• Rita M. Perez

It's time to address the movement

Fun fact--the very first group cruise I put together with my company was an alumni cruise for one of my college organizations, the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH). It was just a 3 or 4 nighter heading to the Bahamas--but gosh we had so much fun. And there weren't too many of us either, but man, the bonds we formed--this is why I love group cruising.

Why am I bringing this up--I've been doing a lot of reflection recently. This week's blog is going to be really different and really raw. I'm very nervous putting this out there, but it needs to be said. I was very naive. I thought we were on the same side--we're all minorities. It wasn't until recently that I realized I was different. Because while I'm still Puerto Rican, my skin color has afforded me privileges I didn't realize it had. And while in the past few years, I had begun to make that realization, I never acted on it--to speak out for my friends.

I was never a racist, but I was never an outspoken anti-racist either. And I say that purely because I never so vehemently spoke out for Black Lives Matter as I have for the LGBTQ community. I honestly thought we were past that, and I now know I was very, very wrong. If on the rare occasion I heard someone say the n-word, I was quick to yell back at them arguing how wrong that was. In my business, I have always made sure to always include photos with people of color on my website. While those are little acts, I feel guilt that I should've done so much more. I just didn't know how terrible it was and is for my friends.

I'm going into this to let you know that I am an anti-racist, and my business will be run as anti- racist, as well. I will not be silent anymore. I have too much pride and respect for my black friends, and I don't intend to let them down again. I always try to provide tangible information in these weekly articles, and this week will be no different.

I'm sharing the things I have personally done to help push the movement forward. This is by no means to show off what I have done--I just want to provide resources for what you can also to do be anti-racist.

1. Make a Donation- I recently made a donation to the Innocence Project. There are many organizations you can support, but here's what drew me to the Innocence Project. I recently watched an episode of America's Got Talent when Archie Williams came onstage and told his tragic story. Because of his skin color he was wrongfully convicted and incarcerated for over 20 years. Thanks to the Project, DNA was able to prove that Archie was always innocent.

2. Book Donations- Do you have any teacher friends? A friend of mine recently posted that she was looking for book donations for her classroom. She was specifically looking for books written by and with black characters. She teaches grades 3-5, and I was able to find 4 books (even though there is a plethora more) I thought were very appropriate.

3. Speak Out- If you aren't speaking out against the problem, you are only helping it.

4. Watch Media- I hate watching movies that portray injustices. They make me upset and uncomfortable--the thought that people can be treated in such ways for nothing they have done. But someone recently posted how important it was to get uncomfortable, so I got uncomfortable and watched "When They See Us" on Netflix. A few months back I also watched "American Son", also on Netflix. I realized we need to stop babying ourselves...and we need to get in touch with these feelings so we can change both our minds and our actions.

There are many lists floating on social media with more things that can be done. Inquire with your local police department on deescalation procedures, are they supporting officers in holding each other accountable, are body cams required to be worn...I could go on and on. I just know we must do better--I must do better.

For all my black friends and clients, I'm so deeply sorry it took me this long to take action. Please, if you have any other resources you recommend for me, send them my way.

In your corner,


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