But to me it is necessary.
When I started my business, I became part of this incredible global networking group. One whose members were not fighting against each other, but instead were encouraging and supportive. I have loved going to their networking events and have created some amazing new friendships. I have even spoken at a couple of meetings and have loved helping other businesses with their brand identity.
It has been a massive part of my journey in my business. Which is why this is so hard to write.
I am sure you are all fully aware of the Black Lives Matter campaign and, as a person of colour, it is a campaign that I am very aware of. A couple of weeks ago I put out a public post about it, about my sadness that I am needing to teach my sons that some people may not be okay with the colour of their skin.
A week ago, my friend got racially abused in the street by 6 individuals, one was a security guard. Due to their abuse she had a panic attack in the middle of the street. Her attackers just stood and laughed at her.
She was on her own.
She has now spent an entire week terrified to go outside.
The most awful part? Neither of us were surprised it happened.
This is why the BLM campaign is important. We shouldn’t be accepting of this behaviour because “that’s what happens”.
Call it out
I wanted to call it out – Why wouldn’t you? – I wanted as many people to know as possible.
I turned to the place where I knew had over 50 thousand members globally. My networking group.
After trying to post several times without approval I found out that no posts containing anything to do with the Black Lives Matter Campaign were being approved in the main group nor any of the local groups.
Over 400 posts in ONE weekend were sent to the main group. Not ONE post approved.
Because of admin.
The admin of allowing posts about BLM into the group.
The admin of choosing which ones to allow and which ones to delete.
The admin of monitoring the comments.
Because of admin, they had silenced 400 of their members who wanted to talk about such an important subject.
Because of admin, I had to go to four different local groups just to get them to discuss it with me.
Because of admin, I had to explain that they needed to at least acknowledge their members wanted to speak about it.
It’s not enough
It took all day for the CEO and founder of the group to put out a statement.
A statement that led her to be praised for raising awareness for the BLM campaign.
Whilst she mentioned “The lack of post approval ISNT down to us not supporting rather than us trying to streamline the education”, she failed to mention that this “streamline” process meant over 400 of her members were unable to speak.
There was no mention of me and other members asking for the subject to at least be acknowledged in the group.
She mentioned in her message that “If you’re interested in being interviewed by me speaking on this very subject please let me know”.
I put my name forward – it has been 7 days and so far I have had no communication from them. Whether they contacted the others I don’t know.
In addition, since her statement 7 days ago there has been no further mention of the Black Lives Matter campaign in the group.
I am no longer waiting to see if they keep their word. My trust has been well and truly broken.
I am sad that I will be leaving the group. But for me, a group that promises safety, support and accountability to all their members only to “streamline” the conversation is something I do not wish to be apart of. Not when such a subject such as BLM is being pushed aside because of “admin”. I was an administrator for over 8 years – I would have found a way of ensuring that everyone’s voices were heard.
You may judge me for putting out this incredibly long post and that is up to you, but the reason I am doing this is to highlight once again the issue that POC face.
Yet again, someone is trying to silence them.
Mums in Business Association, you have been such a massive part of my self-employed journey, and I am disappointed that it has ended this way. You may argue that none of this happened and that’s okay – I’ll happily publicise the messages between me and your admin team.
Learn this lesson: allow your members to speak.