Navigating Your Career

Implementing Anti-Racism with Alyssa Hall

February 03, 2021 Melissa Lawrence Season 1 Episode 19
Navigating Your Career
Implementing Anti-Racism with Alyssa Hall
Chapters
Navigating Your Career
Implementing Anti-Racism with Alyssa Hall
Feb 03, 2021 Season 1 Episode 19
Melissa Lawrence

Join Melissa as she talks to Alyssa Hall, an Anti-Racism Coach for Companies and Individuals, on how to implement anti-racism in your every day life  - at work and at home.

Learn:

  • What it means to be an anti-racist
  • The difference between an ally and anti-racist
  • How to talk about race issues at work and with friends and family
  • How to talk about Black Lives Matter, the Capital Riot, and inequality without landing in the HR office
  • How you might be demonstrating privilege, without even knowing it
  • What type of environment organizations need to have to foster a speak-up culture
  • How to implement anti-racism in your every day life without protesting or donations


To get in contact with Alyssa Hall https://www.alyssahallcoaching.com/
You can also find her on Instagram @alythelifecoach

Show Notes Transcript

Join Melissa as she talks to Alyssa Hall, an Anti-Racism Coach for Companies and Individuals, on how to implement anti-racism in your every day life  - at work and at home.

Learn:

  • What it means to be an anti-racist
  • The difference between an ally and anti-racist
  • How to talk about race issues at work and with friends and family
  • How to talk about Black Lives Matter, the Capital Riot, and inequality without landing in the HR office
  • How you might be demonstrating privilege, without even knowing it
  • What type of environment organizations need to have to foster a speak-up culture
  • How to implement anti-racism in your every day life without protesting or donations


To get in contact with Alyssa Hall https://www.alyssahallcoaching.com/
You can also find her on Instagram @alythelifecoach


Melissa

Okay. So with me today, I have a really special guest. I have Alyssa Hall with me. Alyssa, could you tell everyone a little bit about you?

 


Alyssa

Yes. Hi, everyone. My name is Alyssa Hall. I am an anti racism coach. I work with service providers and other business owners and helping them implement antiracism in their lives as well as in their business in an authentic way.

 


Melissa

That is so cool. And I think the term anti racism can be kind of new to people. So can you tell us a little bit more about what it means to be an antiracist?

 


Alyssa

Yes. Okay. So just giving you all a heads up for this entire podcast. I speak in examples, so this is helpful. But the example that I always use for this, there is this clip of a show that I saw, and I was like, this is literally the epitome of non racist versus anti racist. And it's the show called Static Shock. It's this kid show. And the main character is is black superhero, and he has a white best friend. And he went over to his white best friend's house for dinner, and the dad was throwing around a lot of microaggressions, and the main character was just acting like nothing completely normal.

 


Alyssa

But his best friend was really upset and he didn't say anything. He just kept giving his dad the look at the dinner table. Then the next scene is the best friend and the main character in the best friend's room. And the best friend is going on about how angry he is at his dad. And he can't believe his dad said all of those things. And the main character is like, oh, no, it's fine. It's not that serious. Blah, blah. It's time. Then the main character goes to the bathroom and the bathroom is near the parent's room.

 


Alyssa

And as he's walking to the bathroom, he's listening to the parents have a discussion, and the dad is saying really deeply racist things about the friend. And it's like, this is why our son is behaving this way because of his black best friend. And like all these really racist things. And it hurts the main characters feelings. And that's like the end of the clip. But that is the perfect example of non racist. The best friend is non racist. He didn't say anything at the dinner table.

 


Alyssa

And of course, this is an example with kids, so there's but so much power in that situation. But it's a similar thing of just bringing them around a place that's not safe for them. And even when we're in the place not doing anything to make it safe and then just being angry about it later on versus anti racist, if you're a friend to his house at all, because that's not a safe place. And let's say he didn't realize his dad was that racist right at the dinner table, he would have challenged his father.

 


Alyssa

He would have said certain things. And again, this is an example with kids. But I see this a lot with grown people, too. It's just like we have our group of friends and maybe one friend is problematic, and we're never challenging anything that that person says. And she's like, oh, well, yeah, we don't really like her, but she's a part of our friend group in blah, blah, blah. Well, then don't bring other people into that friend group then, because she's problematic and we're not challenging her, and we're not saying anything.

 


Alyssa

And it's the same exact thing in businesses. So I feel like that's a really visual example of what that really means.

 


Melissa

Yeah. And I like what you touched on there. So it's kind of the difference between inclusion and anti racism, because I think a lot of people think inclusion is just having someone at the dinner table inviting them to the table, having dinner with them, being a friend with them, as opposed to really advocating for them having a safe space.

 


Alyssa

Right. It's like I feel like people also, especially with the meaning of just, like, diversity, inclusion. And what does that actually look like? If you invite that person to the dinner table, then your dinner table is diverse. That's literally all it is. But are they are they included? Are they able to have a conversation and feel safe about whatever it is that they're saying and have a safe conversation? Are they going to be there and be ridiculed or be gas, let or be tough down? Your dinner table is still diverse, but it's not a safe space or just the looking the other way.

 


Melissa

Like you said, if you're at the table and somebody says something, you might not agree with it, but you're also not speaking up for it. So you might feel inclusive. Like you're being inclusive when really you might be inclusive but not be an anti racist.

 


Alyssa

Is that right? Right. Exactly. Okay.

 


Melissa

And you mentioned also microaggression for people that might not be familiar with that. Can you share what that means?

 


Alyssa

Yes. Okay. So microaggressions, I feel like the way I define it is almost just like, this is what common day racism looks like, because when people think about racism, we're always thrown back 2030, 40, 50 years in history and saying, well, segregation isn't a thing. Well, these people have rights. Like, it's just really microaggressions are stereotypes that people are just going off of in their head, but they're bringing that into the way that they're interacting with people. One microaggression could be like one that I've heard my entire life.

 


Alyssa

It's like, oh, you're so eloquent. Why is that a microaggression? Because there comes an assumption that I wouldn't have been eloquent, that I would have been not smart or whatever the idea was. So then when I put my face in front of them and I speak to them, they're like, oh, my goodness. They're like taking a back. And it's just like, what are you actually saying? Here a really good example of micro regression, because someone would be like, oh, that's a compliment. But what is it that you're complementing?

 


Alyssa

Are you complimenting me as a person? Are you complimenting? Like, oh, for a black person, you speak so well. What the hell does that mean, right? Yeah.

 


Melissa

And so we touched on this a little bit, but what would you say is different between being an antiracist and an ally?

 


Alyssa

Oh, my gosh. Okay. I love it as an ally is a self imposed title. We put that sticker on ourselves, and it really just means I care about this cause I care about this thing. But antiracist, the full phrase of anti racist is really, like, actively antiracist. There is some action behind it. There's something that you're doing in order to ensure that racism do not even doesn't belong, but there is literally no place for it to be. Being an ally is more of a like, I'll give you a hug afterwards, and because I care and I understand your problem, actively anti racist means, like, I see that there's a problem here.

 


Alyssa

We're going to fix this. You don't even have to worry about it. It's a very different thing.

 


Melissa

And that's really powerful. I think that's a really powerful difference. It's like taking accountability for something that doesn't necessarily impact you directly.

 


Alyssa

Exactly. And especially when you think of Allie, that's really what it is. It's like, I care about this issue that may or may not affect me directly. It most likely doesn't affect me directly, but I'm letting you know that I care about it, and it's important to me. And I understand your rights. That's literally foundation doesn't mean that you're doing anything with all that care, just that you are right.

 


Melissa

It's like thoughts and prayers.

 


Alyssa

Exactly.

 


Melissa

That okay. I don't mean to offend anyone by that. I feel like that is the response that when something really tragic happens, but it's not happening to you directly. That's just a common response that people have. Right?

 


Alyssa

Okay.

 


Melissa

So when you think about how we interact with one another as people, as humans, what do you think are the biggest areas that we can improve on?

 


Alyssa

Okay. I feel like the most important thing is communication, but, like, really true, deep communication, not just talking, but like, listening and listening, but also believing what it is that you're hearing. Because nine times out of ten, it's going to be something different from what you've experienced. And you have to be okay with understanding that this is going to be a different experience. But then the other level is deciding to make changes based off of what you've been hearing and what you've decided that you're going to believe from this person.

 


Alyssa

And I was actually just thinking about this this morning. One of the biggest issues that is going on and has continued to happen is that people are just being gassed all the time. They're being told that their experiences are actually not their experiences because the people who are listening just don't believe them. And I was just thinking about it for myself. I'm just like, I have dealt with that my entire life, and it's not even just because of being a black woman, but it's really just also from having invisible illnesses, thinking about it in that context, too.

 


Alyssa

Just someone telling you, oh, I've had a migraine for a week, and you're just, like, migraines only last a day, and then you're challenging them on whether or not they had the migraine for a week. That is like the entire experience. And it's just like, if you instead decided to listen intently and believe the person, the entire interaction becomes completely different.

 


Melissa

Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I think that's probably I would agree with you that's such an area that I think we can all improve on is just looking at how we can listen more intently with. I think what's really hard is we all bring our own experiences to the table, and our brain is just distorting and deleting information like crazy. So I guess do you have any tips for how someone could really listen effectively and kind of shut down some of that unconscious bias that they might not even know?

 


Alyssa

I have I feel like it's really about taking the information that you're hearing and in that moment, supporting the person in whatever way they need to be supported. But then later on, you can go off and do your own research. And that is what is so important, especially in the age that we're in now. It's so easy to do that and even really getting to the core of whatever it is that this person is saying and being like, oh, wow. Like the example of the migraines, like, oh, wow.

 


Alyssa

I didn't realize migraines could last that long, but you're intently in the story. But then later on deciding, let me just do some research. Like, what is it that they're talking about? Like, how does that even work? That's it. And, like, knowing for yourself to where you feel like there must be an error here, or maybe they're not saying clearly or correctly, that's actually your own personal experience coming up and noticing when that's happening for you.

 


Melissa

Yeah, that's really good.

 


Alyssa

Okay.

 


Melissa

So the Black Lives Matter movement isn't new, but it's really gotten a lot of attention, especially in the last year, and I think it's made race more of a conversation. And some people have enjoyed that conversation, and for some people, it's really uncomfortable. And so for those that might not know the meaning behind it and why it's so important, can you share your perspective on why it is so important?

 


Alyssa

Yes. So I feel like it's important to really understand what it's even about and where it started and how that's still a thing. And it's the real core of it is injustices toward the black community. So the hashtag started after Trayvon Martin was murdered and his murderer was pleaded not guilty and was able to go free and live his best life. That is when everything started. And it's like, okay, well, how what effect does that case have to do with an entire community of people? And it's really just seeing right there in front of you what actually matters to the justice system, what actually matters to people, because it wasn't just the justice system that was saying that he was not guilty, but it was also an entire community of people who were saying like, oh, well, Treyvon should have done this, and he shouldn't have looked like this.

 


Alyssa

And he should all of these things that were all prejudices against this one person who really stood for everyone. These are things that we have all heard throughout our entire lives, especially men have heard about themselves, their brothers, their sons, their friends, the same exact things. And being told that because of those reasons, it was okay for this person to murder him and being able to see yourself reflected in this case and have it just go off and be okay. That's what's so important to understand, and it's important to understand.

 


Alyssa

How is that continuing to happen? Where are we continuing to see that in the world at large, not just in these horrific cases, but in our day to day relationship? How are we continuing to see that a complete group of people or multiple groups of people are being left out of the conversation, and instead, we're prioritizing the thoughts and feelings of other people? Does that make sense? Yeah.

 


Melissa

No, that was a really good explanation. So do you think there is a place for people to talk about black lives matter and race issues at work?

 


Alyssa

I feel like there almost has to be right. And I think it's more about not talking about I'm going to start all over again. So I think there has to be a place to talk about it in the workplace, but it's not talking about black lives matter, the movement necessarily. But it's about the core things that this conversation is bringing up. And it's really about the injustices as a whole. Like, one really good example of that is the Crown Act, which is essentially a law that States that black women or black people in general can't be discriminated based off of their hair.

 


Alyssa

That's a real thing. The fact that a whole lot to be put in place is a real thing. And what that looks like in the workplace is like, me. I have my hair relaxed, so it doesn't necessarily affect me specifically. But for someone who wants to wear their hair natural, natural, like, literally thinking about that the way that we were born and exists. If they want to wear their hair that way, they are seen as lesser than I am because of their hair. And it's about.

 


Alyssa

What is it that their hair is saying about them? Oh, they're wild. Oh, they're not professional. All of these things just from the natural hair that grows out of our scalp. And that's a work price conversation, because thinking about how many promotions as this person been skipped out on because they want to wear their hair and not chemically damage their hair for the sake of this job, all of these different things, just like Black Lives Matter is like the slogan, but, like, what are all the umbrella topics underneath it that need to be brought into the workplace?

 


Melissa

Yeah. I think here hair is such a big topic. I mean, like, my daughter wears her hair natural, and people like, she will tell me her friends will be like, can I touch your hair? She's going to touch your hair. Your hair different. It's just so different because it's not something that like me having, like, straight blond hair. Like, nobody ever asks to touch my hair. No one tells me my hair is distracting. And also it's interesting because when we talk about micro aggression, I feel like there's this microaggression.

 


Melissa

You tell me if this is a microaggression, like, complimenting someone for wearing their hair natural. Oh, good for you for wearing your hair natural. I like it all big. Like, that your stuff like that. And it's like nobody has ever said, oh, good for you, Melissa, for not putting in your highlights this month.

 


Alyssa

It is so funny because that's literally what it is. And and it's interesting to to think of, where is the message coming from? Right. Again, like, using myself as an example, I relax. My hair and my cousins have decided to go natural, and they're like trying to get me on the train, and I'm like that's too hard, and I don't want to, but I'm really like, I see you. I see your hair growing and it's moisturized and it's flourishing. And I'm so happy for you. That is amazing.

 


Alyssa

And every time I see them, I compliment them on that on those foundation because they understand what I'm talking about. And it's not like, oh, good for you for being proud to be black or whatever. So very different. The same sentence comes different from who's the one speaking at. Yeah.

 


Melissa

And I think that's part of why this conversation that we're having is important, because these comments are well intended. People are trying to be complimentary. I think I think there's a positive message behind it. I think they're just not able to see kind of that bias of how it's coming across and how they would approach the conversation based on how someone looks. So what are some strategies that employees can use to talk about race or really differences they're seeing that they want to comment on, and they're trying to be complementary?

 


Melissa

Or there was the capital riots recently, and I think that sparked a lot of conversation about just when there were images showing between how the Black Lives Matter protest were shown on the news and how the police responded to that versus the riots of the capital, there was a very clear visual difference. There not just in the people that were writing, of course, but just in the way that the police handled that situation, the way that the news covered situation, it just was very different. So how can I know?

 


Melissa

I just threw a lot on you with that. But with all of these things going on, in addition to well intended people trying to be inclusive and an antiracist learning more about that now, how can they approach that conversation in the workplace that's not going to land them in the HR office?

 


Alyssa

Yes. I think it's really what those specific examples I feel it's almost like a little flag little reminder of just like, hey, this issue isn't solved yet, and that I feel like is a way to really start the conversation of just like, okay, this is clearly and it's not just, hey, this issue isn't solved yet, but also, hey, this is a systemic issue. And it's not just this one thing that we're seeing, it's about all the other things that are at play here. And how is that happening in our office?

 


Alyssa

How is that happening in our company? What are certain things that we're not realizing that are actually contributing to all of this after something big like that happens? What are we doing the next day? Are we having a conversation about it? Are we allowing people to take a mental health day afterwards, or are we just going back acting like nothing happened? And how does that affect other people if they are having, like, a ridiculously demanding job, for example, and they have to go back the next day and pretend like nothing is happening?

 


Alyssa

How does that affect the way that they are being perceived by their higher ups? Like, oh, this person isn't working that hard. Well, why not? Well, all this stuff just happen, and it's affecting me and my life and my family. But if, again, we're continuing to just bypass over the experiences of people, then it's going to show in the way that they're doing their job. So just thinking about the people who are employees, some ways are bringing up asking about what is it that we are doing about racial equity?

 


Alyssa

How are we addressing this in our company? Are there some ways that we can be doing this better? Because I'm continuing to see this happen in our regular outside life, in the government and all these other places, but I want to make sure that where I am right now is actually taking some changes so that we can at least know that our little bubble of this company is doing its job and not just going along with everything else.

 


Melissa

Yeah, that's so good. And I like that you brought up kind of taking a minute to process what we saw and the impact that will have, because it almost seems like a type of suppression of the issue to expect people to ignore it. So what would you say to someone kind of shifting to your personal life with your friends and family? And sometimes people will see things like, on social media from people that they know, and they'll be like, didn't know you had that view. What would you say to someone who is nervous to start the conversation about race in their personal life?

 


Alyssa

Okay, I'm just going to start off with saying, I am the Queen of hating confrontation. I have always hated confrontation. And I start that off to say you don't have to be someone who feels comfortable with confrontation, likes confrontation. I have worked in the restaurant industry, and like my first couple of years, whenever customers would be yelling at me, I would literally be physically trembling because I hate confrontation that much. So when it comes to figuring out how to have these potentially difficult conversations, the way that I really teach people to do it from a way that is as easy as possible.

 


Alyssa

But we're still getting the core things across. And it goes back to what we were talking about before is understanding the fundamentals of communication is really deciding for yourself. Like, am I in an okay place to have this conversation? That's number one, because if you're angry, if you're sad, if you're frustrated, those feelings are going to come out. And whatever it is that you're saying to the other person, they're not going to hear your words, they're going to hear your anger and frustration. So taking the time to yourself to step away, calm yourself down and not forcefully calm yourself down.

 


Alyssa

Like, really, like, watch the Netflix, do something like, go away and then come back so that you can be in a place of having a conversation from a calmer space and being able to listen to the other person, whether we want to listen to the person or not is not the problem. We don't have to actually listen to have the other person feel like they're being heard enough so that you're allowed to come in and have that back and forth conversation about what is actually happening.

 


Alyssa

Because nine times out of ten, when we do have conversations with people about really big issues like politics or race or Black Lives Matter, all of that, there's usually this really large statement that is said about people or about the movement, and we can't respond to that person's very large statement. Like, if someone says the Black Lives Matter movement is actually just a bunch of rioters, that's a very big statement. They don't care how much evidence you have, they are stuck to that one statement. So on our end, it's more of just, like, asking, what do you mean by that?

 


Alyssa

Talk to me a little bit more about that. Getting very deep to the core of what they actually saw, of what they actually believe and responding to that. And their response could be like, well, in my town, when we had a Black Lives Matter protest, it turned into a riot. So now I feel like all the other ones are like that, too. You can't argue with the fact that they turned into a riot, but you can argue the fact that that was just your town is it takes the conversation completely different versus saying, no, it's not.

 


Alyssa

They're actually like, so really getting to that. Yeah.

 


Melissa

So it kind of goes back to the listening piece that you said earlier, but then also going in kind of a neutral as you can, and then being exquisite, like, kind of going off a curious mindset of trying to understand their perspective as opposed to trying to defend your own.

 


Alyssa

Exactly. You don't have to sit here and be persuaded or decide that you have to change your mind or whatever. You're just allowing the person to speak, which allows them to allow you to speak. Yeah.

 


Melissa

So good. Okay. So how can people, managers or leaders then link? So it's kind of going back to the workplace with that same kind of concept. How can managers or leaders talk about race or injustice or inequality if they want to address it? We talked about when these things happen or just a doesn't necessarily have to be because something happened. But just if they want to have the conversation, what's the best way for them to to approach it that you think will be well received?

 


Alyssa

I feel like the best way to really approach it is to get a clear understanding of how this all plays a factor into their specific role or into their specific company. How does this actually have to do with that specific thing? Because the problem that I'm seeing a lot is that people are just having these really grand talks about race. Grand talks about unconscious bias, which are, again, that's important, too. But if we don't get really specific on how that's actually showing up in our day to day lives, then we're not going to change anything because we're going to feel like nothing needs to be changed because we're not doing those two really big things.

 


Alyssa

So really getting clear on understanding how that's showing up for people who are working for them or people who are potentially working for them. How does racism show up in the way that we expect things from our clients or from our from our employees? How is racism and white supremacy in that structure? Because that's how we're all taught that's just how our society is. So how is it being shown in the way that we're handling things and really getting clear on that so that you can start dismantling that and deciding actually, let's not do it this way.

 


Alyssa

Let's decide that we're going to do it this other way, because it could have this potential reaction for people. Like, for example, the like, if we're going to be really rigid about days off and decide unless you are hacking up blood, then you ought to come to work. So when someone's having a mental health day because of something that they saw on the news, then what's going to happen? How does that show up in the way that we are deciding to run our companies or to be leaders?

 


Alyssa

Or if someone is trying to tell you, like, oh, yeah, what I saw on the news last night really messed me up. And I don't think I can come in today. Are we taking that as believing them, or are we decided that that's an excuse and they should still come to work? It's like seeing how all that plays into the way that we have set up our structures?

 


Melissa

Yeah. So it sounds like it's kind of looking at the bigger things, like policies and procedures and ways of working, but then also asking questions to get to kind of the day to day understanding of what's the experience of really all the employees, because some of it is going to be I've witnessed things or I've experienced this or yes, I've noticed some favoritism or that type of thing. And just knowing what is their experience like at work?

 


Alyssa

Exactly. And understanding, too, that it's not going to be a comfortable conversation, so we can't because that's, like, the other side of the coin is that I see a lot of employers or leaders and managers are just like, okay, we're going to gather everyone or we're going to take the time to talk to this person and this person and have them explain to us how working here has triggered them or how this had to do with their black experience. And I even just think about myself and some of the really negative experiences that I've had as a job.

 


Alyssa

It is extremely uncomfortable to tell my boss how they have hurt me. And when I left, specifically my restaurant industry job, like, I had to do an exit interview, and that was, like one of the questions. But the person that I was doing the exit interview with, I felt very comfortable with, so I was able to be like, listen, you all messed up on these type of ways. And I tried to tell you all these different times how you are messing up. But if it were to the person who was actually messing up with me, then that would have been extremely uncomfortable.

 


Alyssa

And then it's just like, okay, well, go about your right way. Bye bye. And just like, what do I gain from reliving my trauma with you? What do I gain from having this conversation? Really? Nothing. And it's really important to understand that, too. We have to make it so that we can't just expect people to feel comfortable with reliving all these things by telling us. So it's a part of. Yes. Having the conversation with people who are comfortable and understanding to that. If it's not going to be worth it for them, they may not always decide to spill out all their stuff.

 


Alyssa

They're just like, listen, I'm here to clock in and clock out. Yes, you all are being terrible, but I am not going to go through my own emotional labor to have this conversation. And just for you guys to most likely not change, there has to be a level of trust there as well. Yeah.

 


Melissa

And do you think that that comes from making it visible when people are speaking up and then showing how that's resulting in some sort of change? Or is there some other way that I guess companies or managers can illustrate that it's safe for people to speak up?

 


Alyssa

Yeah. There has to be a fundamental like trust given because giving the example of in my own experience, the experience that I had with my restaurant job, it was when I was pregnant, and they were extremely hard on me when I was pregnant. But then there was someone else was pregnant literally exactly a year before, and all of these rules weren't in place for her. But then they were in place for me, and I would complain about it all the time. And the response was like a need to try harder, help.

 


Alyssa

You just need to do this. Help. You just need to get your life together. That was like literally an actual sentence that was said all of these different things. So is by the end of my pregnancy, that's the messaging throughout my entire pregnancy, by the time my pregnancy is over and I'm deciding you I'm going to leave. There is no trust there, because every single other time that I've tried to talk to the manager, that has been the response. So if you all are going to ask me, please tell me all the ways that I've missed, I already told you for the last year, you messed up.

 


Alyssa

I don't care what it is that you're going to do that's emotional labor on me. And my thought is even though you're asking me, I don't think that you're going to change, because all these other times that people have said things, there has been no change. Yeah.

 


Melissa

So this kind of is a great segue. Then into my next question, which is what are some ways that people might demonstrate privilege and not know that they are?

 


Alyssa

Oh, my gosh. Okay. This question is really good because I feel like it goes back to understanding. And you kind of highlighted it before understanding what privilege actually is. And what it really means is that you have been your experience. No, I'm trying to figure out a way to describe it, but you have been lucky enough to not have to experience. It does not mean that you don't have to experience all the other little of the Alphabet, but you don't have to experience X as it relates to Y.

 


Alyssa

That's literally what it is, right? So when we think about our world view, if we never have to experience, we're not even seeing how that interplay is going on in our daily lives. So then if someone is saying, oh, it's because of your privilege, what that means is this is not on your radar and you don't understand how your world view is not everyone else's world view. And that's why you're able to respond from that way because you haven't had that experience and you don't know what that experience is like.

 


Alyssa

It's like going back to the example of the invisible illnesses. Depression is another invisible illness, and that's like a really big one to think about. When people talk about it, they're like, oh, well, why couldn't the person just XYZ, they were in bed all day. Why were they in bed all day? Wasn't that like contributing to the depression? You're privileged enough to not know that when depression shows up, it makes you stay in bed. That is a really good example of just like, you don't see this because you haven't experienced it and you're responding from your experience.

 


Alyssa

But what's actually happening is this larger thing that you can't see. So what I would like for you to do is to get educated on what is going on here so that you can add that to your experience and choose to believe that as like a new version of your experience.

 


Melissa

Yeah. So again, you're seeing these questions up. Great for me. The next thing I was going to ask you is what are your top three to five ways that people can be an anti racist in their everyday lives?

 


Alyssa

Yes. So the big, big foundational thing is just understanding what is going on and understanding how these bigger words have a role into your life because we use very big words, racism, white supremacy, microaggressions, all of these things. If you have no clue what that means to your day to day life, to your friends, to your kids, to your kids, friends. If you have no clue how that plays a role, then you can't be actively anti racist because you don't know how to block those things from entering your space.

 


Alyssa

So that's just like the really main thing. And just when I say understand what's going on, it's not just from the place of what everyone is doing right now. Just like reading about racism and reading about anti racism, that's important. But in order for you to understand how it plays a role in your everyday life, you actually have to understand the people and how they're experiencing it in their day to day life. Because if I were to tell someone a story about how I would on an interview and the interviewer told me, I'm like, oh, you're so eloquent what that has to do with the job or what that has to do with me.

 


Alyssa

If you can't make that connection, then you won't know why it's important to not do that. And that leads into my second thing is, I feel like people need to get clear on why they're deciding to do this, because none of this is really easy. There are certain parts that are easy, but then there are other parts that are going to be a little bit difficult. And unless you decide why you're going to do this, why this is important for you, then you're not going to be able to consistently take those actions, especially when things get hard or when things sort of deviate from what you've been taught.

 


Alyssa

Like, for example, even just like I wish people could see this, by the way, that I show up every single day is with whatever clothes I find comfortable and just make me feel happy. I have, like, my really big hoop earrings that say Latina, because I'm also half Cuban. I have my long nails. I am deciding to show up this way, not because it makes me happy. Yes, because it makes me happy, but also for the sole purpose of if I continue to challenge the stereotype of what professional looks like just from existing, then that's what I would like to do every single day.

 


Alyssa

And that goes against the grain of a professional looks like this. That's a hard mental gymnastics that I have to do all the time and decide, no, this is actually important to me because if I show up this way as professional, then that means someone else is allowed to show up this way as professional. So really getting clear on why is this actually important to you? Do you want to do this deeply and getting to that core value and making it a value of yours? No, I don't know how many things I said.

 


Melissa

No, that's so good. I really believe that when we show up as ourselves, it enables other people to show up as themselves. And so I think when we're not afraid of stereotypes and are able to just show up as ourselves and show what a real person looks like and how complex and varied that can be, it stops people from polarizing people or situations with these broad terms or broad labels.

 


Alyssa

Right. What's important, too, is that there are some people who don't have the luxury of being able to do that. I can show up on a sales call like this and be perfectly fine because I know that my life is stable. If I did not have stability, I would not be able to risk showing up to a sales call or showing up to an interview being my full self, because I'm like, well, I don't have time to do the mental gymnastics around the prejudices that they're bringing.

 


Alyssa

I just know I need to make money and exist with my life. So that's another thing that I have to think about as well. Just like, I have the privilege of showing up this way and deciding if people don't like it, then I just don't want to work with them. I'm in that space now, but not everyone else is in that space. So sometimes we have, like, people have to just play the role in order to be able to exist, because sometimes those outside forces and those outside prejudices are so are so loud and so powerful that there's no way for them to even maneuver without facing it all the time.

 


Melissa

Yeah, that is so good. And I feel like you kind of called me out on my privilege a little bit just now because I'm always like, everyone be themselves. You could be yourself on the other. But I think it's a little bit probably because of my privilege, that I have a little bit of a fairy tale, that it's safe for everyone to just be themselves. And if we do that, then everything will be okay, because everyone will be themselves. But you're right. Not everyone has that privilege.

 


Melissa

So that was good. I'm like, oh, learning something so good. So we also talked about I think it was the last time we talked. We talked about the protests and donations, and so that can be like another thing as far as something that people can do. We talk about how when people see these things, they're like, okay, if I don't participate in this protests, in this pandemic or at all, even not a pandemic, that means people won't think I support this cause. Or if I can't give money, that means I don't support this cause.

 


Melissa

What would you say to people that think that that's the only way that they can really make a difference?

 


Alyssa

Yes. Oh, my gosh. I'm actually glad you brought that up, because when I do this work with people, I want people to be able to do it. Sustainably. The only way that you can do it sustainably is being realistic about your situation, your existence, the things that are around you. One foundational thing I tell people to do, for example, is to have conversations with the people in their lives. I have these difficult conversations so that we can be causing a shift to one person at a time.

 


Alyssa

I would not tell that to someone who is living with their family and they don't have the means of being able to move out by themselves and their family is deeply racist. I would not tell them to do that because then that's their own mental health that they have to live with every single day. One woman was just like, I am this close to being exiled from my family because of these conversations. If she lived with her family and they were sustaining her, I would not tell her to have these conversations.

 


Alyssa

We have to be really realistic about what is within our means and how can we keep that up? Just this month, you decide, you know what? I have only $150 for after all my bills and all that other stuff. You know what? I feel like I'm not doing enough. I should donate $100 to the Black Lives Matter movement. How about you don't do that? How about you keep that $100? Because then what if something happens? Then you won't be able to continue to give that $100 every single month.

 


Alyssa

And that's what we saw in June. Like, these large companies donating thousands, tens of thousands of dollars. Fine. But now we're in February. Are they still doing that, or was that that one time donation that's most likely ran out by now? So, like, really seeing as, like, small actions that you can keep up, and that's why I really like having the idea of just how is this playing a role in my life? If you have kids, that's it. That's a really big thing that you can do, having conversations with your kids, teaching your kids about what is actually going on.

 


Alyssa

There's so many small, powerful impactful ways that you can do this.

 


Melissa

Yeah. That's such a good point. So this is Black History Month, right? In the beginning of February. And so I thought of that when you were talking about these one time donations when something happens, and then not again. And I was thinking about this earlier today that it's Black History Month. So there's going to be a lot of posts about celebrating Black History Month. And then I was like, a lot of those people don't actually celebrate Black History every other month.

 


Alyssa

Right?

 


Melissa

Right. I guess. What are your thoughts about that?

 


Alyssa

Yeah. I think it's so annoying. I was actually thinking about it this morning, too, because I'm like, okay, well, I'm an anti racism and it's Black History Month. I feel like I should do something for a Black History Month, but I'm just like, it bothers me. I don't want to perpetuate the idea of, like, we're just going to talk about it this month and then March, we're going to act like nothing. Like, no, this needs to be an ongoing conversation. So that's what I'm thinking for myself, too.

 


Alyssa

Like, what can I do this month to make the conversation last? I do not. I'm not a history buff. I don't feel like I will be able to continue to look up people every single week and talk about them. So I'm not going to do that. I'm going to use this month as a way to be like, you know what? Let me make a larger action that will be sustainable for myself, maybe in the name of Black History Month, but we do it forever. But really remembering that it's not in just this month, these things have to continue to be talked about and understanding why it's important to always talk about what is going on.

 


Alyssa

And Black History will allow you to find really creative ways to be sustainable yeah.

 


Melissa

No, that's so good. It goes back to what you said about focusing on the small action and the little things that you do every day, as opposed to the big action less frequently. So I think that's really good, because I think it's funny because these months I think they have them for all different types of things, and I think that they're important to bring visibility. But then also in some ways, I feel like it can become like a check the box activity where it's like, okay, well, now I'm going back to the Ally ship, and it's like, I'm supporting this now.

 


Melissa

I'm inclusive. I'm on your side. And then it's like, you just go back to business as usual, right. To your post or your email or your activity at work or whatever it is.

 


Alyssa

Right? Exactly. And it's just like, I feel like the hope of this month is that people get so like, for example, I'm a huge reader in the YouTube book reading area of the world. When these months come up, they're like, okay, it's Black History month. We're going to read from all these black authors, read these black experiences, and really the hope is like, what if you find your favorite author within this from really being intentional? And I feel like that's the purpose of the month is everyone being intentional about supporting black owned businesses, about reading up on black history and maybe by supporting this black owned business, you decide, oh, you know what?

 


Alyssa

Let me just switch everything to this business. I love this business, but you wouldn't have decided to be intentional were it not for the month, but it's about deciding I'm going to find something that I would like to sustain.

 


Melissa

That's so good. So we talked about research in the beginning about look things up on your own, try to learn more on your own. So where can people go if they have questions about this? I'm going to get to how they can get in contact with you. But before that, is there some reptile websites or books or references that you direct people to?

 


Alyssa

Yes, I would really just implore people to pay attention to who it is that you're deciding to learn from, and especially when it comes to books, because I know that there are a lot of books in regards to, like, racism and anti racism that are written by white people. And it's not about that. Like, they clearly don't know what they're talking about. Clearly, this person has research. They're usually academic people, and they've done their research, but there's always going to be something missing because they haven't experienced the thing that is being taught.

 


Alyssa

So I feel like there are a bunch of list of books and movies and all of these things. And what is really important is paying attention for yourself. What else is going on here? Like, I would never tell someone to, like, watch a Tyler Perry movie to understand what black life is really like. Like, what is the intention of the movie? You know what I'm saying? It's just, like, really getting clear on what is actually going on so that we're not taking everything as fact, because that's something that we tend to do as just humans.

 


Alyssa

We just read something or watch something.

 


Melissa

We're just like, oh.

 


Alyssa

I agree with that. That makes sense. And then we just take it as fact, and then we just block off everything else.

 


Melissa

Like, please don't do that.

 


Alyssa

Yeah.

 


Melissa

No, that is so good. And that made me think of because some people could see things like these Tyler pairing movies that are a little bit more like a parody. And so that's what it's like to be a black person. And that would be similar to, like, someone watching Shits Creek and saying that's what it's like to be a white person.

 


Alyssa

So I'm going to keep that one that is so good just gave to me.

 


Melissa

Right. That's so good. Okay. So how can people get in contact with you if they want to work with you as a coach or any other capacity? How can people learn more about you and how to get in contact with you?

 


Alyssa

Yes. So I am super active on Instagram. I usually I'm just like Facebook or Instagram. Facebook just gets a copy and paste of what I wrote on Instagram. So I'm very active on Instagram, which is @alythelifecoach. And my website has all the details about my coaching program. Just more about me as a human. And that's at AlyssaHallCoaching.com

 


Melissa

Nice.

 


Melissa

And is there anything else that you wanted to add about this topic before we wrap up?

 


Alyssa

The big thing that I really just want to add is that regardless of where you are in your career, you have some sort of impact. And I don't want people to feel like, well, I'm not a manager. I'm not managing anyone. I'm not in that leadership role yet as an adult human. Unfortunately, what comes with being an adult human is that we're a leader somewhere, just, like, really paying attention to where that is for you. You may have a really big social media following. You are a leader there.

 


Alyssa

You have a child, you are a leader. You have a family member that actually listens to you when you talk your leader. So, like, really not counting yourself out regardless of what your specific role or title is.

 


Melissa

Yeah, that is so good. Well, thank you so much for coming on the podcast and sharing all these, like, wonderful insights. I know that I learned something. I'm sure everyone listening is going to walk away and be hopefully on their path to becoming more anti racist than I really hope so.

 


Alyssa

Thank you for having me.

 


Melissa

Yeah, of course.