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Resources to Increase Your Ability to Support Liberation of All People

Black owned bookstores

A list of Black owned bookstores.

Do No Harm

The term, "Acting in Solidarity for Racial Justice" is preferable to ‘Allyship’

Roles in Solidarity

Everyone has a different role in this work. Not everyone is on the frontlines. Here is a pie looking chart that lists out all the roles.

Learn about plantation life

Do not romanticize plantation life. Read about how this plantation is creating a narrative of slavery that tells untold stories.

Follow Black Thought Leaders on Social Media

Check out Black Twitter and begin to read conversations. Increase your discernment levels in social media discussions. @Blcktweet. @Black_Twiitter_

Online support

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Pointers Along The Way

Books not to read about race.

Everyone asks me about White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. Should I read this book? People love to ask me this question. I am not a fan of this book. She does not address structural racism. Yet the book is very popular. If it resonates with you, keep reading. However, make sure that you are not defaulting to something that feels relatable and something that feels "good" to read. Make sure there is truth telling in what you are reading. And for crying out loud, please read some books by Black women authors. If you were going to visit my home country of Nigeria, would you want to talk to someone who visited for two weeks or would you want to talk to me who spent my first 16 years there? Or would you want to also talk to someone who just lived there for 3 years? Catch my drift? There is another author that is a Black woman who has a popular book out there. There is also a lot of "bruhaha" about her book. She lives in the Middle East and is writing about race in America. Remember, a person who has not been through a transformation will only be able to teach you in a limited way. Not everyone is an educator but we live in a capitalistic world and everyone wants to make money.

How do I know which books I should read about race?

You want to first assess where you are. On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being seriously "woke," where do you land? 1. First, get a hold of the history of race relations in this country. And make sure you are reading from a variety of sources. 2. Make sure you know the history of reconstruction and the Jim Crow Era and how abuses continued to be inflicted on Black bodies. 3. Get a handle on what "Mass Incarceration" means today. You have got to pay attention to where you are holding all this information in your body. How are you reacting? Do not move straight to action. First, begin to experience the transformation that you desire. Experience what it feels like to distance yourself from structures of oppression. Begin to understand the role you personally, and as part of the dominant collective, have played in perpetuating these structures of oppression. Then begin to work towards taking smart, genuinely smart action about all this. Pay attention to how you want to quickly jump away from feeling bad about all this. Itabo's mantra is "Be, then Do."

The folks I love to read

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, bell hooks, Angela Davis, Sefi Atta, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chanequa Walker Barnes, Shelly Tochluk, Peter Block, Glenn E. Singleton, Renita Weems, Beverly Tatum, Audre Lorde, Ibram X. Kendi, Henri Nouwen, Parker Palmer, Barbara Brown Taylor, Bryan Stevenson, Mercy Oduyoye, Ngozi Chimamanda Adiche, John Mbiti, Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel Pink, Seth Godin, Karen Armstrong, Brene Brown, Desmond Tutu, Paulo Freire, Toni Morrison, Ibram X. Kendi, WEB Dubois, Michael W. Twitty, James Baldwin... I will continue to add to this list. Check back often.


~ Iyabo Onipede ~

here are some of my most popular facebook blog posts

June 30, 2020


On so many levels, we are hitting phase 2 of quarantine. Separate from how it is affecting us personally, I am deeply moved to see how it is affecting our businesses.

Two precious friends announced the closing of the physical spaces of their businesses. Others are reorganizing and trying to move forward with new ideas while holding on to their training and what they labored so hard to do. It is an especially cruel form of pain to work for so many years to accomplish what, in your mind, may have been the pinnacle of business success and to have it shut down. Especially for us women.

It is not easy having to pay rent/mortgage at home and at an office space. And then to lose it all. It does feel like a loss. Although it is just a pivot. But often you cannot see it that way immediately.

What if……?

What if this were the best thing to ever happen to you?

Hit rewind. It was 2008. The economy crashed and I was forced to shut down my 15-year-old law practice. It was the most painful thing I had ever faced because it was an identity issue. I had been a lawyer since age 23 and I knew nothing different. I came to America to be a successful lawyer. If I just studied and did all the right things, I would be fine right?

Well… It did not work out that way in any way shape or form.

I remember packing up that office over several weeks and every single day, tears would roll down my cheeks. Incessantly. I would shake like a leaf at the fear my body held about an uncertain future. I now know I was in a deep depression. My body would not hold the babies she tried to incubate. My father died and I missed him and my mother died the year before. My marriage was not right but I was trying to uphold that with Sisyphean strength. If I could only get one thing to work, just one thing, then that would be a portal, an opening to all good things right?

And now, on top of all that, the one baby I could make, my business, had to shut down. The entire world came to an end for me. And end it did. And begin again it did too. Life. It always finds the Light. Always.

12 years later, I can honestly say that those painful words I heard and got angry at hearing were true.

“The last chapter has not been written, Iyabo.”
“What if this were the best thing to ever happen to you?”
“You will get past this.”

OMG. I could have raged at all those people. Those words were empty and inadequate. At. The. Time.

Today, I smile. It still hurts. But in that fuzzy way of an old painful memory. Not a rooted pain but a fleeting ache. A crushed dream hurts. But there are many other dreams to be had. There are new memories. New opportunities. New discoveries about myself. New ways of showing up in the world.

And because life is a cycle and not a linear trajectory, we renew and we invent.

Keep dreaming, my Beloveds. Open up portals in your soul to new possibilities. New ones.

If I knew then what I know now, I would have told my 2008 self the following:

I love you.
I believe in you.
I know.
It hurts. Yes.
Here is some wine.
Here is a yummy cookie.
Oooh, look, a butterfly.
I am here with you.
I see you.
Your dreams are worthy.
You will dream again. I am here to remind you to dream.
It’s not ok.
Cussing helps momentarily.
No label can contain you.
No sign on the door can summarize your value.
There is more.
Your best ideas are yet to come and you have had some really good ones.
This sucks.
Yeah, Jesus, where the heck are you in all this? I have questions.
But God….

On that last day, I had settled into a sadness deep in my chest and tried not to cry as it upset my then-husband so much. (Yeah, that.) As I drove away in a U-haul truck that day, we zoomed on 285 W to 85N to put all those boxes in the basement storage area of the house ex-dude and I lived in. We took that curve at Spaghetti Junction, trying to beat traffic, and boom, the clearest rainbow I had ever seen in my life greeted me.

I gasped. And the tears came again.

In my pain and my tears, God saw me and sent me a message of hope. My job was to trust. Like Hagar out in the wilderness, her perception of herself was that she had nothing, I felt I had nothing but what I did have was that the creator and organizer of all life knew I needed a message of hope to just get me through all the feelings and all the swirling thoughts in my head.

Hagar, the only person in the Bible (not just woman) to name God, called God, “The God who Sees.” God sees us all the time but we must remember that God especially sees us when we need to be seen.

Beloved, I see you. I see you closing down that physical business. I see you lamenting your labor. You are beloved.

Ask to be seen in this moment.

We see you. We uphold you. You are not alone. Your gifts are needed. We want you. We want you whole. We want your success. We believe in you. We are here to support you moving forward.

May we be the eyes of God today and see those around us that are bereft. And may our seeing contribute to wholeness.


June 24, 2020

From my friend from Australia, Janette Dalgliesh:

Hello, my dear friend!

I’m hoping you can assist with an anti-racism point where I’m feeling a bit stuck.

I am part of a local group of allies for the local Indigenous community – set up by and run by a team of white and Indigenous people.

Someone in the group has posted an article about the family of the actresses who have portrayed Aunt Jemima (OMG I hate even TYPING that phrase).

She is arguing that changing the brand is a form of erasure.

My own perspective is that the brand is inherently racist because to me, it represents that whole ‘affection for the dear family slave’ trope.

(I had never heard of this brand before – we don’t have it in Australia)

Are there any really good resources I can provide to aid the conversation? Specifically, anything which speaks to how we navigate changing old racist branding without it becoming the erasure of specific individuals? And do those individual family objections even matter?

Thank you!!

I responded: 

I see what you did here. You made it public so we can have a full-fledged dialogue about it. LOL.

Ok. Here goes. First of all, did the company talk to the family about it? Or did they make a unilateral decision to quickly look like they are taking anti-racist action? Did they ask the family? Is the family getting any money for the use of this label and does this cut off the family from needed resources? Here we are having opinions of things that we do not have a full context about. You have to first have the full context.

Furthermore, not all Black people want the same thing. Freedom means different things to different people. Black people exist on a complex spectrum that often mirrors that of white people who happen to also exist on a similar and varied spectrum. Not every Black person is “woke” and not every Black person is an activist. So to think that all Black people want the same thing is not enjoying the deliciousness of nuance and complexity.

I want to hear the voices of these people that are family members. Yeah, to me, it does not feel super “woke” to want the notoriety of being the image of Aunt Jemimah on the pancake bottle. But how judgmental of me! This is the difference between equity and equality. To move into an equitable solution, we must hear the voice of that family. Equality is using the same measuring stick and speaking on behalf of these Black folks as to what they want.

Nevertheless, a very superficial google search shows that two family members tried to sue Pepsi co in 2014 for 3 billion dollars for damages they feel that are owed to them from using their relative’s image. They lost. “The men tried to establish that they are indeed Harrington’s heirs, but failed royally. Chang notes, “The only information about Plaintiffs’ connection to Harrington provided by the amended complaint is an account of how Hunter received a photograph (now lost) of Harrington from his grandmother and of Plaintiffs’ attempt to locate Harrington’s grave in Syracuse, New York.” Better luck next time.” 

Now, with that being said, if you do not have relationship with the family, what is a company like PepsiCo to do? Two things:

1) Monuments versus Museums: I want to see the Pepsi Co Museum handle this history of this case. I want to see them put on display how much money they made their share holders with this image. I want press releases that preserve the value and heritage of Aunt Jemima even if she is no longer on the bottle. I want to see them untangle the complexity of this whole thing. Just like a monument of confederate solider is offense yet the history of the civil war and her generals must be memorialized in a museum, PepsiCo has to pay homage and do the same thing.

2) Your question focuses on who is the victim as opposed to what relationships have been harmed. Companies dealing with this type of thing are well served to look at restorative justice outcomes to satisfy all parties. It is about focusing on the relationships and harms done and how to repair such harms. I will be talking about restorative justice in my upcoming class as a tool.

Restorative justice views crime as more than breaking the law – it also causes harm to people, relationships, and the community. So a just response must address those harms as well as the wrongdoing. If the parties are willing, the best way to do this is to help them meet to discuss those harms and how to about bring resolution. Other approaches are available if they are unable or unwilling to meet. Sometimes those meetings lead to transformational changes in their lives.
Notice three big ideas: (1) repair: crime causes harm and justice requires repairing that harm; (2) encounter: the best way to determine how to do that is to have the parties decide together; and (3) transformation: this can cause fundamental changes in people, relationships and communities.


Janette Dalgliesh responded:  OMG you are the BEST. I knew that I was missing layers and layers of nuance, and that the discussions I’ve seen have also suffered the same lack of subtlety. I was pretty sure I could not unpack all the nuance, working on my own.

Thank you SO MUCH.

This has given me much to absorb, to learn and to understand. I love you. <3

(And yes, I did make this public because I figured I’m not the only one with this confusion – and I apologise if that put you on the spot!)

Also – I learned about restorative justice when I was a union organiser, but I’d forgotten about it.
SOOOOO good.

June 16, 2020

I wrote this in response to an article about an Atlanta Megachurch Pastor Louie Giglio who suggested the U.S. should “get over” the phrase “white privilege” in a conversation with rapper Lecrae and Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy on June 14.

Giglio is the pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and founder of the Passion Movement.

What part of “HELL NO!!!!!” do you not understand?

Yes, Dad, (my Godfather) I know you will not like my response but here it goes.

It is the epitome of “WHITE PRIVILEGE” to think you have the right to suggest that I temper the crimes against humanity that you have inflicted on me.

The #1 Priority of white supremacist culture is to “niceify” the trauma I am causing you. You love smooth nice feelings. Well guess what? It was and is NOT a blessing to be white.

Not only is it your obligation to get familiar with your privilege. If you do not wake up to the fact that your liberation is tied up in mine, you will forever be oppressed by your own oppression.

It behooves you as a white person to understand how traumatized and bound up you are by your own ideologies of superiority. It is the idolatry of whiteness like someone said yesterday on Facebook live. (I don’t want to put her on the spot. She tends to be private.)

Sit your behind down somewhere. How can you parse out a blessing out of a curse? That is not a blessing. You do not understand what a curse is, dude!!! (Edited: I first said, “You are cursed, Dude” but I changed it. I have no right to establish who is cursed although I think white supremacy culture is cursed. However, I do think that white people like this are in mental bondage that requires deep liberation work.)

And by the way, why are you still on white privilege and tripping up over it? We are all over here on the anti-racism track. Can you please catch up??????????

Added later: Ok, I calmed down. And it must be said, these public errors are such good teaching tools to show how subversive this stuff is. Even the best of the best of humans get tripped up on race and God forbid I shame anyone who misses the mark between intention and impact. I have been there. He did apologize and so he has a glorious opportunity to work on this stuff and my prayer is that he does. He can change a lot if his heart changes.

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I am committed to the success of all peoples. I actively work towards the equitable thriving of all human beings regardless of race, ethnicity, physical ability, sex, gender or national status. I offer a sliding scale for single parents, active-duty military, veterans, military spouses, the long-term unemployed, refugees and the formerly incarcerated.

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