An Apology to Our Readers

Dear Readers and supporters of Black Girl in the CLE,

 

Over the last few weeks, Black Girl in the CLE has been at a standstill. We’ve been stuck and I’ve been trying to figure out what was wrong.  While Black Girl is a platform that is in a great place as far as acceptance and support around the city recent events made us realize we forgot who we were and why I started this whole journey in the first place.

Black Girl in the CLE was started for you…and me. Black women who felt out of the loop or disconnected with all the fun things that were happening in Greater Cleveland.  We were often looking at our friends in other cities like Atlanta, or New York thinking there was so much more “for us,”  in those other places as we packed our bags and booked our plane tickets to all the amazing festivals and events that seemed to be happening everywhere else but in Cleveland. I remember hearing from many of you about all the events in our newsletters that you were attending or that you were glad you found out about.

What I found was that we were having an impact.  We were accomplishing the mission.  We were getting women (Black and white women) out of their neighborhoods, trying new activities, meeting new people and going new places.

Eventually, we began to get ask and offers. I’ll admit in the beginning, I loved it as it meant that people were realizing the impact of having Black women and non-millennial women in their events. I loved being able to offer you tickets to movies, prize packs and other fun places (still do) but recently I’ve realized that the ask have begun to change.   

The ask have become more swanky but began to feel more elitist.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a swanky event.  I began to feel bothered that were we asked to get our readers interested in events that from all visual marketing would make us and you some of the only Black people in attendance.  Events our white friends wouldn’t seem to fit in.

So then the question, if there’s no diversity (women of color, all body types, LGBTQ friendly, easy access and location for ALL Clevelanders), no feeling of an emotional and culturally-safe environment, and free of cultural appropriations and micro-aggressions for ALL of our followers then should we…I go and attend? More importantly, is that an event I would like to give you tickets to attend knowing you will most likely be the Black faces curated into their photos in what can feel like a token-ish way many of us know comes from being the Black friend.

I’ve had conversations with other Black and white bloggers about diversifying spaces and their conversation and choices about selecting whom to work with. Then the question arose, am I the one to make a place diverse? Is that what Black Girl does? I’m still not sure but one thing is for sure, that’s not why we exist.

So I apologize for forgetting you, our readers, listeners and supporters.  I will no longer allow people to try to sell me and our team on the perceived value of something that considers diversity as an afterthought. 

Yes, we will still spread the news of the events in the newsletter with you, but I will no longer let anyone try to dictate what we need to do, or where we should go. It’s simple, we LOVE to support and welcome those who support us.  And over the next few months we will continue to grow and develop new events and find new places to explore and hang out.   

Please know that I have loved and valued your support everyday for the last 2 ½ years and going forward every blog, event and giveaway will be carefully chosen to ensure that we are supporting places that want to reach you and not just your wallet.

With love and gratefulness,

Shana