Wednesday, October 23, 2019

She Will Know Her Power

"Red And Yellow Dance" found here

It has been five days. I am assuming that the leadership of my former school, having been silent so far, is circling the wagons and coming up with some talking points about my last blog entry. While they make plans, let me clarify a few things:

1. Before the argument makes the rounds, my beef with the school is NOT personal and I am not an angry Black woman/former Board member. If that were the case, I would have a. Reported the misdeeds in June when they happened; b. I would have named names; and c. I would have mentioned the actual “personal” story that happened when my husband and I were attempting to enroll our daughter at the school. I did none of those things. The Alumnae Board has (or had) bylaws. These bylaws were available to everyone, in fact, last I looked they are on the school’s main website. One of the new co-presidents of the Alumnae Board disregarded the bylaws and stole a leadership position. And she was allowed to do that by school leadership. That is what happened. Those are the facts. In June, when this was happening, I strongly opposed this and my opinion was dismissed. I sent my resignation letter, including alternative proposals, to the entire Board and school leadership-- so they have KNOWN exactly where I stood. For four months. And they have said and done nothing.

As for the “angry Black woman” situation- I have been a part of this small society since eighth grade. I know that when I disagree with the status quo, someone is going to say that I am just angry and somehow my actions are making people feel uncomfortable or anxious. Or my reaction is detrimental to our "community." To that I say: if my sitting at the table and calling you out on your noted racial and/or socioeconomic inequality makes you anxious or hurts your feelings… enjoy that anxiety, because I am not going anywhere.

2. The fallout from my blog post is that a lot of ladies now feel comfortable sharing their stories and their experiences- good and bad. And I am happy about that. There is no way that the school will pretend to, I mean, embark on fixing its strained relationship with some of their alumnae if we don’t band together and MAKE THEM SEE US. I spent five years highlighting the good experiences of our classmates while I was on the Board. Just like the good, our bad experiences should be dealt with swiftly and in public. If the school has wronged you as an alumnae, they should be brought to task about that. I will gladly be the face of a movement towards the school making amends. They need to and we need to demand that they do so, immediately.

3. I will remain transparent in what I want from the school. I want an apology from them, specifically from the woman who stole her position on the Board and the two women in charge who allowed her to do it. I want some guarantees that set in stone rules will not be broken again. I want to see more diversity (racial and socioeconomic) in charge of alumnae relations and (eventually) I want to speak with the school about the situation that took place concerning my daughter. Essentially, I want the school to show some of that “good behavior” that they supposedly instilled in us when we were students there. I have said and will continue to say- they need to work better with alumnae. And the school cannot work well with us if they continue to treat us like shit AND we allow them to get away with it.

4. As a reread my first post, I know that it seemed as if I was out on a limb by myself, like EVERY Board member left me in the wind. That is not true. I had four ladies who vocally opposed the coup that the school allowed. I appreciate them more than they know. There are ladies who stood up against this. There are ladies who know that this is wrong and said so. I am not the only person who left the Board. There ARE women who have enough backbone to stand up against this bullshit being shoveled in our direction. Some of those ladies are speaking their truth now. Listen: as a feminist I really believe that ALL women bring something to the table. We gain nothing by being bitchy or excluding people. You cannot feed the needs of your people (in this case alumnae of a private school) if only a portion of your people are represented. If that portion is almost solely rich, White women, you stand to alienate an ever growing number of people in your community. If you allow your representatives to come in and do whatever they want, rules be damned, because they can write you a big check, you will alienate (and infuriate) your base. If you teach young women to speak up when they see some wrongs… be ready to be brought to task about the wrong shit you do. I will not go away. I will not let this bad behavior continue. I will not be silenced.

Friday, October 18, 2019

I've Packed Up My Unicorns

More than a couple Unicorns have asked me why I have stepped away from the place that connects us. It is true that my involvement with our common institution came to an abrupt halt at the end of June. After five years of active participation and one year as the face/email signature of our alumnae association, ladies have hit me up to see why they don’t hear from me anymore and why they don’t see me at events. Woo- there is SO much. I have come to the point where I am rational enough to properly convey what happened without using my signature “colorful” language. I wasn’t sure that I would ever post this or publicly say anything about what happened because, generally, people are taught to move on from bad situations and say nothing. However, yesterday, one of my attorney buddies on Twitter pointed out that folks are “used to getting away with rude stuff because people are taught to be polite and not call things out. Bullshit to that.” Bullshit, indeed.

This establishment that we share, this Columbus institution, was built on the idea that empowering girls will help them find their way as learners and leaders. I discovered my potential as a leader well before I was in the safe confines of our small college preparatory society. Being a leader has never been an issue for me. My leadership style is simple: I, transparently, do what is best for the greater good. I do it without bullshit. I’ll tell you if we can swing something, or if it needs to wait. If I disagree with a proposal, I will let you know; and if you tell me something in confidence, that is where it will stay. I am a vault.

So, that is what you get from me, transparent, no nonsense leadership AND I am, and always will be, fiercely loyal. If I rock with you, and you need me, there is no doubt that I will do whatever I can. I mean, if we make it to be friends, you damn near have to spit in my face for me not to fuck with you anymore. But once you cross the line, our level of trust will never go back to 100%. I said all that to say: four months ago, the place where we spent our formative years, where we grew up together… spit in my face. Now listen: more than one thing happened, please know that, but the absolute end of my patience? I was unceremoniously and unjustly left out of a huge decision that I most certainly should have been involved in. The person that would eventually take my place purposely worked around me, created an environment where she could be in charge and never, not once, apologized or took responsibility (and I am sure that she will never). Then she had the audacity to “thank me for my service” in a newsletter. Y’all. And the administration at our shared institution… did nothing. Ladies who told me their issues with the woman in question kept quiet because they didn’t want to rock the boat and folks just moved on like it was just another day.

Now listen: While I may deliver my words in a very straightforward way, I don’t do mean girl shit. I do not believe that women have to be pit against one another for one to rise to the top. I think that women who have to do sneaky shit to meet their personal goals are pathetic. I firmly believe that there is enough shine for everyone to have some, and it may just be the law school in me, but I also think that folks should be able to talk shit out. Not completely out of line thinking for an all girls school, right? A place that is supposed to foster the spirit of young women should be a safe place, right?

So that is why you haven’t seen me around, or sharing their events on Facebook. You will not see me at any events in the near future either. What happened to me was… unprofessional, inexcusable, unkind and, perhaps most importantly, undeserved. So, I have packed up my collection of unicorns (along with some wonderful memories AND the thought of my daughter following in my footsteps in those halls) and put them in the back of the closet. The WAY BACK. No telling if or when they will ever make another appearance.
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