Sis… Not Every Battle is Your Battle to Fight — Nonthreatening Black Girl

One of the Black women I admire and follow, Miss Julee, said something on her Instagram story that hit in a way that I never expected. She spoke about her time at Essence Magazine and the #takebackessence movement currently happening, where employees of Essence magazine wrote an anonymous letter expressing to the bullying happening from leadership. Though she did say she was not part of the group that wrote the anonymous letter, she did say she believed it and had her own experiences with it. But that is not what hit home for me. It was her last post.

“My form of resistance and self-care was taking my magic elsewhere. I would have loved to stay at Essence for four more years, but I knew it was time to go. That is my truth, and everyone has their own.”

It is something that I have had to learn, and it takes excellent self-awareness; not every battle is your battle to fight, and sometimes the best way to make a difference is to leave.

Having run a young professional organization over the last year and a half has led to many conversations about the current state of affairs. One that is right on par with this came from conversations I hosted to create a safe space for young professionals to ask questions and talk about what was happening in our city. Two of the participants spoke about the lack of response to the Black Lives Matter protest that happened over one weekend, which had many with not good intentions starting riots and police brutality or the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others from their companies. Both questioned how they could continue to work for companies that did not share their values or see the importance of speaking out on great injustice.

I honestly didn’t have an answer for them because I was struggling with the same question. Do I stay where I am and continue to be frustrated with the lack of response or the fluff response? At the same time, many concerns were being brought up internally and ignored, or do I find someplace else where I can let my magic thrive, and I can work on bringing about the change that I so badly wanted for our society. I mean, this is an excellent opportunity to create change, but you have to be honest with yourself and know what part of that change you are expected to play. So often, I feel as though I should be a catalyst for change, but being a catalyst can come in many forms. And the way I had to come to terms with is the one who leaves. That role can be as equally as change-making as staying and trying to create the change.

I can’t be the change-maker in everything I do; sometimes, I must be the one that stokes the flames by leaving so real change can happen. I have to remember I cannot fight every battle, nor should I. And that I must put my self-care first as the ultimate form of resistance. Though I have loved what I have done for the last year and a half I had to come to terms that I could not change the company and that the best move in resistance is to remove myself, someone they considered an asset and a high achiever, was to find another place to take my magic. And I have done just that. I know that the problems have not been solved, but I hope my departure has brought light to only how serious some of these problems are, since me sharing them with leadership wasn’t getting through to them, and will give courage to others to speak their truth in whatever way they feel is right.

For those who are also going through this internal battle, I hope you feel peace by hearing my story as I felt peace when meeting Ms. Julee’s words. Not every battle has to be the battle for you to fight, and there is nothing wr

Originally published at on July 5, 2020.




Cathryn is a Community leader who hopes to shift what community engagement and relations for the philanthropic community and encourage the next generation.

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Cathryn McClellan Kelly

Cathryn McClellan Kelly

Cathryn is a Community leader who hopes to shift what community engagement and relations for the philanthropic community and encourage the next generation.

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