Amanda Roberson was hired as the Director of Operations in April. Before that, she spent 16 years in the corporate world doing marketing and sales for Hard Rock Cafes. Today she manages the day to day to day operations of Be the Bridge, with a goal of increasing the reach of Be the Bridge and achieving the mission. She works closely with Latasha, building infrastructure for the organization and growing sustainable programs. We asked Amanda a few questions so that the Be the Bridge community could get to know her.
Why did you want to work for Be the Bridge?
Well, I guess I should tell you a little about my life history to explain why the work of BTB is so important to me. I have had close cross-racial friendships from early in life, (best friend since 11) but, for a long time in those friendships I didn’t have an understanding of my own racial identity, and likely often showed up in harmful ways without even realizing it. I knew that I loved my friends deeply and would do anything for them, but I never considered the ways that my whiteness might be operating- I didn’t understand it nor did I have the language for it. I so often considered my good intentions, self-image, and friendliness. And I did not consider the harmful or dangerous impact of my behaviors which were influenced and informed by the social construct of whiteness that I had been conditioned within. I didn’t see myself in racial terms.
When Travon Martin was murdered, it was a wake up for me. I began a journey of learning and understanding race in a deeper way and taking a critical look at my own racial identity- at the ways race has shaped me.
I have a degree in sociology with a concentration of race and ethnic relations, but that taught me about oppressive systems…not about my own racial identity and the personal role I play in upholding those oppressive systems. So, I sought out organizations and educators in this work and began learning about ways to create a strategic and intentional anti-racist practice.
Be the Bridge provides a vehicle to explore those very things that I didn’t know I didn’t understand. The resources, discussions and vulnerable spaces that BTB creates allow us to step outside of ourselves and unpack our personal roles in upholding oppressive systems. I feel deeply passionate about this work because my own heart and life have been, (and continue to be) transformed by it. The opportunity to work for Be the Bridge is the greatest gift to me.
Why do you feel that your work with BTB is important?
The resources, discussions and vulnerable spaces that BTB creates allow us to step outside of ourselves and unpack our personal roles in upholding oppressive systems. It provides a space for white folks like me to take the posture of a learner. To listen. To lament. And then to leverage our privilege.
I’m on a daily journey of examining the ways that race has shaped my life. Daily challenging my socialization and my personal investment in the system of racism. I have a specific and limited perspective on race and I attempt to understand the racial realities of people of color through authentic relationships.
Be the Bridge provides a beautiful tool to stimulate meaningful conversations about race and move us toward a place of self-reflection, self-empowerment, and social responsibility. I believe in it with every part of my being. The opportunity to serve the vision of Latasha Morrison and Be the Bridge is one I don’t take lightly. It is the deepest honor to be on this team of bridge-builders.
Help us welcome Amanda!