Both my dream and my purpose is to accomplish unity and healing in the United States of America by teaching about racism and teaching strategies on how to heal our nation. As an advocate for social justice, over 25 years of my life have been dedicated to advocacy, non-violent protests, and long-term strategic movement planning. Although many refer to me as an expert in social justice causes, my interest in the movement began innocently after I encountered overt racism at the age of 9.
After touring the Alabama State Capitol with classmates on a 4th grade field trip, I entered the office of our newly retired Governor, George Wallace. The White kids entered first, and he was excited and welcoming. When he realized there were also African American kids in the class, Wallace panicked and yelled, “Get these N-words out of my office!” Armed security guards rushed in and removed us from the premises. Guns drawn. No apologies.
After that harsh awakening, I became active in the social justice movement, and over time held various leadership roles. As I continued to acquire more skills to become the best person and leader possible, I had the opportunity to mobilize international efforts to stop Troy Davis’ death by coordinating rallies and protests as the Leadership Chairperson of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. I was devastated when the state chose to execute him despite the preponderance of evidence that he was not guilty of the crime he was on death row for. I remained inspired by the words of my hero, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
As a believer in the nonviolent approach to advocacy, I identify with the philosophies of Dr. King and Mahatma Gandhi. The most important lesson I learned from them, is when doing anything, no matter the fear or anxiety you feel, do it AFRAID. There are always challenges and barriers to working for social justice and working for anything that is meaningful and helpful to the world. Overcoming those obstacles means looking for allies and accepting help when it comes. To navigate and manage competing priorities, I develop more intentional time stamped objectives for each of my goals and find inspiration in daily affirmations with other entrepreneurs.
Being intentional and celebrating every little accomplishment with my fellow entrepreneurs sustains me. Celebrating others who are in their purpose keeps me inspired. Teaching others about racism and social justice in America is my purpose, and I am still in the long-haul of my journey. My most recent endeavor in my quest to teach about racism and social justice involved shifting gears.
After developing a curriculum about teaching racism that I am proud of, the global pandemic made me shift gears and work on creating a digital curriculum. I missed my financial goals along the way and was often disappointed with the lack of involvement of my family and friends in this project. I had to learn that your family and friends are not necessarily a part of your journey in your purpose, just like they are not often a part of your targeted demographic. I also had to accept the power and privilege that came with my success. I have resolved to remain committed to my purpose and open to seeing people in my life win, no matter who they are.
Troya Bishop is a doctoral student at Walden University. Many have become acquainted with her from the national scene in the social justice movement in her role as Leadership Commissioner in the Atlanta office of Rev. Al Sharpton’s Nation Action Network. Troya came onto the international scene when she was invited to present her research on racism at the Kappa Delta Pi International Research Conference at Mt. Royal University in Alberta, Canada in July of 2019. Since that time, Troya has continued to present her research through her conferences and online courses, The Answers: Discussing and Defeating Racism in America. Visit her online to share your feedback and stay engaged at TheAnswersToRacism.com