Kimberly Allen, Ph.D.
President at 904WARD
Website Address: www.904WARD.org
What is 904WARD?
904WARD is a volunteer organization composed of many different folks from around the community. Our goal is very simple and it’s to end racism here in our city. We do that by creating some safe spaces for people to come together to learn from each other, build a trusting relationship but also move together toward some collective action.
What excites you the most about your industry? What concerns you?
The same thing that concerns me is the same thing that excites me. The racial tension that we are feeling is very overwhelming, but knowing that there are organizations like ours that exist to help eradicate racism makes me hopeful.
What is your greatest advice for women leaders in your field?
Be human. There are many people who will want to place you in a box, positive or negative, but be human. Lean into every part of who you are knowing that you have everything you need to do exactly what you are doing and more!
What’s the biggest mistake you see women make in advertising, PR, and media?
Tearing each other down. There is room for all of us to succeed.
Which women leaders do you most admire? Why?
My mother, My Grandmother, My Aunts, Dr. Barbara Darby–These are the women who have had the courage to get up every single day wearing their beautiful brown skin to ensure they are being true to themselves, true to God and always in service of others.
Is there something special you want to promote?
The Race Cards are back in stock and for sale on our website.
What are race cards?
There was an original group of 904WARD members who are still part of that group and they are dynamic people who said we need a tool to help others to have the conversation that we as friends and colleagues were having in our professional space. A group of folks from 904WARD came together, worked with sociologists and different researchers to put those questions and cards together. Each card has a discussion question related to race and they are meant to spark some conversation and give people the opportunity to learn from each other in a different way that’s not as divisive as some. It’s really giving people a chance to enter into a race discussion with an open mind and an open heart.
What are your thoughts on fear as a factor of racism
I think a lot of it is fear of change, fear of the unknown. It’s fear of otherness, but what I typically say when we do those conversations is at the end of the day we all want the same thing. We want to belong. We want to feel safe and we want to be loved. If we can agree on that basic principle, we can all move forward together.
What advice would you give to white people who want to show their allyship?
The one thing that I have been saying to everyone is the awareness and comfort in being able to talk about race. There’s a spectrum, there are folks who are on one side who are new and don’t know what to say and don’t know the appropriate time. Then there are folks who are further along in their journey, but the one thing that I think white allies can do is you being aware that you are in a lot of spaces. You’re serving on boards, you’re in board rooms, you are working for different companies, you’re in leadership and a lot of different places. Look around the table that you occupy. If everyone looks like you, ask the question, why is that? Work to seek out the perspectives of other people to bring different perspectives to the table. Don’t allow people of color to bear the burden of always having to educate. Be sure to educate yourself. Consult with people of color, but don’t make them the sole educator on how to interact. Diversify your circles in your table and make sure that those folks have a voice and that their voice is valued in the same way as others.
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