The Cultured Conscience is a forum dedicated to magnifying the voices of individuals from disadvantaged communities. Headed by the duo, Rebecca Laurent and Rebecca Dunne. Together, they created the forum to provide a variety of perspectives to challenge unconscious bias through various societal mediums.
The team defines a cultured conscience as a mind that recognizes a culture's framework and actively works to correct its flaws in order to create an inclusive future.
We had the below exchange with at "Cultured Conscience".
AAIRAH: Amplifying individuals' voices from marginalized communities appear to be your mantra, please elaborate on the ways and the methods that you have deployed to carry out this objective.
Our book club was one of the first methods we developed to share different cultural perspectives. We select books written by BIPOC - Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, authors that highlight different experiences we don’t often learn about. At the end of each month, we host a zoom book talk where we discuss different themes presented in a book, such as mass incarceration, casteism, generational trauma, and more.
Hearing each individual’s specific reactions to parts of the books only furthers our own empathy and understanding.
Our Champion of the Month is another way we amplify individual voices. At the beginning of the month, we introduce a changemaker who uses their voice to speak for the voiceless. Throughout the month, we share informative posts that connect to their advocacy. For example, our champion of the month for February was Nakia Smith, a black deaf woman who uses Tik Tok and Instagram to bring awareness about Black American Sign Language, also known as BASL. Apart from our post highlighting Nakia, we also created a post which discussed the origins of BASL and shared Black deaf organizations that people can support.
Through Instagram, we address issues such as diversity in publishing, racism in the art industry, inequality and more. We also have a weekly newsletter where we share current events focusing on BIPOC communities. The main goal of The Cultured Conscience is to present diverse experiences meant to challenge our unconscious bias and build a more inclusive future.
AAIRAH: What would be a good way to promote and celebrate Black History Month?
We believe that one great way to promote and celebrate Black History Month is to highlight individuals from the Black community who are making history today. Throughout the month of February, we featured black scientists, artists, trans activists and more on our Instagram. These individuals are breaking barriers, advocating equality, and paving the way for future generations. As always, buying from black owned stores is an easy and impactful way to help the Black community. Another is seeking out Black figures in history and learning of their accomplishments and legacy.
AAIRAH: Which three people would you like our readers to learn about their work, story, and inspiration?
Isabel Wilkerson - The first woman of African-American heritage to win the Pulitzer Prize in journalism.
Bryan Stevenson - An American lawyer, social justice activist, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, and a law professor.
Jesmyn Ward - An American novelist. Recipient of the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction for her second novel "Salvage the Bones", she also won the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction for her novel "Sing, Unburied, Sing".
AAIRAH: What key piece of knowledge - on any topic, can you share with our readers?
We highly suggest taking a look at and reading Isabel Wilkerson’s groundbreaking book, "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents".
AAIRAH: On a more relaxed note, what is your typical self-care routine?
Rebecca Laurent- I incorporate self-care in my morning and nighttime routines. I usually wake up around 6:20 am, and the first thing I do is take a moment to say thank you to the universe for letting me see another day. After, I make myself a cup of tea and write a list of 10 things I’m grateful for and why. My mantra is gratitude creates abundance. To wrap up my morning, I’ll do a 45-70 minute workout. Exercise plays a significant role in my mindfulness journey. Without it, I don’t know what I’d do. As for my nighttime routine, I usually start around 9 pm (I know I’m a grandma). My phone gets put away for the rest of the night; I’ll put some music on and journal. Then, I’ll read for about 40mins - an hour and go to bed. As I sleep, I have affirmations playing through my speaker. They help me visualize an abundant/promising future. As a Leo/Virgo cusp routine is a must when it comes to my self-care.
Rebecca Dunne- I live with mental illness, so my self-care varies day to day from simple breathing exercises to an elaborate routine including exercise, a face mask and meditation. I try for a minimum of three times a week, but the most important self-care tactic I’ve learned is to give yourself grace; education is work and you need all the energy you can muster. You can’t help others if you can’t help yourself!
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