Our country (U.S.) seems to be caving in on itself as we struggle to find space to be ourselves amid the demand for diversity and acceptance. In addition to this challenge, public acts of violence occur more frequently now, and prominent leaders of our world continue to consistently demonstrate their shortcomings when it comes to practicing emotional intelligence. The United States needs change. The world needs change. And because we are alive right now we are the ones carrying that change forward in our actions.
I used to think that in order to really make a lasting impression on people, one would have to put in years of work and training to deliver something impactful that people would want to pick up. Now, thanks to the Internet and social media, the timeline on that is largely dictated by the capacity of one’s imagination. If you have time, resources, and an impeccable concept at your disposal, you can create an audience for yourself. With consistency, you can spread any message you want.
DDS Magazine is an example of how this is done; black women with something in common are bonding over a print magazine at a time when print was presumed to be a dead industry. The YouTube channels of many online personalities with large followings are other examples. Decades from now, people will reflect on the trends of our time and see evidence of the movements taking place among immigrants, among parents, and among black and brown people. Clues about our present will be evident in music, literature, and entertainment that is left behind from this period in time.
Perhaps the most empowering part of confronting this reality is knowing that in order to make your mark on this moment that will become our history, all you have to do is simply participate. Even if you do not have a large social media following or brand endorsements, you still have influence. You can participate by being the change you wish to see in the world, demonstrating for young people how to practice emotional intelligence and critical thinking.
You can also participate by creating content about a subject you feel passionate about or have expertise in. Self-publishing is powerful as most of what people consume these days is created by everyday users. You no longer need to be a great presenter, announcer, or public speaker to host videos, webinars, write articles, or create online content. Lastly, never forget that your habits as a consumer have impact. Your voice shows up in what you spend money on as well as what you don’t. At a time like this when such change is taking place, you speak as a consumer in the products you buy, and in the media that you watch, listen, or subscribe to.
Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President John F. Kennedy, reflected on her father’s presidency by summing up that he had inspired a generation of people to imagine what was possible and therefore carry forth major advancements for civil rights, the space race, and the economy. His influence then was widespread, not just geographically, but through time. We are in a position to do the same thing now by taking up causes that mean something to us and intentionally devoting time, effort, and resources to them. As black women, we can empower and protect little black girls and educate them on pitfalls to look out for.
We know better than how we were raised and can therefore do better with our children and the generations that come after us. We can help each other step forward from pain or disappointment and into progress and positive outcomes for our present and our future. We have the opportunity to shape the future more positively than our present, and I encourage each of you to view that prospect with wonder and possibility. We are now the people we read about in history books, whose actions will shape what lies ahead.
Antoinette is a consultant, author, yogini, and host of The Midday Reset Podcast. Her personal development academy is centered on helping women realize their potential from the inside out. When she is not advising clients, teaching, authoring books, or recording episodes for her podcast, she is enjoying life with her husband and two children. Find her on Instagram @msantoinettechanel.