In honor of Women’s History Month and this year’s theme, “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” we asked the AC Community to share some of their thoughts, insights, and experiences about the biases and stereotypes they have encountered as women – and survivors – to help spark an important conversation to #BreaktheBias.
Below are the perspectives of three AC graduates and extraordinary women who came together on the topic.
As an AC graduate, I want to speak up and explain how capable my fellow graduates are, but I fear I might come across as rude or disrespectful.
At AnnieCannons, we assume positive intent, and whenever there appears to be a gap (either in communication or expected behavior), we do our best to both understand ‘why’ that gap occurred and ‘how’ we can solve it. When one AC graduate, SuperGirl, got to thinking about Women’s History Month and some of the overlapping ‘gaps’ in understanding and respect for women and survivors, she thought to do something about it.
With her enthusiasm for problem solving, or flexing her genius muscles as we like to call it, SuperGirl inspired me (LadySadies) and our teammate, Ajay, along with other fellow graduates to solve this ‘bug’ (or ‘problem’) of gaps in understanding and respect for survivors. We attributed this bug to misconceptions and lack of survivor-sourced information, so together, we came up with a plan.
Our bug-solving strategy is to break bias and bridge understanding of what being a survivor means to us by sharing some of our insights and experiences. To do so, we’ve come up with a series of short phrases and graphics to help others know us and our abilities a bit better. We would like these truths to replace any narratives anchored in bias or misconception that limit who survivors are or what we can achieve. We hope our words will be understood respectfully and also be well-received.
One of the first things to know about us is…
…”We exercise our Genius Muscles!”
References to exercising our genius muscles are commonly heard in the AC training program. “Exercise your genius muscles” is an encouraging phrase that recognizes learning something new might feel uncomfortable and encourages the listener to tap into their resilience and continue trying to understand new and challenging material–simply wanting to understand and wanting to learn are influential to successfully acquiring skills and insights. We’re glad that you’re reading our post, as it shows you might want to learn and understand more about us, our insights and our experiences, and for that, we are grateful, truly.
We wanted to share this phrase because sometimes folks are surprised to learn that we survivors exercise our genius muscles. We are smart, capable, skilled individuals from diverse backgrounds, all on unique healing journeys. Being accepted into the AC training program attests to our intellectual capacity.
This is exemplified in the words of a survivor from our recently completed, 7th cohort:
“When you’re around people for so long who don’t believe in you, you start to believe that you’re incapable. I’ve spent so much of my life having to figure out everything on my own and being in environments that were unsupportive to my overall well-being. Being in the AnnieCannons training program and their first national, all-virtual cohort, I’m now experiencing this amazing, compassionate environment where people not only see my potential, but also, people see how hard I’m working and how much I have to offer. It has elevated my healing journey beyond words. Because of the incredible support from everyone at AC, I’ve realized how powerful my ability is to utilize my tools, resources and my inner strength to creatively solve problems and overcome challenges.
Everything the teaching team, especially Magical (my team lead) and Bella in her role as CDC (Career Development Coordinator), said to inspire and support me along the way was to tap into the confidence, intelligence and resilience I already have within me and they showed me how to apply that to coding. Learning to code with AnnieCannons has enabled me to realize that all of the strength and abilities needed are already within me to accomplish my goals and expand my dreams. I see now that not only am I capable, but everything that I’ve gone through has given me a unique and valuable perspective that I get to bring to the tech industry.
I’ve moved away from asking myself ‘how to keep surviving’ and started asking myself ‘how to start thriving.’ I’m so excited for my journey in tech onward.”
Healing journeys all look different, but we are grateful that our journeys brought us to AnnieCannons, to folks who are supportive, encouraging, uplifting, and understanding. Since you’re reading this, we think you probably share these qualities too, so we are grateful for you and want you to know that all of the ways you demonstrate support and kindness matter and contribute meaningfully to the days and lives of others, even if they are too shy to say so. As survivors, we are more than capable of flexing our genius muscles, and do so regularly to overcome the challenges we face. It’s not always easy to show up and keep afloat among external and internal ‘currents’ or ‘challenges.’ That’s why the phrase we will share with you next-time is: “keep swimming.”