• Cicely Blain

A Message to Those who have Just Arrived

Here is what you need to know in order to best engage in this space.

We are a Black-owned organization whose mission is to bring justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion offerings via an online conference experience.

Stratagem is a unique virtual space that provides folks with Gifts from Liberation to help us tap into our capacity for anti-oppressive growth, reflection, critical thought, and mindful action.

You're here, so you have a head start! While we have you – and we do hope you'll stay a while – we want to share with you who we are and why we exist.

Stratagem is brought to you by Cicely Blain Consulting, a diversity and inclusion consultancy educating businesses on how to build diversity and inclusion in the workplace and beyond. The Stratagem team is made up of 8 organizers. To get to know us, head here and watch our Don't Rush video, then scroll down to read more.

We try to be very intentional about how we hold this space, so here is some information to contextualize your involvement in our community:

1. While we provide many intro level resources, one of which brought lots of you here, we are not only about supporting folks at the beginning of their journey. We will also publish content and host programming for folks who are experts in anti-oppression through their lived experiences with systemic injustice. If something on our feed feels uncomfortable, please sit in that discomfort and see where it takes you. See if you can untangle your initial response to radically empathize and decentre yourself. That is the making of true solidarity!

2. We are always challenging concepts, not people. People are not mistakes, but we do make them. 

As folks living within societies built via capitalism, colonialism, patriarchy, white supremacy, and more, harmful influences from these systems percolate into our consciousness. It's our job to unlearn them, and part of that journey will evoke feelings of guilt. However, we all exist under these systems, and sifting through the rubble of their effects is hard work. It can feel really difficult, but if you feel defensiveness arise, know that it is a learned response that doesn't serve you or the folks who hope to be in solidarity with. Instead, we urge you to try practicing:

• Reflection & Introspection

• Gratitude to the folks prompting you to do better

• Ample patience

• Momentum to learn, learn learn

3. Knowing and understanding the word Intersectionality is a crucial first step in unlearning anti-Blackness. If you don't know about Intersectionality, coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, please look it up and learn about it. Understanding how systems of oppression overlap and mutually reinforce one another will help you participate in this space and broader anti-oppression work.

4. For folks wanting to be in accompliceship/solidarity, please crank up your critical thinking skills to maximum capacity. As we often see with well-intentioned actions, they can still cause (direct or indirect) harm. That is a huge call to action of ours – to think critically, using all the tools and information at your disposal. Lean on the folks learning with you, and hold one another accountable to process your thoughts thoroughly.

5. Stratagem is an extension of Cicely Blain Consulting, which works mainly in the business sphere, and is thus influenced by "corporate/professional" expectations. Change in these mainstream privileged spaces is necessary, so we comply with typical standards, and this is a big reason why our tone is deemed "warm" or "diplomatic." This tone often places us on a pedestal, but we urge our followers to deconstruct their sense of entitlement to a palatable tone.

We are the exception, in that most accounts speaking out right now are run by one person and we are fortunate to be running this initiative as a team of 8. If tone on your broader feed sounds angry or harsh, that is perfectly valid and warranted in this moment, and always, from BIPoC and marginalized folks. Listening regardless of tone will allow you to digest often the most pressing messages. Dire urgency is, legitimately, expressed with emotion.

6. We need you to engage in our offerings at Stratagem Virtual in July! That is our best ask of you, because there is unlimited potential for lasting takeaways. We love when you read and share our content far and wide, but the real gold is in the conference itself. You will have the immense privilege and joy of learning from powerful and moving experts across all different dimensions of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. This experience is full of Gifts from Liberation – ones that will help you feel closeness through intersectionality; ones that will make you feel equipped to draw from a toolkit of knowledge.

We love having you here as internet supporters, so please maximize your support of Black-owned businesses by attending Stratagem Virtual! That is where solidarity can truly deepen and flourish in the long run.

Thank you for reading through what we ask of folks in this space. We hope you will digest these pieces, purchase your tickets, and join us in this year's justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion conference experience.


The Stratagem Organizers

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