Let's Talk: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with Katrina Pilkington, Part 1
Controlling the Controllable: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
If you look all around our world right now, we see a lot of talk around anti-racism initiatives and how Black Lives Matter at a time when they should have always mattered. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are topics on the tongues of so many folks in this space. Many humans, like myself, are calling for freedom for ALL [marginalized] humans in our country. I can see it now; your head is spinning, and you’re wondering, “How does this all fit in with me?” I’ll try to shed some light on that for you with one essential component of focus to keep this very concise: control the controllable – this means YOU.
Believe it or not, it’s true.
Yep. Racism is real. We have to start here. I can only help speak the truth to you if you can let this realization soak in. Marginalized folks, a.k.a. black and brown folks are and always have been suppressed in our country since the beginning. Our country’s founders utilized classism as a means to use free labor from fellow humans, prioritizing the whiteness of their skin as a means to tie folks to bondage. As a result, slavery happened. I am a descendent of that institution.
Wait, allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Katrina, and I’ll be your imperfect inclusivity guide as we increase our knowledge of social justice work in the wellness space and begin the self-work to love fellow humans empathetically.
On “paper,” I am a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Weight Loss Specialist, Youth Exercise Specialist, Women’s Fitness Specialist, Nutrition Coach, AFAA Group Fitness Instructor, and Wellness Educating also studying to complete my Master of Science degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion (Nutrition). I am a content creator and host of the “We Speak” series on the NASM/AFAA social media, channels leading community and culture for certified professionals in community groups.
I come from the world of working in a corporate setting for 15 years before getting into the fitness industry. In that experience, I was able to work with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion amongst working professionals in my management capacity. When offered the opportunity to delve into that work, I knew I wanted to contribute to humans fitting into the world with more belonging in any capacity possible. Why? Because I’d lived the opposite of that life all of my life.
I am the first-generation product of a Chinese immigrant (my mother) and the fourth-generation product of enslaved roots. My great-great-grandfather on my father’s side was our last known enslaved ancestor, who was owned by a white family in the south. This ascendance means that my given last name (I’m married now, so I go by my husband’s last name) was that of the white family who owned my great-great-grandfather. I have no known roots to where my Black family came from in Africa. All I know is that I did ‘23 & Me’ and that half of my genetic makeup is from the Ghana region of West Africa. Most African Americans and Black Americans in the United States have stories no different than mine.
You’re here reading this piece, friend, and I appreciate your willingness to “listen.” You can control you, boo. Let’s start there. You can start by thinking to yourself, “Fellow humans in this country had their freedoms taken from them, and there’s not been a solid resolution for all of the wrongs for these times in history – let me do what I CAN DO.” That’s it.
Everyone has a different mode of taking a stand for this virus called racism. Some choose to protest, online, and offline. Some decide to educate (like myself) and share stories so that voices of marginalization amplify above the noise of the world that tries to keep them quiet. Other folks can choose to educate themselves to ensure their actions are the opposite of so many in the past… to create a future is one that encompasses hope and a different path for our human race.
Taking the time to read this post means that you want to do SOMETHING. That, in and of itself, goes against everything that we see in mass media and our past. Revolting against complacency is admirable.
Let’s look to define Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in terms that relate to us as humans living amongst humans who want to all live healthily and happily in our next blog post …