What does it really mean to have an inclusive business?

These days, it seems like the words diversity, inclusivity, and equity run together. But what do these words really mean for the people they affect most, and how can we create a work environment where they can truly thrive? 

In today’s episode, we’re talking with Ericka Hines of Every Level Leadership and Black Womxn Thriving.

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Ericka has devoted her professional life to training foundations and businesses across the country on creating inclusive culture within their businesses. 

She teaches that everyone – from entry-level employees to CEOs – has the power to make an impact, even if that impact is only in their own mindset.

More recently, Ericka has been working on Black Womxn Thriving, a research project designed to help understand how Black womxn exist in workplaces that often undervalue them. In doing this research, Ericka and the team aim to discover how businesses can best create workplaces where Black womxn can thrive, both professionally and personally.

Join me in today’s episode as we discuss the emotional labor of social justice work, how to steer clear of performative activism, making the commitment to social change in your business, and why making mistakes is a necessary part of the growth process.


Listen to episode 365 now!

In episode 365 of the Embodied Podcast we discuss:

  • [6:08] Navigating conflicting emotions in life and in social justice work
  • [9:47] How to tell if your activism is performative and how to instead act with intention
  • [17:55] Reading between the lines to truly understand what people mean
  • [25:29] Committing to social change in your business and your work
  • [30:30] Diversity, equity, and inclusivity – what they really are and what matters most
  • [38:17] Practicing Every Level Leadership in your business
  • [46:22] Messing up, how to move past it, and how it can help you grow
  • [50:52] Making meaningful apologies and responding vs. reacting
  • [56:19] Ericka’s research through Black Women Thriving

Resources mentioned by Ericka and Elizabeth in the episode:

      Quote from this Week’s Episode of the Embodied Podcast:

      • “I am a black woman… It means nothing if your organization hires me. If I walk into an environment where I don’t feel like I’m included, where I can share an opinion, where people will talk to me, where I will actually get a promotion or have a career path – it won’t matter… It will be a revolving door.” – Ericka

      How was this episode for you?


      Was this episode helpful for you today? I’d love to know what quote or lesson touched your soul. Let me know in the comments below OR share the episode on Instagram, tag me your stories @elizabethdialto, or send me a DM!


      About the Embodied Podcast with Elizabeth DiAlto


      Since 2013 I’ve been developing a body of work that helps women embody self-love, healing, and wholeness. We do this by focusing on the four levels of consciousness – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

      In practical terms, this looks like exploring tools and practices to help you tune into the deep wisdom of the body and the knowing of the heart, which I believe are gateways to our souls. Then we cultivate a new relationship with our minds that allows the mind to serve this wisdom and knowledge and soul connection, rather than override it, which is what many of us were taught.

      If you’ve been doing self-help or spiritual development work for a while, these are the types of foundational things that often people overlook in pursuit of fancier concepts that often aren’t practical or sustainable. Here, we will focus on building these strong foundations so you can honestly and thoroughly embody self-love. If you’re feeling it, subscribe to the show, and leave us a review wherever you listen from. You can also keep up with show updates and community discussion on Instagram here.


      Transcripts for Episode 365:

      – Hello, everybody. Welcome to episode number 365 of the EMBODIED Podcast. Today we have Ericka Hines with us. Ericka is someone that I have been wanting to connect with more closely for years now. Some of her close colleagues, Jessica Fish who’s a dear friend of mine and Desiree Adaway have both been on the podcast before, and finally, we’re getting Ericka up in here. Ericka is an advisor and strategist who works with organizations to align their commitment to inclusion and equity with their everyday actions and operations. She has worked with government agencies, nonprofits and foundations across the country to help their staff and stakeholders learn how to create inclusive culture. And to date, she has trained over 3,500 individuals in skills that will help them be more equitable leaders for their teams and organizations. She also has this incredible body of research going on right now, and we talked about that. We got into all kinds of things about facilitation and everything under the hood of this topic. And I’m really excited. So this is episode number 365. You can find links to everything that we mentioned in the episode, in the Show Notes at untameyourself.com/365. And just a reminder, I know some of you listen to the podcast, but we also post these episodes on YouTube. My YouTube channel is youtube.com/elizabethdialto, and we upload transcripts for the episodes. So there are closed captions on the YouTube videos if you need captions, and as well the transcripts are on the Show Notes page as well. So if we mentioned something and you’re like, what was that? I can’t remember. Or if you wanna pull a quote that you really liked, go to the Show Notes page, the entire transcript is embedded at the bottom of that page at untameyourself.com/365. Okay, let’s get into the show. Ericka, yay! You’re here.

      – I’m here. I’m so excited. I’m excited for our conversation.

      – I’ve been wanting to like meet you virtually or not for so many years now. I feel like I’ve been following you on the interwebs forever.

      – Thank you. I always feel very, it just feels very strange and lovely. It is very lovely when people say things like that. But I’m also like, I’m just here, you can meet me anytime.

      – I know. I know that feeling. Well, and I also, I feel like I know you vicariously because Jessica Fish is one of my dearest friends and I just hear so much about what you guys often work on together, what’s going on with your research and stuff like that, or I’ll get a text that’s like, hey, could you share this? And I’m like, yes, we’ll put it everywhere. So I’m excited to dive in. Before we do though, my opening question for people this season is, how is your heart?

      – The word that comes to mind is fractured. I think fractured meaning that when I sort of like even think of how, like, in what ways is it fractured? I sort of start assigning it numbers. And so it’s like, my heart is in pain or to a certain part of my heart that’s in pain. There’s a certain part of my heart that’s optimistic, and there’s a certain part of my heart that is angry. Yeah. So my heart is, it is fractured, but it’s, I don’t know. I think it’s been that way for like, since March of last year.

      – Yeah.

      – So it kind of feels normal at this point to walk around being a bit fractured.

      – And for anyone listening, this interview is going up in the Fall of 2021. So March of last year would be 2020, ’cause people will be listening to this probably three years from now sometimes.

      – Yes. Yes.

      – All right. I love this because you just brought up one of my favorite things to remind people constantly. There’s like drums that I’m always banging on and this is one of them, we can hold many things at once.

      – Oh, yeah.

      – I notice out in the Wild and especially on social media how sometimes people wanna be upset that certain people are not feeling certain things or not expressing, or not saying everything all at once and it’s like, no, just ’cause I feel this way doesn’t mean I don’t feel 42 other things.

      – Yeah. Yeah. It’s interesting that you bring that up because I think that that is especially true around social justice work, which is very heavily woven into my overall work, but that people think that you can only operate in anger in terms of doing work around social justice and social change when in fact that’s actually not healthy.

      – Right.

      – You know this better than I do. And so, yeah, you, to me I think it’s like, it only makes sense that you’re gonna hold like a certain, you’re gonna have anger at society. You’re going to have joy for your family, you’re going to have excitement for whatever. And like, it’s just a part of being human, like to hold multiple emotions at one time. I like to say of it as we can walk and chew gum at the same time.

      – Yeah. Literally on all the levels. So how do you navigate when you have to show up for something and like the dominant thing you’re feeling is actually not gonna be conducive or helpful to what you need to do?

      – It depends on whether it’s a personal thing or if it’s like a societal thing. If it’s a personal thing then I’d probably revert to compartmentalizing it. But very purposely compartmentalizing it not sort of going like, oh, I can’t feel you ever.

      – Yes.

      – More so, like, I can’t feel you for the next two hours. Like I just need to.

      – Yes. Yes.

      – I like to think of it as putting it in a Tiffany’s Box, I don’t own anything from Tiffany’s, but like that’s always the box I think of, like, okay, I’m gonna put you in this like soft little pretty box, and then I need to put you here. And then, I will let, you can feel and come out later, but I need to put you there. And so that’s one way. If it is like a societal thing, I will mention it and I’ll place it in the middle of the room, because if it’s true for me, it’s true for other people. And so I think it’s just important. I’ll make it a point to sort of like honor that sort of societal, emotional state.

      – Okay, I love this. First of all, I’m a big proponent of, I call it like mindful compartmentalization or intentional, right? Because people say, people always throw that term around like it’s a bad thing, and I’m like, no, it’s literally like, I like your Tiffany’s Box thing because it feels like gentle and beautiful and treat with care, right? But I’m like, you just put it on the shelf, you got to come back to it, but just pop it on a shelf and be like, I see you. I love you. We’ll come back to this later. Sometimes you have to do that with the people in your life and you’re like, we gotta talk about this, but we just can’t do it right now.

      – Right. Right. Exactly.

      – But we’re not going to pretend, it’s different than stuffing which I did for like the first 28 years of my life, and that is unhealthy. But then I appreciate what you said here. And I have another question, something that I, I don’t know if I wanna call it, I’m sensitive to, but I have like, authenticity is a big thing for me that, let’s call it a pet peeve for lack of a better term. And so performative anything, is that, what do people say really grinds my gears? Which is to put it lightly, but what for you? And I can’t imagine you do it. I actually, it’s not even about, can’t imagine, I’m positive you don’t do anything performatively. But how is it, how can someone tell the difference? What is it like, I guess the one I’m wanting to ask is, when is it appropriate? Like what you said to put something in a room, because it feels like this is a societal thing. And when is it performative? Does that make sense?

      – Yeah. I really go back to intention. I guess I go back to intention and trust. So, I’m just gonna sort of play this out.

      – Please.

      – I think it is authentic when, I think whether we are remote or in person, if we really pay attention, we can still pick up on each other’s energies, right? So if someone is in those situations and they’re like saying it because they know it’s the thing to say, but it, and it’s a very, it sounds like a very rote statement.

      – Yeah.

      – That’s an indicator. I think that for me, one of the things that also, that makes it, yeah, that will make it performative, I think it is syncing the emotional illness in their voice. And I think that there’s also, there’s intention. Like, I think part of it is like speaking with an eye, right? So I think that there would be just someone speaking from their heart as opposed to today’s events are clearly harrowing for everyone as though they’re removed from everyone.

      – Right, right, right, right, right.

      – I know. I want to honor this, but it’s like, hello, this horrible thing has happened, I’m sure it’s like all on our hearts. Let’s just take a moment to breathe. Like these are sort of the things I would say is like, let’s just take a moment, get ourselves into the room. Like all of that. Yeah. I think intention is there, and I think just the use of, I mean, I don’t know, I statements is one of the big ones for me.

      – So which direction are you saying? I statements makes it more genuine and authentic, or it makes it more performative?

      – I statements makes it more genuine because if somebody is using, I, they’re sort of saying like, this is on my heart, this is on, like, I’m, this is kind of hard for me. Or also like even though my community is not experiencing this particular loss, I can still fill in solidarity with other people. Like it’s like rooting it in something that you were genuinely feeling and speaking from that place of, from, I know authenticity is overused, but speaking from that-

      – It’s a word that means a thing though.

      – Right. Exactly. So it’s like speaking from that place of authenticity, I think is what it’s going to make it not be performative.

      – I love that. And I actually really love that beautiful way that you said this, which is even though my community isn’t effected by this, ’cause I, I’m a big fan of anytime we can just acknowledge a little bit of nuance, a little bit of complexity, or just give context to something, right? Like, ’cause I really, I do see a lot of people, and again, this is mostly online, but wanting people to not have feelings about things that anyone with a heartbeat is probably gonna have feelings about.

      – Mm-hmm.

      – Or saying, we don’t wanna hear about your feelings, or your feelings don’t matter. And again, as a person who does healing work, I’m like slippery slope. So here’s something else since we’re talking about things that matter, another fun phrase, and then we’re gonna get into your work. But I’m just, I love that this is kind of how things are starting out. So you use the word intention, and this is again, another, just kind of like these rote things that people love to toss around and they’re like, well, impact is more important than intention, and it’s like, sometimes it’s even as like, fuck your intentions, and I’m like, oh, like, ’cause intention does matter on a level. So especially in your like extensive experience, where do you see intention being like appropriate, applicable, important, not something to be dismissed?

      – So, one, I would say that I used to be one of those people who is like, your intentions don’t matter, you just have to deal with the impact. And then it was pointed out to me and I can remember this, like the exact room that I was in and what this person said to me. I can’t remember exactly what they said to me, but they said something like, I can’t go along with the fact that it’s only my impact that matters. Like I am a human being and so my intention should be taken into account. And I was like, okay, that’s fair. And also when I think about it for myself, like I do want people to consider my intentions. And so I think in reflecting on your question, one of the things that comes up for me is actually, and the way that I stated is the actual thing is here, that you need to accept both your intentions and the impact.

      – Yup.

      – And you have to hold one of those. And I think we started with this, with like holding multiple things at once. Where we get messed up is when I am so upset because my intentions were only good, and I cannot except that they had a negative impact.

      – Right.

      – Because I’m so wrapped up in me.

      – Yes.

      – That this negative thing and this harmful thing that has happened, I’m unaware to take, I can’t take that in, and I certainly can’t take responsibility for it because of the goldenness of my spirit. And I’m like, bullshit.

      – Yeah. Yeah.

      – I say to folks now, like what you have to do, what we’re trying to get you to do is both accept that you had good intent and then when it transferred over to the other person, it had a harmful impact. And you get to hold responsibility for both of those things if you care about being in relationship with them.

      – So this is an interesting. Something that I’ve also noticed and had an experience with this recently, what about when someone just straight up misunderstands? So it’s like, there’s an impact, but there was also like a comprehension issue. Does that make sense? ‘Cause we can’t, like this is something, I’m a real communication nerd, and one thing is, there’s so many factors which you would know more much better about this than I would, but like culturally education, like how someone’s brain works, like there’s literally, whether English is someone’s first language or whatever language is being communicated, what’s the culture in the organization or perhaps some vernacular or slang that some people might understand and other people might not? So this is something I’m always curious about too. And it’s like, okay, but when someone’s straight up misunderstood something, and it was like they were impacted by their misunderstanding, like something I’ve been exploring lately is there’s a difference between that’s not what I meant and that’s not what I said.

      – Mm-hmm.

      – Where do you fall on this spectrum?

      – That is like my entire life in my household.

      – What?

      – Yeah. So one of the things that has become clear to me that I am in a constant state of working on is understanding the meaning of what someone says. And I’m such a read-the-room person and I’m such a like reading-in-between-the-lines person that I will fill in all that subtext.

      – Yeah.

      – And then I trust my intuition, and my intuition plays out and I’m generally kind of right about it. However, in those situations where like nuances in it play or like my nuance, like I’m just wrong, right? Like I read the situation wrong, I didn’t understand it. The tone was like stated one thing, but I took it personally to be myself, et cetera. I think it goes back to something that we, I think we forget that we have this tool, which is to say, what did you mean? Like you said this, I’m not sure I understand, what did you mean when you said that?

      – Yeah.

      – And I think that that gets, that gives us a way to sort of to understand like simply, but then also to, it gives us another bite at the apple, if you will, of being able to respond in a way that is like, that fits what’s happening here.

      – Yes. I love this. So many people don’t have the courage though, because they feel like they should’ve known, but how could you? Like, we’re all so different. And especially again, I think about what happens on social media all the time, because I am not, I’m probably overly idealistic, optimistic and hopeful sometimes. And I’m like, I believe we could find better ways to communicate on these limited platforms. And I will probably die on that hill. I have friends who were like, damn, you just go for it all the time, don’t you get tired? And I’m like, I really do. ‘Cause so many people aren’t trying to do that. But it happens in real life too. It’s almost like harder in real life when like your heart’s pounding and you’re like, ah, this is not going how I wanted it to go.

      – Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. You know what I mean? I think that what I just gave was like, you bring up the whole point of like, it’s easier to do that when you don’t have like the pounding heart and the emotionality around it.

      – Yes.

      – But I think in those places, what I’ve noticed is that I get flustered. And when I get flustered, it’s kind of, like I think I just have to do, and for me, like I’m just speaking of me, if something is affecting me, like I need to say like I’m flustered, like this conversation, like I feel flustered by this, like I can’t talk about this right now because there’s too much going on, and also being like, I think I’m getting annoyed and I don’t really know why I’m getting annoyed. I think part of what happens in these situations is that we are just, we think we’re really clear on why we’re annoyed, we don’t really know why we’re annoyed, right?

      – Yes.

      – Like maybe I’m annoyed by what you said. Maybe I’m annoyed by you. Maybe I’m annoyed because the moon is in a certain place and I’m on my period. Or like I read, like I just watched a really upsetting like commercial, it’s like.

      – Yeah.

      – We don’t, we feel like we need to just like state we’re annoyed and then be like, as opposed to just being like, okay, so, yeah, I may be annoyed by this situation, but like, what is the, I’m sort of rambling here, but it’s like.

      – No, it’s good.

      – My response can be outsized to the situation. You know what I’m saying?

      – Yeah.

      – And so it’s like, if I don’t wanna be in this sort of like, I’m gonna this, that I need to take a step back and just say like, okay.

      – It feels like the relational version of the intentional or mindful compartmentalization that we were talking about earlier.

      – Oh, cool.

      – Kind of, right? Like being like, okay, I’m noticing, this is really affecting me, I’m not gonna have my best interaction. So maybe I need to come back to it later. Or this is something I do sometimes when I talk to customer service people and I’m like pissed, I will be like, listen, I know this isn’t your fault, you don’t make the rules, I am so angry right now. I’m not angry at you and we need to get through this, but if you could hear the tone of my voice, I just want you to know it’s not about you, but I can’t come down.

      – I will do something like that too. I’ll be like, I’m clearly very frustrated, and I know that it is not about you, Tammy, it is about the fact that I have done this three times and I’ve talked to three different people and I didn’t want this such, I’ve been annoyed by this situation, and I want someone, whether it’s you or whoever it is, I want it solved.

      – It’s like, I’m really trying not to rip off Tammy’s head, but I cannot control.

      – But somebody head is probably gonna be ripped off. So if it’s Eric’s head, that’s fine too, so hand me to Eric.

      – Oh, sorry, Eric. Oh, sorry, I’m not sorry. So, okay. Let me, thank you so much. I love speaking with people who I know are facilitators, because you just have the chop chops. You have the experience, like in the range, I was looking on your website, I know you work with all different types of organizations and all different sizes and different groups of people. The makeups of the groups are different, the intentions, the businesses, the goals, the visions, like what you’re working on, so this is one of the reasons why I wanted to ask you that kind of stuff and dive in a little once it came up because you have a lot, wider range of experience I would imagine to draw from than some people probably do.

      – Yes. It’s funny I’m just sort of thinking about that. Yes, I do have, I’ve been facilitating like professionally for 20 years. So I’ve been in a lot of facilitating situations, and, yeah, I guess I do have the chops. It doesn’t scare me to be in business-wise many rooms. I’ll be like, okay, so everyone’s angry. All right, so let’s just note that everyone is angry right now, okay? Like let’s, like baseline.

      – Yeah.

      – And let’s go from there. I’ve been in that sort of situation too, like it feels like everybody’s sort of checked out.

      – Yeah. Yeah.

      – Well, let’s stop here or so, yeah. Thank you.

      – Of course. So I did wanna ask you, do you have, and I don’t know, you might not wanna answer this in case anyone’s listening. You don’t wanna play favorites, but do you have a favorite type of organization or company or sector or whatever to work with?

      – Yeah. I mean, lifelong, like a lifelong sort of just, I’m not gonna say it’s a deal breaker ’cause it has been broken at least once. I am very committed to social change. Very committed. Which is a whole other thing because it’s type of work that I do. People could probably say like, how committed is she? But like my whole, my background is in social change and in social justice, and so I really care about that. And so in terms of companies, if I were to say it’s a favorite, it’s companies that I can figure out that they also share that. So, generally my background has been in nonprofits and philanthropies. So, they have a very like distinguishable, understandable mission committed to change. But as I’ve done more work in the private sector, I think one of the delineating factors has been for me, like what is their commitment to social change? Either through the work that they do, who they serve, how they, philanthropy is always a little bit questionable, how they give back or how they invest in community, I think I would say. And so it’s very, I am discerning in that way. I will go and look, before I say yes to them, I’ll go and look and see what they’ve done, and it’s, we all sort of do our due diligence, but one of my due diligence points is really around, do they have a commitment to Diversity, Equity and inclusion? What have they done in community? I’ll go and see, like, what’s the gossip? Has any of it been around racism or sexism or ageism? Of course all of the identities, but I tend to, like, those are easier to find.

      – Yes.

      – So, yeah.

      – Cool. Well, I was gonna ask, but you kind of answered it within there. Like, what types of people do you say no to? But it sounds like people that don’t check when you do your little, not little, but your due diligence, yeah.

      – Yeah. I don’t, yeah, those, it’s very important to me that people come with some sort of commitment to doing this type of work. I often say to folks like, oh, I am not in the business of helping your folks buy in to doing the work that I do. I have no interest in that.

      – Right.

      – There are other people who will meet them where they are in their land of like, I’m color blind and I don’t see this. I’m sure that’s great for your audio person.

      – For anyone listening, if you couldn’t make out the sound, it was a raspberry.

      – Are there other, there’s like plenty of other people who are willing to help your organization figure out why this is important to what you do.

      – Yeah.

      – I’m not that person. You gotta come with some level of commitment with me.

      – No, I love a good boundary. And that’s great. I’m with you in that too. Just over the years, I’ve also noticed, I typically won’t work with people who were like just stepping on their healing or their spiritual path, because there’s just a lot of exploration, which I think is worthwhile and amazing, but I don’t, the one-to-one level, and again, this is not to be condescending to anybody because you had to go to kindergarten before you could go to fifth grade, and then you had to get through elementary school to get to high school. It’s just, where are people in their stages of development? And it sounds like you’re also articulating, there are also stages of commitment that have like, is it, I always mispronounce this word, demonstrable. Did I leave out a syllable?

      – No, I think that’s right.

      – Demonstrable. All right. Well, you know what I mean? People listening probably know what I mean. They’ve already laid down then some work already, and they’re in to it to.

      – Yeah, they’re into it. And they may not know what to do next, or they may have tried something. I often describe it as, so it sounds like you’re throwing spaghetti at the wall and some of it’s sticking and some of it hasn’t and I’m gonna help you figure out how to make more of it stick.

      – That is great. So, I, people listening, if you wanna know the basics of what is DEI, Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity, that is so easily looked up anywhere. So we’re not gonna waste Ericka’s precious energy and intelligence and experience on that question. But I do wanna, I did wanna pull apart, if you will with me, a little bit more about what inclusivity is, why it matters. And I’m actually curious, in Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity, in your opinion or experience, are any of them, are they weighted at all? Is anything more important than another, or does it depend on the organization, or is it just like they’re so intricately woven together you can’t separate them or?

      – So, like, I wanna answer your question, but it’s in a different way.

      – You do whatever you want.

      – Okay. So, they’re very interdependent. And so here’s what I mean by that. Doing diversity work focusing only on representation is the floor, is the basement level of what an organization can and should be doing. I will go as far as to say to them and see I’m starting to get worked up. You do not hang your hat on the fact that you have a diverse workforce. Like I don’t give a shit.

      – Yeah.

      – Can I curse? I just.

      – Yes, please.

      – Okay.

      – I’m from Staten Island, we have explicit on everything.

      – Oh, good. So, that is important, but it’s not enough. And inclusion and equity are harder to work on than diversity is. Because it’s, I’m a Black woman, people watching this you will see I’m a Black woman. It means nothing if your organization hires me, if I walk into an environment where I don’t feel like I’m included, where I can share an opinion, or people will talk to me, where I will actually get a promotion or have a career path, it won’t matter. I will like, it will be a door. You know those doors that, what are those doors that you walk in and you walk right back out? It’ll be a revolving door.

      – Yeah.

      – Yeah It will be a revolving door. So inclusion and diversity are very strongly tied together. And I won’t do work that’s just, that’s one without the other.

      – Yeah.

      – Equity, very important. Equity is important because it’s actually looking beyond your organization to trying to help with societal ills that may have manifested inside of your organization, right? It is by its nature a social justice lens. It has a social justice lens. And it is, it requires organizations to actually look at themselves in the context of the greater whole. So it’s not just, Every Level Leadership can’t be like, I’m equitable. Equitable compared to who?

      – Right.

      – Right? So, it is tied to diversity and inclusion. But, and this is where I think you said the word grinds my gears.

      – Yes.

      – This is what grinds my gears is that organizations say like, well, we’re really focused on equity, and they don’t know what that means, number one, and two, they are unwilling to place themselves in any type of situation where there’s a point of comparison on, like, are you actually getting rid of? Are you really trying to dismantle heteronormativity? Are you really trying to dismantle pay in equity? Are you really trying to dismantle racism in society through how your organization operates? Like it’s a very, equity is a very high standard.

      – Yeah.

      – And it is worth doing. I mean, I wouldn’t be here trying to work on it if it wasn’t, but it’s like, when I sort of said like diversity not as hard as inclusion, equity, inclusion not as hard as equity, but all important to do. I would say if an organization comes to me and they were like could we just, I actually correct potential clients. They’re like, oh, well, we really wanna have diverse hiring. And I’ll be like, actually, you can’t do diverse hiring without building an inclusive organization. And given everything that we know in society, you really should be focused on equity too. I do that before they hire me. And it’s funny, ’cause people who know me would say that I do that as like a litmus test.

      – Yeah. To see how they’re gonna respond?

      – Yeah. To figure out how they’re gonna respond. And if they don’t respond in the way that I want or think that they should, I’m like, I don’t know.

      – And what’s the appropriate response, Ericka?

      – Oh, you’re asking me?

      – Just for fun.

      – I was like, the answer is yes. Yes, we will focus on all of those.

      – Curiosity. What is that? This piece that you said is so, I am astounded often by how many people don’t know what things mean, but want to give you an answer about it.

      – Mm-hmm.

      – Why aren’t people like that? Like I have my little, you probably see me share about this at some point in the many years we’ve been connected online, but I have like my little round of questions, people pitch us for the podcast all the time, or people want me to be an affiliate for their stuff or whatever and I’m like, cool. I’m like, can you point me towards, where I can find on your website or whatever, like what you guys are doing? How are you involved in social justice education? Or depending on the type of organization like DEI or anti-oppressive, like, however I say it, how are you like social-justice informed and trauma informed? And sometimes people will respond with, well, and they give me a laundry list of things that have not like clearly indicate. Not only they don’t know what it means, they didn’t even bother looking it up when they knew they didn’t know what it meant. And then, but I appreciate when the people are like, well, what does that mean? And then I’m like, cool, well, that’s also an answer, ’cause if you have to ask me what it means, you’re certainly not doing it, but at least they asked.

      – Right. Right.

      – So wild. But the people who wanna just be like, well, and then list off incorrect answers of like, why are we like this?

      – Well, it’s funny because I’ll listen to them. One of the questions I ask is like, okay, give me, like look in the last 12 months, tell me the work that you’ve done around Diversity, Equity and Inclusion? And they’ll start answering it. And I’ve done this so long that I can start categorizing what they’ve done into like, is it diversity? Is that a strategy for diversity? Is that a strategy for inclusion, strategy for equity? And then I’ll, in real time report back to them, I’ll be writing them down. Like, you’ll see my note pages will like have all these little, like little graphs and lists, and I’ll be like, actually, what you’ve just stated is like you’ve seems like you’ve actually really been focused on XYZ.

      – Yeah.

      – As a way, and maybe it’s also getting to the like, and I know you use this interchangeably like we do and that’s one of the problems.

      – Yes.

      – But in fact that’s not what you’re doing.

      – Yeah.

      – And most of them take that feedback pretty well.

      – Thanks. Well, that’s the litmus test too, right? Like that’s what you wanna see?

      – Exactly.

      – Okay. So tell me more about, I love that it’s called Every Level Leadership.

      – Yeah.

      – Why did you decide on that? How did, like, why is this important? And I’m not asking why is it important, like, why should we care? We know we should frigging care, but like, why do we need to look at every level, not just like the highest levels or the middle levels or whatever?

      – Because I think everyone has the responsibility to be committed, to being, to practicing diversity, practicing inclusion and practicing equity. So I don’t really care what level you are. I believe, number one, that there is some part of everyone’s job no matter what level you are in a company, that you have some autonomy of decision making. And so what I really emphasize is that where you have the ability to practice being inclusive and equitable, you should do that. In your portfolio of responsibilities, where you can practice being inclusive and equitable and diverse, you should do that. And so that’s one reason why it was, I use Every Level Leadership. I think also it is to plant the seed that everyone has the ability to lead on something, even if it’s leading themselves. And that ties into that sort of connection of, I have self-autonomy, I have leadership, the ability to lead something, and I am committed to being inclusive and equitable and really trying to bring, practice diversity in my life. It just, it’s sort of like, it’s a nice little wraparound for all of those things.

      – And I mean, you’ve kind of said this, but I just wanna make sure it comes like straight out, is people can engage with this stuff at work, but if they’re not engaging with it in their lives.

      – Yeah.

      – It’s just, this kind of goes back to the performative question that we were talking about earlier, right? Like, it’s the difference between, like, okay, let me check this box from this place where if I don’t I’m gonna get trouble for it.

      – Yep.

      – Versus actually giving a shit.

      – Yeah. And it’s, I mean, that’s a really good point, because one of the things that I say is, and I call myself a DEI practitioner, that wording is very intentional. Because I really do try to practice these words. Like, how am I learning about someone’s, like their identity? How am I learning about the fullness of someone’s identity? And how am I decentering myself in that process?

      – Yeah.

      – That’s truly what diversity is.

      – Yeah.

      – Okay, how am I having a representation of folks in being happy that they’re all around me? Right? How am I creating? How am I practicing having an environment in my personal life where people feel like they can show up as they are? Okay, most people. There are some people who are not invited to the party.

      – Yeah.

      – And then how am I trying to really make choices that promote equity for folks, not just myself, but other people? Am I going to pay you more because you’re a woman of color? Where do I spend my money?

      – Yeah.

      – How am I spending my personal Ericka Hines’ dollars? So to go to your question, like it is about, being a DEI practitioner isn’t, I mean, the depth of it is something that I have, right? Because I spent a lot of time learning about it, practicing it, exploring it, right? That’s where the expertise, if you wanna call it comes in. But everyone can practice it, and that’s why I say I’m a DEI practitioner to like put the point, an extra fine point on the practice of it.

      – Yeah. Quick break in the show, everybody, to let you know the applications are open for my 2022 Embodiment Specialist Training. I am so excited about this training, it is like seven or eight years in the making. It is expanded beyond what was Wild Soul Movement Teacher Training since 2016, and this is a really for anybody who feels the pull to graduate from doing basic level self-help personal development and spiritual work and truly embody self-love healing and wholeness so they can live soulful and soul-centered lives that contribute to collective healing and liberation, as well as people who are wanting to really integrate the light and the dark, who place a high value on kindness, generosity, integrity, family and reverence, who know that while we receive all kinds of gifts and talents and genius, we are the instruments, not the players. This is for people who wanna prioritize embodying their divine nature in order to serve the human experience as well for those who would like to incorporate embodiment work into their professional lives in some way, shape or form, or just deepen their own practice. So if you wanna learn more about the training, which starts in February, 2022, head to untameyourself.com/specialist. There are some dates by which to apply. If you need an extended payment plans, we have a couple of different extended payment plans, and it’s just gonna be an incredible, alchemical, transformative experience. It’s gonna be a small intimate group, ’cause I will also be mentoring and working with everyone one on one throughout the 13 months of the training. So, again, really deep, really beautiful, really incredible experience. If you are interested, go to untameyourself.com/specialist, and I will be so excited to receive your application if you decide to submit one. I love this. I love, I am, it’s another one of those drums I’m banging until the day I die, is everything worth doing is a practice, right? There’s not like some, the image that just popped into my mind was like the stands people stand on when they win their gold, silver or bronze medal when they’re at the Olympics, right? Like you’re not gonna arrive like, oh, well, I’ve completed the competition I’ve been training for and now I’ve got my medal and I’m good to go. Like there’s just, like day in and day out, there’s opportunities to practice.

      – Yup. Yup, exactly.

      – And the willingness to do that feels like a big piece.

      – And to mess up.

      – Right. You have a great, what is your thing? Fumble.

      – Be humble and ready to fumble.

      – Humble and ready to fumble. Can we talk about the humility needed? This is, I did a podcast, I mean, at the time of recording this, so it was a couple of weeks, at the time it goes up it’ll be a couple months. I think for a lot of these things, the dismantling, the healing, trauma work, all kind, like the collective healing and liberation, all the little pieces of the puzzle that go into that, I think one of the most under-talked-about aspects to all of it is actually being humble.

      – Yeah. Yeah. I couldn’t agree more, or else I wouldn’t have been saying this.

      – Right, right.

      – Yeah. I think, there is a certain amount of peace in knowing that you can’t show up to this, you can’t show up to doing work around societal oppression knowing everything.

      – Literally, like there’s just, it’s not possible.

      – It’s not possible. You also can’t show up not thinking you’re gonna make a mistake. And this is where people just, like I can say this every day, all day long and people, I think, will not hear it when I say, guess what? You’re gonna up fuck up. You are going to fuck up. You were going to misgender someone, you are going to say something that is, somebody uses racist. You were going to be ageist. It’s going to happen because of how deeply ingrained that we’re trying to weed out is. The point is not to feel like when you make that mistake that you are going to die.

      – Right.

      – And that is what we, and I mean, you, please explain why people feel like, if I make this mistake, I will die. I’m like, it is not the, you’re not gonna die. In most cases. I can’t say that 100%, sometimes you might. But the humility is knowing like, okay, if I mess up, I can recover and I can show grace to myself and I can say I’m sorry to another person. And then I have the ability to change my behavior.

      – Totally.

      – And so if I show up in humility of knowing, not to say like, oh, you know what? I’m gonna mess up, so I’m not even gonna try it. No, that’s not the point.

      – No, no, no.

      – The point is to have humility about when somebody says you messed up to be able to just except that, feel it, and truly try to change your behavior and apologize first in a way that is meaningful and then change your behavior.

      – I wanna come back to this you won’t die thing for a second, right? Because is anyone likely physically gonna die? Probably not. What’s gonna die? Their perception of themselves, parts of their ego, who they thought they were. Their high horse is gonna die. Their metaphorical, moral superior, like they’ve built their whole identity around being this kind of person and just not knowing things. I’m always astounded at how hard it is for people to admit they don’t know things.

      – Yeah.

      – Or that they’re like unsure or haven’t experienced. Like when you said, when I first asked and you said there’s a piece to it, actually the direction that you went in with peace is different than how I always think about the, to me, I’m always so relieved when I mess up and someone lets me know, then I could be like, great, I never have to, one last thing I have to fuck up about because now I know. Thank God I could cross one thing off of the infinite list.

      – I think I’m trying to get to be more like you and like practicing that. But maybe because I have lifelong anxiety, like I learned this term about like rehearsing things. Like I rehearse grief. I rehearse, like I think part of my anxiety is like rehearsing conversations, right?

      – Yeah.

      – And so I do think that part of this, like be humble and ready to fumble is like rehearsing in my mind, like, guess what? If something happens and somebody says something, your response, it’s like it’s retraining my mind to be like, your response is not like to have it take all the air out of you, but instead to be like, okay, I hear that, and.

      – Yeah.

      – And I’m sorry.

      – Yeah.

      – And in doing that, I feel, that puts me at peace because I know in that situation, not that it’s necessarily that it’s automatic, because trust me, I get up in my feelings too. It’s that I make the choice.

      – Yeah.

      – And I’m able to recognize it and make the choice to say, no, I’m not gonna go over here, I’m gonna go over here. I’m gonna go over here to the side of like, this is not about you, Ericka. Not everything is about you.

      – Yeah. Well, and you mentioned earlier like, that you’ve been to therapy. Like having done your own healing work is what even gives you the option of having that choice, right?

      – A good point.

      – Like when someone’s really in a trauma response or when someone is just like, I call it like it’s reaction, when someone can only react, they can’t respond, right? ‘Cause a response requires a pause and making some kind of choice that they can, right? That’s actually something I’ve discovered, especially in the last year is a boundary for me on social media, or any other kind of conversation, really, not just social media. But it’s like, what I can tell people are in that reactive place, there’s no good’s gonna come from that engagement, or when I’m in that place. And I’m bringing this up because I liked how you said, make a meaningful apology. You didn’t just say, make an apology, right? ‘Cause sometimes it’s kind of like talking to the customer service person where I’m like, this isn’t about you. Sometimes I’m like, listen, I know I need to apologize, I need to like chill for a moment, kinda see what I even need to apologize for.

      – Right.

      – Because one, there’s two sides to that. I need to like orient around what I even did, but also I find in this age, and I’m curious what you see or sense or have experienced around this, often people are out here demanding apologies sometimes for things that aren’t necessarily the thing that needs to be apologized for, right? I had an experience like this recently where someone was like, you need to apologize. And I’m like, okay, but I need to understand for what? Like, because I’ve had that too, where I just wanted to make it better and be like, I’m so sorry, but for what? And like, why are you saying sorry? Because someone demanded it? ‘Cause that’s not a meaningful apology.

      – Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Well, it’s interesting ’cause what comes to mind to me is this, is cancel culture, which is completely a hot topic.

      – Yeah.

      – And what I see around apologies is that, yes, we want people to apologize. I go back to like, there was this one, there’s this one slide I used a few years ago and it was like, it was a card rack of apologies and, like the Hallmark Cards, right? And so one of them was like, I apologize that you feel like I did something wrong, or I apologize that your feelings are hurt. And so just sort of going back to what you said, in a way it is about actually centering yourself, what you said there, which is like, okay, I need to understand what I’m apologizing for so that it is meaningful, so that I know what I’m apologizing, not only for, but what I’m willing to correct.

      – Yeah.

      – And so what’s interesting is like all of these are choice points, right? It’s a choice for me to apologize to you, because sometimes I’ll say like, okay, I’m sorry that I hurt you, I don’t exactly know all the ways that I hurt you and I’m willing to listen to you, tell me. But it’s like a choice point to kind of think through or have somebody tell you and reflect on like why they’re hurt and why they feel harm. And yes, that means that the other person has to be in touch with their harm. Like there’s so many, this goes back to like the whole nuance, what’s said, what’s not said, what relationship we’re in. Do we wanna continue to have a relationship? Because I wanna be very clear, Elizabeth. I am a Scorpio. And there’s a part of me that is search and destroy. Where all of this goes out the window, like.

      – Yeah.

      – Like I am there to do harm. I am there to like be destructive. Less so in my personal relationships.

      – Yeah.

      – But I think it’s also like in being humble ready to fumble, also I need to tell you, like, there are times when no, I’m like, mm-mm, I am here ’cause I’m pissed and this is gonna happen. But if I care about you, choice.

      – Yup.

      – Then I’m gonna try and play this through, right? I’m gonna try and make the choices that I think are in alignment with how I care for you and what my values are.

      – Yeah. I love this. And because I think there’s so much going on for all of us all the time now, like we’re so inundated. I feel like part of modern society is going beyond any kind of regular capacity that any nervous system used to have and being like, well, we’re all just holding so much more than anyone ever intended. Like I’ve actually been wondering, and I have no way of proving any of this ’cause I am not a scientist or a researcher, I am a mystic, so I have inklings about things, but if people are like, prove it, I’ll be like, I can’t. But I really feel like we probably are coming up to some kind of like evolution in the human nervous system because it just kind of has to. Like something has to like jump because we’re just inundated with so much more. We don’t need to geek out on my hunches or whatever, unless there’s something you really want to say ’cause I really wanna talk about Black Womxn Thriving.

      – I was like, well, I hope it’s only a positive evolution because.

      – Oh, I’m imagining it being like a jump, like it has to be an expansion because we can’t really get any lower.

      – Mm-mm.

      – Period.

      – Exactly. Exactly.

      – And to beginning, again, there’s my optimism. Like there’s nowhere to go, but up.

      – I hope.

      – I’m like crossing my fingers as I say that, right?

      – Yeah. Yeah.

      – So, all the things that you’ve been saying lead up to one of the things that I love so much about your research and your work and I want you to tell us about that, is that it’s focused and centered on thriving, right? It’s not just about, how do we get by? Because, well, and I’m curious, like where does that come from? ‘Cause I would assume it comes from, I’m looking at all these things, it’s like great, so now we’re included, fantastic. Like, but even inclusivity probably does not always translate into thriving, yeah?

      – No, it doesn’t. It is probably, it’s actually a bit more personal than that. So the reason that it’s focused on thriving is because you build what you always wanted. You know how they say that about entrepreneurs? Like you build that thing that you always wanted.

      – Yeah.

      – And at no point did anyone in my career when I was working for other organizations and even as a business owner ever asked me like, okay, but how can you thrive?

      – Yeah.

      – How can, like, what is thriving? And so I had that question. Coupled with that question was I am a Black woman and so, you might be like, well, duh, of course it’s, here’s what I know. I know that we like to say that we support Black women and we don’t act on that. Like our commitment doesn’t match our words. I think in the workplace, Black women have been overly placed into roles that are just basically, that put them into further caretaking situations in the workplace. I also knew this and this is probably the most, maybe I thought it would be provocative. I don’t think it’s as provocative anymore. I was like, we have been fed a bunch of bullshit that if you, that said like, well, if you get all the pay raises and you move up the ladder you will feel like you’re thriving. And that shit is not true. Now, you should get all the raises, you should move up the ladder, and one of the things that I’m gonna give you a little insight into the research, like one little teeny tiny finding, which is that when asked, you have the title, you have the money, do you feel like you’re thriving? The answer is no. Because, and I’ve may have gone off on your question, so I’m gonna just finish this thought because we don’t have an idea about what it looks like to thrive in the workplace.

      – Right.

      – So, I was like, you know what? Black women get to deserve to thrive, and we’re gonna figure out, we’re gonna offer, we are going to offer the organizational workforce a definition of what that means. We have the definition in general, right? Like I can look up thrive and be like, according to dictionary.com, we have that, but in context of the Black women’s work experience, that’s what we’re trying to do. Or that we’re planning on doing. I shouldn’t say try, ’cause we have the data now.

      – Okay. So there’s data, what is the vision? What are you doing with the data? I’m so excited about this.

      – Well, I’m in the thick of it right now. So right now we’re trying to write a report but the point is, so, one, we wanna do a publication that outlined sort of like, what is the, what is a thriving workplace for Black women? What are the characteristics of it? What would you have in place? And so we wanna release this publication so that we are like sort of putting that like benchmark on this, whatever this is, ruler, fine, whatever, that we’re saying, this is the benchmark we have. And then the point is to say to companies, organizations, do you have all these things? Do you? Because we have 1500 Black women, actually, once we did all the data, 1200 Black women, once we scrubbed it all, right? We have 1200 Black women who said, these are the things that are important. Do you have these? Because if you don’t, this is what you need to work on. So it gives, it answers from my vantage point, it answers the question, like when we talk about inclusion, I had a friend reflect this back to me. She goes, we talk about inclusion, but we never actually ask the people who you’re trying to include what they want. This research has asked that question, and now we can like say, we can place more, I’m not even gonna be gentle about this. We can place more pressure on organizations to say, this is what you need to do. And what is, what I think hopefully is the differentiator is that Black Womxn Thriving is not asking Black women to do more. Like I am allergic.

      – Amen.

      – I am angrily against, like, vehemently, hell I’m gonna die on against saying to Black women, well, you have to go and become more resilient, you have to practice more grit. You have to be more, I am, we’re not, I mean, we will mention it, but I am absolutely against setting in this publication to say, Black women, you do more. That’s not the point.

      – No.

      – I hope it was helpful.

      – Super helpful. Well, it’s important, and again, so our listenership is all different types of people, and of course there’s probably Black women listening, being like, thank you, Ericka, right? And then there’s people who I’m sure work in organizations at whatever level being like, damn, I never thought about that. And so I’m certain it’s landing for whoever, however, it needs to land. Are you able to share at all? And if it’s not, that’s totally cool. Were there things that were like super obvious? You were like, yes, of course I expected this. And then was anything surprising? Were you like, huh, I was not expecting to see that in the data?

      – Yes.

      – It’s okay if you, I don’t, again, not a researcher. So I don’t know how this works if you’re like, can’t tell you yet, but stay tuned.

      – That’s probably my, yes, there are things that we saw that we were surprised by. There were other things and yeah, I’m not actually really gonna tell you all of that.

      – That’s okay.

      – But there are other things that we were like, huh. What I will say is that I’m not a psychologist or I don’t, I study human behavior as it pertains to being a facilitator, right?

      – Yeah, yeah.

      – So whoever studies human behavior as their job, this is what I noticed. I noticed that I think there is, there was a distinction in the answers that really led us to be like, these two stories don’t fit together.

      – Right.

      – Like we’ve seen some things in the data where things that we thought people, that Black woman would be overly pessimistic about, they were very optimistic about. And we were like, wait, what? And things that we thought that they would be optimistic about that they’re like, hell no, we’re like, huh. So there’s a lot of like, actually kind of just as Black women, because I should say this. The other thing is that as much as possible, every front facing part of this is led by Black women. So like the research team is Black women, the facilitators are Black women. We like to say like, is being done by us for us, right?

      – Yeah.

      – And so one of the things, like when we look at these results, we’re not actually unbiased. Like we’re not impartial. Like I’m looking at this going, that does not reflect my experience as a Black woman. Why did you say that?

      – So, I was actually gonna ask you about this and then I know we’re coming up on our time, but you know the saying like no group of people is a monolith, I find to always be, ’cause I am rather obsessed with nuance and context. So, I’m already, I’m like, I’m not a researcher, but I’m always like, oh, what was the, was the stuff that was like dissenting from what you were expecting? Was there a correlation to like, what, like, what did those people have in common from the, I’m not gonna geek out, I won’t ask those things unless you want to.

      – Well, I mean, you can geek out the, so what I’m, all right, without going too much of a nerd out here, but I’m gonna just say it like, so what I’ve just shared with you is what we’ve seen in the aggregate. But a lot of times in research, from what I know, and I’m actually working with people, like this is their field of research, is like, okay, so the aggregate may see this, but then when you disaggregate the data and you see the component parts of like, well, how did we get to 56% of people saying X? Right? Then once you get that disaggregated data, you are able to feel like, okay, well, maybe it was actually like working women and higher academia who are married and who, and we’re like, oh, okay, so we can make this statement.

      – Yep, yep, yep.

      – And it helps to provide that nuance. And so that is important as well, because it’s like where there are these areas where we were surprised, part of what we’re now having to do is like go and just aggregate that data to be like, what some makes up these parts? Like what makes this whole? No, what parts make up this whole?

      – Yes, yes, yes.

      – And so that’s sort of interesting and fun because I care about that ’cause you’re right.

      – Yeah.

      – There are places where we can be like overwhelmingly.

      – Yes, yes.

      – Monolithically, our sample size said this, and then there’s a whole bunch of other parts where we’re like, okay, well overall it said this, but like, and it’s not true for X and da, da, da, da, and so.

      – I think that’s, I love that. I’m always so fascinated by, you could say something and get such an array of responses from this, like I’m putting this in air quotes, people who are listening, like the same type of person. Some people will be like thanking you, some people will be like, fuck you it’s like, well, you just, we have no way, but this is what I, I wish I almost was a researcher because I love knowing more about people. Like, what is it? What are the correlations? I would just like, I can, to actually go through it myself, I’m like, I wanna hear about it. Can’t wait to hear it. I can’t wait to read the report. But I don’t wanna do that shit.

      – And that is wonderful, ’cause we need people who are like, let me take this report and I can make meaning, I can act upon it. Like, I don’t wanna just, one of the things that, there’s a lot of things that we’re trying to sort of hold in this report. And one of them is, it has to be actionable. Like, it is not in, like, I’m not, I didn’t raise money, I’m not continuing to try and raise money for something to be like, oh, that’s nice they did this report. I’m like, no, no, no, no, no. This is action. Like, I’m just trying to give you numbers, so then instead of being like, we don’t know what Black, no, I’m gonna tell you what Black women have said.

      – Well, here it is actually.

      – And it’s not just some narrative, like I talked to three people. No, no, no, no, no.

      – Yes. Yes.

      – Can I, I wanted to share with you one of the, like one of the unexpected, just, it’s like a, to me it’s a phenomenon that happened.

      – Yeah.

      – I think it ties into your work in healing. And so as we, we’re following a very standard research process according to my research partner. And so it’s like we did a study, right? And then we did focus groups. And so we’re taking the two of those and we’re putting them together and we’re trying to find, we’re gonna have results. And generally that is a very nonemotional dispassionate practice. What happened with Black Womxn Thriving is that when we put the survey out and people started taking the survey, I got emails from Black women who were like, thank you. Thank you for this. I didn’t even know I was feeling some of these things. I didn’t know that I cared about, I mean like that this was causing me issues. Thank you. No one has asked me these questions before. It’s like, one of the things we heard is like, where you in my head when you wrote this.

      – Yeah.

      – And so people don’t thank people for taking a survey but what that said to me is like, number one, we did something right.

      – Yeah.

      – And that’s lovely and it feeds my ego. But the other thing is that it spoke to the fact that Black women aren’t asked, what do you need?

      – Right.

      – The relationship is always different. I need this from you. It is extractive. And that is also one of the, when I went on my tirade, like I’m vehemently allergic and against asking, but this is why. We will not be extractive with this, with Black Womxn Thriving, of Black women. So then go to the focus groups. So, again, very dispassionate, unemotional. People might have emotional feelings, these people, these lovely Black women within X are in these groups, like how do we stay in touch? I thank you so much. I am excited for this research. Again, my little ego, heart, very happy. But also I’m like, there is a, speaking of just an other, there’s an other worldly presence here that we did not purposely create, like we didn’t build the architecture for it. But what I am very aware of is bearing witness to it. Like I just wanna bear witness to it, and I want to respect it.

      – I love this so much. And what it feels like is you are, this is bridging people out of survival, right? Because the fact that people never thought about it is because, who has the time? Who even has the moment? Whose mind even goes to a place where nobody has ever asked them before, because why would any of, you know what I mean? Like.

      – Yeah.

      – And then now, like from the healing perspective, I’m like loving, I’m almost crying ’cause I’m super emotional.

      – See, I’m almost crying.

      – Is like I could just like sense like the little sparks, the seeds gotta get planted, the opening for people around, what they actually deserve. And when you were saying, you said like, who says thank you for taking a survey? I’m like, they weren’t thanking you for taking the survey, they were thanking you for seeing them, right?

      – Yeah.

      – Were like acknowledging and even knowing, or having a hunch around what their freaking needs would be. I don’t need to tell you about your own people, but I’m like I love it so much. That’s why I’m so so excited. I remember screaming when I saw that Adrienne Maree Brown shared it. I was like.

      – Oh, you mean, wait, Roxane Gay or? No.

      – Oh, no. Was it Roxane Gay?

      – It was Roxane Gay.

      – I think they both shared.

      – I don’t know that Adrienne Maree Brown shared it.

      – Oh, I thought I saw her.

      – Maybe, I don’t know.

      – I just saw, shared everywhere, I was so excited. Yeah.

      – But go a head.

      – He’s amazing. I was just so happy and excited.

      – Well, it’s so funny because it’s like, it was like the glee felt around the land because so many people were like, I was screaming and crying for you. I was so excited that I was like, thank you. I mean, just know that I had a hangover the next day. It was not from drinking. I had an emotional hangover.

      – Yes. Yes.

      – Because I felt my own glee and your glee too, and it was glee, and I was like, who cares about work? Roxane Gay loves me. Okay, she, like, we’re not, like, it was just so nice.

      – I gotta look back at my text messages with just though I’m like almost positive. I screenshot it, and Adrienne Maree Brown post too. I really could be making it up though.

      – Happy if you do. I love it.

      – Oh, man. Thank you so much for sharing all this. And everyone listening, like if this touches you, if this is important to you, this is like, you now feel like passionate and excited, if you’re in the bubble of glee that we were just talking about, like go follow Ericka, it’s @divahines on Instagram. We’re gonna put links, Every Level Leadership, Black Womxn Thriving. You could buy swag in their store. Like we’ll put links to everything in the Show Notes, so you can just support and like stay abreast. I’m like such a seventh grader, I can’t say that word without kind of being like, haha, stay abreast of what’s going on with the research. Literally can’t wait for the report. I imagine it’s probably gonna take a while though, right?

      – It is. But publicly, it will be released by the end of February, it’s.

      – Oh, amazing.

      – It is. I have said it, and if I say it in public to enough people, so I’m kind of on the hook for it.

      – Great.

      – Barring any major life or societal upheavals.

      – Oh, well.

      – I know. Okay.

      – All right.

      – But I can’t weather.

      – Thank you so much, Ericka, I’m so glad we actually even virtually, finally got to spend some time together. It’s funny, it feels weird to tell a human being like I’m a huge fan, but I really am. And I’m so grateful for everything you’re doing and excited to see how it all unfolds. So, great to have you.

      – Oh, thank you. It was great to be here. I really appreciate. This has been fun.

      – I’ll see you later.