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Why I Relocated to a More Diverse, Welcoming Community

This is the first time in my ~30-year career that I’ve decided to intentionally live in my community of choice instead of moving to a region because of my job. Several years ago, I wrote down my vision of living in a 'diverse, economically thriving community where my children can confidently navigate and where my family can flourish'. Although I challenge my clients to tackle their tolerations by addressing the things that drag them down or clutter their minds, I had been putting up with living in neighborhoods that I found to be unwelcoming to me and my family where we were among only a very few black residents. I finally decided to take my own advice! As I coached a group of women (and myself) through a "Should I Stay or Should I Go" series, I shared this information about evaluating when is it time to leave the community where you're living and move to a new location (neighborhood / city / state):

While I think these resources present several valid points for consideration, they did not address some factors that have been important for me as we considered our next family move:

  • Do the demographics reflect a healthy diversity of ethnicities and good representation of Black families?

  • Is the diverse population dispersed across fairly integrated communities?

We finally decided to make our dream a reality. So, we sold our Northern California house, loaded up our 3 cars and drove ~3000 miles cross-country to our new temporary rental home in the DC - Maryland - Virginia (DMV) Metro area.

NOTE: I must point out that we carefully mapped out our route from Northern CA to DMV in an effort to safely "travel while black" and plan our stops in towns that we felt would be somewhat welcoming.

I didn't realize how much weight I was carrying from living in communities where I felt marginalized and unwelcome until I felt the freedom of actually being able to "walk while black / drive while black / shop while black".

I've been able to take quick breaks between meetings to walk around my neighborhood without my husband feeling the need to tag along to protect me from the aggressive behaviors I previously encountered.

My young adult college kids have ventured to shop, eat, and hang out without fear of experiencing the racially motivated discriminatory treatment to which they had become accustomed.

I feel like I can breathe deeply again after fighting against suffocation for far too long.  Although I don't know exactly where we're settle down when we're ready to buy our next house, I am certain that I will choose to live in a community where my family and I feel safe, welcome and free to simply be.

We talk a great deal about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) in the workplace. The sad truth is that DEIB is not a reality in many American neighborhoods.  According to this NBC News OpEd, U.S. neighborhoods are more segregated than a generation ago, perpetuating racial inequity

How is this lack of racial and cultural diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in the places we live impacting our DEIB efforts in the places we work?

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