I asked a question this morning to Iliana Limón Romero that’s been on my mind for a while now: how do you balance being the only woman and person of color providing accountability and protecting your mental health?
Her answer almost made me sigh in relief. She said you could, and almost have to, pick and choose the best opportunities to speak up. And some days, you don’t have to. You are not obligated to fix every problem you see.
“It’s not your job to change every space you enter, but you have an opportunity to,” she said. This is such a valuable distinction to me.
Over this past year and as I have grown as a journalist, there has been a mounting pressure I’ve put on myself to provide accountability in newsrooms or be the person covering specific issues because of my perspective. And it’s sometimes draining; I won’t even lie. I’m very aware that I’ll be the only woman on my sports desk this summer.
But I have to remember to think about my situation productively: where are my strengths, and in what ways can I effectively make an impact? How can I maximize my perspective to help initiate change?
Some days, I don’t have to speak out, and that’s OK. I’m not failing my gender or people of color.
Learning to discern those times and how I can pick the best opportunities to make my newsroom a better place is something I will be working on this summer. I have a valuable voice and perspective, and I will take the opportunities to make my field a more inclusive, equitable place for women and people of color.