By Kelly Westhoff
“Detrimental things have happened in all of our households over the last two years, especially in the Twin Cities,” said Minnesota-based serial entrepreneur Chaz Sandifer, acknowledging the Covid pandemic and the murder of George Floyd. In addition to larger societal changes, Chaz began to notice individuals around her making personal shifts. She’d heard from several white women that they’d never had a Black female friend. “That was eye-opening for me,” Chaz said. “We need to connect.”
Chaz’s personal experience sparked an idea for a wall calendar she hoped would encourage empathy and fuel friendship. She collaborated with two other women entrepreneurs, Dawn Johnson and Bre McGee, to bring the idea to life. The calendar, called A Black and White Affair, showcases Black women in business and their supportive white female friends. Each month displays a photograph with a quote from the Black woman about how her white friend has provided allyship.
“We’re providing space for the Black women to speak in their own words about their relationships with white women, to express how their friendship was formed, why it’s important to them, and ways in which their white friend has shown up for them,” said Chaz.
For Chaz, it was important that the Black women guided the process. “We said, ‘Let’s highlight the Black women and see who they bring to the table,’” Chaz said. “Some of the women met at an old corporate job and have worked to maintain their friendship. One pair met years ago when they were both going through a divorce.” Others are newer friends. Chaz hopes the calendar will encourage women to reach beyond their comfort zones and find a new female friend from a different racial group. That might mean deepening an existing acquaintanceship or stretching toward someone new.
Chaz’s original concept was a wellness journal. But a journal is usually private and gets tucked away. On the other hand, a wall calendar is on display. “What better way to see light and positivity and connection every day than to have it hanging right there on your wall?”
Chaz credits the talents of Bre McGee, the photographer behind the business Uncommon Collaborative and the calendar, for bringing her vision to life. She said it was Bre who “took what was in my head and put it on the calendar.”
Chaz and calendar project collaborator Dawn Johnson also co-lead Let Go Let Flow, an organization that offers in-person and virtual diversity training and facilitates conversations about health and wellness. They each manage their own businesses as well. Dawn is a life coach, and Chaz’s wellness company, theNEWmpls, offers fitness and diabetes prevention classes as well as a farmers market in Robbinsdale.
The business women in the calendar include:
- Kotiareen “Chef K” Taylor and Mariam Omar of K’s Revolutionary Catering and Madeleine Pinkerton, an early childhood special educator
- Lasha Raddatz of Keller Williams Realty and Jen Flynn, a legal assistant
- Tameka Jones of Lip Esteem and Amanda Brinkman of Small Business Revolution
- Latosha Cox of Black Girl Sabbatical and Terra Carbert of Ambitious Addicts
- Dr. Verna Cornelia Price of Girls Taking Action and Kristen Swanson, a beauty industry executive
- Dawn Johnson of The Dawn Johnson Experience and Let Go Let Flow and Renita Faye of AddWomxn
- Leah Carey of Hungry to Be Fit and Allison Crandall, a style editor
- Kristi Piehl of Media Minefield and Sheletta Brundidge of Sheletta Makes Me Laugh
- Chaz Sandifer of theNEWmpls and Let Go Let Flow and Julie Burton of Modernwell
- Alysha Price of The Price Dynamic and Keilly Olsen, a parenting time monitor
The calendar is $35, and a portion of sales will support Girls Taking Action, a nonprofit founded by Dr. Verna Price, one of the Black women featured in the calendar. Girls Taking Action provides mentorship for girls to help them find personal, educational and professional success.
For more information and to purchase the calendar, visit LetGoLetFlow.co.
Photo Credit: Uncommon Collaborative
About the Author
Kelly Westhoff is a freelance writer who always enjoys talking to women business owners. She finds their energy contagious and their stories fun to share.
About Publish Her
Publish Her is a female-founded independent publisher dedicated to elevating the words, writing and stories of women. We are passionate about amplifying the voices of women of color, women with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ community. We aim to make publishing an attainable, exciting and collaborative process for all.