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- Building Our Own Table: Jasmine T. Jacobs
Building Our Own Table: Jasmine T. Jacobs
Meet the founder of Black Remote She
I’m happy to kick off my 2023 interview series by profiling the founder of Black Remote She, Jasmine T. Jacobs. She was introduced to me by a mutual friend (and newsletter supporter) and I’m excited about the work she’s doing to support Black LGBTQ+ folx. Please meet Jasmine…
Jasmine, tell me briefly about your background prior to founding Black Remote She.
Prior to founding Black Remote She, I worked remotely as a freelancer and consultant for various mission-driven clients. My clients were typically small businesses, nonprofits, and cooperatives.
During the first 2 years of operating Black Remote She, I continued to work with 2 of those nonprofits. In one role, I managed multiple websites and did program management for a national conference network for women, and in the other, I worked with a cooperative institute leading their digital communications efforts, worked on their hiring committees, and expanded my role as a director of digital comms.
In April 2022, I took a step back from other work and committed to working on Black Remote She full-time.
Give me the elevator pitch for Black Remote She.
Black Remote She is a community for Black queer, trans, nonbinary people, and allies interested in working remotely. We operate as a community-driven job platform to connect our community members with safe and flexible work options.
And in more detail?
We screen every employer at Black Remote She to ensure they’re committed to maintaining inclusivity and equity in their hiring process and work environment.
Prior to being approved to post on our platform, all job submissions are subject to our vetting process.
Our vetting process includes, but isn’t limited to:
Assessing how organizations uphold anti-oppressive principles and center employee wellness, inclusivity, and equity in their work culture.
Analyzing the availability of inclusive programming, gender affirming benefits, and resources supporting Black LGBTQ+ and allied team members, board members, and/or advisory council members at each organization.
Reviewing former employee reviews and confirming pay transparency and gender neutral language are evident in job descriptions.
Reviewing public community reports and accountability call-outs about organizations to identify any red flags.
Additionally, we have a partnership with inside voices to capture BIPOC employee experiences with DEI in former and current workplaces. Capturing these reviews helps us keep workplaces transparent and accountable for applicants in our community considering their work culture.
What inequity were you trying to address, and why is this important?
Black LGBTQIA+ job seekers face higher levels of discrimination, have fewer advancement opportunities, and receive less protection.
Additionally, racism, anti-Blackness, homophobia, and transphobia, as well as economic and social insecurities continue to plague our communities.
Black Remote She rebels against these inequities and acts as a progressive system of job sharing to provide access to safe, flexible, and inclusive workplaces on our platform.
It’s crucial to create a network of trusted organizations for our community and our platform helps to fulfill this need.
My overall goal at Black Remote She continues to be driven by my hope of dismantling systems of oppression for our community, including increasing access to opportunities that allow our communities to thrive.
How’s it going? What has the response been?
It has been a transformative journey and we’re soon approaching 3 full years of operation!
In 2019, Black Remote She started as a small YouTube channel sharing my personal experiences of overcoming workplace discrimination as a Black queer person and how flexible/remote work became a safe haven for me.
In 2020, I launched the Black Remote She website to implement a progressive system of job sharing. When we launched our newsletter that summer, we started with 10-20 subscribers in the first few months and have since grown to more than 1600+ email subscribers.
Additionally, in 2021, we shared 293 jobs on our platform and, in 2022, we shared 562 jobs with our community.
At the beginning of 2022, we also launched an annual survey to collect data from our community of job seekers about the positions, salaries, work background/lived experiences, career assistance needs, and other career-related information to continue to align our platform with the needs of our community.
Using data from our annual survey, we launched a free email course to help job seekers alleviate some of the anxiety and stress associated with the job search with informative tips about our rights in the workplace, how to screen employers on other job platforms, advice for networking, salary/benefit negotiations, resume/cover letter templates, and more.
We’ve also redistributed training resources to help employers uproot white supremacy, incorporate anti-oppressive principles, and incorporate coaching options for team leaders to lead core business operations with employee wellness and equity at the forefront.
There’s no shortage of Black LGBTQ+ people looking for work and we work hard to affirm our community members to feel empowered to go after what aligns best with their career goals and aspirations.
What’s next for Black Remote She?
We recently launched a redesign of our job board after posting over 100 weekly digests with vetted job opportunities. Our redesign was also inspired by community feedback from our 2022 annual survey.
Coming soon - we’re working on a beta program to help match employers not currently eligible to post on our platform with some of our DEI community partners and consultants.
In relation to racism, what is your vision for the future?
Creating and managing this platform has shown me that if we build new systems FOR and BY us, we're taking active steps towards collective healing.
My vision is that more and more people will invest and feed into systems of change, solidarity movements, and any other opportunities to support Black and Brown people.
Our network at Black Remote She includes allies to reinforce how important it is to have allies at the forefront of these movements with us --- but we need allies everywhere to use their privilege to liberate and elevate our communities.
We deserve to be and feel liberated, free, and safe, but it takes collective support to make it happen.
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2023. All Rights Reserved.