I saw Michelle Obama speak last night

She gets it. Talented and strong women of color are not rare. We are everywhere, we’re just not seen or heard or represented. We can be the best, brightest, and most hardworking of the bunch, but we’re often glanced over because of the color of our skin. We are constantly wondering what we may have done wrong. Even when we get selected, people question how we got there and it’s hard not to internalize that. The drumbeat of doubt resonates in everything we do. Imposter syndrome is intense and heavily socialized in women of color. She addressed it and encouraged us to be our most confident selves and trust that it’s enough.

I cannot describe the energy and reassurance that came over me last night. I’ve heard those words from white men and women, but never from a woman of color who truly understands the struggle. Representation matters. “Be educated, be prepared, and when you get to the table, be vocal. If you are at the table, it is because you deserve to be there and people want to hear from you. Don’t waste the seat by being quiet.” -Michelle Obama.

With that, I promise to be more vocal. Not just with my opinions, but with my experiences. I have earned my spot at several tables dominated by white men, and I will not waste my shot to prove the worth of the perspective I bring. I also beg you all to listen. Not only to the women of color with bold influential voices but also the quiet ones in the shadows trying not to stir trouble just to get by. The people that pick your fruit, clean your building, and serve your tables are no less worthy of your time and respect than the women of color who are lawyers, doctors, and scientist. Educated and successful people of color should not be treated as an exception. We should be normalized and all treated with the same basic human decency.

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