Becoming the Bridge

Like most people I know, I’ve spent the last two weeks deep in thought, conversation, and resources to be a small but critical part of a much needed conversation surrounding equality for all people, but especially our Black brother and sisters. Discerning when to speak up and when to be quiet has never felt so difficult but perhaps that is why this post and conversation is so important to me.

The very obvious reality is I have a public space and platform, along with a responsibility behind closed doors, to do what is right and lead a life of empathy, compassionate, kindness, and care. I have this responsibility not only as a white woman with a public presence but as a mother with two sons who keep their eyes glued to not only my every move and word but the moves and words of those they will encounter throughout their lives. I won’t get this right or perfect, I won’t even come close, but I am going to do nothing less than give my best.

Because I believe actions speak louder than words – they have to when you’re after real change – and I want the tangible work within our home to ripple out into other more public facets of our life and ultimately my businesses, too, I share the details below with you. I also believe in accountability. One person can only do so much but together we can conquer, and I pray each one of us takes this approach moving ahead together towards a more inclusive and loving world.

Here are some of the things I am doing both with my family in the Bosse home and as a business owner in light of the above.

I hope this list of sorts inspires you to start somewhere too.

• Growing up near Toronto and being involved in a high level sport near the city, I was exposed to many different people and skin colors from a young age. Some of my greatest friendships, ones I’ve been lucky enough to have for decades, are with women who do not look like me. I want my boys to have the same experience so that when they become adults they don’t realize for the first time that there are other beautiful humans sharing this world, who look different. The involves my husband and I speaking honestly with one another about the school our boys will go to, the extracurricular activities we enroll them in, the friends within their social circles, and the media, books, and toys they consume / play with. An easy first step I took over the last week was adding to the boys’ reading library with the following books that offer diversity either in the author, story characters and illustrations, or story itself:

All Are Welcome, Alexandra Penfold
I am Enough, Grace Byers
It Takes a Village, Hillary Rodham Clinton
Green on Green, Dianne White
Max and the Tag-Along Moon, Floyd Cooper
My Friend Earth, Patricia MacLachlan
This Is How We Do It, Matt Lemothe
When God Made You, Matthew Paul Turner

And for my own reading as a place to start:

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, Austin Channing Brown
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, Robin DiAngelo

• I’ve been humbling myself in asking vulnerable questions to my Black friends which has led to uncomfortable but necessary conversations. Perhaps it’s because a facetime or phone call feels admittedly more safe to ask questions but in five different calls I’ve made to friends this past week, my eyes have been opened in beautiful and powerful ways. And these calls and conversations have not been with just Black women. They’ve been with a Black male neighbor who has a white wife and daughter, a female colleague who has a mixed mother and Black father, a friend who has a Black father and white mother and three children, a white neighbor who has three biological children and a daughter adopted from India, a friend from church with a Black husband, and even white friends with their own opinions and hearts. I am learning and will only continue to learn by engaging in these conversations. With every conversation with both Black and white friends I learn more and see new perspectives.

• I recently watched 13th on Netflix, working my way through a list of documentaries I want to dive into to educate myself. I also loved this video from Pastors John Gray and Steven Furtick. Navigating these current discussions as a newer-to-my-faith white woman, with a diverse upbringing that was not centered around the Lord has been pretty confusing. But I’m working through it because the hearts of others matter. And I’m remembering this isn’t just about me. If my eyes and heart are focused on the right things, change and compassion is within reach. I also really connected with this post and found this to be a great resource if you’re truly stumped on where to start with being a part of the change.

• I’ve been actively seeking out businesses operated by Black women to lift them up and show support not just because they are owned by Black women but because they have gorgeous product, and I have been so delighted by my findings. Mimi from The Tiny Tassel is one boutique business I’ve had my eye on for weeks and I sure am glad I scooped up a custom order from her before her business went viral with over 700 orders (!) in a few days. I’ve also made purchases with Khristiana Howell, Native Printcess, Nur Ceramics, Dianne Hill, BR Design Co, and La Casa De Pinos. If you have any favorite businesses to share, please do so below!

• With RB Soap Co operations I want to make sure my product and marketing efforts are inclusive of all people. While it’s never my intention to appear otherwise, I’ve learned just hoping that that’s the case isn’t enough. Intentional efforts are required to make that both obvious and the reality. I have some beautiful ideas in the works for my summer soap launch and know my loyal customers and potential new ones will be thrilled when my efforts are revealed. I’ve yet to set a date for the launch but will hopefully have that soon.

• And finally, I’ve been really listening. Listening to people of color who are using their voices to tell their stories and use their wisdom to educate and inspire. Many of these women and men have graciously provided free webinars, Instagram lives, and other resources to educate and inspire. Some of my favorites have come from Oh Happy Dani, a moderated group Zoom call by the Engage creators with more than ten greatly under-hyped black events industry professionals, and Terrica Skaggs, a powerhouse in the wedding industry (which is a space that desperately needs a long overhaul with the inclusion of Black couples and vendors).

Some other women /accounts who have been especially gracious in their sharing and wisdom:

Shunta Grant
• Destiny of Just Destiny
• Naomi O’Brien of Read Like a Rockstar
The Conscious Kid
Rachel Cargle
Lisa Sharon Harper

And perhaps this is just the start of a new needed journey, one marked with compassion and change.

. . . .

I’m so grateful for my childhood friendships, the connections I made through university and my experience as an NCAA athlete, the relationships I have made through the wedding industry, those made in church and in my neighborhood, and those relationships that have had the time and space to not only go wide but deep. Each unique sphere of my life is opening my eyes in profound ways and I’m both hopeful and humbled. Thank you for being here, friends. Xo

Photo by Nancy Ray Photography from a Southern Weddings editorial years back.