I can’t even tell you guys how THRILLED I am to announce that longtime friend and advocated of Beyond Black & White, ‘Oaktown Paul’ has joined the board for Sisters Overcoming Stigma. Now the organization is set to apply for 501c3 status with the federal government.
H. Paul Bryant is an attorney, with his own practice in Oakland, CA, with decades of experience in business matters, real estate/construction and civil litigation trials. As an attorney, he represents clients of all races, nationalities and socio-economic standing. He is currently the COO and Head Legal Counsel for a FinTech startup. For several years he assisted in the administration of a Meetup promoting interracial dating — with an emphasis on encouraging black women to expand their options. For over five years he has been an active participant and respected contributor at Beyond Black & White — where he has consistently supported women of color in their journey to achieve the appreciation, respect and empowerment they deserve.
When I asked Paul to give me a quote about how he felt about joining S.O.S., he had quite a lot to say.
Though I am private about most things, I am very public about my support for BB&W’s effort to: (1) promote interracial relationships in a way that enables BW to have more choices and (2) encourage and promote BW in their quest to have a better life. This public support is necessary to counter the negative stigma inflicted upon Women of Color by a perverse combination of racism, colorism and sexism(the “WOC Stigma”).
The WOC Stigma generates negative thoughts, behaviors and consequences in all aspects of a woman’s life. It can impact her work, personal safety, self-esteem, social relationships and the basic privilege to enjoy life as it is granted to others.
The divisive and oppressive WOC Stigma is formed in the minds of whites (racism/sexism), black men (sexism/colorism) and even black women (colorism). The stigma becomes even more pernicious when BM and BW have thoughts of racism for one another and — even worse — for themselves.
When seen in a certain light, the negative forces unfairly inflicted upon WOC by this Stigma are plain and obvious. Unfortunately, this light needs to shine much brighter. Why? Because too many people openly perpetuate this Stigma when there is little or no opposition.
People perpetuate the WOC Stigma because (1) they do not see, (2) they want to keep advantages the Stigma gives to them, (3) the Stigma undermines our ability to empathize with WOC and/or (4) we do not even imagine a world where WOC are freed from a Stigma that interferes with their ability to live and love like everyone else.
My empathy for WOC is real. I feel it when I walk through the city and see numerous instances where WOC are treated less than. When people fail to see this … the Stigma imposed upon WOC makes our entire world less than.
For these reasons, and for reasons of friendship and my loyalty to BB&W, I am pleased to accept Christelyn’s invitation to join the Board of Directors of Sisters Overcoming Stigma (SOS). Alone, none of us can remove the many barriers created by this Stigma. Together, we can tear down each barrier … brick by brick.
*Takes a moment to wipe away some tears*
S.O.S. is also looking for volunteers! Click here.
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