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Monica Nelson

Daughter | Non-Profit Social Worker | Entrepreneur

My Story:

After the murder of George Floyd on live camera, I was slow to react to rapid attention that the Black community was getting in America. I needed to protect my energy. Unfortunately this was not the first time a senseless murder by the police was filmed and has been the norm in America for decades. At a certain point, my reaction has become numb to this sad reality, so I needed time to observe the intent of my non-Black counterparts who were immediately ready to protest.

Despite needing time to reflect, research and take action, I was instantly bombarded by my white friends near and far in a desperation to see how I was feeling and how they could help.

Truth be told, I am still hesitant on the energy of these protests because the only difference this time is COVID. Therefore I ask myself daily, why now? Is this a trend because people are bored at home? Can I trust that after COVID this passion will remain?

I am Social Worker who is now working from home and the energy among the fears, discomfort and anger can be felt across the room when having weekly Zoom chats with my staff. I recently participated in a company discussion on race inequalities in the workplace and was both honored and disgusted that this was the first time in my entire career to be asked how I felt by my employer.

I never thought I would live to see this day, so talk about a groundbreaking moment for 2020!

The vulnerability was nerve wracking nonetheless, but crucial to continue empowering the communities we serve. My central theme highlighted the obvious lack of diversity among our organization and Board members, which most of us can relate to regardless of our industry. The main concern I addressed was the continuous hiring practices of Black employees to work on specific initiatives for both the Black community and sometimes any additional community that was not white.

This on-going lack of awareness that certain strategies, collaboration and participation from the entire team create a less genuine impact for our organization as a whole, is an exhausting concept for me.

After getting my masters degree, it took over 5 years to find an entry-level position that paid less than my salary after finishing my bachelors degree. It didn't take long for me to recognize discriminatory hiring tactics when the interviewer often had less education and experience than me, but would respond with the same declining email "We are looking for someone who has more experience and aligns better with our company culture."

Unfortunately, the lack of culture was my only way to make sense of this, and it was not a coincidence.

-Monica Nelson


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