By: The Unsettled Team
Header photo by Alisha Gore
As we stand in solidarity with our Black community, in words and in deeds, we also continue to listen. Diversity, perspective, and the inner wisdom that every person holds is ingrained in what it means to live Unsettled.
We are going to continue to ensure that we elevate all voices from our community, and right now, in this moment, it’s important that we give a voice to our Black alumni in America.
They share with us how we all can do our part in the fight against racial injustice at home and on our travels. May we all have the strength to listen to these tough truths. Only then can true change begin to manifest.
We are listening.
Name: Maurice Philogene
Current Location: Washington DC
Tell us about your work background
Primarily a real estate investor buying and operating apartment buildings and other multi-family properties. I’m a restaurant owner, a Consulting Executive of 23 years, and a current Police Officer. I also just retired from the US Military. Oh… and my focus is mentoring on financial freedom. (See Maurice’s article on financial freedom for the Unsettled community here.) And I love to talk to you about it and how we can all get there.
What is one way our community can support racial justice in the US?
Have Empathy for the black community right now. I understand all lives matter. But #blacklivesmatters is the issue that is currently tearing my community and this country apart. Slavery started in 1526. Segregation took over in 1865. And in 2020 those threads ARE STILL ALIVE as evidenced by #GeorgeFloyd and many other incidents. I’m over explaining it to people what it is, what is happening and what it feels like. Have empathy, learn about the issues, join in as an ally, or get out of the way.
What is one way all travelers can support racial equality when they are traveling?
Same as above. Have empathy (seeing a theme here?) Have radical empathy for ALL people and engage. When I traveled to Lebanon with Unsettled in Nov 2019 (for example), I attended local protests, visited local spots and, most importantly, made conversation with as many Lebanese as possible to learn and connect. Don’t be the arrogant foreigner who has no respect for the cultural history and current events of the country you are visiting. Respect the diversity that makes that country unique. If not, they don’t want you there and neither would I. Take the time to learn a little bit about local customs before you arrive so you don’t offend anybody. But when you arrive, show radical empathy, seek out and LISTEN to people. Hear what they are saying. Strive for and accept an invitation to someone’s home for coffee or dinner, if offered. It’s a show of respect. Express your worries or happiness to be in the country. Have conversations and be vulnerable. I now have friends in or from just about all 90+ countries I’ve been to because I never cared about race. I cared about connecting. You connect with empathy and engagement.