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Nicole Hensley

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January 10, 2021

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An open letter

This letter was not written for or to anyone. It is my way of processing my thoughts, outlining my actions and in a format that connects me to the world. 

An open letter, 

When an act, such as what occurred on Wednesday, January 6th, takes place, I find myself contemplating everything. Things that I once considered to be important takes a back seat while I watch in horror, the actions of people fighting for something so irrational. 

The evil actions and events that seem to be occurring at an increasingly more disturbing rate, which by the way, are not unprecedented by any means, have been leaving me in a place demanding my attention. 

I’ve found myself desperate to understand the actions of hate and the justification and support of those actions from people I once valued.

The reality that many of you have not been called to this same attention is disheartening, but the more I’ve learned about systemic racism as a whole, not surprising. 

I cannot force you to look within and take ownership of your actions, your lack of commitment to doing better or the inconsistencies between your words and actions and your “so called beliefs”. 

Acknowledging what I cannot control, I am creating the boundaries and taking action with what I can. 

I no longer have space for those demanding to be non-racist by finishing their sentence with a list of justifications for actions that are clearly racist.

I no longer have space for those who call themselves Christian and persons of God, but act or say things that go against every written word.

I no longer have space for arguments with people demanding that I see things through their eyes but are unwilling to open their own eyes as well. 

When things like what happened on Wednesday (preceded by similar and just as horrifying events going back centuries) I sit and feel so insignificant in the role I play in my career.

It has me contemplating my job as a small business coach and wedding planner, not because I don’t have a passion for it, I do. But it seems like there are so many more pressing issues that require immediate action. 

So I find myself sitting and consuming, reading and learning, having open conversations with those willing to talk about it and surrounding myself with a closer circle of those who believe the same and keep their circle accountable as well. 

I will continue to focus on inclusivity within my businesses and in regards to the education that I provide to other business owners. 

We will not build or promote relationships with those who justify hate and racist actions and the same goes for whom falls on our recommended lists of vendors. 

We will develop and strengthen a more inclusive list of vendors for our wedding planning clients. 

I will do better at amplifying the voices of black womxn of color

I will do better at diversifying the accounts and businesses that I personally follow. 

Now that I have children of my own, I understand how important it is to have honest conversations early. We have countless books about skin color, speaking up and being heard, and what “being kind” actually means.

Deeper conversations will be held as my children get older and to an age where they comprehend more fully, but I vow to my children that I will open their eyes to what many of us were shielded from through the media we consumed, history we were taught and topics that were avoided. 

Lastly, many of us ask, when we can go back to “business as usual” which also goes for “life as we once knew it” or “back to normal”. 

The answer is, never. There won’t ever be a time that we can go back to normal. If we did, nothing would ever change.

We must change those definitions and learn to incorporate the change we so demand into its new definition. 

Here is to the continued work. 

I hope you choose to do the same.

Nicole

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