A Letter From Our Director & Founder
To our members, friends, and community partners,
This has been an unprecedented year for all of us. Yet, in the face of those challenges, we’ve witnessed the community’s ability to adapt, innovate, and embrace new ways to show support. Uncertain of what the future holds, we continue to have necessary conversations about how we can dismantle systems that don’t fully support a fair democracy for all, without a fight. We’ve witnessed countless times leadership from the Black Community has had to forge most civil rights and social justice issues that other communities reap the benefits of. We have experienced blatant attacks to weaken a democracy that already lacks true resolve by constant homegrown terrorism and other isms, crippling voter suppression, and racial divisiveness boiling over.
Please see how we’ve all been victim to a system that lauds individualism and top-down leadership. And to top it off, the climate has been raging with fires, floods, and extreme weather simultaneously erupting and causing havoc. Then there’s the pandemic. Reports are showing daily record-breaking casualties, infections, and ICU capacities at zero percent. The individualism of the culture has everyone fighting over mask mandates and curfews, enough obstructionist behavior to go all around, and keeping the virus spreading rampantly. Not to mention, we still have scars from the Opioid Epidemic that went silent, and constant reminders of how police brutality continues to kill a black man or two a day. It’s a lot to make you scream and shake your head on what we’ve allowed ourselves to tolerate. How much more can we take? Well, that depends on you! Our next big hope seems to be in the pharmaceutical industry saving us with vaccinations or the next presidency making things better, wow! What has happened that we aren’t able to protect ourselves from our own selves? How can we then save ourselves from ourselves by our Self?
ASCENDtials has been hosting sessions that address all of this with topics on structures that contribute to the problem. We learned that we have all been a victim and victimized by an unforgiving system, a system we perpetuate daily. We learned that we’ve all repeated the same mistakes under this system, and blamed ourselves for the destruction without considering for a moment that, “it’s not me if only I had known better”. Well, good luck with that, because America feeds and profits on your not knowing better. Studies show that our children aren’t being exposed to enough civic education learning to make them better citizens or community representatives, nor are we strengthening familial ties and keeping our families together in the black community. Living alone and dying lonely is far too common.
Thankfully, this pandemic has been a bit of a blessing in disguise. It has allowed some people to slow down, focus on “self-care” a term I hadn’t ever heard about so regularly and openly until this year. We’ve been learning more about the needs of the hardest-hit Black Community and Allyship. We’ve forged so many social justice efforts that we seem to stay in “battle mode” and highly fatigued.
What’s next for us? Join us in thinking more critically about this. Some topics in our healing sessions were on reimagining mental health and environmental racism, survival tips in corporate America while Black, the school to prison pipeline, embracing spirituality, black fatigue and white rage, and designing from whiteness to oneness™. We’ve asked the question, “how might we move from this system that has clearly been destructive, to one that allows us to adjust to express the value and respect for everyone?”. Because, if we don’t embrace this change, we will continue to experience these same events repeatedly until we run out of resources to exploit for our individualism to shine through.
Of course, we are all looking forward to better days, and naturally, it is our hope that makes us special. At ASCENDtials, our hope and mission is to keep developing leaders who will chip away at the structures impeding progress to build more diversity, fairness, and inclusiveness. This takes constant practice and reinforcement, as does any activity we want to sustain and strengthen. We are looking forward to collaborating with more partners in the coming year to celebrate our Black leaders, who aren’t afraid, and continue fighting to make our democracy for all. This is how we truly serve.
As this year ends, we want to thank our members, vendors, the business community, and residents for all the support and adjustments they have made this year. A special thanks to our expert speakers who are an amazing source of inspiration, support, and encouragement.
In these months ahead, we encourage you to get involved and invite you to follow us for sessions in February, to honor the leadership in our community that is forging fairness through upcoming elections in Georgia, in early January. In March, we want to honor our Black Women in leadership, as they have been the soul fighting for a nation that has not been so loving toward them. Let’s uplift and applaud the immense courage, strength, and determination it always takes to move the minds of this American machine forward.
In the wise words of James Baldwin, “Forward Ever, Backward Never”. I am pleased to continue serving to provide essential educational tools and services to help us rise to the occasion to defend and fight for equality.
Director & Founder