Meet Anti-Racism Writer Lecia Michelle
And learn about the work she’s done as a Black woman educating white allies
I’m back with another edition of my interview series featuring Black anti-racism writers and activists. Today, I’d like to introduce you to Lecia Michelle, whose work I’ve enjoyed on Medium, and who’s currently writing about about allyship. Please meet Lecia.
Lecia, what made you become an anti-racism writer?
I started writing about racism not long after the 2016 election. I needed an outlet for my feelings, so I started writing on Medium. I wrote articles first under my Facebook group’s Medium page, “Real Talk: WOC and Allies for Racial Justice and Anti-Oppression.” Then I wrote under my own Medium page. It was cathartic at a time when I felt hopeless about the future. Over those four years, I wrote countless pieces that discussed racism, white supremacy, and allyship. In a way, it was a labor of love. However, I discovered there was an audience for my work, and it became a way to connect with other writers and thinkers.
What response have you had?
The responses have been mostly positive. I’ve “met” other online activists through my writing. It’s given me a chance to build an online network where we can learn from each other. Of course, I’ve gotten my share of racists and trolls, too. It comes with the territory. I also discovered the large number of white moderates Dr. King discussed -- the ones who think Black people are pushing too hard and who also refuse to acknowledge their own racism.
I know you focus a lot on allies - why is that?
I definitely write a lot about allies. That’s because I’ve focused on training white women to become allies in “Real Talk.” I have a group of white women who mentor other white women about what it means to be a real ally to POC. It was just a natural progression to write articles based on my experiences within the group and interactions I’ve had with members. I realize I’m in a pretty unique situation where I learn and witness the journey of those allies who are serious about the work. I want to share my insights with others. So I write about what I’ve learned.
You have a book coming out next year about allyship - can you give us a quick overview of what will be in it?
Sure. The book is called The White Allies Handbook: A 4-Week Introduction to Join the Racial Justice Fight for Black Women. It’s a step-by-step guide for white people to work toward being allies to Black women. It will be the only book of its kind on the market because it’s written by a Black woman who leads a group that has trained white people for five years. Everything I’ve learned, I’m including in this book. I discuss topics such as the importance of following the leadership of Black women, recognizing your white privilege, educating and influencing your inner circle, and embracing discomfort when you’re doing ally work. I also include questions throughout the chapters to keep readers engaged and thinking as well as scenarios and actions at the end of each chapter.
In relation to racism, what is your vision for the future?
That’s a good question. I want us to defeat racism. I thought it would be better by the time I became an adult, but in many ways, it’s gotten worse. I want us to be free. I want Black people to be able to live our lives without having to wonder if this is the day a policeman pulls us over and it’s our last day alive. I want us to go to work and not worry about our hair or how we talk. I want us to exist in this world without white people policing our every move.
What are your top three anti-racism articles you have written?
I knew a lot of Black people could relate to white people using coded language to insinuate that we’re ignorant if we don’t speak or act in a certain way.
This was my most intimate article. It was important for me to talk about my own anti-Blackness growing up and how it hurt me and other Black people.
This was in response to people blacking out their profiles to protest Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination. Any time white people start these online movements ask us to hide our faces, it’s erasing our Blackness.
Share one anti-racism article you've read written by someone else that resonated with you.
Probably the 1619 Project article (as well as the podcast). I learned a lot about Black history, much of it I had never heard before. Every time I learn Black history that’s not included in classroom curriculum, the more urgent I feel about driving change. The history of Black people in this country is a part of American History. It needs to be taught in school.
Thanks for reading,
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2021. All Rights Reserved.