This Black History Month, I am sharing 28 stories of Black women who shaped me and showed me the way towards liberation. Because Black women are often not cited for their ideas, I thought this would be one way to give flowers to those who influenced me.
On Day 25, I would like to give flowers to Latricia B., who is an example of what it means to use your power to be a quiet advocate for people behind closed doors.
Latricia Barksdale began her career in finance before making her way to the nonprofit sector. She held roles like the Chief of Staff to the CEO at Teach For America, COO at Promise 54, and now she is Chief Program Officer at Merit America. She is incredibly smart and a straight talker. She's one of the most strategic people I know, and I appreciate how she works with ease.
Latricia was my first (and only) Black woman boss. We had crossed paths when we both worked for TNTP, and Latricia hired me for a role on the national team at TFA. When I joined the organization, Latricia MADE SURE my salary was equitable and advocated for me in rooms I wasn’t in to ensure I was treated fairly. This is no small feat. Many of my past employers paid me significantly less than my white counterparts. These were nonprofits who claimed to be about equity, but when it came to their employees, they were contributing to the Black women’s pay gap in practice (https://hbr.org/2022/09/how-black-women-can-navigate-pay-gap-gaslighting). Latricia made sure that didn’t happen to me on her watch.
Latricia is the type of boss who moves in the background to clear the way for her team. One of my colleagues who worked for Latricia at TNTP shared that it wasn’t until after Latricia left TNTP that the team realized how many obstacles Latricia blocked for them. She never called attention to it or asked for anything in return. Latricia is a perfect example of using your power and privilege to make things more equitable for others. If she's in a room where decisions are being made, she is making sure equity is centered. She is an amplifier, advocate, and way-maker. Watching how Latricia consistently uses her power in organizations to advocate for changes for Black women has inspired me to do the same when I lead.
Thank you, Latricia, for consistently standing up and advocating for Black women like me throughout your career. You make a way for us to follow! #28LoveLetterstoBlackWomen#BlackHistoryMonth2023#Day25
Image Description: Picture of Latricia smiling. She is wearing a gray shirt and hoop earrings.