Why The Beach?

I was inspired by the words of activist Greta Thunberg while writing my second book, Ignite: Lighting the Leader Fire. I had this vision of gathering women on the beach as a call for us to see ourselves as untapped resources capable of leading the world to a new dawn. Gathering women is what I do best, so I began with this: "Imagine you and I are standing on a beach at night." I could not have imagined what would happen next—how the house fire I wrote about in my book would, in fact, ignite in the first half of 2020 as a pandemic raged and racial injustices blazed in the center of it all. So why the beach? Because it's where women gather to figure shit out. Because blue oceans inspire us. And while we can—and are—do this alone, when we do this work together we are stronger as a result. It's time to gather the women. More specifically, it's time to gather the White women like you and me, in support of racial justice. It's time.

This beach is for you if...

  • You're feeling inspired to action, but also overwhelmed, distracted, and all over the place. You want to focus, dig in, and do the work of racial justice you've been talking about doing.

  • You want this time to be different, and you understand this work is a marathon, not a sprint—which means organization is critical, accountability is key, and community is essential.

  • You're someone who needs enough structure so you don't fall off the map with your intentions, but not too much that you feel weighed down, resistant, or annoyed by it. You want to want this.

The Beach is Open!

I've been on this beach for a while now playing, seeing how it supports my own work (it does), and noticing how I use it (bite-sized goals rock), so you'll see loads of my sandy footprints out here already. But as of July 1 it's open for you to join me. Loads of women in my community have been eagerly waiting for me to let them know when I'm ready, so here I am. It's good enough (the creatrix in me will inevitably be tweaking it as we go...), I'm ready enough, and the more the merrier. I'm eager to have you join me, so come into The Beach, Sister. Our first LIVE bonfire call (totally optional) will be July 28, so if you're hungry to get started, there's a clear date to organize around. Just sayin'.

“Lael has put together a brilliant platform. As I explore my own complex feelings and deepen my understanding of anti-racism work, I’m comforted and grateful to have a space to connect with like-minded women. If you’re looking for a place to recognize and explore your whiteness for the first time, as I am, this is a wonderful place to do that.” - Amy, Annapolis, MD

Imagine gathering on a beach with other white women hellbent on doing their racial justice work.

One look around and you'll see clusters of conversations, quiet spaces to reflect and gather your thoughts, and (optional) monthly live calls to process out loud and connect. All of this is available to you on The Beach, for you to use as you see fit. You'll find tons of organized information, stacks of books, the most helpful anti-racism resources, and kindred spirits...all in one place. On this beach you'll feel inspired to dig in, hold yourself accountable, and be witnessed—if you desire that. Harnessing the power of our collective learning on this beach will plug you into something bigger than yourself, and 100% of your presence here will benefit the lives of Black women and girls seeking therapy. That is this place.

What's Waiting for You Inside:

  • Tons and tons of anti-racism resources that have primarily been written (produced or created) by Black women. Why? Because the voices, experiences, perspectives and stories of Black women matter and are being crowded out by White voices and Black men's voices. In here, we make space to listen to Black women first.

  • Space to gather, process and organize our thoughts and feelings—public or privately—in a way that harnesses the the power of our collective learning. Why? So we can engage with our racial justice work more broadly, deeply and consistently. In here, we don't just give it lip service—we get it in our bones.

  • Access to a community of White women committed to showing up to who we are, where we are, and our role in it. Why? Because if we don't go searching for an education about race—for racial literacy—we won't get it, and we know that is our White privilege at work. In here, we aim to make history, not repeat it.

I was hungry for a place to nurture my relationship to racial justice work. I created this to meet that need. Join me?

Think of this as one-stop-shopping to organize, follow through, track, and make sense of our anti-racism work. Think of this as a way to stay engaged while also giving back through your automatic donation to The Loveland Foundation. Let's do our work together. Let's learn with and from each other, without adding unnecessary burden to the Black community to hold this space for us or carry our emotional burdens. Let's show up together—fully and powerfully—as white women doing this work and feel what it's like.

"Just FINALLY gathered my emotional energy to open this and look around. Weeping. This is beyond incredible. Holy shit, Lael. Thank you." - Kat, Scarborough, ME

White Women Gather, Black Women Receive

100% of each registration fee will be donated to Loveland Foundation's Therapy Fund, which provides financial assistance to Black women and girls nationally seeking therapy. Additionally, women who gather on this beach of ours will be encouraged to purchase books, subscribe to podcasts, enroll in programs, and enlist the services of businesses owned and operated by Black women.

Let's Do Our Anti-Racism Work Together

Here's a look at all the clusters happening on this beach

  • 1

    Start (or REstart :) Here

  • 2

    Bonfire Discussions

    • **Next LIVE Bonfire Discussion #4 — Tuesday, October 27th at 7:00-8:00 EST (go here to launch Zoom)

    • Logistics for Monthly LIVE Bonfire Discussions

    • Recordings of Past LIVE Bonfire Zoom Calls

    • Whiteness

    • Learnings

    • Feelings

    • Swamping

    • Tryings

    • Hope

    • Parenting

    • Partnering

    • Workplace

    • Questions? Help?

  • 3

    What We're Reading

    • So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

    • Dear White Women by Rachel Cargle

    • Marley K: Yes My Dear. All White People Are Racists | Medium article

    • Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla Saad

    • White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

    • Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde

    • Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

    • Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittany Cooper

    • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

    • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

    • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

    • Becoming: A Memoir by Michelle Obama

    • I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

    • Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Beverly Daniel Tatum

    • More Myself: A Journey by Alicia Keys

    • Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom

    • Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall

    • A Black Women's History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross

    • Whyld: A Rite of Passage by Azure Antoinette

    • Killing Rage: Ending Racism by bell hooks

    • In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens by Alice Walker

    • Behold The Dreamers: A Novel by Mbolo Mbue

    • I'm Judging: The Do-Better Manual You by Luvvie Ajaya

    • This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa

    • Americanah: A Novel by Chimamanada Ngozi Adichie

    • Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji

    • See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love by Valarie Kaur

    • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    • Antiracism Guide for Beginners | PDF by Tasha K

    • My Grandmother's Hands by Resmaa Menakem

    • You Want a Confederate Monument? My Body is a Confederate Monument by Caroline Randall Williams (NYT op-ed)

    • Check Your Privilege by Myisha T

    • Mindful of Race: Transforming Racism from the Inside Out by Ruth King

    • Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

    • The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter

    • Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi (see also Stamped for remix version for young adults)

    • Stamped: A Remix of Stamped from the Beginning (for young adults) by Jason Renalds & Ibram X. Kendi

    • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

    • The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life, Freedom, and Justice by Anthony Ray Hinton and Lara Love Hardin

    • The Root | Black Journalism/News

  • 4

    What We're Listening To

    • Seeing White | Scene On Radio Podcast (Season 2, 14 episodes)

    • On Being Heard and Seen with Tarana Burke | Unlocking Us with Brené Brown

    • Stepping Out of Privilege with Layla Saad | The Goop Podcast

    • Claudia Rankine: How Can I Say This So We Can Stay in the Car Together? | On Being with Krista Tippett

    • Resmaa Menakem: Notice the Rage, Notice the Silence | On Being with Krista Tippett

    • Michelle Johnson & Kerri Kelly on Race and Resilience | Good Ancestor Podcast with Layla Saad

    • Intersectionality Matters! Podcast hosted by Kimberlé Crewnshaw

    • Austin Channing Brown: I'm Still Here | Unlocking Us Podcast with Brené Brown

    • Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast

    • Code Switch, NPR podcast

    • White People Talking About Whiteness | Ten Percent Happier Podcast

    • Shine Brighter Together with Monique Melton

    • 1619 | NYT podcast series (5 episodes)

    • Michelle Obama's Podcast: Higher Ground

    • Anthony Ray Hinton: The Power of Unconditional Love | Everything Happens podcast with Kate Bowler

    • Nice White Parents | New York Times Podcast (6 episodes)

    • The Kinswomen Podcast

  • 5

    What We're Watching

    • Kimberly Jones: How Can You Win (6:46)

    • Sonya Renee Taylor | CBS News: On Combatting Racism with Action (2:13)

    • Rachel Cargle: Revolution Now | Public Address on Revolution (16:49)

    • Brittany Cooper: The Racial Politics of Time | TEDWomen (12:22)

    • Azure Antoinnette: The Business of Being Human | TEDx Sonoma (6:01)

    • Priya Vulchi & Winona Gua: What It Takes to be Racially Literate | TEDWomen (12:11)

    • Kenya Bundy's "Check Your Privilege" Challenge is Opening People's Eyes | GMA

    • The Next Question Show: Seasons One | Created by Austin Channing Brown (free)

    • Baratunde Thurston: How to Deconstruct Racism, One Headline at a Time | TED (16:50)

    • 13th — Netflix Documentary

    • Just Mercy (movie)

    • Mellody Hobson: Color Blind or Color Brave — TED (14:03)

    • Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor: Why It's So Hard to Talk About the N-Word | TEDx EasthamptonWomen (19:13)

    • Ruby Sales: How We Can Start to Heal the Pain of Racial Division | TED Salon Verizon (20:28)

    • Trevor Noah: George Floyd, Minneapolis Protests, Ahmaud Arbery & Amy Cooper | The Daily Show (18:13)

    • Rachel Cargle: Coming to Terms with Racism's Inertia: Ancestral Accountability | TEDx Bend (13:06)

    • Amber Ruffin Shares A Lifetime of Traumatic Run-Ins with Police | Late Nite with Seth Meyers

    • Kimberlé Crenshaw: The Urgency of Intersectionality | TEDxWomen (18:42)

    • Sonya Renee Taylor | TEDxMarin: Bodies as Resistance: Claiming the Political Act of Being Oneself (8:50)

    • Azure Antoinette: Inner Voice | ICAN 2013 (6:10)

    • What Juneteenth Tells Us About the Value of Black Life in America (8:48)

    • Why All Americans Should Honor Juneteenth (7:12)

    • Sarah Jones TED talk | One Woman Global Village (20:48)

    • Olivia Harewood: James Corden Gets a Lesson on White Privilege | The Late Show (5:01)

    • Wanda Sykes: Not Normal (Netflix special)

    • Where Do We Go From Here? | OWN Spotlight with Oprah (two part series)

    • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Rep D-NY) | Full response on House Floor (10:25)

    • Sonya Renee Taylor | The Body Is Not An Apology

    • Verna Myers: How to Overcome Our Biases? Walk Boldly Toward Them | TEDxBeaconStreet (17.41)

    • Tarana Burke Interview | The Root (42:45)

    • Ava DuVernay's Interview: Art is the Foundation of Any Movement | The Root (17:01)

  • 6

    What We're Doing

    • I Commit To....

    • White Allyship

    • Celebrations, Brags & Wins

    • TAH-DAH! Failures + Fall Downs We Got Up From

    • Deeper Dives: Awesome Training + Curriculum

    • Direct Donations + Strategic Support of Black Lives

“The Beach calls are an amazing opportunity to reflect, learn and be inspired. Lael has created a thoughtful and intimate space. As usual.” - Andrea Lee, Annapolis, MD

"I'm so grateful for this because you have made it accessible and organized and I simply have no excuses to not do the work. It's powerful and I'm glad you responded to this need in your very authentic Lael way." - Lisa, Portland, ME

We've Got This.

You could wait. You could do business (and life) as usual. Unfortunately, our White privilege makes those options all too easy. Or you could choose to seize the moment and make a big difference simply by showing up just as you are. Let's do this, woman.

Questions? I've got answers.

  • Is this a training course? Is it a program with curriculum?

    Nope. Definitely not. I want to be very clear that I am not the expert here, nor am I someone who is going to walk you through any prescribed program or training. While I am the host and curator of this space, I am very much IN this work with you as a participant learning right by your side. I might frame the discussions for us to get us going, but I will be joining you on this quest, not leading it. We will each be responsible for leading ourselves here.

  • Who compiled all these resources—and how do we get them?

    I did. And we did. One of the gifts of working with my community of women in SheChanges is that I am constantly getting resources sent my way. And women know this about me. Two or three times a week, a client or a woman who knows me and my work will reach out and say, "Lael, what have you got on....?" Personally speaking, I like to geek out on this stuff—I'm passionate about learning and a voracious reader—so it seems to work out well. I'm envisioning adding resources to our collection as we go, gathering ideas in here as well as out there. With regard to getting them, that's on you. You won't see any affiliate links, and I am not profiting from this endeavor in any way. I am, however, encouraging you to seek out indie booksellers that feature Black writers, and have happily shared links to training, curriculum and programs offered by Black women in an effort to directly support their businesses and their work.

  • This work is really private to me. Is it okay if I don't comment much or participate in discussions?

    Absolutely. For some people, just having a way to organize, track and make your way through this work in a visible way is going to be the biggest appeal. I joked that I felt like Marie Kondo organizing this—keeping everything neat and tidy so we could get messy.

  • What if I'm just interested in the monthly LIVE discussions? How will those work?

    My plan is to hold a "live bonfire" discussion once a month using Zoom. This gathering is free and entirely optional, but I am personally using these LIVE gatherings a way to hold myself accountable to some work each month. Others might join these discussions to get inspired, feel validated, and not feel so alone in this work. We're going to feel our way into this depending on how many women are on the call, but my intention is to hold space for experiences, insights and stories to be shared. I plan on recording them, so if you can't join in one—or are curious about what they're like—the recordings will be a good place to start.

  • How will the regular discussions work—do I just leave a comment or will someone start one for us?

    Yes. To both :) There are prompts embedded in each section to spark your thoughts AND you have the ability to just share what's on your mind (or in your heart). There are TWO ways to engage in a discussion: 1) you can comment on a specific resource (like a book or a podcast) and 2) you can head over the the discussion section and share your thoughts more generally around topics like "whiteness", "learnings", "parenting" or "actions". If someone responds to your comment you will get an email alerting you. Part of my vision for these discussions is that we benefit from and be inspired by each other's work—so if someone writes a comment about some key takeaways from a book I was considering and it resonates with me, I might pick it up sooner as a result. It's why I frame each discussion with the invitation to "share the love".

  • How long will I have access to this Beach?

    I am committed to be here through the end of June, 2021, so that's what I've got for now. I'm pretty keen on generating donations for The Loveland Foundation, so perhaps we might reenlist next July, but I haven't decided that just yet. But please know that when you DO join, 100% of your registration fee will be donated as a gift to The Loveland Foundation Therapy Fund. I hope to keep a running tally somewhere so we can see the financial impact we're having with Black women and girls seeking financial assistance for therapy. That matters and feels good.

  • Tell me more about this donation we're making...why did you choose The Loveland Foundation and what's it about?

    The Loveland Foundation is the brainchild of Rachel Cargle, a public academic, writer and activist who's work is rooted in bringing intellectual discourse, tools, and resources that explore the intersection of race and womanhood. I'm a huge fan of her work in general, but more specifically I'm keen getting behind the Therapy Fund she established within the Loveland Foundation to support Black women and girls getting financial assistance for therapy. Why? Because I know the power of therapy to root us in our own wisdom, bodies, and truth in times of transition. Personally, I don't know what I'd do without that support right now. So I can't IMAGINE how much Black women and girls could benefit from this support as they are most impacted by the effects of racism and continue to be the front-line leaders of this fight. I believe in therapy. I believe in Rachel. I believe in the power of women to rally and support other women.