We’ve been talking a lot and rioting on I Can’t Breathe, but the reality is—and pay attention White people—it’s really I CAN’T….in so many spaces I/WE JUST CAN’T.
I work in the nonprofit space and I CAN’T lead within your traditionally White male-led organization, you are afraid and don’t even try to allow Black female leaders to lead those organizations that need equity instilled and mandated to work. I also CANT get the same level of financial support for my organization that you give to White-led organizations because you don’t trust my leadership, but guess what, I’m more educated, more experienced and more qualified. I also know the community better, so give me a try, or if you really need to, read the research on my abilities and then make another decision.
I CAN’T come to work as my true Black self. It’s a requirement that I Code Switch and learn your language, your priorities, your requirements for me to be worthy of a meeting with you. Plus, don’t get me started with how you feed my imposter syndrome, but please hear this, NOT ANYMORE. I am a leader. I am an executive. My presence is required for you to make real change in the sector. My voice does matter.
I CAN’T trust that you have the best interest for my Black daughter in her school and in her future endeavors to lead. You are focused on your white youth that you trust will pass and advance, but pay little attention to the leadership and executive presence my daughter has in your school. There’s always an excuse. You also don’t see that she has the support of her parents to excel because you can’t believe Black families are secure, solid and capable.
I CAN’T trust that my husband’s best interest and advancement are as much of a priority for you as his White counterparts. You live in a space of “he’ll be thankful for the pay we give him”
I CANT believe that the young Black boys that I love, coach and pray for every day will be safe without me being in their presence and protecting them 24 hours a day. But I CANT do that because I have to work all of my hours because you think I CAN’T handle or deserve the same pay as my White counterparts. You require more, twice as much to get half as much as them.
I CAN’T and let’s lead the conversation with that.
Errika Flood Moultrie is the Operations Director for Dallas, Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation and Founder of ConnectThree. An experienced consultant and coach with extensive knowledge in nonprofit management, program and fund development, capacity building, and leadership development, she holds a Masters in Organizational Management from Dallas Baptist University.