By: The Unsettled Team
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.
Nikki Webber Allen
Name: Nikki Webber Allen
Current Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Tell us about your work background
I’m an “OG” storyteller and 20-year veteran of the film and television industry. From day one, I’ve worked with a specific goal in mind, to amplify the voices of marginalized people whose stories would otherwise be silenced or told from a more conventional, often inaccurate, perspective. In 2014, my passion for authentic storytelling from a BIPOC perspective led me to launch a nonprofit called iLIVEFOR… Our mission is to end mental health stigma in communities of color by using videotaped stories as a catalyst for change.
What’s one way our community can support racial justice in the US?
Become “anti-racist” allies. There are countless ways for people to educate themselves about anti-racism. Read books, watch films and listen to podcasts created by Black artists and activists. Follow thought leaders and civil rights organizations on social media. Search for popular TED Talks on topics including militarized policing, criminal justice reform, structural racism in America. And perhaps one of the most uncomfortable, but impactful, ways to understand the issues better is to ask your Black friends (if you don’t have any that may be something for you to ponder too) if they’d be willing to share their experiences with you. The tough part is that you must be willing to LISTEN, without being defensive, and accept the discomfort of hearing how different their realities are from yours. This part is critical because up until the horrific video was released of George Floyd’s murder, black people’s experiences with police brutality have been routinely dismissed and denied adding to the racial trauma that we experience in America. Finally, as an anti-racist ally, talk to your family and friends about the ways in which racism may show up within your own communities and your own homes. Then, do the work to create a more just and equitable environment right where you live.
What is one way all travelers can support racial equality when they are traveling?
Systemic racism is a global issue. As a consequence, across the world people of color bear the burden of social and economic inequities. Their talents, resources and cultures are often mined, exploited and exported leaving them with limited pathways to creating any wealth for themselves. For that reason, I believe travelers can support racial equality by intentionally seeking out local businesses to support that are owned and operated by black, brown, and indigenous people. I find these places usually offer a more authentic and enriching experience and it helps to get money circulating within communities that really need it.