The Race and Wealth Podcast Network

Spotlight 5: Financial Coaching with Saundra Davis

June 11, 2020 The Race & Wealth Team on how to close the racial wealth divide through art, media, policy, literacy, and action
The Race and Wealth Podcast Network
Spotlight 5: Financial Coaching with Saundra Davis
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The Race and Wealth Podcast Network
Spotlight 5: Financial Coaching with Saundra Davis
Jun 11, 2020
The Race & Wealth Team on how to close the racial wealth divide through art, media, policy, literacy, and action

This interview was originally thought of when unemployment was down at like record level lows for African Americans around 6% which is still recessionary level for white Americans but record level low for African Americans. We wanted to have a conversation with who I've heard called the dean and money pioneer around financial education for African Americans Saundra Davis.  

Show Notes Transcript

This interview was originally thought of when unemployment was down at like record level lows for African Americans around 6% which is still recessionary level for white Americans but record level low for African Americans. We wanted to have a conversation with who I've heard called the dean and money pioneer around financial education for African Americans Saundra Davis.  

Dyalekt :

The lens of the media is not right and it needs focus. So it's incumbent on the practitioners to shine a spotlight so those who knew it can guide you through it. The spotlight series is an in depth look with the experts on the racial wealth divide hosted by Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, Chief of Race, Wealth and Community at NCRC. The spotlight series is part of the Race and Wealth. Network shine on brother.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

Welcome to another edition of spotlight of the Race and Wealth Podcast Network. Today, you know, it's been a crazy time for quite a while now. And this interview was originally thought of when unemployment was down at like record level lows for African Americans around 6% which is still recessionary level. White Americans but record level low for African Americans and wanted to have a conversation with you know, what I've heard called the dean and money pioneer around financial education for African Americans and Saundra Davis want to have this conversation with her but now in this post COVID post George Floyd moment, it's going to a be very different type of conversation, but I think it's going to be exciting one anyway. So let me first introduce our guests Saundra Davis of Sage Financial Solutions. Saundra, thanks so much for coming on.

Saundra Davis :

Thank you so much. Dedrick. It's always a joy to be with you.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

No, no, it's great to be with you virtually as I am with everybody, but my immediate family. So it's good to be with you. And you know, I've known Saundra more so as a deep passionate advocate for racial justice, who just so happens to work in the personal finance field, even though that his or her professional space. So I would love to hear how you got into this financial education, financial capability, space, and in what ways this was connected to your dedication to advancing racial equity?

Saundra Davis :

Yeah, so um, I think you know, I was born and raised in San Francisco and my mother was a made in a single woman, raising four kids. I'm the youngest. I'm the baby of course, the most adorable of them all. So I grew up having more than my brothers did when they were my age, right. So by the time I came along, there had already been a degree of financial struggle that my mother had to deal with. And by the time I was born, though, things were a bit better. She worked for a very wealthy white family in San Francisco, who bought a house and sold it to her. So I was actually being raised in the home that my mother owned in the 60s. Right. And so, I just recall having this, you know, really normal, little black girl life. You know, my mom was working, you know, she was working several jobs, actually. But but there was always a thing of, if she ran out of money, she would just get another gig, right. And the way that that showed up in my life was there would be times that would be important, and my mom wouldn't be there because she had to work for somebody else's family. Right?

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

Was the neighborhood mostly African American?

Saundra Davis :

No, there were two black families in the neighborhood. Now. You know, we started out in the Fillmore right. So that was the first neighborhood which was a predominantly black neighborhood. So we started out there and you know, like Georgia weezy. We moved on up if you will, right into what's called the avenues in San Francisco. So avenues and it's right off of Sunset Boulevard Golden Gate Park is literally a block away to beaches, maybe 20 blocks away. And so we were you know, it wasn't I mean, back then it was it wouldn't have been called afluent, right? It was regular working class, white neighborhood, you know. And there was us and one other family. Now the other family they didn't really know they were black. But you know, that, that that kind of happens in our community, right, but so, so here we are on this in this community, and my mom lost her job. And so when I was 15, she sold our home. I sometimes use the term lost our home. In my world as a young child, as a 15 year old to me It felt lost, but she actually did sell the house. It wasn't taken away. She sold the house and I went from She sold the house because she had to? She had to right. It wasn't an option. It wasn't a choice. She sold it becuase she had to. So in my head, that was a loss, right? And so we moved to Los Angeles where she thought that she could get another job. And I, my life just fell apart at that point. And so I was a college bound high school student straight A's on the drill team at Lincoln High School in San Francisco, president of the sophomore class, you know, doing great, and then that. It completely changed the trajectory of my life. I dropped out of high school, I took my GED and joined the Navy.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

So this also happened after you moved to Los Angeles?

Saundra Davis :

Exactly. After we lost our home.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

I just want to know, you know, because I love these personal narratives, because I think they so much reflect a pretty common realities. Right. And I think one it's important to know and I would love to look at research more on this that, you know, we look at blacks losing homes, mostly to foreclosure. But I think you're right, we're under representing how many blacks are losing homes because they have to sell. Not because they're selling to get into a bigger place, they just want to move into the neighborhood. They have to, they're selling maybe to rent because they're in bad, precarious financial situation.

Saundra Davis :

Right, and she didn't have an option, right? Back then my mom didn't know anything about saving. She's poor woman from Newark, New Jersey, one of 12. You know, there was no emergency savings, there was no six months emergency fund in case you lose your job. She didn't have those kinds of number one, the knowledge and number two, even the access to be able to do that. Now, you know, could we have been on a path of saving money? Probably, you know, but but that lack of knowledge, I think was the biggest factor, you know, because back in those years, of course, and I wish I know, I'm aging myself, but hey, so be it. I'm 60 this year, and everybody, hey, look, as my dad used to say everybody enable Right. Yeah. So yeah, so I'm grateful. I'm grateful. But But my point is that, you know, there was this lack of information about what it would take to sustain if somebody changed, right there was that not not that not so long story short changed the trajectory of my life.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

And to dive back into that, because also it might be lack of education, but it's also like a lack of family assets or inheritance or what have you. Right. And I think that's a constant throughout African American situation is that if wealth is generated, it's oftentimes all created within this one generation. Right? You don't have the fallback position. So you know, and I think that's why so many blacks, even from fairly higher income households, a job loss is a huge setback, right?

Saundra Davis :

And one setback can gut us right? Because here's the thing, like I said, my mom was one of 12, there was nobody that my mom could call and say, hey, look, I really don't want to give up my home. What can we do as a family? You know, there was nobody that she could have done that with. And so had she stayed in New Jersey, where she's from, that might have been different. I'm not confident that it was have been different, but it might have been, you know, but the fact is she was out here a single woman by herself raising these kids. And when she lost her job, everything changed. And when I look at that house now, and I, you know, I tell the story when I'm on stage, often that I was talking to my mom one day after becoming a financial planner, right? And I said, well, so Mom, you know, why did you give up our house and she said, baby, I couldn't pay the $300 a month mortgage. And of course, in 1975 $300 is a lot more than it is today. But that was her reality back then. And today, that house is like worth 1.3 million.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

Yeah, I was thinking about San Francisco today. I mean, that would be crazy. Yeah,

Saundra Davis :

Yeah. So that house is about 1.3 million right now. And so think about what that house could have done for me and my sons and now my grandchildren. But it's not here, you know, and not only is it not here, I had to start all over again. Number one, I had to build the knowledge. And so this is getting to your main question, right? So I made every financial mistake possible after I left home and join the Navy. Not only did she not know, she didn't know to teach me.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

And it changed the trajectory, right? Absolutely college bound or what have you in your San Francisco space, you had to move to a space with less probably public assets, community assets, what have you got lost? So not only do you not have the knowledge, but you you know, were sent back a few steps, right? .

Saundra Davis :

Absolutely. And so of course, I joined the Navy events happen as they do. I get out of the Navy broke with a son. And then I go back home to I actually have two moms. So I went back and I live with my my bio mom and my other mom and her husband. And so if it hadn't been for them, now, they had a home. And this is where the homeownership was so important. They they still maintain their home. But he was a contractor. He could not read or write, but he could build a house. I mean, he could he could build a house like nobody's business, and he had a job with a pension. And big mom, she had a daycare in the house. And so we were able to move there. So my biological mom, myself and my son now were able to move in with them. And we did that. But again, my main point here, I got out of the Navy after four years broke with the son. Right. And, and so still not knowing anything about money. And, you know, one of the things that I will say is that even with the challenges, I'm very resilient, and I got jobs, I worked for the Navy, I was fine. You know, I work civil service. I did all of that. But I'm always just kind of living paycheck to paycheck. And then I started working in the nonprofit sector, for the school that my son went to, and I was the development director for them. I went back to school, got my BS in management. And the point was that there are many nonprofits doing amazing work, but we're not necessarily fiscally sound and managerially sound and so that was my goal. But then what I learned as I was doing that, and you know, I'm working at Bayview Hunters Point foundation in San Francisco.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

Your goal is to help make these nonprofits more financially secure fiscally?

Saundra Davis :

Exactly, exactly.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

So in that larger point, I think it is important to know that even the nonprofit's that are led by us or even it could be universities, organizations, institutions that are supposed to be helping us are usually oftentimes as financially insecure as we are right? Which limits their ability to move forward. So that's fascinating to me that you recognize that at that time, and were looking to address some of that back then.

Saundra Davis :

Absolutely so this was in 1989. And one of the first grants that I wrote was for Bayview Hunters Point foundation is really interesting, because the grant that I wrote was to teach women on what was back then called welfare, how to manage their benefits. Because what I was seeing was that, you know, the first and the 15th, right? If your check came in at all, right. And that's what was happening back then. And of course, now aids was just coming to be a really big deal in our community. So here we are. I'm working in Bayview. Our communities being ravaged by aids, we're being ravaged by losing homes, our people are dying, our elders are dying off

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

drug war, our economy in the 80s generally,

Saundra Davis :

All of that, and here's the thing even despite that, even in the midst of that the Bayview was the highest rate of home ownership in San Francisco and this was in 1975, a 77% black community. Right. So we owned our homes. We owned the Bayview right. And we were being ravaged. Right. And and so my point in this and I know this is a long way to get into your answer, but it came to me that it didn't matter what else we did. We could help people Get homes, we can help people get jobs, we can help people go to school. But if people didn't learn to manage our money, the money that's in our pockets in our banks, nothing was going to change. It didn't matter what else we did. And so for me, this determination for us as a people, to be able to own our lives and to feel powerful and strong and able to live the lives we love having our joy in the midst of the crazy, we had to be better for ourselves with our money. And here's the truth, Dedrick. I wasn't better. I wasn't better with it. Right. So this first grant back in the late 80s, right. That's the first grant I wrote. Now it didn't get funded. San Francisco didn't fund it. So fast forward. You know, I do my undergrad, I start a successful business. helping nonprofits manage better. I ran the Ryan White Planning Council for five years and two officers, but still it was the same thing. Right, black run organizations doing amazing work, you know, feeding people housing, people clothing people, helping kids who were unsheltered and all this amazing work, but fiscally struggling. And so that's why it gets so and I won't use the word angry. I get so angry now when I hear about, you know, funders saying, Oh, well, yeah, maybe we should start thinking about actually funding black run organizations. You really No kidding. Really, now? Yeah. Now think about what you could have done. Had you done that 20, 30, 40 years ago, when you determined that white people know better for us than we do? Right. What? So granted, am I all in for it now? Sure. Okay, sure. But let's not act like this is new. We're brand new. We have been holding down our communities with these ad hoc bootleg nonprofit agencies for decades.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

And ad hoc, not incorporated just works. Right.

Saundra Davis :

Exactly, and so and so okay, I'm sorry, I digress. So this drive for us to be able to own our own destiny is what prompted me to start to look at what matters in our individual money, and how does our individual money impact our family money in our family money, impact our community money? And how do those things all work together? And so, after five years of running a business in Oakland, and working with countless nonprofit agencies there. Helping them to build boards, helping them to provide organizational structure to their programs, so that they could be more fund worthy. So that they're reporting could be more viable for all of the questions that they had to answer to get grants to do the work that they were already doing so well. I was burned out, you know. Nothing was changing. And so I you know, and maybe it's it's big headed to think that any one of us can do something that changes on a major level, but I think that we're foolish if we don't at least think that about ourselves that that's something we do. I mean, that's what makes us get up in the morning, right? That's something we do, can make a difference. And so after literally five years and two ulcers, I just needed to take a break. And so I took a break, I took a year off. And during that year, I learned more about money for myself, I learned about the stock market, I learned how to manage my own money a little bit better. And so I decided that the next step was helping other people do this thing first, to be honest, it was, wow, I have so much to learn. I don't know anything about building wealth, and then transferring it to the next generation. And mind you by this time, my son is already an adult, and he's making every money decision and mistake that I made right. So in addition to going into the Navy coming out of the Navy broke with kids himself, I am passing down this intergenerational financial distress. And everybody I knew was doing the same, you know, So, I went to a store as with a bookstore and back when bookstores still existed, I went to a bookstore and there was the book that said, if you're going to hire a financial planner, hire someone who is a CFP. Or better yet someone with the master's degree in financial planning. So I went and got a master's degree in financial planning. And so the goal was to increase the number of regular folks because back then in 2004, back then, people felt like financial planning was only for the wealthy and wealthy people were only you know, I mean, nobody that I knew no, no black folks, for sure had a financial planner. There were people who sold insurance who called themselves financial planners.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

That's right.

Saundra Davis :

They were not financial planners. They were not Well, I mean, they may have existed. I'm not saying they didn't exist, because I know Lacount Davis, that brother's been around, you know, he was the first CFP in the country. Right. So so it's not that it wasn't happening. It's just wasn't happening in the way that I had come to understand. Right. So I started a financial planning small business incubator to help financial planners who were trying to get there three years of experience. But back then, like I was an echoing green finalist, all of this great stuff, right? But nobody thought poor people needed financial plans back then. Right, you know, until 2008 till 2008, then it became a thing. So by then I had already started learning about coaching I'd already built out.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

2008 meaning the Great Recession?

Saundra Davis :

Yes, right. But before then everybody was like, well, okay, as long if they would just stop spending and stop buying tennis shoes and stop buying big screen TVs, they'll be okay. Right? All they have to do is stick to a budget, you know, put your credit card in the freezer. This was what your most most poor people were hearing. That's kind of what I was looking at. And nobody was really paying attention to how do you support people in changing their behavior? And specifically for black folks? How do we understand the impact of intergenerational wealth and wealth across the generations, right? How do we build it together, and then how do we transfer it to those coming behind us? And so, you know, financial planners who were successful and feel said, Oh, well, you know, you're gonna have to go do high net worth financial planning first and then you'll be able to help your people. Right. But you know, I was just too old for that Dedrick. I just, I couldn't be in my mid 40s, starting from scratch in that way, you know, so for me, I had to do this for my folks first, you know, and so I did, and I built my organization. My organization has served, you know, black folks since the beginning, on a sliding scale when I was doing financial planning, and then I started building coaching and the reason for coaching, the reason that coaching is so important is because coaching honors that you are the expert in your own life, right. So so for black elders who did make $1 out of 15 cents, right? Who did manage money, that to be able to see folks make money stretch the way that people who are experiencing poverty can make money stretch, like people can have all kinds of judgments about folks who don't have a lot. But you know, most of those folks, I'm going to tell you, I was at a financial planning meeting. And one of the that my colleague says, I can't get my client to live within her $50,000 a month budget. I'm like, Yeah, okay, the folks I work with Amy making 50,000 a year, right? So you know, it's just, it's all it's all a matter of perspective, right? And it's not to shame or blame anybody else. It's just to recognize that people who are experiencing poverty more often than not, are managing their money quite well. And so how then do I support them in taking what they know and building what they want?

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

And that's the difference for you between coaching and planning,

Saundra Davis :

right? Because I don't just create a plan that says okay, these are all the things that you should do. Now go do them right. So I want what I want to know is so tell me when you think about your vision for your life and then the the generations coming behind you. What's important to you about that, because I I want people to have something to hold on to when they're making a decision day to day about how they live with their money.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

That's right. So yeah. And so it's kind of like teaching people how to navigate if they get off the map, right, exactly right. They're gonna get off map, right? Everybody gets off the map,

Saundra Davis :

But trusting but trusting here's the thing trusting that they do know their own answers, right? I respect that every client that I work with every group that I teach, they know what they need to do. Now, they might need information. I have information, right, I got a Master's, I have more financial content and expertise than I will ever use. Right? But that doesn't change behavior. What I know doesn't change what I do half the time, it don't even change it from me. Yeah. So how can I say, I'm gonna run you through a financial literacy class and Okay, boom, you're going to be good now.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

And that's where the coaching comes into healthy.

Saundra Davis :

That's where the coaching comes in. Because

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

let me let me ask, I think we've gone through a lot in the history, but let me ask you this kind of crazy moments that we're in we're in this you know, post COVID world where things are opening up. But you know, businesses can open, you know, the movie theaters can open. I don't know if anyone's going in. And we know we have this unemployment level people are estimating anywhere between 15 to 20%. What does financial coaching financial planning look like in this post Covid situation where we're really not clear? What is the economic future?

Saundra Davis :

Yeah, yeah. So I think that there's two things. I think that particularly for black people, and everybody can benefit, but you know, I'm speaking about my people, because that's really what's important to me, for people to understand for black people. We have to do a now and then assessment, right. We have to keep our eye on the ball and the goal.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

that's good. Yeah, I like that. Right.

Saundra Davis :

So we got to keep it you got to keep our eye on the ball and the goal because the thing is, we are where we are right now. And we're facing what we're ee're facing right now. And so the things that I've been telling people and I even built a little acronym because I'm a nerd that way um to take a right assess where you are what's going on right now. Keep your cash you know everybody says oh well should I be trying to pay down debt should I be trying to look keep your cash cash is king cash is king and so make sure that you're covering yourself because we don't know how long this is gonna go on.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

For exchanges, it could happen all these

Saundra Davis :

We don't know we don't know if we're self employed small business owners, big business owners whatever. We don't know how long this is going to go on. So the more cash you can retain the better and let me give you an example. So we've been locked down here in California since mid March right so in March and April, I spent money making my patio look like I needed it to look for me to be able to work and feel joyful June money on lockdown, right money's locked. Now. I did a few things to make my life better. I had to do some things in my kitchen becuase Lord knows I'm not a good cook, I can keep you from dying. But But you know, you won't starve to death, but you won't necessarily want seconds. Right? So I had to do some things to me. Probably it's pretty healthy but not that tasty, but but I'm a better cook now, right? So I'm doing I'm doing the things that can make my life in quarantine better, right? So I've done that. And now I have to pivot to the long haul. So so that means I'm tightening the purse strings even more so than before. And keeping my eye it's still I'm still contributing to my investment accounts. I'm a big fan of using there's a particular app that I use and I just put in 60 bucks a week. 60 bucks a week. You can Yeah.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

It's something a lot of people think when you reach a certain income level. You don't do those small time things but like nah, like that's really important. And so I want to note that arc. I think you don't want the arc but I'll call it an arc that you mentioned that I think a lot of people going through but I haven't heard a name is that what the Covid crisis first happened, people going out by extra food, extra supplies because you needed to get some things to get ready for this change. But now is the time to pull back. Hopefully you've made those things and now develop those cash reserves. So I just want

Saundra Davis :

I'm glad that you pull it pull that out, because I hadn't really thought of it exactly that way. But that's right. So you know, I got enough toilet paper, I got enough rice, I got enough beans, I've got the things that, you know, depending on how long this goes on, I'm going to be okay. You know, now, I'm focusing on my fresh vegetables and those kinds of things. And I'm tightening the budget, right? I'm tightening the budget because I have to assess where I am in this moment. And then investigate what's going on? Where's my money been going? Right? Where's my money going? And where do I want it to go? And then modify what adjustments do I have to make? I am not going out? You know, I am one of those vulnerable folks. So, you know, they say they're opening up things. That's fine, y'all. Y'all Go ahead. I'm not going back out until mid July. I'm not going out. You know, and I'll see I will reassess in mid July you know, but you know, I'm an elder, I also have some health concerns. I'm not putting myself at risk for foolishness. So I sound like my mama boy. Sorry, sorry about that.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

As you grow older you grow into that I have a five year old. I'm already starting to see that, you know, happening to me as well.

Saundra Davis :

Yes, yes. So So I think the thing that I'll say to folks is that really take aim, assess, investigate and modify right? For now for now, but keep your eye on your future. Keep your eye on that goal. You know, control the ball, you know, control the ball, but keep your eye on the goal because you still want to take your shot, you still want to take your shot. So keep an eye on where you're trying to end up. And what is something that you can do every day. Sometimes it's self care, sometimes it's writing. Sometimes it's an actual task that you can do for that then right because then is coming there will be an after the first time You get to live long enough to get there. So be smart about your health, you got to be able to take advantage of things that come your way when they do. So watch your money. There's no aspect of our lives that money doesn't touch. So you can't treat it as this off to the side on the shelf kind of thing, you know. And when you do that, you can both manage the ball and keep your eye on the goal.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

So let me I know we're coming up on time. And let me one last question. And we've been talking about racial economic inequality. It's been an issue for since blacks have been brought to this place. We talked about COVID crisis, which is more recent, but even more recent, though, also has been around since blacks have been here has been police brutality. But more recently, we have this George Floyd, you know, moments, reaction protests, what have you. And you know, I've heard you speak before oftentimes about having a trauma informed approach to personal finance. And I just think some words in that context can be very helpful. Now when we've all been going through So much trauma that we've seen on TV and as part of our like every minute of our lives. So just wanted to hear you know, what you can share with us about this trauma informed approach to personal finance at this time.

Saundra Davis :

Yeah, yeah. So So coaching, by definition is a trauma informed approach. So I was very grateful to learn that even that just the coaching skills really aren't enough. Because when you're thinking about trauma, we're all experiencing some kind of trauma right now. Right? And then the question becomes, what does financial trauma look like for many of us? We've lost I mean, I've had no income generated into my business over the past three months, right? There's no new income in my business for three months. And the financial distress sometimes self created, you know, sometimes we put ourselves in financial trauma with the choices that we make. But the fact is, when we're experiencing something like this, the first thing that we have to look at is what must I do to feel safe? What must I do to feel safe because after a trauma that your brain does what it does, right that that amygdala, that bad part of our brain, the most prehistoric part of our brain is always looking for safety and it will trigger us, it will trigger us when it feels unsafe. Now, the safety, you know, the trigger might be real or not, right? But we've we're losing our capacity to use that frontal part that prefrontal cortex. That's our executive decision making. That's where we're thinking clearly. And so if we stay in that triggered part of our brain, that distressed part of our brain, right, then we're actually limiting our ability to make good decisions, right. And so with all of this going on, we want to do the self care that is necessary to be able to breathe and to lower our shoulders and to notice the tightness in our jaw and to relax the jaw and allow our Nervous System to settle in, and to be grounded again. So that we can invite our highest thinking for our highest good. And so that might mean, we have to pull together our resources in ways that we might have forgotten, because that's how we survived enslavement in this country. Right? We might have to think about, we might have an impulse to just support every black business and run ourselves into a financial hole, right? And so maybe instead of trying to do it all you do it as a coop. No, there's a brother here in Oakland that's doing a coop that is just fantastic. To me. There's even a book about it, and I'll have to send it to you separate it. My brain isn't capturing it right this moment, but I'll send it for you to share with people about how do we survive and thrive, because those are the things so when we think about financial trauma, being an excessive debt, anything that causes you constant Long Term stress, we all have a little bit of stress, right? we all we all experienced yourself time. That's not the same as a long protracted toxic stress.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

Yeah. It reminds me, Thomas Shapiro, you know, how thrive black wealth white wealth? Yes, his most recent book was toxic inequality. Right. And that, you know, and toxic inequality for African Americans, right, you know, with that economic stress with the stress of we were talking previously, the stress of police violence, maybe community violence, that can be a part of our everyday lives, you know, and it sounds like, you know, your coaching around all of that is, you know, trying to find some type of mental safety for us. So we can at least have a, you know, have be able to think as long term and as, as clear as possible about how to, you know, move forward in the context of white of what might be real dangers all around.

Saundra Davis :

Absolutely. And what that allows us to do is to have our executive thinking, our highest functioning, thinking, to any situation that we might be facing, you know, making sure that we know how to apply for all of the things that are available to us and knowing when we need to get help, knowing how to find help, and and how do we trust what we see. Right. And so so how do we in the midst of this crisis within a crisis, and again, we're not brand new black folks been going through stuff like this forever, right, forever. And so the question becomes, what impact is that having on my my mind, my body and my spirit? And then how do I protect those things? So that I can still have my joy, right? Because nobody gets to steal our joy. Nobody gets to steal our joy. Even in the midst of this very deep pain. being joyful is absolutely an active revolution. Mm hmm. Right. So we've got to remember because if not, if we don't find our joy, if we don't hold on to that, we forget that what what this toxic pain can do to our bodies. There's a reason we die from high blood pressure. There's a reason we die from heart. I mean, our bodies are not designed to be under stress all the time.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

Yeah. And you know, and these words are made me think to have you know, I hear so much about mental stress that there's COVID and you know, in the context of, you know, white supremacist society has upon people and I realized for me what's been a huge savior for me is I have an eight year old and a five year old and I'm living with that I could get so much joy in seeing them just being an eight year old five year old you can still just be joyful going outside seeing a squirrel right once in so that joy inspires my joy. I know a lot of friends who aren't in that situation that all that it all they see around them is stress. Yes, yes on the news and it's stress, they see their finances and it's stressed and so and their space for joy was usually going out and doing things with front things that have been shut down. So in this moment, we got to figure out, you know, how can we have our joy so we can get through all of this. So just, you know, your words are really bringing together a lot of the pieces I've seen all around me during this COVID period and this ongoing period of dealing with reality of inequality and economic insecurity and white supremacy.

Saundra Davis :

And you know, Dedrick, I hear people say, I feel badly trying to hold my joy in the midst of so many others pain and this is what I will offer here. There's a term called empathetic was called compassion fatigue, the words called compassion fatigue. And there's a researcher who actually said that we should rename that to empathetic distress, because the thing about the black community and I've had this conversation numerous times with people who who have said things like you know, there's you and then there's your community for For most of us in any of us who have any real connection to our ancestral lineage, we understand that there is no separation between us and our community. Right? When I see you hurt, I hurt when I see you hurt, I hurt Now, does that mean as the community we always behave? Well, we all treat each other? Well? No, I'm not saying that. What I am saying is that black folks suffer when black folks suffer, right? And so that level of empathetic response that we're having to each other's pain can actually the research is called an empathy for pain response. And again, back to the brain. It doesn't feel any different to me. If I watch you get cut, I feel it as if I've been cut. Right? And and what that can do is that can lead us to burn out and further distress and sickness right. But what compassion can do, what compassion can do is feel for you're pain and have self compassion as well. So now, I am holding this space to send love and kindness and joy and health, in ease to my people all over and holding myself with compassion so that I don't destroy myself in the process of trying to be part of saving my community.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

No. Well, I think I think those are perfect words to wrap up this conversation. Let me ask you if you can just share where people can get more information, more resources that you think can be helpful for them in their communities.

Saundra Davis :

Wonderful. So I in my organization, Sage Financial Solutions. I'm on at what am i Instagram, Sage.Money. I share a lot of resources and things there. And then also I have a tribe of coaches, financial fitness coaches who I've trained and we're actually trying to pump up those numbers right now. And so we're running a couple of classes one in August and another one in probably early December. They're all web based where people can actually learn the financial content that they need and the coaching skills to kind of start to build up this this financial resilience in our community. So those are the ways you can reach us. Of course, at our website, there's a Contact Us form. And then the social media is we're on all of them Sage money, most places, and then Sage dot money on Instagram because somebody tried to hijack my name. So that's why but yeah, you know, and I will say this. There is a meditation app called liberate, liberate meditation and it is by for black people, other people can use it, but it is specifically for us and I will say it you know, it's not about a religious practice. So whatever your spiritual practice is, meditation is about grounding and connecting, and I really urge people to find that quiet place within yourself. For you know what you need, and then use what's available to you to try to get it. But I'll find that book for you.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

And what was that was the website again for that liberate,

Saundra Davis :

Liberate Meditation. It's an app and it's on all the platforms.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad :

Right. Great. Well, thank you so much. And well, I look forward to our next conversation and maybe one day see you again in person.

Saundra Davis :

I'll be looking forward to that as well. I'm certain that we will be together again in a safe place, but I thank you for all that you do. This is really important work and I'm grateful to you for doing it.