Updated: May 3, 2021
When you read that statement, what do you think? How do you feel? Are you uncomfortable? Are you like..."yassss!" Or did you low-key roll your eyes? How do you really feel about the idea of making a million dollars?
Honestly, I am uncomfortable. To be clear, I'm not against womxn making money and
building wealth; I am a devout member of the (F)financially, (I)independent, (R)retire, (E)early movement. I'm also the person in the room whose mom gifted her Suzie Orman books at the tender age of 11. And, I am definitely the friend talking incessantly about money; I want badly for BIWOC to stand more powerfully in their worth and make better decisions around finances. However, there's something about naming being a millionaire versus speaking to the political and social need for economic security that makes me pause for a moment. This pause, coupled with countless, unfinished conversations with my Co-Ruler, Cenita Williamson, is the reason why I moved so assertively toward hosting this event. There is healing to be done.
Cenita who was professionally raised in for-profit and Fortune 500 companies, has no problem declaring she wants to be a millionaire. The concept of making or handling a million dollars is standard. It's a way more anemic situation when it comes to me. What's the saying " you can't be what you can't see." I have spent my entire career in the non-profit world organizing against racism, gender-based violence, and capitalism (holla if you've read "The Color of Wealth") and now, a bookseller. Making a million dollars isn't something I've even considered - not even in my wildest dreams. As an organizer, it almost feels sacrilegious to declare something so closely associated with the hurt and pain of entire nations of people. And, let's not forget the Biblical underpinnings of poor economic relationships: "the meek shall inherit the earth." Side-eye. While I can openly denounce that wild, racist, and sexist ideology, unearthing it is a much more rigorous process.
As a dark-skinned, Afro-Latinx womxn, I am intimately aware of the ways Black and Brown
bodies have been exploited at every level of this capitalistic machine we are operating in. I spent eight years teaching about the connections between racism, sexism, immigrant exploitation, and capitalism. My distrust of capitalism runs deep. A pulsing vigilance resides in me - one that I believe is holding me back from even considering millionaire status.
The truth is, I'm afraid. I am afraid to get caught up in a system that was not built for me to win but instead was built on the backs and lives of Black and Brown folx. What does it mean for me to seek out and mingle with the pursuit of money = capitalism? However, is this the full story? Certainly, this tragic history can't be where the story ends. This is why I moved unsteadily yet confidently toward this book. I need to heal.
I don't know if I want to be a millionaire. And while I recognize that many people have been told they can't, shouldn't, and won't excel, I've never been one to internalize that foolery. The truth is, I have not calculated the exact number of what it means to live my full dreams because honestly, I have not ever defined happiness based on a dollar amount or the number of zeros in my account. What I do know is that I deserve to explore living beyond the trauma of capitalism toward a more joyful, guilt-free, and well-balanced experience of abundance.
What my strategically avoided conversations with Cenita and this book have shown me is that my relationship with money is murky and there's work to be done. However, what is not up for debate or ever has been is finances are a Feminist issue. There's not enough time or space to tell you how many of the womxn I love chose an abusive relationship over homelessness. So, I'm 100% on board when Rachel says this is a Feminist issue. And as a Black and Latinx womxn, I'm clear about the deadly consequences of playing the fool and not having my own "F" you money. For that reason alone, I believe it's important to dive deep into this topic from a mere "let me have just want I need to survive to I'm going for the amount I need to thrive." Isn't that too a political act?
I'm ready to let go of this purist way of defining and actualizing my Black Feminist politics. There has to be space to be a Black Feminist, anti-exploitive capitalist millionaire or a couple of hundred thousands(aire). I hope through this conversation between Rachel Rodgers and Sonya Renee Taylor, I move closer to that dreamy existence. And if not for me, definitely my bloodline.
This event is open to EVERYONE. Every human needs and deserves healing. Buy your tickets to this event here. For our audiobook lovers, please buy your copy here. An audiobook also counts as a ticket. Just forward your receipt and we'll grant access to the event.
Let's do this together...