Over the last few weeks, we have been grappling with the senseless and horrific killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and most recently Rayshard Brooks, as well as the 911 calls to the police about people of color who are engaged in innocuous behaviors which have bombarded America’s consciousness. These events have elevated the movement of Black Lives Matter and have brought racial injustice to a head as people of color seek racial equality.
As an educated black woman, I have experienced racism in every facet of my life. At a very young age, I was told by my parents that I had to work harder and be smarter than those who don’t look like me, and doing this will allow me to be seen and heard in this world. I have taken those words and have made them my armor against racial inequality in my own life — and I must admit it has been exhausting. Yet, I continue to thrive and push through the noise to find my place in this world. I must say that I am thankful for the constant outreach from friends and family, asking how the movement has impacted my life. I know it’s hard for non-people of color to discuss racism, so I appreciate their ability to push through the uncomfortable to begin the discussion.
As the late American feminist and advocate of nonviolent social change, Barbara Deming wrote, “The longer we listen to one another – with real attention – the more commonality we will find in all our lives. That is if we are careful to exchange with one another life stories and not simply opinions.”
The team of Life Preservers Project is taking this seriously, and we are having those discussions. We are committed to growing and learning from each other to uplift Black voices in this historic moment and beyond. We’re thinking deeply about how to continue the conversation of equitable action with our team, family, friends, partners and our donors and supporters. We will ensure that our efforts are informed by the views of those most vulnerable to systems of oppression. We have a lot of conversation, relationship building, and thoughtful investment ahead of us. We hope you will join us.
Below are resources to start the discussion with your family and friends:
This is an ongoing conversation. We’re here to listen, learn, and act.
In solidarity and with love.
About Nikki Samuels, Treasurer
Yaneeke (Nikki) Samuels is a manager within the eData Practice Support department at Morgan Lewis and Bockius.
Nikki has over 12 years of experience in the legal industry with a background in international business and financial services discovery management. In her spare time, she loves taking Pilates classes, reading, traveling and cooking.
Nikki currently sits on the board of two other charitable organizations and resides in Hell’s Kitchen, New York with her husband and two pups.