Links I Like: Diversity + Inclusivity

Hey! It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? I’m not gonna lie, I always feel pangs of Blogger Guilt when I don’t post for a long time. Let me get you all caught up! For the last few months, if I haven’t been speaking about inclusivity and diversity at a conference. I’ve been in Michigan helping my God Mom who is running for State Senate. Don’t think for one second that I ever dreamed of being the next Olivia Pope. That shit looks too damn stressful! And let me let you in on a secret, it is! I’m no politico, but it has been interesting to get more involved in the democratic process.

I’m legit on the campaign trail and it takes such an immense amount of time and energy from everyone involved. As the result of being responsible and dependable, I was given a much heftier title and workload than I expected. It’s been a real struggle to maintain my Stylist position while campaigning. So writing and even posting on social media have become hard to manage.

This experience has given me an opportunity to spend time with my family and learn more about the election system. I’ve even found myself saving political articles and videos (gasp!). Along with all of the other things on social media that prevent me from being a productive human being. Here are a few incredible and inclusive political, fashion and health stories all in one place. What some might call a massive time suck, I call curated distractions! Enjoy.

Rock The Vote

There’s nothing more irritating to me than the term, “woke”. In my opinion, there’s always room to learn and grow. Especially if it’s a lived experience that you don’t have the opportunity of living. I think people can be sympathetic and empathetic and the term “woke” is a crock. So this article The hypocrisy of the ‘woke’ Americans who don’t vote, had me at the title. Obviously, this is just one person’s opinion and experience.

This video of Texas Candidate Sri Kulkarni campaigning in 13 Languages touched my heart. One thing I’ve learned through the campaigning process is that you have to meet people where they are. Something as simple as talking to people in their native language to stress the importance of voting is almost groundbreaking in a country that seems so divided.

Travel

Hot off the heels of my TravelCon presentation about diversity and inclusivity in marketing. I’m excited to announce that I will be speaking at the Women’s Travel Fest early next year. The Fat Girls Guide team and I will be taking New York and talking about Navigating the Intersections of Travel. Our panel will touch on how being fat, LGBT+ and Women of Color among other things influence our travel experiences. Join Samantha from Some Call Me Adventurous, Amanda of Arms Wide Open,  Chantel from Voyaging Vagabond,  and Bianca of Bianca Karina, myself and so many other incredible women March 8-10, 2019 at the Women’s Travel Fest 2019. 

Womens-Travel-Fest-Inclusivity-Panel

I love speaking to other travelers, especially women about diversity, and inclusivity. It’s a great way to not only spread the word about body positivity, fat positivity, and self-love. It’s an opportunity for me to meet some of you! I love doing this work and look forward to doing much more speaking in the future.

It’s 30 degrees in Michigan as I write this. Which means it’s Netflix weather! There are few things better than cuddling up under a warm blanket and binging your favorite show or movie. If you’re full of wanderlust this fall but can barely afford a staycation, check out the 45 Best Travel Films of All Time according to Conde Nast Traveler. I’ve only seen a handful of these myself. Including the one that sparked my curiosity for Thailand.  So join me as I work my way down this list.

Check out my post on the newly-closed Maya Bay where they filmed portions of the movie The Beach. 

The-Beach-Best-Travel-MoviesPhoto via Conde Nast Traveler

Health

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and one of the reasons I have pink braids. I’m sure I wouldn’t be wrong by saying that nearly everyone has been touched by Cancer. It has taken some incredible people from me and I fucking hate it. Every year my incredible bestie participates and fundraises for charity. Not only that, she brings her young children and husband along! This year she’s participating in the American Cancer Society’s walk, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer fundraiser.

When I can’t participate but can afford to donate, I do. Especially because I’ve volunteered at the American Cancer Society and had a great experience and truly believe that the funds are going to the right place.

Making-Strides-Against-Breast-Cancer

If you’ve been seeing #WontBeErased a lot lately, it’s because the Trump administration is considering making a move that would basically negate the existence of Trans people. Two Weeks Before Midterms, Transgender People Feel Like ‘Pawns’ and understandably so. Reading things like this infuriate me. One side of me wants to figure out what I can do to fight this insanity. The other side is interested in figuring out a way to be a better ally to my Trans friends and family.

So when a friend shared information on META Center Inc I knew I had to include it in this roundup. A Northeast Ohio based nonprofit, META Center Inc is dedicated to supporting and empowering transgender and gender non-conforming youth to live their most authentic lives. To support META Center Inc and stand with trans youth, donate here.

META-Center-Inc-Trans-Youth

Fashion

I shared at TravelCon the fact that nearly 20% of Americans are living with a disability. So I did a happy dance when I saw the new Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive Collection. It’s about time there were disability-friendly, fashion-forward clothing options. With details like One-handed zippers, adjustable hems, and magnetic buttons. The Spring 2018 adaptive collection campaign features several influencers, athletes, and disability rights advocates.

Tommy-Hilfiger-Disability-Friendly-ClothingPhoto: via Teen Vogue courtesy of Tommy Hilfiger

One of my biggest pet peeves is when something is marketed as being for “every body”. When the reality is, most marginalized bodies are excluded from said thing. Like most fat people, I’ve had to become a detective when shopping, especially online. I’ve learned to look at the fabric and fiber content to see if there’s stretch or if the item’s woven. It’s a science! And since the marketing images usually show one body type, it can be difficult to know from a photo if something will fit me.

Parfait- Lingerie-Inclusivity-Diversity-Campaign

That’s why I loved reading how Parfait’s #PerfectFigure 2.0 Campaign Features The Type Of Model Diversity The Fashion Industry Needs. Offering 28-44 bands, A-K cups, and XS-4XL bottoms, Parfait is not completely size inclusive. But with this marketing campaign, I feel they are headed in a positive direction.

I’m nowhere near satisfied with the amount of plus size clothing options. But I’m often reminded that other countries don’t have a fraction of the Fatshion retailers we do in the U.S. Which is why it’s important for me to share and shout-out women making it happen for our curvy neighbors to the north. Check out these 5 Women Championing Size Inclusivity In Canadian Fashion!

Race Relations

I’ve been in a weird space when it comes to race recently. As a black person in Asia, I was very often the only black person in certain spaces. Which is not too different from what I’m experiencing now on the campaign trail in middle America. But in Asia, I felt more comfortable. People weren’t coming up to me touching my hair without my permission. I kid you not, it’s happened three times and I’ve been here almost three months.

However, it’s similar to the reaction I often received in Asia which was just excitement to see someone different. In Asia, people would ask to take photos with me and sometimes ask to touch my hair. In America, people tell me they like my hair as they proceed to touch it, ask if it’s real, how long it took and if I wash it. It’s like damn, do you always ask complete strangers about their personal hygiene

I think it’s important for Non-POC (People of Color) to understand that it’s uncomfortable being the only black person in mostly white spaces. When I saw the article I Was The Only Black Person At Elizabeth Gilbert And Cheryl Strayed’s ‘Brave Magic’ Retreat I know it would be like looking in a mirror at my current situation. The author’s list of being “the only” is very similar to mine. I was the only black student in too many of my classes to count. It’s a sad reality of being black in America. Sometimes you are the only one in certain spaces. Which means that unfortunately, your presence speaks for your entire culture. You have to unknowingly and sometimes unwillingly take on the responsibility as a representative for all Black people. Because being the token at the event means that you will stand out. People will notice you and remember what you say and do.

For me, this often means Code Switching. If that’s a new term for you, check out one of my favorite videos of the cast of Dear White People breaking it down.

The article asked a question that is so often posed within minority communities. “How would these yoga mat-carriers feel if they’d arrived at a retreat where absolutely every one of the 600 attendees (and all of the facility staff members) were black?”  This article took me on a familiar journey and left me trying to answer the authors question, “Do Black Stories Matter?”.  This is what motivates me to work harder than ever to create more inclusive content.

Along those lines, The New York Times Opinion Section shared a satirical video earlier this week addressing White Fear and White Fragility. It’s an unfortunate reality for me that simply living my life as a black woman causes some people fear. I can enter a room and without saying a word intimidate people. Because the color of my skin is scary and threatening. What I love most, but is also the most troubling is that this is a real hotline for a real problem.

 

How have you been? I’m sure that was  A LOT to digest! Please feel free to comment below.

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