5 Things You Can Do to Support “Black Lives Matter” as an Expat

5 Things You Can Do to Support

As an American expat living outside the US, I’ve felt so powerless and unable to support “Black Lives Matter” movements. 

As a foreigner living in South Korea, the laws about participating in protests is gray at best: Depending on the circumstances, I could risk deportation for taking part in protests – peaceful or not – and the threat of the pandemic has concerned me because of the impact it may have on my job.

I have agonized about what to do and how I can raise my voice and be an anti-racist and an ally for the #BLM movement. I want to be an advocate and I want to participate in an active way.

And the more I thought about it, I realized that though I’m living far away, there are ways I can actively participate in this important time.

Over the last 2 or 3 weeks, I’ve come up with 5 ways I can support “Black Lives Matter” as an expat living overseas.

 

1. Ensure you’re registered to vote in the next election.

So many have (rightly) said in the last few weeks that the best way we can collectively effect change is by using our voices to vote in the upcoming election cycle. 

This has never been more true than now.

For once, it’s so important to know who is on the ticket, what they stand for, what’s in their public history, and whether or not they will truly be the voice of the people.

If you’re an American citizen, check whether you’re registered to vote at Vote.org. They say it takes 30 seconds to check if you’re registered or not… and they’re right. I did it. Thankfully, I’m registered and didn’t need to take any additional steps.

If it turns out you’re not registered, register with your state the Overseas Vote Foundation. The instructions are straightforward (for the most part) and you can take the first steps to ensure you’ll get an absentee ballot.

The one thing I felt was a little confusing when filling in my absentee registration information was which addresses to use. Be sure to carefully check the PDF with your regurgitated information for accuracy and update it immediately if you spot an issue, otherwise, you’ll have to do it all over again from the beginning as the download link expires within 15 minutes to protect your personal information.

Here’s my main advice on this point: DON’T. WAIT. Do it now. With mail taking longer to trek across the globe, none of us can afford to take our time. (I paid to send my absentee registration via express mail because it was the only option I had. It was expensive but I was glad to pay it.)

 

2. Call your state representatives to voice your approval or disapproval of bills working their way through Congress.

Sometimes we forget how easy it is to place calls back home. 

You might ask, “Well, why can’t I just send an email or a letter instead of calling? I live halfway across the world and my hours don’t match up with Congressional business hours.”

In some ways, I’m inclined to agree with you. In others, I disagree. Here’s a great article from the New York Times detailing a few points but the one that sticks out to me most is that it’s far more difficult to ignore a ringing phone than it is to ignore an overflowing email inbox.

 

Calling isn't hard.

In the day and age we live in, it’s no more than a push of a few buttons and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to make a trans-Atlantic or -Pacific call. Even if you have to pay a bit more for it, it’s worth making a small investment to stay connected.

To keep your costs down, consider buying Skype credits to call and text internationally. The cost per minute is incredibly affordable and you can spend as little as $5-10 (before any VAT costs). This small credit top-up will be enough to cover dozens of calls to Congress.

Alternatively, you may be able to use your cell phone minutes included in your mobile plan from your host country. For example, I have 5 hours of talk time to landlines and cell phones in Korea included in my annual plan that I literally never use. However, I downloaded the OTO Global app for iOS (also available from the Google Play store) which allows me to call US mobile and landline numbers for free and pulls from my mobile plan minutes here in South Korea. Like Skype, OTO Global also sells credit packages to place calls all over the world.

If you’re not in Korea, chances are there’s a similar app in your host country that will allow you to use your local mobile minutes to call internationally. Google it and see what you come up with before spending money.

 

How to Call Your State Representatives and Senators

Once you’ve figured out how to call back home for a reasonable price, you can actually start calling the people who represent you at home. Here are step-by-step instructions for calling your state Representatives and Senators.

 

1. Start by determining who your state Representatives and Senators are. 

If you’re not sure who your state representatives (both in the Senate and House), you can look them up via the United States House of Representatives online directory or the United States Senate directory

I wasn’t before I started writing this, honestly, who my Representatives in the House were. I know Ted Cruz is one of my state Senators because I voted against him in the 2018 midterms – I was a Beto supporter and bought a shirt to prove it!…  Aside from that, I haven’t lived at home for a while and have actually never resided at my “permanent” virtual address, so I had to do my homework. 

There’s no shame in not knowing, my friend. But do your due diligence and get informed.

 

2. Find the right phone numbers to call.

The same websites where you looked up your Senators’ and Representatives’ names will provide you with the right numbers to call to reach their offices directly. 

To make it super easy for you, click here to find contact information for your House Representative’s office. Alternatively, click here to find contact information for your state Senator’s office

If you’re having trouble with that for any reason, you can call the capitol switchboard directly at (202) 224-3121. The switchboard operator will get you sent to the right place. (You’ll need to know who you’re calling for, obviously.)

 

3. Call your state Senators and Representatives.

This is a little nerve-racking, but once you’ve done it once or twice, it will start to feel totally normal. There are a few things to remember when you’re calling:

 

Know exactly what you’re calling about.

State Rep and Senate offices field hundreds of calls every day so it’s vital that you know exactly what you’re calling about. 

 

Have a script ready to help you make the right points.

There are a number of different sources for scripts and many associations who lobby Congress on the regular offer scripts or talking points for free, such as the American Psychological Association. You can also get scripts from organizations like You Lobby and 5 Calls, among others. Google, google, google to find more.

 

Ask to speak directly to the staffer responsible for the issue you’re calling about.

Let’s face it: You’re not likely to speak directly to your Senator or Representative. Instead, you’ll speak to the next best thing – their staffers. There are multiple people who work in your state Rep’s or Senator’s office and not all of them handle all the issues. Your best bet is to speak to the person in the office who fields calls and messages regarding the specific issue you’re calling about so your message doesn’t fall on partially-deaf ears.

 

Don’t request a call back.

According to Refinery 29, it’s better to say you don’t need a reply from your Senator’s or Representatives office so “they can tally you down without having to go through the extra step of adding you to a response database.” This keeps phone lines open and frees up more time to tally down constituent concerns. 

 

Still have questions about calling your state peeps? Check out this helpful article from Vice. 

 

3. Support “Black Lives Matter” financially and donate to worthy causes.

This is obvious: Give away your money. 

There are plenty of worthy causes out there and often, we’re bombarded with reputable opportunities and organizations where we can donate. Right now, though, the #BlackLivesMatter movement needs funds to continue the fight.

You can google “donate to black lives matter” for a long list of charities and organizations or you can simply go give some money right now to the actual organization behind the “Black Lives Matter” movement, ActBlue Charities. Alternatively, check out this extensive vetted list from New York Magazine for dozens of good options.

 

5 Things You Can Do to Support "Black Lives Matter" as an Expat from KrissiDriver.com

 

4. Listen to black voices everywhere you can.

PAY ATTENTION, FELLOW WHITE PEOPLE: It’s not black people’s job to educate us on white privilege or race relations. We need to do better about educating ourselves.

Read books by black authors. (Thanks to our girl, Oprah, and her people for this list.)

Listen to podcasts by black podcasters like “Gurls Talk” hosted by Adwoa Aboah.

Follow black influencers with strong voices on social media, like Rachel Cargle, Johnetta “Netta” Elzie, Charlene Carruthers, and others.

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, start subscribing and listening to more black entrepreneurial voices like Rachel Rogers and Chloe Hakim-Moore

This should not be hard. We all need to make an effort to diversify the voices we listen to on a regular basis. I am making this effort myself and have followed all the women I’ve listed above in an effort to open myself to more diverse voices and points of view (read: not white).

 

5. Talk to your family and friends about what you’re learning and doing to make a change.

A couple of weeks ago, I sat down and wrote my parents and sister a very long email about how I was feeling and expressing that I wanted us to talk about the #BLM movement as a family. 

I  pointed out the glaring fact that we didn’t talk about race in our home when I was a kid because we didn’t have to talk about it

I acknowledged that, unknowingly or not, we are very privileged as white people. 

I want my little brothers – ages 16 and 20 at the time of this writing – to understand the role they play as young white men in society and that they subsequently have voices that carry in our society.

 

We need to talk about these things, white people.

We need to acknowledge that the society we live in was built on the backs of – and at the expense of – black slave laborers. We need to acknowledge how those that came before us intentionally put laws and hindrances in place to keep black people from getting ahead in society – from Jim Crow to redlining to segregation in schools and other public places. Watch this YouTube video for a quick history crash course.

And once we’ve acknowledged the existence of these things, we need to start calling our Senators and House Reps and do what we can to change things. 

We need to end police brutality. How? I don’t know yet – but we need to work together to figure it out.

Yes, we need to listen. But we also need to talk. We did this – we created this mess. Now it’s time for us to whatever it takes to make it right.

 

Black. Lives. Matter.

The last few weeks have been so eye-opening for me. I’ve asked myself and those around me tough questions and having uncomfortable conversations. I’m reading more and making an effort to listen more. 

I am committing to calling my state Senators and Representatives more consistently (which is something I’ve never done before) about issues that pertain to #BLM and in an effort to end police brutality. 

I may be away from home, but I’ve also started to realize I’m not powerless even though I felt like I was. I absolutely can support “Black Lives Matter” as an expat.

I hope you’ll join me in doing what you can – whether you’re an American, a Brit, a Saffa, or hail from anywhere else in our beautiful world. This is important. Let’s do something good together.

 

7 Company Newsletters Worth Subscribing To

subscribe to company newsletters

If you want to make a living online, it’s important that you’re constantly learning and improving your craft. One easy way to do this is to make sure you subscribe to company newsletters that will help you grow as an entrepreneur. Newsletters delivered to your inbox daily, weekly, or monthly are like a crash course in new tips and tricks. And best of all, they’re free.

There are so many company newsletters out there that it’s hard to know where to start. Here are 7 company newsletters I highly recommend to help you hone your digital craft. 

 

1. Hubspot

Hubspot is an industry leader in the world of digital marketing. Their blog is full of tips on writing for the web: Optimizing your content, finding clients, growing your social media following, improving your sales tactics, and more. The content is applicable to a wide variety of careers, whether you’re a virtual assistant or a freelance writer or something in between.  

Hubspot offers tons of free courses to business owners and entrepreneurs through their platform and they have some powerful paid tools, too. Check out their popular (and free) inbound marketing course for entrepreneurs.

Additionally, the Hubspot newsletter is filled with the latest blog posts so you can keep a finger on the pulse of the digital world. They also periodically release studies and reports with comprehensive data analyses that discuss current and upcoming trends. Consider diving into these so you’ll know how and when to adjust your process. 

 

2. Yoast

Yoast is a free WordPress plugin that scores the search engine optimization (SEO) levels of blog posts and web pages. Their newsletter is packed full of the latest news in search engine optimization – from how to adjust to new Google algorithm updates to tips and tricks for your WordPress website. 

In addition to their newsletter and blog content, Yoast offers some great courses to help you improve your SEO skills. If you're writing content for yourself or anyone else, having at least a basic understanding of SEO and how it works is important.

Even if you don't take their courses, this newsletter is a must-read. If you don’t, it’s worth subscribing for the SEO strategies alone. Yoast's content is incredibly informative.

 

3. Make a Living Writing by Carol Tice

Carol Tice is an award-winning freelance writer who’s been freelancing for over a decade. Her goal is to help writers of all skill levels advance in their careers and avoid the pitfalls that many freelancers face. 

Carol's online platform, The Freelance Writer's Den, is a paid membership community. Members have access to courses for writers, a job board with highly lucrative writing opportunities, and a supportive community of like-minded freelancers.

Whether you're part of the Den or not, it's worth subscribing to Carol's newsletter.  Every email is peppered with advice about starting out as a freelance writer, monetizing a blog, content strategy, productivity, finding reputable clients and agencies to work with, and more. Whether you’re looking to freelance full-time or just to dip your toes in as a side hustle, her words are priceless. 

 

4. Jocelyn K. Glei

Jocelyn is the mastermind behind the podcast Hurry Slowly, which focuses on creativity, resilience, and slowing down in a fast-paced world. She takes a radical approach to productivity in an era of burnout and constant stimulation, encouraging her readers and listeners to look at the world through a gentler lens. 

This newsletter is a breath of fresh air for professionals who are constantly bombarded with ways to do more better and faster. If you want to cultivate mindfulness in your career, this one’s for you. 

 

5. The Sunday Dispatches by Paul Jarvis

Paul Jarvis is an author and designer who sends out a newsletter every Sunday to discuss the broader implications of our digital lives. His articles are thought-provoking and cover a wide range of subjects, from running an online business to dealing with your inner critic. 

These missives are less about actionable tips and more about starting a conversation around the way we live in the 21st century, but Paul is a brilliant writer with a lot of keen wisdom to share. It’s worth tuning in once a week to see what he has to say. 

 

6. Create + Cultivate

Create + Cultivate is a company that hosts a series of events across the United States dedicated to women working in creative industries. Their website is full of helpful articles about dealing with stress, growing your career, and finding inspiration in everyday life. 

Subscribe to their company newsletter and you'll get great articles delivered right to your inbox in addition to being granted access to the “classifieds” section of their website. The classifieds email is sent out weekly and can help you find remote work doing what you love. 

 

7. Jessica Stansberry

Jessica Stansberry is a go-getter mom who grew her seven-figure business from a small town in North Carolina, USA. She has an incredibly popular YouTube channel, an equally popular podcast, and creates a vast array of content for both seasoned and newbie lady entrepreneurs.

I love getting Jessica’s email newsletters because they’re generally packed with the “kick in the pants” I need to get going – especially on weeks when I just don’t feel like getting to work. (Sometimes you have to dig deep to get things done, even when it’s for your own business!)

Jessica offers some incredible courses and digital products (check out her digital planners if you’re into that sort of thing) and keeps her audience in-the-know about what’s happening in her business. I love Jessica’s mix of encouragement and butt-kicking.

 

BONUS: Creative Market

I call this one a bonus instead of truly counting it in this lineup because Creative Market doesn’t really offer any business help in its newsletters like my other recommendations do. But what it is good for is free stuff.

Creative Market sends out 2 newsletters every week: The first one, on Mondays, offers 6+ totally free products for you to download. It could be font files, vector image files, stock photos, or something else. That’s right – THEY’RE FREE! No one wants to pass up a deal like that.

You can use the freebie images for your blog or social media accounts (double-check the licensing to make sure that if you’re using the images to make money, you won’t run into any trouble). You can upload the fonts into Canva or Adobe Illustrator to use in your image designs. And you don’t have to pay for any of it!

The second newsletter sent out later in the week shares “trending goods” from the site that have been popular. These are paid, but they give you a good sense of what other types of designs and images are popular across the internet, so you can stay in line with what’s “hot” at the moment.

The free stuff is hit or miss – there are plenty of weeks when I just ignore the email entirely or don’t see anything that’s helpful to me – but it’s a great opportunity I make sure to check out from time to time.

 

The Moral of the Story: Subscribe to Company Newsletters

Starting the day with a cup of coffee and a good business-focused newsletter is the modern equivalent of reading the paper (but by all means, do that too!). Newsletters are an effortless way to stay on top of the latest industry news and pick up new skills along the way. When you open your inbox to the right newsletters every morning, you’ll be amazed at how much you can learn, grow, and gain.

Don't stop with my recommendations – find some of your own. I also subscribe to news-based newsletters so I can get a quick snapshot of what's happening around the globe. Like everyone else, I also subscribe to newsletters from some of my favorite retailers to make sure I'm getting in on the best deals when I'm ready to spend a little money.

But most importantly, I really cherish and devour my business-based email newsletters because I know I'm going to get something out of them. I hope you do, too.

 

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