It’s no secret that black women continue to bear the brunt of society’s ills. From pay disparities to the lack of access to leadership opportunities in corporate America despite being more than qualified, we are subjected to countless negative stereotypes and microaggressions that constantly chip away at our self-esteem and self-worth. And while this is in no way new or surprising, it does reinforce the need for spaces and places that not only protect us, but uplift, inspire, and empower us.
To that end, we’ve rounded up a list of four amazing organizations dedicated to ensuring we are seen, heard, celebrated, and respected as we make our way in this world. Some are spaces meant for us to heal and connect, while others are communities built just for us to make the career moves that we want and need. But what they all have in common is the fact that they all remind us that we are worthy, we are loved, and we are enough.
Safe Spaces for Black Women – Their Twitter tagline says it all. “You are loved. You are heard. You are valued.” Safe Spaces for Black Women is a safe haven for black women to express and explore our experiences with qualified professionals who understand and share our pain, rage, and fatigue.
Born from a simple tweet in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder and the civil unrest that immediately followed, co-founders, Psychotherapist and CEO, Dr. Leyla Hussien, and Managing Director, Fatima Hagi, publicly wondered if there would be any interest in a virtual meeting space designed to meet the mental health needs of black women. The response was overwhelming. After receiving over 4,000 requests for such a service, the two immediately set to work, and Safe Spaces for Black Women was born.
With free weekly online sessions guided by qualified mental health professionals, their services have benefitted over 500 participants globally since their launch in June 2020.
#HireBlack – Job searches can be agonizing, and it can be hard to find the right support when navigating the process. Enter #HireBlack, a community and social platform made by and for black women with a singular mission to get 10,000 black women hired, trained, and promoted.
Started by the incomparable Niani Tolbert, a former tech recruiter, the idea for #HireBlack was also one that initially came from a 2020 social media post. In a LinkedIn post that quickly went viral, Tolbert offered a free resume review for nineteen black women in honor of Juneteenth. The post resulted in an inundation of hundreds of requests. That’s when Tolbert realized that the need necessitated more than a one-off opportunity to adequately help and advance black women in the workplace.
Boasting a community of over 15,000 and counting, #HireBlack offers workshops, trainings, a salary database to create salary transparency, a job portal, and ample networking opportunities that offer advice and guidance designed to not only land black women jobs, but help us advance in those jobs through promotions and higher pay.
Brown Skin Brunchin’ – If mimosas and great conversation is part of your detox routine after a hectic week, then you might want to take a gander at Brown Skin Brunchin’, a social group designed to help professional black women connect over the penultimate weekend meal – brunch. With monthly brunches held in 38 cities across the US and Canada, the founders, Lillian Jackson and Melissa Mason describe it as a sisterhood that fosters connections with other professional black women in a casual, low-pressure environment.
After finding it difficult to find and meet people that looked like her as she rose higher and higher in her profession, it became important for Co-Founder, Lillian Jackson, to create a safe space for other black women to connect and share their experiences while also broadening their professional networks.
And with plans to open 100 chapters in the US, it looks like her goal has come to fruition.
Black Career Women’s Network – If you’ve ever struggled to find a mentor in the workplace, particularly one who looks like you, you’re not alone. Black Career Women’s Network founder, Sherry Sims, once struggled with the same issue. Unable to find a black female mentor who could help her navigate her career as an HR professional, she initially started the network in 2009 as a LinkedIn group to connect with other black women and obtain career advice.
Though it took a few years for the group to gain traction, it has since morphed into a national organization that offers its members invaluable career resources such as coaching, mentoring, networking opportunities, as well as a free job portal that non-members can access on their website. Be sure to check out their 7th Annual Mentor Summit on April 9th, 2022, a virtual conference featuring real career talk, networking, and power mentoring sessions.