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  • Shauna Rae

Should I make money doing what I do?



I started to question if I was really on the right path last week. An anti-racism Instagram account posted that white people shouldn't be making money from amplifying marginalized folks. I wondered myself. This came after I did my first Instagram Live with Stella Sehn last week, a Black female entrepreneur from Alberta.


I understand it. From what I have learned, I should be making reparations, compensating folks for their work and their time, in some way and most definitely giving back, financially.


I do volunteer my time, in many ways, behind the scenes. And I plan to do more once things are sustainable.


I talked about this with my Black and Indigenous friends and asked an Indigenous mentor her thoughts. She said the Creator does not want you to be poor, the work you are doing is valuable and you are allowed to prosper.


I still wasn't sure.


That same day, I attended an online event for entrepreneurial journalists and was randomly put into a breakout room. As luck would have it, I was matched with a Black female journalist from North Carolina. I asked her if she thought it was okay for me to make money doing what I'm doing and I explained. She said, absolutely. "You need to survive," she said.


I started this podcast and community, because I believed not enough was being done to shed light on underrepresented women entrepreneurs in rural Canada. This is the mission.


I worked for a federally funded non-profit, that provided services to rural entrepreneurs in Ontario, and I still thought more could be done to find rural women whose voices should be heard and to amplify organizations that are doing work to assist rural women, especially from underrepresented groups.


Plus, there is an unspoken underbelly of racism, misogny and white supremacy that is still a part of the fabric of our rural and remote spaces in Canada. No one talks openly about it, no one wants to kick up a fuss about it, and frankly, marginalized groups don't speak up because of the fear of being targeted.


This is a long-standing system that has no place in a new Canada. It's called white supremacy and it favours white privilege.


I optimistically believe that in some cases, this is due to a lack of exposure. Those that leave a small town to go to post-secondary or to work in a larger city, are exposed to much more diversity, and therefore may be more aware of the privilege they hold in the colour of their skin. This privilege exists regardless of financial situation or life experiences, it was never the same experience as a person of colour.


My thought behind this podcast was to educate, to raise awareness about of the experiences of marginalized folks, in many cases with no choice but to try to 'assimilate' into a mostly white community.


White privileged people like me are going to get it wrong. We are going to mess up. We are going to be frustrated because we're not sure what to do. But what we DO need to do, is to earn trust. Marginalized people have been lied to, passed over, treated like less, mentally and physically, for far too long. And yes, we may need to own the actions of the past, some of which had nothing to do with us personally. Because we need to rebuild.


And that starts with trust.


My hope is that I can earn your trust, that you learn to understand that my heart is in the right place, and that I am simply answering a call to do this.


And I always want to hear your thoughts. I'm always learning too.

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