Last year I participated in a 28-day blog challenge started by my #BlogFF, Sarah Morgan. It afforded me the opportunity to use my voice in a more bold, raw, and authentic manner on the topics that affected me as a “Black Woman Working”. This year, the challenge is back with two added components that are sure to reach a broader audience and increase participation.
With almost 20 years as an HR Practitioner, a 7 year old blog with over 3000 readers each month, 13,000 followers across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and accolades that include being named to the Best HR Practitioner Blogs, the Top 40 HR Bloggers Under 40 and the Global Voices of HR list for 4 years in a row; I thought it best that Sarah tell you about the challenge in her own words.
What is the Black Blogs Matter Challenge?
The Black Blogs Matter challenge is a 28-day writing challenge focused on Black people and Black culture. It is 28 days instead of 31 because the original challenge took place during Black History Month 2017. However, my hope is anyone interested in doing a writing challenge would view the Black Blogs Matter challenge at any time and complete the challenge.
People can read the posts by following #BlackBlogsMatter on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
How did you come up with the concept?
I went thru a period of serious writers block. Part of it was due to grief and loss following the loss of several family members in 2016. However, another part was my creative voice being stifled by what I thought was a narrow audience. I work in and write about Human Resources. Truthfully, conversations about Black life and culture isn’t something openly and candidly discussed in that space. I had so many thoughts about what was going on in our world but no creative outlet for it. I felt stuck and nothing creative would come out.
Someone suggested a blog challenge to get my creative juices flowing again. I searched but didn’t find anything I really liked – and I found absolutely nothing focused on Black culture or the Black experience. So I decided to create my own challenge!
I wanted it to be during Black History Month and I wanted it to be focused on Black culture and experience. I wanted the topics to be rich enough that a traditional blogger could write a post on the topic or a micro-blogger could post on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Snap about it. I reached out to my close Blogger friends to help me put together the topics lineup and the graphic and the rest is history!
Who should participate? Is this just for traditional bloggers?
Traditional bloggers and vloggers would definitely enjoy the Black Blogs Matter challenge. Micro-bloggers would enjoy the Black Blogs Matter challenge as well. The topics are broad enough to be covered in a traditional written post or video as well as in a micro-blog format like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or SnapChat.
What really excites me about this year’s challenge is I’ve expanded the Black Blogs Matter challenge so it has 3 aspects:
Part I: The original 28 day challenge. People who haven’t done the challenge yet can start with the original flavor. People who completed it last year can complete it again.
Part II: A 15 week blog series challenge. The blog series is for people who want to address current topics surrounding Black culture and our life experiences over a longer period of time. Because it will span thru Black History Month and Women’s History Month, it spans topics surrounding both race and gender.
Part III: A 28 day micro-blog challenge featuring genres of blogs. Fitness and finance and food. The goal of the micro-blog challenge is to introduce these bloggers to a new, wider audience. Black bloggers are talking about every topic under the sun. I want to make sure we know about this and support each other.
There are also t-shirts and sweatshirts for sale thru TeeSpring. BlackBlogsMatter2018 is the campaign.
Is this only for Black people?
The challenge is for anyone who supports Black culture and is familiar with the Black experience. There we non-Black people who participated last year. A few wrote blog posts. Most non-Black people just shared and reposted what others were writing. I don’t wish to exclude anyone – but I also believe strongly in centering the right voices. I encourage anyone interested to choose wisely and authentically.
You’re an HR Blogger, Leader/Practitioner, and Speaker; why not a challenge for HR people about HR issues?
The issues of Black culture are HR issues. Discrimination, harassment, micro-aggression, diversity, inclusion are all issues happening in our workplaces. Lack of understanding of the Black experience and culture contributes to issues in hiring and developing and communicating with people in our workplaces. HR needs to know about these issues to be able to relate to their employees and help resolve issues that arise.
So, for me, the Black Blogs Matter challenge is for HR people about HR issues. Trying to keep the two separated in my mind is what drove me into writer’s block and almost made me give up on writing and speaking altogether. I won’t do that anymore ever again. I encourage all HR practitioners, bloggers, speakers, leaders and influencers to take this same stance.
What will success look like to you?
Success will be having more people participate and complete the Black Blogs Matter challenge this year than who completed the challenge last year.
Success will be having more people read and share the Black Blogs Matter posts than who read and shared the posts last year.
Most importantly, success will be helping other Black bloggers gain regular readers and supporters for their content. Because our blogs do matter! Our voices matter in our respective genres. Success means the Black Blogs Matter challenge helped amplified their signal.
What do you say to critics who say this isn’t necessary or it’s divisive?
I would tell them to make their own challenge, just like I did. People always want to call things unnecessary and divisive when they don’t understand it or when it makes them uncomfortable. Get over it. Stop judging and start either helping or creating. Or both.
What blogs do you follow and who is your blogger-crush?
I love Luvvie and Demetria. They’ve been in the game for so long and their voices just keep getting stronger and more free. It’s beautiful to watch. They’re both my blogger crushes! I want to hang out with them and become their friend. Ha!
I really enjoy Dr. Boyce Watkins blog and Abiola Abram’s blog. I love Kara Stevens, The Frugal Feminista. And I am enjoying new HR blogger, Jazmine Wilkes; she’s bringing fresh, practical perspective to the HR practitioner space.
But no blog-crush list would be complete for me if I didn’t shoutout Keirsten Greggs’s Trap Recruiter and Janine Truitt’s The Aristocracy of HR. These women are my tribe and I will forever support everything they do. Their talent is only surpassed by their unwavering loyalty and fierce realness.
Where can people find you on social media to stay up to date with you and the challenge?
I’m on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat as @thebuzzonhr. Connect with me on LinkedIn as Sarah Morgan. Read my blog at www.thebuzzonhr.com and read my posts for the Black Blogs Matter challenge there.
And please buy a t-shirt or sweatshirt on TeeSpring!. BlackBlogsMatter2018 is the campaign.