Welcome to our Women’s History Month series on Skimm’d from the Couch - where we’re bringing you the women who made history this past year.
Meet: Alicia Garza. She’s the Principal at Black Futures Lab and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network — the movement that sparked a global rallying cry last summer. Black Lives Matter has since been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, as the world recognizes the groundbreaking work Alicia and her co-founders started.
On Building Connections
Alicia: In my line of work...it helps me to…see where there are possibilities for connection and relationship that you would think are unlikely. One of the things that is so important about building movements, which is the process of putting more power into the hands of more people, is that you have to build the kinds of alliances that are unexpected, right?
You have to build between people who might think they don't have anything in common, and you have to find the relationships and the places of connection in order to maximize the amount of power that you have.
On Facing Rejection
Alicia: I often tell this story of a woman who I built a relationship with over many, many weeks. And at first she would slam the door in my face. Like every time I would show up at her house, she would slam the door in my face. She would open the door. She'd be like, "What do you want?" [I'd say], "Hey, I'm here to talk about X, Y, or Z."
…. What worked was getting to understand why it was she was slamming the door in my face, as opposed to getting all in my feelings about being rejected. It wasn't actually about me at any point in time. It was about a woman who was trying to navigate her conditions and her surroundings…. The more that I came back and just tried to get to know her, just tried to get to better understand what she was about, what she was facing, every day, I learned so much. I learned that you know, her "no" was actually rooted in fear of retaliation. It was rooted in fear of being attacked. It was rooted in a fear of taking a risk and not actually getting the result that you wanted. And I think in the workplace, it's the same. People have all kinds of reasons why we do what we do.
…. Who can't relate to being rejected? Who can't relate to feeling isolated? Who can't relate to having a dream that you're worried that other people will think is too audacious or too bold, or just kind of off the cuff? Who can not relate to those things, but in order to get to the relational part, you actually have to build a relationship. Somebody has to see you and say, that's a safe place to land. This is somebody who wants to hear what I think, what I care about, what I long for. And that to me is really the starting place.
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