Last year, after just four months of opening Ethel’s Club, a social group and safe space invented for people of color, founder Naj Austin had to make a hard pivot from IRL to virtual fellowship amid a global pandemic. A heavy undertaking given the circumstances and uncertainty of the world. But Austin was game for the unforeseen challenges and refocused to build a path forward that is all about “creating a digital space that speaks to people in a way where they gravitate toward it.”
Luvvie Ajayi Jones is proof of what happens when you pair 18 years of blogging and writing with tenacity and synchronicity. She went from working for the man to being the woman, with a 14,000-member app, her own social network, a popular TED Talk, and now what is sure to be another New York Times bestselling book. Released today, Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual is chock-full of the I’m Judging You writer’s step-by-step tips on how to face down fear, earn your worth, and big-up yourself in a world that wants to put us all down.
“Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time.”—Marian Wright Edelman, children’s advocate
We are all busy, but sometimes we have to pencil in the time to do something for someone else. When we are intentional about our work in the service of others, it becomes a habit. In time, the time — and the habit—multiplies.
Signing up to be a poll worker, volunteering to rake an elderly neighbor’s leaves, or dropping a meal to a mom struggling to homeschool and work are all acts of kind service. Service doesn’t have to be a huge honking thing, either. The “small” acts count just as much.
ZORA fam, what’s a small yet mighty way to give back? Drop us your best tips here.—Adrienne Samuels Gibbs, feature editor at ZORA
“I work very hard and I’m worth every cent.” — Naomi Campbell, supermodel
When I first started writing professionally six years ago, I took whatever rate that I was first offered because I was so hungry to build my portfolio and boost my visibility online. It wasn’t until I started speaking to other women, both white and of color, that I realized that they were negotiating and charging often 4x more than what I was being paid! …
“Life’s too short to spend time trying to explain the obvious to an idiot.” — Gloria Naylor, author
If you’re an opinionated woman or non-binary person of color with a social media profile, you will realize soon enough that your words and sometimes your life is often fodder for trolls, narcissists, and ill-intentioned people alike. Unfortunately there are people out there who do not desire honest and open conversation but rather they crave to get a rise out of you, to stretch you to your absolute mental limit as a power play.
Life is too short, beloved. There are people…
“If you haven’t forgiven yourself something, how can you forgive others?” — Dolores Huerta, labor rights activist
I have a confession to make: I am very hard on myself. I suffer from second-hand embarrassment, I have to constantly talk myself into taking breaks, but most of all, I pore over my mistakes unless I can distract myself with work or a TV show. The older and wiser I get, the more I look over my past experiences and wonder, why the hell did I do that? Why didn’t I go right instead of left? …
“What is often called exceptional ability is nothing more than persistent endeavor.” — Pauli Murray, lawyer, Episcopal priest, author, civil rights activist
Growing up in a Pentecostal church, I’ve often been told that a test can become someone’s testimony. I’ve found this saying overlap with reminders that we don’t know the journey that one has taken even if we’re in awe of the peak of their achievements. …