Working Across to Advance: An Overlooked Act of Resistance

via @pollynor on Instagram

Amidst the state of the world responding to the injustices of Black people, I can’t help but notice a surge of collaboration. The climate has launched us into a new space of union. Black folks are coming together to organize, support one another, and share information for social change — for equity. But we haven’t stopped at humanity and politics; we have brought this momentum into our personal lives. This spike in collaboration and support throughout our community has been one of the best things to be birthed in this chaotic and uncertain time. We are supporting our own businesses, services, products, projects, and ideas. We are doing internal work. We are exchanging the dollar within our own hands. We are building. This is resistance. It’s beautiful to be a people who always manage to find light navigating a space of grief. 

Seeing this expanding network within my community reminds me of a concept Issa Rae shed light to during a sit-down interview in 2017 with Roland Martin. She presented the idea of working across our network as she reflected on the words of a writer on her team.

“We have a tendency where we try to like, when we network, network up? And it really is about networking across. Like who’s next to you, who’s struggling, who’s in the trenches with you, who’s just as hungry as you are? And those are the people that you need to build with” she explained.

Issa Rae – “Issa Rae Explains How “Brokeness” Can Fuel Creativity”

There’s value in this perspective. It made me realize how often we may overlook our own gifts or those of the people around us without thought. Reflecting on my journey I realize my success and elevation can largely be attributed to the support and push I had from those surrounding me. Mutual collaboration has allowed me to thrive. 

The conversation of building and pouring back into the Black community has been ongoing for centuries I’m sure. We are experiencing a moment in time where this dialogue has made its way to the forefront, globally. Living within the systems of oppression and white supremacy on a magnitude of levels has enforced limitations on mobility and access. This is an undisputable fact. In the past week we’ve seen many people come forward about their traumatic experiences with racism due to being Black in their respective industries. We’ve been sold the illusion of constantly needing to reach up or beg even, for a seat at the table. But the truth is that we have resources amongst ourselves. We have numbers amongst ourselves. We don’t give each other enough credit or credibility. I can’t help but to think of the larger themes of capitalism and individualism that America has been built upon which have ultimately led to this normalcy. 

From a cultural standpoint, being of the diaspora has always meant understanding collectivism. Collectivism is the practice or principle of giving a group priority over each individual in it (per Oxford Languages via Lexico). We have been stripped almost completely of this concept, hundreds of years later. But that’s what enslavement and assimilation will do *sighs*. These days are uncertain; we don’t know what will happen next. But collectively we are seeing the power of coming together to advance our community and selves through exchange. I see people promoting themselves, sharing resources, connecting, and networking all for the purpose of building one another up. We love to see it! We need one another and truly do have the power to establish something greater. Our commitment to the well being and elevation of one another is resistance. If not us, then who? 

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