When I finished University in 2016, I was set with a plan. Diversity Matters!
In 2016 I founded Diversity Matters – a platform which champions race equality in the arts and media, which later expanded to education and the workplace in general. I launched with Diversity Matters Awareness Week in April 2016 whilst in my final year at UAL (University of the Arts London), having won a grant from the university. Over the coming months I successfully secured additional funding to continue organising engaging events that addressed diverse issues around race equality. Six months of continuous demands for more projects and events was the turning point where I thought;
“Wow, I can actually get funded to champion a cause I’m passionate about?… I could do this forever!”
So this was my plan, to continue with Diversity Matters after graduation. My journalistic plans would have to wait! I had all the support I needed after all, plus I was securing budgets and commissions – and getting paid for my time, so I must have been doing something right with Diversity Matters…
Diversity comes at a cost
Fast track two years down the line, the number of requests I received for my services steadily included little or no budget to it. Not only frustrating – but damaging to my mental health. I began to feel like the ‘token‘ I’d ironically be telling companies to avoid. “Diversity” felt like the buzz word floating around that everyone wanted to be part of, yet no-one wanting to make space in their budgets for it. Diversity isn’t free. If their are diversity issues within the workplace or in education, re-wiring of mindsets is the way to change things and this comes in the form of trainings, workshops, and discussions. The very things I specialise in with Diversity Matters (through a network of expert facilitators). Expecting black-lead platforms/experts to work for free only perpetuates the cycle of inequality, and systematic racism. It’s exhausting for us to constantly have to prove your worth.
Realest out of office reply I’ve ever written
My mental health took a toll from all the unworthiness… So I wrote a love letter to myself in the form of an out of office reply, and took a self-care trip to Brazil.
Thank you for your email.I’m currently on leave from Diversity Matters (on a self-care and re-alignment journey). I will NOT be checking emails until March 2019. Anything Diversity Matters wouldn’t be dealt with until then (unless you’re offering to volunteer or join the team kindly put in subject title for my attention).For any paid work or commission opportunities, I’m active on my personal social media accounts @makingkai (twitter) and @travelmakingkai (Instagram).Apologies, and thank you for your patience and understanding.Best wishes,Kai Lutterodt
A chance to reconnect with my love of writing
So my out of office reply remains on for some personal reasons. When I left university I didn’t have the chance to pursue a career in journalism, the subject I’d graduated in, as I went straight into facilitating workshops and running Diversity Matters. The initial aim was to be a travel journalist – a dream I gave up to ‘fight an important cause’ with Diversity Matters. 2019 has given me an opportunity to rekindle that dream through my love of writing and sharing stories from around the world. I’ve relaunched my blog (travelmakerkai.blog) and I’m working on my first book Travel On My Own Terms.
Available for commissions!
It goes without saying my Travelmaker Kai email and social platforms are not on a break! I’m very much available for commissions (putting it out there to the blogosphere and equally the universe to hear me!). I provide written and video content (consider myself a bit of a #MoJo – mobile journalist!) specialising in topics addressing race, identity, mental health, the black diaspora, and travel!
Want to get involved with Diversity Matters? CLICK HERE
Wishing all my readers and followers a fabulous Valentine’s Day filled with #Selflove! Thank you for joining me on the scary, yet full-filing journey!
What would your #selflove Out of Office reply look like? I’d love to hear your thoughts – share them in the comment box below! ❤️
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