Welcome to Crazy and the King!!
Aug. 25, 2022

The CATK Interview: Stacy Bernal

The CATK Interview: Stacy Bernal

Utah School Board Candidate Stacy Bernal Joins Julie and Torin.


Stacy Bernal (she/her/hers) is a TEDx speaker, author, and DEI trainer at See Stacy Speak LLC. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Weber State University with a BA in Communication and earned a certificate for Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University. She is the Chair of the Ogden Diversity Commission, as well as the founder of Awesome Autistic Ogden, and the Bernal Badassery Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit. 

Stacy is passionate about empowering individuals and organizations to live their biggest and most badass lives. An outspoken advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion and representation, Stacy is known to challenge the status quo on occasion. She has been featured on HuffPost, Thrive Global, Visit Utah, Scary Mommy, and Autism Parenting Magazine. In 2019, she published her first book, The Things We Don’t Talk About: A Memoir of Hardships, Healing, and Hope.

Stacy lives happily with her family and fur babies near the mountains, where she enjoys all the amazing outdoor recreation Ogden, UT has to offer like mountain biking, trail running, and triathlons. An eight-time marathoner, Stacy is currently running in a completely different way as a candidate for her local school board. #sb4sb #SeeStacyRun2022

More about Stacy- https://seestacyspeak.com/

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Cred:

Production and Music: DJ Cellz

Transcript

0:00:01.0 Torin Ellis: We've been about this work: Diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, shared through the voices of a White woman and a Black man. We bring lived experiences. We have pursued D&I progress for most of our professional lives. We use Crazy and the King to cover news, tips from colleagues and host incredible guests. Listeners, count on Julie and I to transparently drive the conversation. We thank you for rocking with us. Check it. Julie, kick off the show.

 

[applause]

 

0:00:37.0 Julie Sowash: Welcome, welcome, welcome to Crazy and the King.

 

0:00:41.8 Torin Ellis: Okay, so let me tell you something, I know I'm a little bit older than you are, so I got a little bit of history, I got some time on you, I can kinda put that chest out a little bit because I've just been through some things. I remember during a bunch of years when I would go into the high schools and speak, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th graders, talking to them about life after high school. Not so much so forcing them into a pathway of college, but you gotta do something.

 

0:01:13.2 Torin Ellis: J, I remember one morning I woke up, this is no exaggeration. And this must have been about 10, maybe 13 years ago. So I did this high school this one particular year, I can't remember, again, I may have been 40, 41, something like that. Did this particular high school, smashed it. The teacher asked me to come back the next year. The very next year as I'm preparing to go into that room, you know how you're putting moisturizer and whatnot all over you, making your skin look nice and supple and soft?

 

0:01:50.9 Julie Sowash: Yeah.

 

0:01:51.9 Torin Ellis: I got into camera, I was like, what the hell is that? So there was one gray strand in my moustache. One year later, cut it with the little scissors. The next year, I go to a different school. I'm not exaggerating at all. Like four of them jokers, five of them growing wild. The only reason I'm telling you that is because I literally am holding a piece of hair that is transitioning from black to gray, and it's really, really frustrating me right now, I can't control it. I could go buy some men's, [chuckle] Black guy stuff. [laughter] But I'm not gonna do that. T is too cool to do that. Listen, you will not catch me in these streets talking about how I dyed my beard and all that other stuff, [chuckle] we're not going out like that at all, but what I would tell you that's on my bucket list is to do a TED Talk.

 

0:02:51.3 Julie Sowash: Yes.

 

0:02:51.5 Torin Ellis: That is on by bucket... The gray hair thing, we're past that, but I have on my bucket list to do a TED Talk, I've only applied one time. Have you ever applied?

 

0:03:02.1 Julie Sowash: I have never applied. The closest I've ever come to a TED Talk is where you and I met at DisruptHR in Chicago, which is TED Talk style. Here we are four years later.

 

0:03:11.7 Torin Ellis: Yes, indeed. Yes, indeed. Yes, indeed.

 

0:03:13.6 Julie Sowash: But yes. It is also on my bucket list, it just kinda keeps getting pushed down with other stuff that comes up, so we need to do that. We need to do that.

 

0:03:21.1 Torin Ellis: Okay, wait a minute. So we gotta take listeners back because we do have some new listeners, and it's been a while since we've talked about that. We met in September of 2018. We had never met before. I had done Chad and Cheese. Joel Cheeseman, shoutout, Joel. You were not in the episode. We need to talk about that again, why you were not in the episode when I was a guest, but Chad marshalled that episode. When we got done, he was like, "You need to meet my wife, you're both going to be in Chicago at the same time," so I want you to tell listeners just quickly, were you nervous? It was only a five-minute talk. Were you nervous? 'Cause I wasn't nervous at all. I was like, give me the freaking mic, let's roll.

 

0:04:09.8 Julie Sowash: Yeah, I speak all the time. You know that, right? But not something where we're auto-advancing the slides and I've got 20 seconds and I gotta remember the shit. And on top of it, I'm meeting this guy that my husband is now semi-obsessed with.

 

0:04:23.5 Torin Ellis: Yes indeed.

 

0:04:24.4 Julie Sowash: Who's supposed to be this big badass, and I'm like, Oh my God. And Tristan, my youngest, was taking the trip up to Chicago with me. It's the first time he was gonna see me speak and be professional mom. Oh God, I was a... Disaster area, which I'm sure was very, very relevant. And I will tell you, [laughter] I don't know if I've ever said this on the mic before, I got up there and I started to stumble over something, and Tristan made the little heart sign at me and it freaking changed my life. It's probably one of my best memories ever. And then I was like, okay, everything's gonna be okay. Everything's gonna be okay.

 

0:05:02.9 Torin Ellis: See, you've never shared that. I never knew that. I never knew Tristan in the front row was giving mom love and comfort and affirmation and all of that, because I do remember, you were nervous and I'm like, okay, I don't know her, know her, but I'm trying to build rapport with her, I'm trying to let her know that it's gonna be alright. [laughter] It's five minutes, literally. So we're gonna have fun with that with our guest later in the show because I do seriously want to do a TED Talk. Low key, but this, it's not shading on anyone else, but I have looked at a number of diversity and inclusion-related talks on the TED platform, and I'mma just tell you, I said to myself, I can do that shit right there.

 

0:05:52.5 Julie Sowash: Well, yeah. Like I shit ten times a day.

 

0:05:53.8 Torin Ellis: Straight up. Straight up, and I said... And again, not taking anything away from anybody else, I'm just like, I could do that, I can do those 15 minutes or those eight minutes. I think it's nine, 15 and 18. Anyway, we'll ask our guest about that. I'm gonna ask her what's on her bucket list. I know on mine, I wanna do a TED Talk, so let's do a break and then let's bring our guest into the episode.

 

[music]

 

0:06:24.1 Julie Sowash: Alright, so we are welcoming another amazing guest, we have been so fortunate this year with the, just caliber of guests that we're bringing on the show. So this week, TED Talk famous, in case you didn't see that coming, Stacy Bernal is joining us and she is passionate about empowering individuals and organizations to live their biggest... And I love this, most badass lives. She's an outspoken advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion, and representation, and she knows how to challenge the status quo every once in a while. From once a bartender to now a board member, she feels purposeful about sharing her message of triumph, inspiration and overcoming odds. Stacy, welcome to Crazy and the King.

 

0:07:15.7 Stacy Bernal: Thank you. Y'all are awesome, I'm just over here like, "I'm happy to be here with y'all."

 

0:07:22.5 Torin Ellis: That's right, that's right. And let me tell you something, we're gonna get to a point where when we do that whole welcome to Crazy and the King thing, like confetti is literally going to hit our guests' computers, that would be some rad ass technology right there. We say, "Welcome to Crazy and the King," and your computer lights up with confetti and fairy dust, and all of the other stuff that folks be reaching for to try to make life better, which reminds me, you don't really subscribe to that whole fairy dust thing. I think you are a person, Stacy, who says, "If you want diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging to work, you have to work at it." Would you agree with that?

 

0:08:03.7 Stacy Bernal: 100%.

 

0:08:06.9 Torin Ellis: Yeah, yeah. 100%. So wait, three times divorced, three times college dropout, by the age of 31, and that's just a part of your story?

 

0:08:20.6 Stacy Bernal: Yeah, don't I sound like a real winner, like right out the gate... This woman sounds fantastic!

 

[laughter]

 

0:08:29.8 Torin Ellis: Let me reinforce that. Three times divorced, three times college dropout, all before the age of 31. Take our listeners back into as much of pre-now Stacy, that you'd like for them to experience, because for the person who's hearing that, that really is... I don't even know the real... When I heard you say it, I said to myself, I literally had... I literally, Stacy, put up three fingers and I was like, "Wow," like, "before 31." Talk about that.

 

0:09:08.0 Stacy Bernal: I'm an over-achiever. What can I say? And you know, that makes me think, think about my husband's perspective because now, I'm on husband number four, so he knew all of this. [chuckle] He signed up for this, but he's been along for the fun journey of that dumpster fire mess that I was when I was 31, to where I am now. So really, I guess I had a little bit of a rough upbringing, I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and I think a lot of that... The trauma that I just never dealt with and it wreaked havoc on my life, and I didn't really realize it until I got to a healing point in my journey, and I could look back retrospectively and say, "Well, damn, it makes sense now."

 

0:09:56.5 Stacy Bernal: I mean, it makes sense when I can look at it through this different lens of trauma-informed mental health, so that's kinda the short summary of it is just a lot of mistakes and missteps, but honestly, I wouldn't change any of it. I would not change any of it and it has made me a bigger and better badass today because I went through that, I have a whole lot more empathy, I can connect with people a lot better. And when I share my story, I can't tell you how many times other people have grasped on to some piece of it and said, "Me too." And so I know I'm not alone, I know so many of us share some commonality, so I'm just very open about it. [chuckle]

 

0:10:38.9 Torin Ellis: Stacy, we had another guest on who talked about refraining from the use of the phrase mental health, and she preferred the phrase brain health, a more positive reach for that reality in her world, and in ours as well, language matters.

 

0:11:03.4 Stacy Bernal: Absolutely.

 

0:11:03.5 Torin Ellis: And so not to be the word police, mental health, brain health, when you talk about trauma-informed, why is that important? Why is it important for you to be descriptive in that way, trauma-informed mental health?

 

0:11:23.3 Stacy Bernal: Because I knew, as a survivor of what I went through, I knew that it was shitty and especially, my abuser was my father and I felt a certain way, but I never, until I was in my early 30s, I did not recognize the way my body and my brain reacted, and dealt with certain issues. I did not recognize that it was due to trauma. I never made that connection that this thing happened to me and this was the impact it had on me and my behaviors. And so learning that about... I read, there's this fantastic book called The Body Keeps the Score. I highly recommend it to anyone who's gone through abuse... It's really great for our veterans and people who have gone through really high traumatic experiences, but when I read this book, it was like someone handed me a manual to myself. And I just really learned... It was trauma, it was... The abuse was traumatic on my body and my mind.

 

0:12:38.6 Julie Sowash: Yeah, and I wanna say thank you for sharing that. I know as a woman, sharing these stories, I think are much harder for us sometimes, and as someone who lives with mental illness, sometimes I almost feel like, does anyone care about the story? Does anyone relate... It's not... My disability, my mental health, it's not important enough to talk about, and every time I do it, you get that same moment of someone else coming up to you and saying, "I can't believe you're brave enough to say that out loud, and thank you because it lets me feel like I'm not so alone."

 

0:13:23.7 Julie Sowash: And that is just... That's so critically important, that authenticity of just saying, "Yeah, I've fucked up a lot and that's cool. It's okay, because you know what, it makes me better at who I am today than I would be if I had not made those mistakes." And I understand why, and I don't continue to beat myself up and stay in that same cycle, I choose to move forward in this way, and what happened at that point. And there is nothing more important, I will say, sometimes in that, than a really, really good partner, and you don't find that on the first time around, so many times.

 

0:14:00.9 Stacy Bernal: Yep, 100%.

 

0:14:05.8 Julie Sowash: And so, Torin wants to talk about TED Talks. Before we get too far into all of the other things that we could talk about, let's talk about your TED Talk. Talk about what you talked about and why you chose to have that conversation.

 

0:14:21.9 Stacy Bernal: My TED Talk is called Confessions of a Recovering Nobody, and it goes along with the title of my book, is the things we don't talk about. You can tell, just in the short time we've had this conversation, I've already brought up some topics that they're the things that we get a little uncomfortable, maybe it's things we don't wanna talk about. So my TED Talk was really that journey of how shame and trauma, how those things keep us quiet and small, and my journey to opening up, owning my story, stepping into my space and all of a sudden, finding my voice.

 

0:14:58.5 Stacy Bernal: And Torin, I'm glad that's on your bucket list. Keep it on your bucket list. And I know, we're gonna connect later down the road when you do get on that red circle, and I'm gonna say, "Hell yeah, I knew you could do it." And I referenced in my talk, that was my fourth attempt. So I guess I do things... I fail three times and then the fourth time, I finally achieve my goal. Everyone says third time is a charm. For me it's fourth.

 

0:15:26.3 Stacy Bernal: So I had applied to my local TEDx event, 2017, 2018, 2019. I was like, "I give up." And it was on my vision board, and finally in 2020, I didn't even apply. The organizers actually reached out to me and they said, "We've seen what you've done. We've seen your commitment in this community and you're a leader, and we've seen how you transformed your life, and we're inviting you to the TEDx stage," and that's how I finally got into that highly coveted red circle.

 

0:16:00.4 Torin Ellis: But why? But why? Because again, your talk was emotional. It was inviting. It was a variety of other things as well. It was so revealing. For those listening, when you go to Stacy's website, you're going to see an image of Stacy with graffiti on her body. She is the artist's canvas. And so why did you want to be in that red circle and be so transparent, so vulnerable? Why? Just especially to do it repeatedly, even being told no, after a life of so many nos and disappointments.

 

0:16:38.0 Stacy Bernal: Yeah, I know how empowering and life-changing it has been for me to have the courage to share my story, to be authentic and vulnerable, to open myself up to criticism. And I do, I get people who have all sorts of shit to say about what I'm doing, but I also have seen the positive effects that it's had in my own life. And again, every time I've done a presentation and someone comes up to me and opens up about something in their own lives, their own past, that they're like, "I've never told anyone this," and I think how powerful is that to have that effect on someone else's life that now maybe they've had something they've been holding onto for years, and now they have the courage, and they can go out and do the same thing in their life? So for me, it's like, if I can help one other person in the world and I've had... It's been very, very powerful to have strangers that have either read my book or watched my talk or come to one of my presentations, and then circled back to me to talk about how it's changed their lives. So for me, that's good enough. That's my why.

 

0:17:51.1 Julie Sowash: And I feel that, that's the power. I think when we get tired and we get frustrated, and sometimes we feel a little bit like we're fighting that uphill battle every single day, those moments, I think, are what keep us going. It's the energy that is like, "Let's do this talk again. Let's fight the same battle that we feel like we've been battling because the battle is worth it, if even one person is impacted." So how do you sit and continue to move around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging?

 

0:18:32.0 Stacy Bernal: Well first, I'm a biracial woman and I'm in Utah, which is not super diverse if you know too much about Utah. Even if you know a little bit about Utah; being the parent to a neurodiverse person and knowing what I know now about police interactions with people who are disabled, it's pretty scary. And so that's been a big part of my platform that I'm really, really invested in making sure that our law enforcement is doing training, that I actually work with our local police station here to further conversations around autism disability and how law enforcement is interacting with them.

 

0:19:20.0 Torin Ellis: I wanna jump on that real quick, because again, you talk about your racial composition, if you will, you talk about the fact of the dimension of raising a child who is autistic. I'm sure that there are other layers to the equation for you, so are you, Stacy, active in the D&I space beyond police interaction and how it shows up in the community? Are you consulting with corporations? Are you working with schools? Are you aligned with non-profits? Elaborate a bit on how you, Stacy, sit in the D&I space.

 

0:20:03.8 Stacy Bernal: Yeah, all of the above. So I have been doing speaking, I got into this as a "motivational speaker", I started doing this as like... If we go back to my TED Talk and kind of I was sharing my story and I was empowering on audiences, and it started with kind of like women, I was asked to speak at different women's conferences. And a couple of years into that, it wasn't just about women anymore, it was about my experience as a biracial woman, my experience showing up in so many spaces where I'm the only person of color in the room, and I started examining, why is that? Why am I in these spaces are typically mostly men?

 

0:20:45.7 Stacy Bernal: And again, no one else who... They all look the same, they all are of very similar backgrounds. And so I started getting interested in diversity in that way and looking at implicit bias, and so I built a curriculum and started offering it to local companies like, "Hey, would you be interested in having a conversation around diversity or maybe a lack of diversity in your organization?" And so people were like, "Sure, come in, and let's just... " So it was kind of this experiment, like, "Let's see how the conversation goes."

 

0:21:18.1 Stacy Bernal: And it was uncomfortable. I remember my first one was a room of all White men and one White woman, and it was really uncomfortable, but I got good feedback from it, so I just started marketing it, I added it to my website, I added it to my offerings, and I've now become kind of the go-to person in my community. I have... I work with a bunch of local nonprofits, so they bring me in on a regular basis, and we have kind of, "What's going on this month?" "It's Pride." "Okay, what do we need to be talking about with Pride?" I serve on my city's, we have a diversity commission that is a sub-committee that works with our administration and our Mayor, so I'm currently the chair of that organization. And then that's part of why I'm running for my local school board because of my passion in all these areas and seeing where there's a lot of disconnect, there's... We need to be having these conversations, we need to be having representation in all spaces in our community, and we don't have it.

 

0:22:19.8 Torin Ellis: There's something magical about that whole being thrown in the lion's den, so to speak, and so for your to reveal like, "Listen, I started... I thought that this thing was gonna be, take a motivational arc for me, and now it's taken both a motivational arc, as well as an educational arc." And you mentioned the uncomfort... The discomfort, why? Was it discomfort because it was new to you? Was it discomfort because of the composition of the room; you, for the most part, being the only person of color? Why more specifically, was it uncomfortable? And talk a bit more about how the White folks in Utah accepted it.

 

0:23:08.1 Stacy Bernal: The discomfort comes from a couple of places. One, because there's this power dynamic and this hierarchy, so I am a woman and I am a woman of color, and so that puts me in a particular space, if you will. We think about intersectionality and just... Especially our state is a highly patriarchal state, so right off the bat, I'm kind of this outspoken woman. And people have... In the last couple of years, I had a guy one time who told me that I was aggressive, that something I said was aggressive, and it made me laugh because never in my life has anyone called me aggressive. But because I have become outspoken, because I'm very passionate about these topics, now that's how certain people in certain positions, that's how they perceive me. And I thought that's very interesting, and that's very telling of you and kind of your perspective versus me, but so... Yeah, so it is uncomfortable, although I love it, and I do not shy away from the discomfort, but because I kind of know... I know in their minds where they think I should be, and I'm stepping out of that and they don't like that.

 

0:24:19.7 Stacy Bernal: So I get kind of different ends of the spectrum, because it depends on where people are, I think, in their own diversity journeys and what they're willing to accept and work on, but I've had the people on the end who are very accepting and saying, "Wow, you've really brought up some things I've never thought about. Thank you for sharing it in a way that was approachable." And I'd get that. And then I get the ones who say, "That was horrible and you ruined... " I had one guy that said, "You ruined the dynamics of our group because this was a... " And I'm like, "I didn't ruin, if... I didn't ruin the dynamics of your group, I came in and helped facilitate a conversation, and some of you realized that maybe you don't like your colleagues because of, they shared things very openly about their privilege and their power." Anyway, so it was kind of a... I get kind of a very broad spectrum of feedback, but yeah...

 

0:25:20.6 Julie Sowash: Hey, you gotta break some things...

 

0:25:21.8 Stacy Bernal: I know.

 

0:25:22.1 Julie Sowash: To fix some things. Right? And I love that. And so, before the show started... Before we started, you and I were chatting, Stacy, I'm a political junkie, junkie, to the point where I've had to take some steps back for my own mental health, my own stability. You mentioned you're running for school board in your city, town in Utah, there are so many things happening at the local level that we are seeing that to me, are terrifying, frankly, about how we are going to raise, educate or not educate, this group of young people that we're bringing up in this country right now. And we can already see how a lack of civic and diverse experience education has driven, probably like our generation, to make some pretty poor choices as adults.

 

0:26:27.9 Julie Sowash: What do you see from your mom lens, but also just from your human lens that are kind of like the top priorities for me as a voter to be looking at what my school board is driving, what my local politicians are bringing to the conversation, when it really is about making sure, and I'm gonna say this my way, making sure that White men in the room are never uncomfortable, that we never fuck with their group dynamics, because that's really what they're talking about when they say, "You've changed our group dynamics"? Talk to us about about what you see coming down the pike.

 

0:27:09.8 Stacy Bernal: Ma'am, you hit so many nails on the head, so I am... The reason I'm running, there was kind of this perfect storm that happened here in my community back in November. So my neighboring school district, it's not the district I'm running in, but my neighboring school district has had a lot of racist issues. The Department of Justice came in and did a three-year investigation and found rampant racism within this school district, so that came out last October. In November, in that same school district, a 10-year-old Black autistic student died by suicide because she had been bullied by classmates and also her teacher. When that happened, I... We talk about anger and kind of feeling helpless, and that's... I just...

 

0:28:13.5 Stacy Bernal: I was so angry the whole week of just thinking, at what level could that have been stopped? At what point... The mother had complained to administration, she had complained to the principal, she had complained to the teacher, nothing happened. Nothing happened and this was the end result. So I felt like, what can I do to implement any type of change? What could I do to prevent this from ever happening again? And really, I don't know, maybe I won't. But what came to me was, "Get into a space where you have some power, some sway that you could possibly prevent something like this from happening."

 

0:29:02.3 Stacy Bernal: And because here in Utah, across the state, we have less than 3% of people of color in our school boards, less than 3%. And now our state is not super diverse, but we have more than 3%. Our population is more than 3% people of color. But we don't have that representation, we don't have it in our state government, we don't have it in our city, our local county governments, we don't have it, and so it trickles down and you feel that.

 

0:29:34.1 Stacy Bernal: The people who hold the power, they're not thinking about the people who are different than them. They're not thinking about the Black, the Brown, the LGBTQ, the disabled, because that's not part of their lived experience. And I'm like, I have to be in a space where I can bring that perspective and be thinking about those, thinking about the ones who are slipping through the cracks, who haven't been thought about historically. So, my fire was lit, I'm like, "I need to be able to use my anger my... I call it my rage. I need to be able to use it in a productive way. And this was the answer and was running for my school board.

 

0:30:18.8 Torin Ellis: Which is extremely important. The saying is familiar, it's tried and true that all politics are local. So the saying is applicable, your pursuit is applicable. We need that representation there. As Julie framed the question, I'm thinking on my side, we are struggling with critical race theory and/or the acronym of CRT. And yet we are... We have really limited... I shouldn't say limited, let me be careful in how I phrase this. We have, Stacy and J, a measurable amount of discontent around critical race theory, and an equally measurable amount of support for placing guns in teachers' pockets after 24 hours of training. "Don't teach them history, but give them a gun. Don't teach them history, but give them a gun."

 

0:31:34.1 Torin Ellis: And to me, it's just... I struggle to the tune of... Julie talks about, she's obsessed so much that she sometimes has to pull back. I struggle with wanting to remain even interested because for me, it's just like the common sense piece of this is just like out of the window. If you want to fight over policy and the semantics of the policy, I kind of get that from a Democrat, Republican or libertarian, whatever point of view. The nuance of the fight, I get that. But on the surface, 30,000 feet up, it's like to me, who in the hell is looking down at that scenario and saying, "Let's take history out because we don't want our children's feelings to be hurt, but let's give teachers a gun and not even properly train them?" Who in their right mind?

 

0:32:33.5 Torin Ellis: That's the piece I have. It's a rant on my part, let me just shut up. It just frustrates me. So thank you. Let me just say, I appreciate you running and more than I appreciate you running, full transparency, I made a donation and will make another one. And I'm not one that donates to a whole lot of campaigns, I do donate, but in the grand scheme of things, I don't donate to a lot of campaigns because politicians drive me crazy. I don't consider you to be a politician, I consider you...

 

0:33:06.3 Julie Sowash: I don't either.

 

0:33:06.7 Torin Ellis: Yeah. I consider you being an engaged parent, a citizen of the community that just simply wants better and given the reason why you're running on the heels of that story, I'm definitely making another donation.

 

0:33:24.5 Stacy Bernal: Thank you.

 

0:33:25.3 Julie Sowash: Yeah. Absolutely. And I think what's... You kind of brought up sort of two interesting points too. You talk about Utah as being a predominantly White state, I'm from Indiana, it is certainly a predominantly White state, and this is where White people maintain the power structure. There's not a fear in Indiana that we are gonna be... Have any true diversity or any true diversity in our power, especially in our legislature, because it is so absurdly gerrymandered. Do you have an impression or a thought on why we are seeing states that are far from the border, that are predominantly White? Why is this like a knee-jerk reaction to take, not just our history and our civics around people of color and how we have treated them and abused them as a nation, but also to protect LGBTQ kids? Why is the pushback so hard when the "problem", and I'm using air quotes, doesn't exist in the communities that are having these conversations?

 

0:34:43.6 Stacy Bernal: So when I do my training, I talk about how we lead from two core emotions, and it's fear and love, and I think that there's such a fear, and because we have these words and topics and ideas that are being so propagandized, is that even a word? Propagated? So people, I think that they're kind of... I don't like making super broad statements, but in a lot of ways, we maybe are not quite as informed as we could be, we are a little maybe uneducated on topics, and so we hear these terms and we're scared of them, and people, anything that they're scared of, people wanna fight. And if people are very safe in their status quo, if they're safe in their positions of privilege and power, they don't want it rocked, they don't want it to change.

 

0:35:38.0 Stacy Bernal: And so, if we start talking about even Juneteenth, where all of a sudden, it's like, "Oh, why this holiday? Why don't we... " Why is it scary? People, there's pushback, and then it becomes hate and anger and divisiveness, and if you're for this thing, then you're a crazy liberal socialist, all the things, and there's just... We've dehumanized people to such a level of just disconnect. "I just don't even want to connect with you because you're so very different than me." And I think that if we can shift our perspective, which I know it's so hard, because it's so hard for me.

 

0:36:16.0 Stacy Bernal: I try to understand the people that I see that think a certain way, I do try to understand and I can't, but it's being able to come at it with a little bit more humanity and love, but yeah. I don't know the answer. And we have... The pandemic has just exacerbated everything, George Floyd, on and on and on. We just have so many layers and just so much work. As a nation, we have so much work, and I think there's this idea that we had Martin Luther King Jr, we had the Civil Rights era, we had Barack Obama, we're good, we did all, and... No, there's... We have a lot left to do. And a lot of it is because we have not been informed about our true history.

 

0:37:07.8 Julie Sowash: Yeah, 100%.

 

0:37:09.9 Stacy Bernal: But now we don't wanna talk about it.

 

0:37:11.0 Julie Sowash: And I love... Sorry, I love what you said about, "Why are you so scared?" And I think that that is a good question for us to be able to ask when people are pushing back so hard. "Why is this scary to you?" So I want, for our closing thoughts from you, Stacy Bernal, to speak to our audience who feel, I think a lot of times, the way the three of us have talked today about our participation and interaction and role in our political process, why is it so important that every single person who's listening to this podcast, at least on the American side right now, shows up at the polls in November and uses their voice, even if they live in spaces where they don't feel like their voice has been counted, regardless of it's because you're a D or an R in a different space, you're a person of color who doesn't see the policy change that we need to have happen, you're a woman, you're a person with a disability? Why do we have to show up in November?

 

0:38:24.0 Stacy Bernal: I know there are times where it can feel very, very hopeless that my one vote isn't going to make a difference, like, "What's even the point?" And I have certainly felt that in the last couple of presidential elections, and especially being here in Utah, which is such a red state, but truly, truly... We said this earlier, that change really happens on a local level, and that's how we do have the power. And I think for me as a school board candidate, I have a very small district of about 5000 people who can even vote for me, and on that level, yes, absolutely, every vote matters, every vote counts. And so that's what I tell people is, "If you don't vote, then you don't even have a say and don't give that power away, even if your candidate doesn't win, you don't let them take your power away." So every vote counts, and especially on the local level.

 

0:39:25.8 Torin Ellis: The book is titled "The Things We Don't Talk About: A Memoir of Hardships, Healing, and Hope". You can find such at seestacyspeak.com. Again, See Stacy, S-T-A-C-Y Speak, seestacyspeak.com. And finally, her Twitter handle is Vote4Stacy4OSB. Again, Vote4Stacy4OSB. Stacy, thank you ever so much for joining J and I on Crazy and the King.

 

0:40:02.6 Stacy Bernal: Thanks, both of you.

 

0:40:06.3 Julie Sowash: Alright, so back for her voice segment, we are amplifying women who are making moves. And in the spirit of our conversation with Stacy, we are gonna focus on women that have overcome seemingly insurmountable odds.

 

0:40:23.7 Torin Ellis: Yep, the She, the Her, the Thems. And the first one was said by... "One child... " It was said, "One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world" by Malala Yousafzai. Yousafzai. I don't know how to pronounce it. But everyone knows Malala. Yes, indeed. And she said that in her speech after she received the Nobel Peace Prize back in 2014. As a staunch advocate for the education of girls worldwide, she is the youngest Nobel Prize winner in history. And when you think about Malala's story, you see what's possible, what you can overcome, even if it is challenging you, even if it's a challenge that is bigger than you, scarier than you might ever think that you can handle, you do have the ability to succeed, even when facing impossible odds.

 

0:41:22.7 Julie Sowash: And then we have Arlan Hamilton, is a remarkable entrepreneur who built a venture capital fund from the ground up, wait for it, while homeless. She is the founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital, a VC firm dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders who are people of color, women, and/or LGBTQ.

 

0:41:49.6 Torin Ellis: And real quick, Julie and I recommend that you watch the documentary, "Girl Rising." We'll put the link in the show notes. It's about unforgettable girls striving beyond their circumstances and overcoming these nearly insurmountable odds that we've talked about this entire episode. Let me tell you something. Stacy, she smashed it. She handled it in her TED Talk. That's digital. That's virtual. She dropped the mic in the episode. You can do that now. And what she did, and I don't know if you caught this, J, but what Stacy did was, she was the second summer of 2022 guest that recounted a real-life suicide of 18, with the origins of there bullying being inside the school. Two guests in the same summer.

 

0:42:42.1 Julie Sowash: It is a...

 

0:42:43.2 Torin Ellis: Different geographies. Touching on something so emotional.

 

[music]

 

0:42:50.8 Torin Ellis: I can't even talk about, "I know how you feel." You know how we say these things that are so familiar? "Oh, bring your whole self to work." You know, these phrases that make us feel comfortable? I could never say I know how those people feel. I just think that her contribution was an installation for all of our listeners to repeat a couple of times.

 

[music]

 

0:43:19.8 Julie Sowash: And finally, as we wrap up the show today, #disability Twitter, so I have a hot follow this week. It is Syreeta Nolan. You can follow her on Twitter @nolan_syreeta. S-Y-R-E-E-T-A. She's a Black woman who has a disability, who I've been following since really, just late June, early July. And she opened up this discussion about the intersections and stigmas associated with being disabled in the Black community. And she wants to empower #DisabledBlackTalk to have more conversations about evolving fear, stigma, and language use in the Black community to talk about people with disabilities. Follow Syreeta Nolan. Let us know what you think.

 

0:44:15.2 Torin Ellis: I'd close reminding each and every one of you to share the pod with your digital tribe to find your voice, like be committed to building better teams, better culture, better workplaces. Really, be committed to being a better person. I remember telling a client earlier in the week, "We don't need technology to be a better person." For now, J and I are ghosts.

 

0:44:41.9 Julie Sowash: See ya.