When I was a little girl and I couldn’t find a toy or something that I was trying to locate, I’d scream, “Where is itttttttttt”?
I think the entire neighborhood could hear my little vocal cords explode with intense anger and frustration.
I was so upset, because I wanted what I wanted, but I couldn’t find it.
That same little girl sometimes rises up inside of me when I search for a place, a community that invites women who look like me and can’t find it.

I want to find a place that embraces diversity, that says we’re all different and we all deserve dignity, respect and to be have equal opportunities.

But I didn’t find it, so I created it.
Much like what you do every day in the work you create with your business. You saw a need and you filled it.

I saw a need for people who feel like they want to be in community, to belong, to fit-in, but couldn’t find that place. But I saw a need for people who want to reach them, but just don’t know how. They want to build the bridge, but they don’t know where to start.

So, I created Shine Brighter Together. This is not the place for everyone that feels left out to gather and complain or decide to join together to reject the dominate culture.
This is not a place for those who are highly elevated and embraced in mainstream to come and feel like they don’t have voice or that what they have to say doesn’t matter.

This is a place for people on both sides of the sandbox.
Both stand to gain so much by coming together, so it might get uncomfortable. In fact, I hope it’s uncomfortable to some degree, because that’s where growth happens. And growth is what matters here.

So if you’re a part of community and you feel like you don’t fit in I have three tips for you.

1. Reach out to the community leader/builder and schedule a time to share your concerns.
2. Connect with the member in the group who you think you may not have anything in common with and be open to being surprised. You just may find a new friend.
3. Take a look at the community that you’re building and ask yourself, “Who does my group appeal to the most? Who does it exclude? What’s one step I can take towards more inclusiveness?”
Remember in order for us to come together, we actually have to come together. We have to put aside the fact that we don’t see everything the same or that we are frustrated, confused, afraid or nervous to be in community with someone who either once didn’t readily embrace us or who we didn’t know how to or didn’t attempt to readily embrace.

Let’s move towards one another, and let’s truly shine brighter together.

And if you want to be more intentional about building a inclusive and diverse community, be sure to join us for the Esther 4:14 Community on Facebook.

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