Episode 168 – Unstoppable Advocate Consultant with Jeri Perkins
At 26 years of age, Jeri Perkins already has a Master’s of Social Work Policy, Administration, and Community Practice degree and has her own business and coaching program. She also works as a councilor, so actually, she has two jobs.
Jeri helps clients and students to understand that while all of us may exhibit differences we are really all part of the same race. She fiercely works to promote equity and inclusion.
We talk about a variety of subjects around DEI and we even have a discussion about language and why words matter.
Our discussion was not only lively, but it was informative and, to me, inspiring. I hope you find it the same. Jeri will be one of those people who throughout her life will enhance the world for all of us.
About the Guest:
The mission of Impact Action Network is to Educate to Liberate, so that Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, & Justice (DEIBJ) is a priority and not a checkbox in academic and professional settings. The organization’s vision is for Communities of Color to have access to advocacy resources that enable them to navigate effectively and safely through systemic and institutional racism and oppression.
Working with individuals one-on-one, in groups and within nonprofits, for profit, and educational institutions, Ms. Perkins’ consultant services are devoted to guiding students and professionals, as well as organizations, to navigate through environments of institutionalized racism to tear down the barriers of oppression and inequities. Coaching and trainings are tailored to the needs of each client.
Ms. Perkins’ heart for service led her to earn a Master of Social Work Policy, Administration and Community Practice degree from Arizona State University’s Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. While at ASU Ms. Perkins served as an Inclusive Design for Equity & Access (IDEA) Jr. Scholar. Her experience in witnessing faculty/staff and scholars cater to the fragility of whiteness and the normalization of racism and oppression perpetuated against students of color led to her founding the BIPOC Student Network, now known as the Multicultural Students Network/Alliance.
While an undergraduate student at Historically Black College & University (HBCU), Lincoln University (MO), Ms. Perkins produced and hosted the Impact with Jeri Perkins talk show on JCTV Access to raise social awareness on the systemic and institutional challenges and barriers communities are experiencing.
Ms. Perkins earned her start in the media industry as an Emma Bowen Foundation Fellow with corporate sponsor NBC Bay Area News. Her experience has led her to become a sought-after keynote speaker to address such issues as the Invisible Tax of Scholars of Color Navigating Academia; Intersectionality of Historical & Generational Trauma; Answering the Call to Leadership; Strategically Navigating Systems and Institutions; and Trauma, Grief, and Healing the History of Colorism, Texturism, and Featurism to name a few.
Ms. Perkins’ determination to use education as the pathway to liberation has led her to pursue an EdD in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in Organizational Development at Grand Canyon University.
She was a 2021 Greater Phoenix Urban League of Young Professionals Rising Award nominee for her educational and economic empowerment and civic engagement work in communities of color. Her clients include Brenton Family Dental, R.O.C.K Foundation, The Purposeful Mind, State of Black Arizona, and Association of Fundraising Professionals to name a few. Ms. Perkins recently was a guest speaker for the University of Phoenix Inclusive Leadership Summit, Youth World Education Project Urban Experience Conference, the 2023 Annual ATTITUDE Mental Health Summit for African American Women, and the Arizona Statewide Child Abuse Prevention Conference.
Ways to connect with Jeri:
Facebook: Impact Action Network Advocacy Consulting Agency
LinkedIn: Impact Action Network Advocacy Consulting Agency
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
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Michael Hingson ** 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson ** 01:20
Well, hi there once again. And this is unstoppable mindset where inclusion diversity in the unexpected meet. And who knows what else and our guest today is Jeri Perkins who has a master’s in social welfare. And I don’t know what all and she told me, she just started a new job. And she also owns her own business. And I can keep going on and on and on. But I’m gonna let her do all that because that’s why we got her to come on unstoppable mindset rather than me telling it to you. Let’s have her do it. But anyway, Jeri, welcome to unstoppable mindset. We’re really glad you’re here.
Jeri Perkins ** 01:58
Thank you, Michael, I appreciate the opportunity.
Michael Hingson ** 02:01
Well, we’re glad that you were able to make it and we want to talk about you and all sorts of stuff. So let’s start with maybe the the earlier Jerry, you know, growing up and all that sort of stuff. Tell us a little bit about you
Jeri Perkins ** 02:16
know, little Jerry was quite a little girl. She was very mischievous. Everything, you know, mind in everybody’s business, but our own and still doesn’t sometimes tries to cut down on that. Because these days, I’m more busier. But I would just say I was always inquisitive. And I was always very, like self aware, and reflective of everything that was going on around me not always accepting of it. You know, I think ever since I was a little girl, I was very disillusioned with a lot of social injustice and inequity in the world that various communities face. But I was very passionate about even from a young age using my platform to evoke change. And as Gandhi would say, being a part of the change that I want to see occur in the world.
Michael Hingson ** 03:13
So where are you from originally?
Jeri Perkins ** 03:15
So I grew up in San Jose, California border of Cupertino, Cupertino years, I went to high school over there Cupertino law.
Michael Hingson ** 03:26
And, and so you could watch the growth and development of Apple.
Jeri Perkins ** 03:32
Yes, we saw that in my father’s a computer software engineer. So he was up in San Francisco. So we were over there too, during that time. Uh huh.
Michael Hingson ** 03:44
So, how long ago was that? I don’t, not trying to pray in your age, but roughly, oh, well, I
Jeri Perkins ** 03:51
mean, I’m 26 years. All
Michael Hingson ** 03:53
right. Well, now we know so we can continue.
Jeri Perkins ** 03:57
And I love you know, even sometimes, and I know, in my profession, as a Licensed Master, social worker, you know, some people may look at, you’re 26 years old, what are you now but like, other than that, I really do like to share my age, because I feel like it’s important for young people to know that they can lead while young and that you know, your age is just the number and it doesn’t have anything to do with your impact.
Michael Hingson ** 04:23
And that’s a really good point because I am someone at the other end of the spectrum being 73. And I don’t think that matters. You know, the bottom line is, it’s what you can do and what you choose to do and how you learn and continue to be effective. And that’s all that really matters. Anyway.
Jeri Perkins ** 04:40
You are absolutely right. And to even elaborate on that my grandmother is 86 years old and she was running around the track at the park so she was about A D. So you know she’s a smoker, but grandma is healthy as she can be from what we know and still going strong because of all that
Michael Hingson ** 05:00
Sigh Well it keeps her busy. And I don’t tend to do a lot of walking around outside, I actually developed a, a track here in the house. So I do a lot of walking. But we have a living well, a kitchen, great room area, and there’s a bar in the middle of it. So I love to read books, audio wise, and walk around the bar. So I can I can walk, you know, 10,000 steps or any number of miles just walking around while I’m reading a book and never even really notice it other than the university, I’ll sort of get tired, but I just keep going in. It’s kind of fun to do. So I get lots of exercise. But I do it indoors. And that works out really pretty well. So I can’t complain about our
Jeri Perkins ** 05:47
natural environment. That’s,
Michael Hingson ** 05:49
that’s it? Yeah, yeah. And then the fridge is always nearby. I do resist, I do Resist.
Jeri Perkins ** 05:57
Resist so good for you.
Michael Hingson ** 06:00
Well, I love to tell people then I occasionally from the Girl Scouts will buy lots of boxes of Thin Mints. And the thing is out of sight out of mind. So they’re up on shelves or in the freezer. Don’t see them. Don’t go after them unless I happen to think of it. And then I’ll bring them box down and and eat it slowly. So I do try to exercise a little bit of willpower every so often anyway.
Jeri Perkins ** 06:27
Yeah, that’s a good strategy. I’m gonna try that. Yeah,
Michael Hingson ** 06:31
you know, hide him in the freezer where you’re not gonna see him and then you’re in good shape. Okay, Gary RC. Well, thanks for being on unstoppable mindset. What a great, wonderful day. Wait, no, not really. We’ll go on. So, you went through high school, you were up in Cupertino. And then what did you do?
Jeri Perkins ** 06:52
So I went to Lincoln University, Missouri, go blue tigers, founded by the 62nd and 65th Soldiers of the United States Colored inventory. It’s a historically black college and university in Jefferson City, Missouri. And I majored in broadcast journalism. And I had a talk show on JC TV access called impact with Jerry Parkins.
Michael Hingson ** 07:15
will tell us about your show.
Jeri Perkins ** 07:19
Yeah, basically, I interviewed community leaders and organizations on their impact, to raise local global awareness on the challenges and barriers that I’m developing countries such as Haiti face, and nonprofits such as the help for Caribbean kids that does missionary work in Haiti. And also just giving a platform to up and coming leaders such as myself, or people who may not necessarily have that name recognition across the country, or, you know, as national or global leaders, but have such a powerful local impact, just giving a platform for those people to share their stories and raise awareness for the resources that exists on our college campus community and beyond.
Michael Hingson ** 08:19
So, what, what caused you to want to do that kind of a show? What, what really fascinated you enough about the subject that you felt that it would be a show worth having? And you made it obviously work?
Jeri Perkins ** 08:35
Yeah, so I did several different interviews. So that was one example of what I covered on my show and also on the Dr. Jabulani Bates, International Student Center and our travel to Haiti and my reporting over there and just raising awareness for developing countries but I also covered a local church in the community. The Joshua house church I interviewed Miss Tammy notables who was the director of the women’s resource center in the brain, that bystander intervention team to minimize incidents of reported power based violence on campus. So I had a number of interviews I interviewed Helen Casa over girls leap forward at Global Education Initiatives for girls in Ethiopia, and also to aspiring Olympians for on the US National synchronized swimming team. I’m Jacqueline Lu and Nikki’s articles. So just being able to interview these individuals, like I said, before they really, you know, we really grew together in terms of career because that was when I was an intern at NBC Bay Area News as a Immobilien fellow, and now I may look, I’m a guest on shows just like I was interviewing people, so you know, life does come full circle in that way.
Michael Hingson ** 09:59
So When were you on NBC Bay Area?
Jeri Perkins ** 10:02
So I interned at NBC Bay Area News in San Jose, California. They were my corporate sponsor, and I was a fellow and the Emma Bowen foundation for emerging interested in media. So it’s a four year summer internship program that gives diverse talent a head start, and starting their career in the media industry.
Michael Hingson ** 10:25
What years were you there?
**Jeri Perkins ** 10:27
- So the summers are 2014 2015 2016 and 2017.
Michael Hingson ** 10:35
Were you on TV during that time, as part of though
Jeri Perkins ** 10:37
I mean, that’s like a smart market five or six. So like, I was an intern and college, I was learning trying to get to where those phenomenal. My news mentors and the phenomenal journalists there are, but I filmed some things in studio and they were very gracious to help me production was with my filming of my show and different activities that I did. And it was a phenomenal experience.
Michael Hingson ** 11:07
I was just curious, we moved out of the bay area, we were in Novato, actually, we moved out in late June of 2014. So we wouldn’t have seen you if you’re on TV. But I was curious.
Jeri Perkins ** 11:18
Well, hopefully one day, you know, hopefully this will lead to other opportunity.
Michael Hingson ** 11:24
Well, yeah, that would be good. Yes. Well, nothing, nothing like being a guest to get questions that help you kind of figure out how to respond to whatever comes along, when, especially when you don’t expect it? Absolutely. So you you did that for a while, went through college? And then what did you do once you left college?
Jeri Perkins ** 11:47
So for two years, I had a period of time where I had to navigate like my next steps, I thought that, you know, I was gonna go to law school and become a civil rights attorney. And I mean, as I’m sure you know, like life doesn’t always go as planned. And along the way, you know, your steps are ordered. And I would say that I had a lot of challenges and barriers. With the LSAT, the law school admissions test, you know, I didn’t do very well on the LSAT and I didn’t really have a desire to do much better, which is what got me to the point where I was like, oh, maybe this isn’t for you.
Michael Hingson ** 12:30
Maybe last night, the way I’m gonna go,
Jeri Perkins ** 12:32
You know what I’m saying? Like, I had a lot of other gifts. And I remember my pastor at the time, Pastor John Nelson and my first lady, Miss Heather Nelson at Soma Community Church in Jefferson City. You know, they told me like, I remember walking out of the LSAT exam and column Pastor John, and him just telling me, you know, Jerry, God, they have in store for you a career of helping people, you know, and service to the community. And I’m thinking to myself, why, you know, how am I gonna make any money? You know, how am I gonna survive and live? I’ve worked so hard in school and all of this, but I mean, look, what I am now a Licensed Master social worker. So again, life coming full circle, and that’s just four years later from that experience. So
Michael Hingson ** 13:18
So where did you get your MSW? Arizona State?
Jeri Perkins ** 13:23
Okay, watts College of public service and community solutions.
Michael Hingson ** 13:29
Well, there you go. Well, so what got you to go to ASU and to seek that degree?
Jeri Perkins ** 13:38
Well, my parents were retired and they moved to Australia, Mountain Ranch and Goodyear. And after I got out of college, I was navigating, you know, my next step so I moved home with them we’re not home it was a new place because we were in California but um, I started working in the behavioral health field with children, behavioral children and child family teams and a just child welfare systems and group home settings with kids in the system and smi series mentally ill adults and residential treatment facilities. And I really developed a passion for service serving people like being that bright light in their in their day or in their path and being that solid object in their life. But I noticed early on that I wanted to expand my scope of authority because at the bachelors level like and having a degree outside of the field, I just didn’t have a stamp of authority to really impact change like I wanted to. So I said, you know, the system like we need to bridge the gap between the system institutions and the communities they serve. So a lot of people that came across in my path would be like you’re a social worker, like you need to get an MSW like you sound like a social worker? You know you. So I’m just like these people really think and this is the last thing I ever expected to get. And look, I sure did as soon as I applied, you know, I was fortunate to get in and start my journey. And well, two years later.
Michael Hingson ** 15:17
Yeah, why ASU?
Jeri Perkins ** 15:21
ASU. At the time, you know, I really felt like it had, it was a very affluent school, and it had a lot of access to opportunities. One of my colleagues was in the Walter Cronkite school of journalism. And you know, she gave me a tour of ASU. And you know, I also went over there. So the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law, I was over there for some meet and greets, and trying to find out more about how to get in to law school, and I saw him I could see myself on the campus and I’m like, okay, you know, and watts colleges downtown, and we’re really in the midst of the communities that we’re serving. So I’m like, it’s a good school, it has good faculty. And it’s a good program. And I think it was ranked 25th in the nation at the time, but just just saying the plethora of opportunity. That was there. Really, you know, number one, and innovation and research is what led me to ASU.
Michael Hingson ** 16:22
Hmm. Well, and and you obviously did that. And when did you graduate? Um, last
Jeri Perkins ** 16:28
year? Wow. Oh, 4.0 GPA?
Michael Hingson ** 16:35
Jeri Perkins ** 16:37
Yeah, that’s a blessing from God, I always tell people because it was a lot going on.
Michael Hingson ** 16:43
Well, and you obviously coped with it, and you succeeded? And that’s all you can ask for. Right?
Jeri Perkins ** 16:50
You’re absolutely right. And I say it was the, you know, the grace of God and my parents, I had such a strong foundation from being young in seeing my parents and grandparents and great grandparents, college educated, and my sister. So really being the baby, once I got along, like, it was like, no question like that I was going to achieve greatness, it was just what path that I was gonna go down, and was I going to have the capacity to better myself, and not let my own challenges become barriers to the impact that AI could have in the lives of others?
Michael Hingson ** 17:29
Well, you know, it’s always a good goal. And it’s always great when you can do it when you can have an impact. And you know, sometimes you won’t even necessarily know what the impact is, until much later. But you got to start by planting the seeds.
Jeri Perkins ** 17:42
Michael Hingson ** 17:45
And then they grow and they nourish, flourish. And you, you succeed because of that, which is great. Well, when did you start impact Action Network?
Jeri Perkins ** 17:57
Yes, thought started in the summer of last year. So job, I was very eager to start. So I always tell people, I did things backwards. You know, I started with my website and my like, had the language and knew, like the blueprint, like the roadmap of what I wanted to do, but not actually how to get there. So I mean, I had I started speaking at events and by December, I filed for an LLC, and then I kept speaking at various events around the valley, and doing trainings for various organizations, and continue to develop my strategic business plan, my business fact sheet, my bio, the impact that I wanted to have, and, you know, my brochures, promotional materials, my brand statement, my banner that I take to events, my business cards and everything, so that I can really increase my visibility, authority and income.
Michael Hingson ** 19:04
Well, tell us a little bit about what impact Action Network is all about, if you would,
Jeri Perkins ** 19:09
yeah, so our mission is educated to liberate them so that diversity equity, inclusion, belonging injustice is a priority and not a checkbox. And our vision is to provide communities of color with access to advocacy resources, through individual and group coaching trainings and speaking engagements to navigate systemic and institutionalized racism and oppression, power dynamics and conflict resolution safely and with confidence.
Michael Hingson ** 19:42
So you so what all What all do you do with the organization or what does it do today?
Jeri Perkins ** 19:50
Yes, so I mean, lately, like I’ve spoken at Attitude mental health summit for African American women, and youth square education’s projects urban experience on the intersectionality of historical trauma, historical intergenerational trauma, I spoke at University of Phoenix inclusive leadership summit on the invisible tax of scholars of color navigating academia. I’ve been on a podcast on the diverse minds, award winning podcast in the UAE on tackling social injustices. I’ve been on art of advocacy live stream about making dei BJ a priority and not a checkbox. Featured and shout out Atlanta and voyage ATL for my work like African American made a bunch of different stuff, like I said, just to get myself out there. And also I did a training for the Association of Fundraising Professionals idea committee on navigating microaggressions in the workplace.
Michael Hingson ** 20:55
You said the EIB J What does that all stand for? I know summer
Jeri Perkins ** 20:59
city equity, inclusion, belonging and justice.
Michael Hingson ** 21:03
Oh, injustice, okay, great. You’ve talked some about disabilities, do you have a disability?
Jeri Perkins ** 21:09
You know, I always say I do not let my disability disable me for meeting my goals. And I encourage my peers and family who struggle with challenges to not let them become barriers. And I made I really, I don’t see it as a disability just because, like what I said, it’s never disabled me for meeting my goals, but it has made my path more challenging. And I mean, mental health. Anxiety and depression is something that I’ve dealt with. And I’m high functioning, like I have a high functioning, generalized anxiety disorder, and major depressive disorder. And as well as a compulsive binge eating disorder. I don’t have it anymore, though. Because you know, I’m in treatment. And I have a dietitian and a counselor, but these are things I struggle with, but they don’t define who I am. And I just assign value to myself by continuing to show up and continuing to just be the beautiful person that I am inside and out despite those challenges.
Michael Hingson ** 22:19
Disability should not mean and as far as I’m concerned, does not mean a lack of ability. And the reality is, every human has a disability. For most of you. It’s like dependency right? Now guys don’t do well, when the lights suddenly go out because you lose power. For some of us, it doesn’t matter. Disability is a characteristic and everyone’s characteristic manifests differently, but it’s still there.
Jeri Perkins ** 22:44
That’s very powerful. Yes. And person first language, you know, differently abled, or disability
Michael Hingson ** 22:53
but differently abled is horrible. You may not think so Oh, absolutely. I’m not differently abled, my abilities are the same. I may perform them differently, but I’m not differently abled. And that’s part of the problem is that we spend so much time trying to tell people with a disability, because you have a disability, you’re different. No, we’re all different. But I’m not differently abled than you I deal with a computer just like you do. I may not use a monitor, I may use software to verbalize the screen or a Braille display. But there are people who are left handed, who don’t necessarily do things the same way you do. And tall people don’t necessarily do things the same way short people do. So the reality is that differently abled is just a way of trying to hide from addressing the issue. And the fact is, we’re all in this planet. Look, Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb, right? He invented the electric light bulb if you use the Americans with Disabilities Act, and I’ve said it before on this podcast, if you use that as an example, it’s a reasonable accommodation for light dependent people who can’t do well in the dark. So technology has covered up your disability but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still there. Which is again, why I say disability doesn’t mean lack of ability, but does it mean you’re differently abled, because you turn on the lights? It’s just part of the characteristic of your disability that you have to deal with. And that’s why I think that differently abled is really just some people’s way of trying to hide from dealing with the fact that disability is a characteristic we all in one way or another experience and that’s what we really need to deal with.
Jeri Perkins ** 24:36
You’re absolutely right and I think that person first language or not, Oh, what about something else? I’m not person first language but our use of language is important because you know, things one may feel like they are being inclusive or allowing others to subscribe the identity to themselves that they I believe that they have and one may not, you know, so I appreciate you corrected me on that, because it’s another perspective that I can, you know, see things differently even in my work. So I really do appreciate that. And I would also say that, along with not addressing the issue or use of language that may suggest not addressing the issue, I think that there’s a real stigma and shame associated with accessing mental health care and reasonably, within the disability community, or within those who do have some type of these different challenges we all do. So it’s important for us to access resources to enhance our quality of life, because I know a lot of people, brilliant people, hard working people who do, you know, have a disability, who do not access resources, and their life is very challenging. So I think what you said is very important, because yes, it’s how you deal with your challenges. But it’s also acknowledging that a challenge exists. And where do you go from there?
Michael Hingson ** 26:12
Well, and everyone faces challenges. Your gifts aren’t the same as my gifts, and neither of our gifts are the same as someone else. It doesn’t mean that any of our gifts are less or more than anyone else’s. The question is, how do we learn to use our gifts? And how do we move forward with them, which is something that we all have to face. But when we really try to compare our gifts, or compare ourselves to others, whose gifts are different than ours, then we tend to really run into difficulties like, words do matter? You’re right. I’ve talked about the concept of visually impaired before, it’s a horrible term, because first of all, blind people visually aren’t different. And second of all, why do I need to be compared with how much eyesight someone has? It’s not visually impaired. It’s blind or low vision. But the reality is, like deaf or hard of hearing, people who happen to not hear well, would hate you to call them hearing impaired for that very same reason. The reality is we’ve got to stop trying to compare, because that just continues to promote the stigma.
Jeri Perkins ** 27:32
Yeah, that’s true. Like the standard, like, we’re normal, I feel like it’s we’re making. It’s like a sense of other reason that someone is not aligned with what the standard is where the norm is. And the reality is, there should be no standard, or norm, no norm, because everybody is different in their differences should be valued.
Michael Hingson ** 27:58
Right. And we need to get to the point where emotionally and intellectually, we accept people who are different than we and that’s a big challenge.
Jeri Perkins ** 28:13
Michael Hingson ** 28:15
So for you. You talk a lot about Dei, and BJ, and you talk about dealing with different kinds of identities and the intersection of identities. Where does all of that play? I guess maybe the best thing is where what kind of role does intersectionality play in that? I think we’re talking about that. So I thought I’d just ask you that question and bring it right up?
Jeri Perkins ** 28:46
Yeah, that’s a good question. I think that, um, there’s different levels of privilege, and there’s different levels of oppression and at the intersection of race, ethnicity, socio economic status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, status, or whatever the case may be. There’s intersections, like no one person that people fit in multiple categories, oftentimes. So it’s just like, assessing and evaluating each intersections of their identity holistically, to be able to understand who this person is not just from one dimension, but multiple dimensions. So I think that’s what intersectionality means. And when I think about it, in terms of person and environment, life path and life trajectory, depending on other systems and subsystems that make up a person’s environment, it influences their decision making their actions and their life path and life trajectory. And I think that that plays a role in the intersectionality of people’s identity there Is there access to social determinants of health, which are quality of life predictors and indicators of health outcomes. So it’s just intersectionality of identity is such a dynamic, broad topic to address. And oftentimes, as a society, we don’t address each intersection of an individual family or communities identity.
Michael Hingson ** 30:31
So language becomes, of course, a very important part of that, and how do we change the language or get people to change the language and grow to recognize that, that we’re all really part of the same thing, and that our identities intersect in so many ways.
Jeri Perkins ** 30:50
I think that strengths based language, and not problematizing communities who experience marginalization, or oppression, but looking at the root of systemic and institutional pervasive issues, as a means of this person, it’s not, you know, if somebody needs access to like, Student Accessibility and Learning Services, that’s a resource to enhance their learning and quality of life and experiences, that doesn’t mean that this person is problematic, or there’s a step more you have to deal with, to provide these resources, this should be available to meet each individual student’s needs and tailored to each individual person are professional in the workplace, so that they have equitable access and to opportunities. That’s inclusivity. And I mean, I would say that that’s justice. And that represents the diversity of human experience. And I often say, I don’t think you can have D IB J without the other. I mean, obviously, you know, all the letters may not be there within the experience of individuals and students and professionals navigating systems and institutions. But I feel like it’s like any equation. If you have each of these variables in there, that’s an indicator that you’re doing it right. And that quality of life of the communities you’re serving as being in advance.
Michael Hingson ** 32:28
How do we change the conversation though, since we, we’ve identified that there are so many people who view some of these things as a problem or, you know, another example might be the concept of affirmative action, where that was used to try to make part of our, like university system and our employment system more inclusive. But yet we also have people who oppose that. So how do we change that conversation? And get people to be more open?
Jeri Perkins ** 32:58
That’s another good question. And, you know, it’s unfortunate that people are affirming they are, are opposing affirmative action. And I actually saw a news story with an individual who I believe, identified as Asian American, and was just as you said, opposing affirmative action, saying that he was denied from, you know, six Ivy League schools, and that the reason why he was denied was because his black counterparts who weren’t, you know, up to par or at his standards was given preference over him, and not looking at all the the legacy admits, and the people who are admitted into institutions because you know, their families give money to the school or are very involved. So it’s like to tell to center the narrative to be the same oppressive narrative that got us to needing affirmative action in the first place, is unfortunate, because affirmative action was not just created on the basis of race and ethnicity. Sure, that’s what was center to not discriminate against anyone based on their race or ethnicity and admissions, and hiring practices. But across the board, we talk about intersectionality of identity, affirmative action applies to that as well, not discriminating against people for their age, or for their ability, or for their it could be a number of things, their sexual orientation, their gender identity. So I mean, I feel like like you mentioned, everybody has something different about them. And this is not the oppressive oppression Olympics. We all have differences, we should value differences and and make that conversation inclusive to the demographics of the communities that we serve, and that we are as a people In this country, and its global citizens across the world,
Michael Hingson ** 35:04
that’s part of the interesting part about it, right? global citizens across the world. And we, we so often just lock ourselves in our own little world and don’t look beyond it. And that, that tends to be a real problem, because we don’t learn, if we if we don’t look beyond our own little sphere of influence, perhaps.
Jeri Perkins ** 35:30
That’s absolutely right. And that’s also a sense of other reasons. People, you know, a lack of social empathy. You know, there’s an article by Elizabeth Siegel, and it says, you know, it’s titled, a lack of social empathy, work, working but still poor, like how we can be the richest nation in the world. But we have people living below the poverty line experiencing homelessness is the most out of any industrialized nation, I believe. And it’s like these policies, this legislation, it’s not inclusive of the the demographics that legislators serve. And oftentimes, in that article and mentioned, most legislators are older, white men who are making decisions on behalf of Communities, that they share no intersectionality of identity in terms of live and shared experiences. So that requires empathy, to make decisions that are going to be for the betterment of the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
Michael Hingson ** 36:37
What’s going to change that,
Jeri Perkins ** 36:40
you know, I’m not sure anything can change it at this point, because I try to be, you know, optimistic and remain hopeful. And that’s why I do the work that I do. And I believe education is the pathway to liberation. So I think increasing knowledge base and awareness on advocacy, having more social workers in the spaces, lobbying for policy change, because the lens that a social worker has, it’s just, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It’s just a different set of experiences, because of the education and practicum sites, the situations were placed. And, you know, we need that diverse worldview in these spaces. But I think that at the end of the day, the powers that be those who are in control, who will devour within systems and institutions have the power to evoke change and have the power to say how fast the needle moves forward when it moves forward, and whom it impacts. So I think at this point, it’s larger than just touching the hearts and minds of people. It’s a it’s really built on power dynamics, and conflict resolution. And, you know, my mother always used to say, as I was a child growing up, the world is divided into the haves and the have nots, and you want to be one of the ones who have. So there’s an element of perhaps, manifest destiny. And there’s Wale, I asked myself all the time, as a black woman in this country who’s highly educated working on a doctorate in Organizational Leadership and Development. And I know there’s many highly educated black women and women of color in this country, and also those who did pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and, you know, navigate higher education and professional settings, and much respect to, you know, our immigrant community and that those efforts as well. But I’ve just noticed that what is the difference between the privilege that I’ve experienced growing up in private schools and affluent neighborhoods, and my counterparts who found even when I was attending Lincoln, who had a very different lived and shared experience coming from inner city schools, and it’s not that those students were any less capable than me, it’s not that they were any less intelligent than me. They just had a different access or lack of access to certain College and Career Readiness resources than I had coming from California public schools. And it showed in terms of college and career readiness. I stepped on the college campus with an internship at NBC. You know, it’s just, honestly, depending on social economic status, it’s like the playing field is not even. It’s not even it’s not even close. And who is to say that my life or my experience matters more than my counterparts. It doesn’t it should be the same. They’re students just like me, their lives and experiences matters. Their right to education is a right but I’m here and you know, many of them are doing phenomenal things too. Oh, but I say that to say, the difference in just lack of access to social determinants of health, you know, safe neighborhoods, nutritious food, um, what else like education, um, the standard of education, higher paying jobs, economic opportunity, upward mobility, to break those generational cycles of poverty or generational curses, even that because of the intersectionality, of historical and generational trauma we experience as people of color in this country. So again, multi dimensional and multi faceted, there’s many different perspectives you can use to look at it.
Michael Hingson ** 40:48
What does success mean to you?
Jeri Perkins ** 40:52
That’s another phenomenal question. Have you not I feel like failure is not an option. So success to me, is just just being better, you know, like, success to me, I don’t even think success is ever really attainable. Because each day, if you’re striving to be better than you were the next day, or more successful, it’s more like you’re meeting a goal or a milestone, and not necessarily, you know, quote, unquote, being successful. Because what does that mean? I mean, I could say in my field, success is about the impact I made. When I see the lives of the clients that I serve, be in touch, because of my spirit, because of my knowledge, and education and work experiences, being able to, to impact them. That’s really what success looks like. But again, each day striving to be a better clinician striving to be a better business owner, organizational leader, all of that. So I mean, someday success to me could be having a positive attitude, you know, not rolling my eyes when I’m frustrated, or, you know, being able to maintain a professional facial expression that does not show every emotion that’s in my head. So that could be success for me, but it just varies depending on the day. Sometimes it’s just showing up and being in the room. You know, I always say that too. Sometimes you just have to show up. Yeah. So yeah. Well,
Michael Hingson ** 42:34
you know, it’s the reason I asked the question is that the people define success in so many different ways. And the other one is, what does happiness mean to you?
Jeri Perkins ** 42:48
Oh, nice questions. I think happiness, peace, I would just say peace of mind, body and spirit is happiness to me. Liberty, liberation.
Michael Hingson ** 43:02
Uh huh. Yeah, I had the opportunity to interview someone recently. And we were talking about competence. He teaches young men, executives and leaders to be better leaders. And he talks about life being an adventurer. And he also talks about confidence. And a teaches people to build confidence. And the point is, though, he distinguishes between confidence and arrogance, and says that, usually well, arrogance typically is something that manifests itself because someone’s insecure, and they bluster or they try to bluff their way through something. Whereas a person who is confident, truly understands where they’re coming from, they understand what they can do and can’t do. And they speak from, if you will, and not in an arrogant way, but a position of strength, and that people can tell the difference between the two. And so I didn’t ask him about happiness. But I think it’s interesting, people are always talking about how we seek happiness. But no one ever really can define it and, or, or knows how to define it in such a way that you could identify how you’re going to seek it. You know, and I think that that really happiness is something that is something that needs to be defined by every individual in terms of what they need. Obviously, you can’t be happy if you’re going around blowing people away with a gun and consider yourself really happy in the moral sense of the word but you can certainly be happy if you know you’re doing a good job of helping other people survive and grow and thrive like you’re talking about. And that can lead to Happiness.
Jeri Perkins ** 45:01
Yeah. And that is so powerful that you say that because it’s like, I find the greatest joy, not in the clothes that I wear or the way my appearance and how I present myself in the world, although that’s important to model those behaviors in my line of work for my clients, but just meeting with them, and just thinking about how I can enhance their quality of life, like, I genuinely find joy from that. And I cannot say that I’ve ever found joy, it really in a job before, like I have in the social work field, being a clinician, and that might grow one on one individual practice of just seeing how I coaching with clients, just really like, it’s a different person, their spirit is uplifted from the time they step in my office to the time they leave. And that, you know, brings me joy, because I’m like, job well done. And, like all your education and experience know, it’s not just a piece of paper. No, it’s not just credentials, or a resume or CV, you’re impacting people’s lives. It’s not just about you. And that’s the power, I feel like and happiness, for myself for what for the work that I do. And even my family, being able to, you know, break those generational curses, like I mentioned, with mental health, um, I feel like I don’t have anybody in my family. I’m the one you know, who advocates not just for myself, but for my siblings, and for my parents to access health care and mental health care resources. Because as I mentioned, there’s such a stigma and shame associated with accessing those resources and communities of color. Yeah.
Michael Hingson ** 46:58
And again, you have found something that brings you joy and satisfaction, then when you step back and look at it, it brings you joy, satisfaction, and yes, happiness, because you see how it’s impacting other people. And that impacts you as well.
Jeri Perkins ** 47:18
Absolutely, it makes life worth living, it makes that, you know, 50 minute drive worth driving to know that, you know, clearly, you know, the higher power has put me where I’m at, for a reason, because the stars really did align. And it didn’t make sense when it was happening. But it really is chess, not checkers, and all the pieces were put together for me to be where I’m at now doing the work that I did.
Michael Hingson ** 47:47
Right? And that makes a lot of sense. What perspectives Do you think that people should adopt? Since we have so many different people who have so many differences in the world? What kind of perspectives Do you think that we should really adopt in order to thrive in life
Jeri Perkins ** 48:09
value in differences, culture as a strength is not a deficit, resiliency is a protective factor. Strengths, both perspectives, person first language, narrative, the power of personal narratives like these are all perspectives of solution focused, lens accountability, approach, collective responsibility, like I use this in my professional practice and in my personal life, to navigate decisions that I make that I feel like. Also, I would say, more of like ideologies. Health care as a human right, is a perspective that I feel like would make the world such a better place like alleviating homelessness and poverty, by utilizing access to this capitalist system, to to level the playing field for those who may not have had the access that some of these millionaires and billionaires had, or the generational wealth. And obviously, when we talk about intersectionality of identity, that’s a whole different conversation about generational wealth and certain families and communities and lack of access. But I think every time social empathy, that’s another ideology, if you put yourself in someone else’s shoes, how do you see the world? Are you able to see the world from their lens from their lived and shared experiences? If we all could do that we would stop doing all this crazy stuff, like you mentioned earlier with the gun control and the gun control law. Like No, nobody’s trying to infringe upon people’s human rights. So Second Amendment rights to bear arms. No, but what about the welfare of our children and families like, happy people don’t do stuff like that. And I think there’s a lot of people in this world who hide behind greed, and money and their fancy lifestyles, and they’re not happy, and they’re, you know, doing a lot of unhealthy things because of it. And that’s unfortunate, because truly, this, we put money on a pedestal as if it’s a as something to aspire to. And it’s like for you to have all of the access to it in the world, and still not be happy and still be a miserable person. You know, I often used to say, when I was growing up, what is wrong, like I knew from a young age, and that’s why I encourage other young people who feel like they’re going through challenges to speak up about it. Because I knew that I had depression, since I was probably in middle school, I knew something was wrong, I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t have the language. I didn’t know how to put a word to. But like, by the time I was in high school, I was able to put to diagnose myself and obviously, in my field. Now, I know that was out of my scope of authority, but I knew you now. And I think I read something in the book that said, you can find peace, in honesty and acknowledging that experiences are the way they are, and things exists. That’s where you find peace and liberation. That’s why I say Educate to liberate. Because when you educate your mind, you liberate your body and your spirit.
Michael Hingson ** 51:40
Do you when, in the course of all the things that you do, do you ever meditate?
Jeri Perkins ** 51:47
You know, it’s difficult for me to meditate. And I often think it’s because I may have a touch of ADHD. But, um, I shouldn’t do that.
Michael Hingson ** 51:59
I was just curious if you did, do you? Yeah, I do. And I, and, you know, meditation can take on many forms. It’s as much well, one form of it is as much about introspection at the end of the day and thinking about what happened that day, and how did it go? And things that didn’t go, well? Why didn’t they? And what do you do to make them better? I’ve learned to recognize that I’m my own best teacher. And the best way I can learn is to analyze what what I do in the course of the day and think about it, and move forward. And we we mostly just don’t take time at the end of the day to think about what happened, why it happened. He said that there’s no room for failure and failure isn’t an option. And I think that the reality is that we view failure in the wrong way. Because failure is really a learning opportunity. And it doesn’t necessarily mean failure, it means okay, we didn’t do something that worked the way we expected to the expected it to is that failure was bad. And we didn’t think it was bad at the time. It may have turned out bad. But the issue is, then how do we deal with it?
Jeri Perkins ** 53:20
Right. And I agree with that, for sure. And I think from a resiliency perspective, when I say failure is not an option. I mean, that I’m resilient to the point that whatever outcome I desire, I’m going to relentlessly pursue, for example, my mental health and wellness holistically, or, you know, like my education or career, you know, I remember when I was in grad school, and it really became very overwhelming not only my first year that I have imposter syndrome when I think about intersectionality. And that, you know, and how that played a role in that because obviously, I was qualified, it’s not overqualified. And I earned the right and deserve to be there. But I think that when I say failure is not an option. There definitely is room to fail. And you’re absolutely right. It’s a learning experience. But when I say it’s not an option, I mean, you I expect myself to learn from that experience, and to not make the same mistakes again, and as you mentioned, meditating that reflection and awareness. So yes, I do meditate because I do that all the time. And it’s a very useful scale. So I completely agree with you.
Michael Hingson ** 54:42
Yeah, it’s, it’s a very important thing to, to think about what we do and why we why we did it. And sometimes it’s that we didn’t have the right knowledge. That’s okay. We learn from it and we move on to the next time.
Jeri Perkins ** 55:00
Absolutely. And that’s the air Mom, sorry, go nuclear? Oh, no, I was just about to say that I feel like that’s the earmarks of a someone who to know that you have room to learn and grow, like the feeling that you have best a person who has no glass ceiling, because every day, they know that all they can do is just reach higher, higher and higher for their goals and milestones, because they know that they will make mistakes. And that is okay, that, like you said, that’s a part of the learning process. But to not let those mistakes define their goals and milestones, or how far they can go or how high they can reach.
Michael Hingson ** 55:46
Right. Tell me a little more about what impact Action Network does. And why you have that. And what does it do for people today?
Jeri Perkins ** 55:58
Yeah, so impact Action Network was birthed out of my experience navigating higher education. And I actually started a bipoc student network at ASU, would we change the language me to the multicultural students Alliance Network, because I witnessed a lot of my colleagues of color, and even scholars of color, navigating the racism and oppression in power dynamics, and unfair structural conditions and conflict, and academia that appeared sometimes to have no resolution. And I remembered being an advocate and being a leader at the college level, and having access to leadership to allies and female scholars as a color that helped guide me and mentor me. And I thought to myself, well, I want to create a network of resources so that students and professionals have the same access to trainings and coaching and speaking engagements, recording so that they can learn how to learn. And that’s why I created impact Action Network to bridge that gap between the system institution and students and professionals to have the confidence and knowledge to navigate systemic and institutionalized racism and oppression safely and with confidence.
Michael Hingson ** 57:23
So what exactly do you do with it? And how does it work? And how do people access it or utilize it?
Jeri Perkins ** 57:31
So now, I’m in the stages of community stakeholder engagement. So I go out to events in the community, and I engage with community stakeholders, I have books, as resources by authors of color that I sail to support my work and also have, like I mentioned, I’ve done a plethora of speaking engagements. So that’s really key notes and different things, to support my work and to get on that broader stage. And those trainings and workshops as well, on navigating microaggressions in the workplace, you know, there’s a lot of interactive discussion, and embedded in that, and people are able to ask me questions about how to navigate certain experiences, and prior evidence informed and evidence based practice experiences, I’m able to provide them with insight, you know, and I still like the coaching component, more so than one on one or group coaching. The coaching is ingrained and embedded in my speaking engagements in my trainings in my workshops, because, as we know, you know, the role of the therapist and my other job I know changes, you know, constantly during the session. And I feel like the role of someone who’s changes the narrative and blaze their own trail, and creates their own vision for the future and inspires to do others the same, it changes. So as a consultant, my role may be a coach, a trainer, or a speaker, and knowing when to just having that box of tools and when to pull out which tools and being able to connect and, and make those, create those relationships and engage with community stakeholders. Because my concentration was policy administration, community practice, and my passion is macro level social work. So that’s what I do. And just all those elements of my practice are just opening up the doors and the windows of opportunity, so that the gatekeepers don’t keep the gates close.
Michael Hingson ** 59:36
Do you want to get back into journalism or do things in the public media again?
Jeri Perkins ** 59:42
Um, I would like a talk show. Talk show one day so there you go. And it just felt like that would just provide a bigger platform to have a bigger impact and reach more people and audiences. So you know, Oprah Ayana, Mr. Tyler Perry Miss Eva duveneck I’m here, you know, I’m ready to serve. I have different passions and I’m skills and experiences. I mean, I’m here, you know,
Michael Hingson ** 1:00:16
there you go. Well tell me if people want to reach out to you and learn more about the impact Action Network, maybe hire you or somehow use your skills, how do they do that?
Jeri Perkins ** 1:00:28
So you can visit impact action network.com and schedule a consultation. You can also email me impact action firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can also follow me on social media, Instagram impact underscore action underscore network, Facebook and LinkedIn impact Action Network advocacy consulting agency.
Michael Hingson ** 1:00:54
A lot of ways for people to find you.
Jeri Perkins ** 1:00:57
Absolutely, because there’s more than one platform. So there’s no excuse not to reach out.
Michael Hingson ** 1:01:03
Well, there you go. Well, cool. Well, I want to thank you for being here and giving us your valuable time and talking with us about all this. It’s kind of fun. And I love the fact that we were able to have a real conversation and, and hopefully inspire people, and hopefully people will reach out to you. And so impact Action Network is the way to do it. So please reach out and do all that you can to help Jeri and what she’s up to its J E R I Perkins. So Jeri, I want to thank you for being here. And I want to thank you all for listening. Please reach out. We’d love to hear your thoughts. And I’d love to ask you to please give us a five star rating wherever you’re listening to this. If you’d like to reach out to me, please do so Michaelhi at accessibe.com. AccessiBe spelled A C C E S S I B E. Or you can visit our podcast page www dot Michael hingson.com/podcast. And Michael Hingson is spelled M I C H A E L H I N G S O N. So hopefully you will reach out we’d love to hear from you. And if you can think of anyone else who should be a guest please let us know Jeri same for you. If you know some other people who we ought to have on as guests on the podcast, I would really appreciate you performing introductions and letting us know who what, who we ought to visit with next. So again, I want to thank you though one last time for being here. And I really appreciate your time. So thanks, Jeri, for being with us today. Thank you
Michael Hingson ** 1:02:44
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.