Melissa Martin - Boldly Courageous

Amplify Melanted Voices

Hi beautiful! Welcome back! Boldly Courageous is a podcast created for you — the ambitious woman who is ready to take action and step fully into the life you’ve always dreamed of.

I want to get really real and personal in this episode. I want to talk about the Black Lives Matter movement, the murder of George Floyd, and how this movement is changing my life and the world. This movement is calling us to go deeper into our own work, look at our shadows, and examine our belief systems. No one is immune to this. It doesn’t matter who you are. Systemic racism is an issue that starts with us, and it’s our duty to get educated and help change happen.

We’re just starting to make it through COVID-19, and now we are knee-deep in the middle of an uprising of unity and equality for all people. It’s such an interesting and historic period because it’s awakening all of us, right? So many people are being forced to look at their value systems and see how they are contributing to the overall collective on the planet. 

I am 100% committed to using my privilege for good and to help support the Black Lives Matter movement, to amplify melanated voices, and really to just give more women of color a platform and an opportunity to share their voice and their gifts. I sincerely hope that you’ll join me in listening, learning, and amplifying the voices that deserve to be heard. 

Why “Not Seeing Color” Is a Problem

First, I want to acknowledge that I’m still learning and navigating through my own privilege and passivity. I am making it a priority to learn from people of color. 

The day the murder of Geroge Floyd happened, I remember feeling such a sense of pain and helplessness, knowing at some level that I have biases. I’ve been forced to take an inventory of my own circle, and I notice the lack of diversity within it. And while that’s not an intentional thing, it is still very much a problem.

This whole movement has really caused me to look inward at my own silence, my own discomfort, and my own ignorance, and honestly, I feel like there is so much to learn. I’ve been having a lot of conversations with women who can hold space for me, which has been an enlightening experience.

If I’m being really transparent, I’ve never really looked deeper into my own biases or my own privilege, or even racism as a whole. Because before this, I didn’t see people as black or white or of color. It’s never really been something that mattered to me. I just see people for their gifts. I feel their energy and just notice how I feel in their presence. And that’s part of the problem. 

Not acknowledging a black person means that I am not recognizing the trauma that they’ve been through, the unique circumstances in their life, and the clear divide that has existed in this country. So I own that, and I recognize that. I also am very much aware when I’m in the presence of people of color, that they are suppressed and that I am the one who has privilege.

Recognizing My Own Silence and Becoming Boldly Courageous About Anti-Racism

While I feel much more emboldened to speak openly about this now, it wasn’t always this way. In the past, I have struggled with passivity and silence, and the murder of George Floyd has personally brought about a lot of guilt around my silence in situations where I could have used my voice. 

In 2016, Philandro Castile and Alton Sterling were both murdered by the police, sparking an uprising in our country about police brutality and racism. And at that time, I was part of a network marketing team, and a fairly large amount of my team was African American. 

I loved them all, and a lot of them are still my friends today! But I had a business mentor during this time who I suspected was racist because of some underlying tones or prejudice she would give off sometimes in conversation. It always made me feel really uncomfortable, but I didn’t know how to approach that discussion. Her husband was also in law enforcement.

After the murder of Castile and Sterling, an African American man retailed during a protest in Dallas and killed five police officers. My business mentor quickly turned to social media and made a post that was very racially charged. And when I saw that, it literally made me sick to my stomach. I knew how this post was going to make the people on my team feel. I wanted them so badly to know that I didn’t share this view, but at the time, I didn’t have the skillset to have a conversation with them. 

I kept my mouth shut out of fear, and when I look back it now, I feel so guilty and so ashamed. And now, we’re facing the murder of George Floyd, and I’m realizing that everything is cyclical right? When people don’t speak up, things don’t change. 

As a content creator, coach, and thought leader, it is my responsibility to dig deeper and speak boldly about issues that matter. It is my responsibility to not only look at my own unconscious operating system but also amplify the voices of the people who deserve to be heard. 

If a situation is uncomfortable, we often like to sweep it under the rug, but that is not an option when it comes to human rights. Give yourself permission today to speak boldly against racism and amplify melanted voices. This is not going to happen overnight — it has to be a daily commitment. 

Diversifying Content and Community

Part of this change starts with diversifying the content we consume and the communities we invest in. It’s about bringing awareness to the choices that we have to make every single day.

Every day we have a choice in what content we consume. And I’m ashamed to say that when I look at my newsfeed, it’s a lot of white people. There is not a lot of diversification. And I want to talk about this for a second. I think in life and in business, we naturally gravitate to people who are similar to us and look like us. 

And I’m making an assumption here, so please pardon my ignorance, but I would imagine that a black woman who wants to grow a business would gravitate towards a coach who is also black, because there’s a common understanding there, right? 

For me personally, it’s why I prefer to work with women entrepreneurs. I’m not opposed to working with men, but I naturally connect with and feel more comfortable with working with women. But there’s a danger in this when we don’t diversify across races. I can see that there’s so much opportunity for me to expand and learn through the power of diversification.

We talk about this from a financial perspective — it’s important to diversity your income streams. We also hear about it in coaching and mentoring — you got to have multiple teachers, right? The same thing goes for the content you consume and the community you create. By limiting our scope to what’s familiar, we rob ourselves of amazing relationships and enriching experiences.

I am committed to opening myself up to receiving love, instruction, and support from all kinds of people — every color, every nationality, every background – and giving in return. Every day, we choose what content we consume, and I’m choosing to consume new content from new creators and people of color. It has been such a joy to dive into these new relationships and learn from these people. 

Speaking of diversified content, I recently watched the movie Just Mercy, and it moved me to tears. It’s about the injustices rampant in our criminal justice system and a civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson, who defends the wrongly accused and those who can’t afford proper representation. 

If you haven’t seen Just Mercy, I highly recommend that you watch it and start having those difficult conversations with yourself and your community. If you want to understand what it’s like to be a person of color dealing with the police, I think that’s an accurate representation of what’s going on in our country right now. 

My Commitment to Amplify Melanted Voices

Growing up, my family never talked about racism. I never picked up any racist undertones at all in my household, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t exist. Racism often operates on autopilot, and it is our job to stop that.

To the black community: It is not your responsibility to educate me on your culture. It is not your responsibility to help me learn how to be less racist or recognize my own white privilege, and yet so many amazing black humans have shown up with countless resources for all of us to consume with their love, understanding, and patience. I am beyond grateful for that. 

Right now, I am readjusting my learning lens and really starting to pay attention to the diversity of content. I want to use my white privilege to educate people on racism and why black lives matter. As a white creator, you really get to choose how to use that privilege. You get to choose how to use your voice, how to use your money, and your voice, and I hope that you use it for good. This is my mission, and I want you all to keep me accountable.

There is no returning back to how life was before. We will never go back to the way things were before. Once you shed light on something, it’s there. Once you see something, you can’t unsee it. 

So here’s what I’m doing — I have created an Instagram highlight on my Instagram page, and its title is “BLM” for Black Lives Matter. I am committed to amplifying melanated voices. Whenever I come across a resource, an article, or someone in the black community that inspires me, that allows me to further my own education, I’m saving it in that BLM highlight. I want to continue to educate myself, and I hope you can all use it as a resource as well!

Please please share your resources with me, too, because this is a collective responsibility. Thank you so much for giving me the space to share this message. And if this episode speaks to you, please share it with somebody. And if there’s something I’ve said in this episode which is ignorant or uneducated, I’m so open and willing to have conversations with you over DM. 

Babe, live your boldly courageous life, not only for yourself but also for those who deserve to be heard. I love you all. 

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My name is Melissa Martin, and I’m here to be your wing woman as you gain the tools and confidence to face your fears head on.

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