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Be Open, Read and Educate Yourself

Minda Marts

As the North Jersey – Rockland SHRM Chapter Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion, I’m happy to announce that our May programming event this year will be a panel moderated by Judy Elliott-Pugh and I, our special guests are Minda Harts & Tayo Rockson.

The date of this event is May 20th, a Wednesday at 6 PM, located at the Holiday Inn Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey.

Click here as more information will be posted in the very near future.

Tayo Rockson

I’m excited about this important event as the chapter VP as well as the owner / founder of AllThingzAP, where it is our primary mission for an employee to always be your authentic self.

After reading Minda Harts book, The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table, I can recommend it as being both fantastic and educational. Everyone should read this significant book which discusses microaggressions, systemic racism, outright discrimination and is a platform for women of color. As a cisgender gay white male, there’s a lot that I need to learn as do all cultures and races. This book is not only for women of color, but for all people.

Harts states, “Sometimes I wonder if non-people of color, those without disabilities, or those who don’t identify as queer realize how emotionally draining it is to work forty hours or more per week for companies and organizations that don’t actively try to advance them”…Much thought and analysis occurred after I read this powerful and true statement. As a gay white male, this profoundly connected with me. I started to think deeper and thought how hard it is for a person of color. I can hide in my whiteness while a person of color cannot. By no means am I diminishing what white members of the LGBTQ community have gone through and continue to deal with today, but nevertheless we must understand and discuss the existence of white privilege. There are lot of books that discuss white privilege aside from “The Memo.” Please always be open, read and educate yourself.

On the continued path of these discussions surrounding race, Harts indicates that we must address the history of race in our county if we are to advance women of color. This is profoundly true. One of the most important chapters, “No More Passes: For My White Reader”, Harts quoted Ella Baker, the late activist, where she indicates that in order for racism to be rid of, white America has to make that choice. It is essential that white women stop speaking on behalf of black people. Women of color have a voice…Let them share their stories!

Another vital section of the book was when Harts stated, “The best way to describe it was that one minute I felt like Superman due to what I accomplished, and the next I would retreat to Clark Kent and just put on my glasses. The ‘syndrome’ I was experiencing is called insecurity. And this insecurity led to a constant feeling of anxiety.” This is powerful imagery and I applaud the author for sharing her vulnerability. We all have a story and it starts with our vulnerabilities.

Other important items by Harts:

  • Invest in yourself and own your own narrative.

  • Therapy and mental awareness are of the upmost importance. Don’t let others judge what is best for you.

  • Harts highly recommends to Network, Network, Network…

  • The very last chapter is great as it provided assessments and tests that are so helpful.

My next book to read is Use Your Difference To Make A Difference: How to Connect and Communicate in a Cross-Cultural World, by Tayo Rockson, which I’ve heard nothing but great accolades and comments and am looking forward to reading.

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