Updated: Feb 13, 2021
Representation matters...my rich dark skin, my thick body, my beautiful kinky hair, the black tape on my glasses, my traumatic brain injury recovery, my disabilities, my joy, my passion, my tears, my pain, my resilience and my smile.
As I entered into a predominantly white environmental industry over a decade ago, it felt harrowing. I was alone and at the time and didn’t even have the support from my loved ones simply because, “we don’t do that” (speaking in terms of immersing ourselves in nature, picking up snakes, etc.) I also reached out to a few black notable women in the industry... they didn’t reach back. It was hurtful but I didn’t allow that to stop me because for the first time in my life, I felt a true connection with something.
Over the years, I continue to be complimented on my articulation - especially in Wyoming (and btw, I hate that). I’m questioned about my background and knowledge of wildlife because I’ve never let credentials lead or determine my success. People are often astonished that I took “that” photo, especially using a point and shoot camera. There is nothing about me or my journey that is average or traditional...that is what makes me so unique.
I now have overwhelming support and “we don’t do that” has turned into., “She did THAT!” Once my work started receiving publicity and my audience expanded, I made a decision to create my OWN lane in an industry that continues to lack in their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts... especially with highly publicized environmentally-related events and in board rooms! I’m not chasing organizations, people or things to become admired, acknowledged or accepted. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to be featured and invited but you don’t NEED to be part of anyone else’s narrative, organization or group to make a difference.
I’ve learned to stand alone, stand tall and dare greatly. I’m letting my passion, dedication, perseverance and genuineness lead my journey and I have no doubt that the opportunities meant for me...will reach me. ❤️🌿☀️✊🏾