight for everything, but there’s some things that people ignore by choice, because they want to be celebrated as outraged when convenient, but then they’re going back to read the same textbook that they just finished criticizing.
And I also hold teachers accountable. They want to celebrate the new book that they’re using in their classroom, but they just hadn’t lunch with that horrible teacher down the hallway who was using outdated history books. How are you all friends? Like how could people choose to be friends? It’s okay to close doors and have deal-breakers with people because you’re not fighting for equity. If you’re letting people think that they can co-exist in your space while perpetuating the inequities that you claim to be combating, whether that’s family, friends, coworkers, government, I always tell people the words I say everywhere are literal.
You can come up to me, smiling. Hey, Dr. Dennis, good to see you, but it’s not good to see you cause you’re not doing what you claim you’re doing. And I don’t just say that to politicians. I say that to everyone who on one breath wants to be outraged, but then they keep doing the same thing over and over again.
And they have excuses. Humans have done excuses for hundreds of thousands years. We’ve all been guilty of doing one, but we have to not be shocked when held accountable for excuses as well.
Well, I have to say, I think we could talk about this. For a long, long time, because there’s so much to cover. I want to ask you if there’s a particular resource that you want to point the curious minded that want to know more, where should they go?
Where should they find you? And if you have any closing thoughts for an audience that cares about impact. What would it be?
Thank you so much. I really appreciate you. So I really appreciate you concluding in this way. They can find me, they can go to 365diversity.com. They will find a lot of information, including eventually your podcast link.
They’ll find my resumes, my health equity work, my community-based work. And also, I always tell people, I don’t give people a reading list because. Most people are not going to read, like they said they would. And even if you did read, we don’t need any more armchair theorists in armchair activists, promise.
Right. Instead, this is what I tell people. If you want to go to the next level, sit down, pretend this is like a regular counseling session, because there actually are activist based yoga sessions that happened across the nation and parts of the world where they say, we’re going to take some time to meditate, while also communicating and writing down, what is it locally that we can get involved with that we have been ignoring because it seems inconvenient. So that’s why I tell people, log off social media for awhile. Close that book that you keep pretending to get past the forward and write down what is a local organization beyond donating clothes that you can actually go into this space.
And if we’re talking about power dynamics, if you’re white and you’re talking about doing anti-racism work, how are you going to learn about centuries of black anti-racism work? This has existed for five centuries. Okay. What are some local black organizations that are not funded by white people? They’re literally black organizations that they’re not going to allow you to join necessarily, but you can still learn about what’s being done and you can learn about what you can do for your part.
If you’re addressing sexuality. And gender variance and gender nonidentity. Where are some LGBTQIA organizations locally? You’re cis-gender heterosexual people. So, you’re not going to be welcoming to every space, nor should you be, but you got to find a way, how can I contribute to this space? It could be financially.
It could be any other way. And when I tell people to look at local organizations do not find the wealthy organizations, that are well-funded by millionaire grant funders. There are many organizations in your local area that are struggling to still exist and they exist because of it’s out of people’s pocket.
It could be a homeless shelter. It could be a homeless black, LGBTQIA shelter where they’re not getting any grant funds because they don’t want to get funds from the people who are the problem in the first place. Right. And if they’re not wanted into a space that. Just tell people I’m here for you. I’m here with you.
Even if I can’t join your organization, please let me know if there’s some way that I can help from a distance in a way that is based on what you want us to do. And that’s a way to. Humble ourselves and put us in a learning space beyond reading more books.
Well, I think you’ve given us all a bit of work in thinking to do, I feel like this entire discussion has been about the other, I’m going to say other in quotes, but the other inconvenient truth, it’s like Al Gore wrote about the climate issues.
But what we’re talking about is another inconvenient truth that we all kind of need to. Navigate through and over. So heck maybe that could become a podcast that you host the other union truth. Well, thank you so much, Dr. Kimya Nuru Dennis for joining me on today’s show of Care More Be Better. I appreciate your time and the power of connection together.
I hope that we can change things for the better. So thank you so much for your time.
Thank you so much.
Now listeners, we’ve got to that point now of the podcast where I ask you for that simple thing, you can share this podcast with people in your community that you think need to hear it. That is one powerful thing you can do to be the change that you want to see.
It’s more than just a saying, it’s something that should push you into action. Gandhi himself. Didn’t say it because he thought that you should just go on your day and do the same things over and over again. We all need to get a little uncomfortable to see the change that we all want. So thank you listeners now, and always for being a part of this pod and this community, because together we really can do so much more.
We can care more and we can be better. We can even regenerate our social system. And this very planet we live on. Thank you.