Every morning, I make coffee and write my  social media posts. This last week I have had so much to think about I could not find words for a post. I am still not quite sure what I want to say here, but saying nothing is certainly not an option. I did share some thoughts in a Chicago Tribune article last week after our restaurant in Chicago was broken in to over the weekend. You can read that here.
What I have learned so far this week is that I still have much to learn. Many of us have much to learn. And we are each other’s most important teachers. I am very appreciative of the friends in my life, especially this week – who have been willing to have conversations with me that are uncomfortable, so I can begin to have an understanding of how racism impacts people of color every day. I know that these discussions are really just the beginning for many, and this journey is one that is just beginning now.
But those who live the realities of systemic racism every day have been living it for so long. Too long.
I know that there are things I can never understand because of the color of my skin, but I can stand together and stand up against racism and oppression with all my heart, and all my intellect – knowing that a movement needs to go beyond a hashtag. I know this will be a long journey, and while I do not have most any answers, I want to do the work to educate myself further. I am returning here mindful. With my heart full of love and with good intentions. Committed to holding myself accountable. To seeing color, and celebrating it. Being inspired by color, more fulfilled because of color and to dedicating myself to becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable. To have the conversations. To hold not only myself, but those around me to a higher expectation so that equality, dignity, respect and liberty can be truly experienced by every body. I welcome conversation, and moving forward will be making efforts to share what I learn along the way so that my learnings can help others learn too.
Again, I believe we can be each other’s greatest teachers. With a heart that is still sad, a little tired, worried (covid-19 is still out there) but very full of love I am posting here, slowly opening my restaurant, and forging a path forward. With mindful dedication. And hope too.
There is a really incredible TED talk by Luvvie Ajayi Jones, who is New York Times best selling author, speaker and podcast host that was shared with me that I encourage you to watch it, CLICK HERE

I am a wedding planner, + member of the events and wedding industry, a restauranteur, Italian-American, and an equestrian. A daughter, friend, wife, cousin, aunt. These are words that create my identity… -> “Identity (noun) the qualities, characteristics or beliefs that make a person who they are…”

Thinking about identity, I think about the groups that I belong to. Groups can include nationality, ability, race, gender, sexual orientation or other identifiers. For me, I am working to ensure that I can purposefully include the word Ally when speaking of my identity. Here is what ally means:  -> “Ally (noun) someone who stands with or advocates for individuals and groups other than their own.”

When I think about my identity I have to think about my skin color, and the privilege that comes with that -> “Privilege (noun) a special benefit or advantage that may be earned or unearned.” In this case, what I am learning about one aspect of white privilege is that it is not meant to say that I have had no challenges in life. What it is saying is that those challenges were not related to my skin color. 

So now, here I am having spent the time to learn these definitions. How do I begin to apply all of this?
-> I can highlight and elevate diversity here on my platforms and throughout my life and its various identities. Today is about the wedding industry, and I am sharing episodes from @akeshiakinseye’s “Let’s Talk About It” podcast in my stories throughout the week. Her podcast is sharing 10 ways to support the Black community, right now. Her website can be found here, and you can learn more about all of the wonderful work that she does. 

Akeshi is a brilliant business woman, designer, planner, author, coach, and my friend. She is inspiration for me, and strength every day. She is laughter and support. This week, we shared some moments together that I will never forget. I owe her so very much, so today I am sharing with you some of what she has been sharing on her own platforms today.   The photo included below is from her coaching session @thekeshexperience that I did with my team many years ago, and one that I still go back to for lessons and inspiration. 
She has been sharing episodes every day this week, and I am very grateful to her for the episodes she has created. I am sharing them with you below. They are heartfelt, enlightening, candid, + present an opportunity to learn and that is something we can all be doing more of, all the time.

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