Introducing FRĒDA Woman: Alicia Garza
What experiences led to your involvement in social justice work?
I first got involved in social justice work when I was 12! My school district was considering making condoms available in school nurses offices, and everyone was in an uproar about it -- but few people were talking to young people about what we needed. I knew a lot of my peers were having sex, but they didn’t have access to what they needed to do it safely if they were going to do it at all. I was born to a single mother, and she used to tell me all the time that “Sex makes babies and babies are expensive.” So I got involved in the fight -- and we won!
What advice would you give to a woman wanting to get involved? What’s the first step and what does it take to make an impact?
I would say that the first step is to figure out what you care about, find other people who care about the same things you do, and join them. And once you do, bring more people with you. Making an impact requires that you take the first step and get involved. You don’t have to start something new -- there are so many efforts out there that can use your skills and support.
How can brands be a part of the movement?
Being a part of the movement isn’t just about making a statement or adopting another brand. Brands are workplaces. The most important thing that brands can do to be a part of the movement is align your values internally and externally. If you’re in the world saying “Black Lives Matter” -- do Black lives matter in your company? Are there Black people in leadership roles in your company? Do Black people get paid equitably in your company? Is your company anti-racist? How does your brand’s practices and actions in the world impact Black communities?
There is a large inequity of Black women’s representation across sectors and industries. What can we do to begin to move the needle toward equality? What will it take?
Hire Black women. Pay Black women. Provide care for Black women in the form of benefits that Black women need -- retirement funds, maternity leave, bereavement leave, care leave for aging parents, and more.
What is your call to action?
Be someone who, when asked by the generation after you what you did to advance our rights, can answer affirmatively that you fought like hell for all of us.
Lastly, what does community and being a woman in today’s climate mean to you? How can we be most supportive to one another?
For me, I am working hard every day to be a woman that other women can depend on. With so much happening in the world, we need each other now more than ever -- so be a woman that lifts up other women, that fights for all women, that gives other women opportunities and mentorship, and that collaborates with other women.