May 3, 2022
You know around here we love a good “Dear…” title, especially when it starts with “Dear White Women.” That’s why we were excited to sit down with this week’s guests because Kimberlee’s book title alone had us at “Dear White Women” (for obvious reasons, friends). Her full book title is “Dear White Women, Please Come Home: Hand Me Your Bias and I’ll Show You Our Connection” and once we started reading it, we couldn’t put it down, due to its unique format and powerful message.
And this week, we have not only Kimberlee Williams, who is the author of the book we’ll be talking about, but we also have Debby Irving, the author of Waking Up White, which was one of the first books Sara read when we started this podcast - and who is also Kimberlee’s forward writer and publisher. Together, we unpack why the title (of course), reactions to this book, cross-racial friendships, and so much more.
What to listen for:
About the Author, Kimberlee Williams:
Hailing from the nation’s capital with huge hair, a million-watt smile, and contagious laughter, Kimberlee Yolanda Williams has had a heart for the perceived underdog for as long as she can remember. From her earliest years, Kimberlee’s experiences unfolded in communities filled with diversity of every kind, where gatherings around topics of equity and inclusion were explored with courageous authenticity. She grew up thinking engaging across differences was something everyone wanted to do and knew how to do. So why didn’t they do it?
As an educator, DEI administrator, consultant, workshop leader, speaker, and certified life and health coach, she has found herself in a variety of U.S. cities. With each new context she increasingly understood what held people back from crossing social divisions. Kimberlee found herself able to consciously place herself in the center of these divisions, in particular racial dynamics, and support people across the racial spectrum in stepping closer to one another.
Kimberlee is first and foremost a humanist, a deep believer in what is possible when humanity is centered. Her mix of authenticity and raw truth gives permission for those around her to choose progress over perfection and bring their full selves into the room. She is known for finding humor and challenge at just the right moments, and like the best of coaches, leaning in and pushing audiences just enough to believe in the potential she sees. Her approach of connection and compassion is what makes a consultation feel like a conversation with your best friend, a workshop feel like a workout with your favorite trainer, and a presentation feel like a present from your closest confidant.
Kimberlee received a B.A. in Foreign Language Education from the University of Maryland (go Terps!) and an M.S. in Education from Dominican University. She currently lives in Seattle with her partner, where they refuel by being in community (with other folks of color), reading and reading some more, and relaxing near any body of water. In addition to all of the above, Kimberlee is a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a cousin, an aunt, a niece, a dancer, an avid learner of languages (five to date), a free spirit, an empath, and now a writer.
Dear White Woman, Please Come Home is Kimberlee's attempt to share with readers what her clients, workshop attendees, and audience members have felt for years. She always brings her full self, her DC flare, her sass, and her humor. She’s the best friend you didn’t know you had.
About Debby Irving:
Debby Irving brings to racial justice the perspective of working in non-profit organizations and education for 25 years before understanding racism as systemic or her own whiteness as an obstacle to grappling with it. Despite attending diversity workshops and even heading a diversity committee during these years, she struggled to make sense of racial dynamics she could feel but not explain. At the age of 48, a Wheelock College graduate school course titled Racial and Cultural Identities finally gave her the answers she’d been looking for, launching her on a journey of discovery. Debby now devotes herself to working with people exploring the impact whiteness can have on perception, problem solving, system design, culture shifting, creating racially diverse work teams and communities, and individual and collective human development. Her New York Times bestseller, Waking Up White, tells the story of how she went from well-meaning to well-doing. Her book, workshops, keynotes, community dialogs, TED Talk, online videos, blog, and frequent media commentary have become staples in the national discourse on the role of “good” white people in perpetuating racism. A graduate of the Winsor School in Boston, she holds a BA in History from Kenyon College and an MBA from Simmons College. For more on Debby, visit: https://www.debbyirving.com/about/