You’re probably feeling a jumble of emotions right now: anger, fear, confusion. Maybe you’re thinking, “What should I do now?” or “How can I help?”
We’re right there with you.
Over the weekend, I tried to pull back tears while reading about peaceful protests turning violent. I couldn’t stop crying until I talked about what was top of mind. My husband, Martin, and I sat down with Lydia, our 5-year-old, for a talk we’ve had before and needed to have again.
“You know that you’re mixed race, right? You’re part white, and you’re also black, Hispanic, and Asian,” I said. That led to “Black people and other people of color are not always treated well, and that is not right” and “We’re going to keep talking with you about this as you grow up.” Lydia nodded her head, and I felt better knowing that she’s starting to get it. I will continually have this conversation until Lydia can confidently explain that she is biracial.
Martin was born in Brooklyn, an American son to his Black Cuban mother and his Puerto Rican father, who never spoke English. I’m the daughter of my mother, born in a tenement in Glasgow, Scotland, and my father, who started life very poor on a farm in an immigrant community in Oklahoma. My sister and I are the first women in our family to graduate from college and grow up middle class.
And, so, my daughters are modern Americans. Our girls don’t know it yet, but they represent a long line of overcoming adversity, from slavery and oppression to freedom and leadership, from poverty and immigration to college educations, from sexism to feminism. Our families have come so far, but my daughters still have farther to go.
Over the weekend, I worked on better defining Jumble & Flow’s mission statement and values with Candice Nobles, a former tech executive who’s carefully reinventing her career on her terms. I’m honored to announce that Candice is stepping up as a cofounding business leader for Jumble & Flow. As Candice sees it, taking time to get clear about your business values early on will help steer our path forward.
On Monday, Candice and I emailed back and forth with Khaleelah Jones, our new London-based social media manager, about our content to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
Here’s a slice of Candice’s email on Monday, June 1:
I’m having one of those falling-apart days. I can’t stop crying. I will let it out and piece myself back together. I have a lot of emotions about everything. I’m having a hard time. Most of my friends are white, and being the Black friend is hard in this moment. I think people mean well by calling to check in, but it’s too much for me.
What I’m trying to say is I love that you’re telling your story, and it would be great if there was other content that didn’t re-traumatize people. We need to push the conversation forward and show people living a non-racist life.
And that’s exactly what we intend to do. We will move the Black Lives Matter conversation forward. Equality and diversity were already core values for Jumble & Flow, but we have so much more work to do.
We don’t know what’s going to happen next. No one does. “People like us, who think and live a bit differently, are afraid that what we’ve built is in jeopardy,” Candice says. That feeling of jeopardy comes with the territory of attempting to make deep systemic change in a divided world. But that fear and anger will drive us forward.
We’re a collective beautiful mess at Jumble & Flow. We have feelings that we’re not quite sure what to do with, but we’ll do all we can to steer them into positive change for all people, middle-aged women included. One of the primary messages our team wants to spread right now is the importance of listening to people of color — really listening to what they’re saying. If you don’t understand the deep-rooted pain and anger they’re feeling, learn. You don’t have to be “perfect” or have all the answers.
Jumble & Flow is a growing collective of strong-minded women who are laying the groundwork for a future that’s brighter, definitely, but also guaranteed to be complicated and full of unknowns. And you know what? That’s what change feels like. Change is uncomfortable. It’s itchy-scratchy, awkward, and keeps you up at night. This is what it feels like when shit gets real on the brink of systemic change — at least, I hope change is coming.
As we build this business from the ground up, we’ll redefine life for women in their prime and our generation, women currently in their 40s and 50s. We’re raising and influencing the future generation, and we’re laying the groundwork for Millennials, who we hope will benefit from our activism.
Elect Black leaders
Visit Electblackleaders.com for a list of Black candidates running for office in 2020.
Donate to these groups that support Black Lives Matters
Give your kids books featuring black heroes
Homemade Love by Bell Hooks
Skin Again by Bell Hooks
Be Boy Buzz by Bell Hooks
Peaceful Fights for Equal Rights by Rob Sanders
Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson
The Lost Tribes: Trials Hardcover (coming October 20, 2020) by C. Taylor-Butler
Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton
Read books about fighting racism
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell
How to Be Less Stupid About Race by Crystal M. Fleming
The Fire this Time by Jesmyn Ward
Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay
Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper
The Selected Works of Audre Lorde by Audre Lorde
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Killing Rage by Bell Hooks
Medical Apartheid by Harriet Washington
Published June 3, 2020
Amy Cuevas Schroeder is the cofounder and Chief Content Officer of Jumble & Flow, the new lifestyle brand that empowers women to thrive in midlife. She started her first business, Venus Zine, in her dorm room at Michigan State University, and later sold the company. She now lives in the Chicago area, and is raising twin girls with her husband, Martin, a social worker. She’s worked as a content leader for Etsy, Minted, and Abstract, and has written for NYLON, Pitchfork, The Startup, and more.
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Amy Cuevas Schroeder
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