The Most Common Way We Give Up Power is By Believing That We Don't Have Any.
I also grew up in an abusive home: physical, verbal and emotional (not going to get into specifics as I'm not looking for a pity party), and nothing I ever did was good enough. Though it's a joke where I come from, I self-harmed almost everyday. The racism (more like colorism) down South is very explicit and is embedded into the framework of even my culture.
As a young woman of African descent, helping other women of African descent combat our unique obstacles, personally, professionally, financially, socially, historically and presently has always been a deep passion of mine. Growing up, I witnessed women of color work tirelessly just to put food on the table for their families and then pass away in debt, unfulfilled and haven't known what it means to truly enjoy life. I saw women of color poorly manage money and spend money like it was "burning a hole in their pockets" as we Southern folk say.
As a person of African descent in America, I feel a duty to help us as a collective combat our unique obstacles in society that everyone else are either insensitive to or just don't care about. I witnessed and continue to witness the generational and historical effects of the lack of awareness (or desire to be aware) of how essential a supportive community, a mentor, education, and health is to escaping the mental and financial poverty we all grew up in. We all have dreams of being wealthy and living a high quality life, but we are not taught the fundamentals of stability and wealth building or how to navigate the system to get there, especially as people of color, and even more specifically, people of African descent in America. And allies are not taught how to effectively get involved and help make this knowledge and resources more accessible to diverse demographics.
Instead, we people of African descent are taught how to hustle and simply survive through conformity, compliance and silence with the threat of our jobs and families on the line if we do otherwise. We (minorities in general) have been taught how to navigate this world around our fears, and really, if we're being honest, the majority of what we are taught when we grow up in poverty is fear.
As a result, we spend our entire lives serving that emotion. I am tired of seeing this cycle happen within communities of women of color and allies and to combat this cycle of generational poverty, I created the First Ladies of Poverty Foundation to serve as a resource hub and community for people of color looking to go from #StruggletoStability to step into and activate our potential for social advancement and financial wealth in America and around the globe.
What really makes the First Ladies of Poverty Foundation stand out is
1) our belief that a one-size fits all program is not the answer,
2) offering customized services tailored to each individual that we work with and their individual circumstances,
3) our elite membership program (that comes at a budget-friendly cost),
4) our conversational approach to work with allies and celebrating their efforts and 5) our impact over profit model.
We also offer classes and workshops, as well as, personal and professional development services to not just people of color but also allies ( individuals, community groups, organizations, and businesses) to help them maximize the benefits of diversity and inclusion, reduce bias and prejudice against the communities of color they work with and serve, and to improve the effectiveness of their leadership.
And...my own life.
Right after high school, I (a born and raised Louisiana native) moved to New England to seek a better future for myself and my loved ones. I went from moving from place to place:
all while scrambling to keep a job while using public transportation( I didn't own a car.) and Uber / Lyft weren't as big as they are now, on top of working long hours andhaving to get up extra early ( 4:30 a.m.) in the morning to be able to walk 20-minutes to the bus stop ( had to be at work for 7:30 a.m.) that went to my job. And that's a very brief overview of my story.
I still haven't told you the before high school, the during college or the nitty gritty details of some of the hardships I have faced and overcome. More to come in the near future via the First Ladies of Poverty Foundation newsletter and blog.
And if you follow my personal account and lifestyle blog launching February 2020 on Instagram and Facebook ( @ladelapaz ) you will be able to follow along on my adventures and find empowering and thought-provoking content! Plus, I love to give just as much as I receive. (Did I mention giveaways??)