There have been numerous times in my life in which I have felt my voice was not heard. Steadily talking with lips moving, hand gestures flowing, but on mute the entire time. I believe the most frustrating of these situations is when I was “asked” for my opinion or thoughts, but there was no true desire for them to be heard. The circumstances in which persons are pretending to be inclusive and engaging, but it is really an act of going through the motions and to mark the check box on the “To Do” list. When it comes to matters of diversity, I have often been the token in a variety of situations since I address two check boxes, being African American and a woman.

“So, what is needed to make this work environment more appealing to women?”, I’ve been asked. Before I could gather my thoughts, I could see them grabbing the remote and pressing the mute button. At this point in life, before I even start thinking of a response, I first ask “Are you actually going to do something with this information? Because I don’t like my time being wasted.” The looks of shock, disbelief and “oh no she didn’t” often appear on faces. But it makes them acknowledge that I have power in the situation. Though I must admit, I could be a bit more tactful at times. The older I get, the more comfortable I have become calling people out on their hidden agendas and motives. Unfortunately, these experiences have occurred not only at work, but also in church settings. But in whatever setting a woman may be, she needs to be able to identify her power and harness it. And unafraid to make people acknowledge when her voice is being muted.

-Keneshia Bryant-Moore

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