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Focus Friday 01 – Jasmin Gillard

All advertising revenue from this post will be donated to a charity of choice of our interviewee – In this case Jasmin has chosen The Okra Project – the revenue will be calculated from the date of publication until the next Focus Friday Publication. Any numbers will be rounded up to the nearest $10 (ie. if the advertising revenue is $5.50 the donation will be $10)

Welcome to Episode 1 of Focus Friday. What an amazing honor to spend this time with Jasmin from @jazzuptheplan, what an amazing human and mom and lover of rainbows! I cant wait to share her story and interview with you below!

Jasmin has recently been selected as one of the Squad Members for The Happy Planner and during the interview we talk about everything from Rainbows to Black Lives Matter and being a Squad Member.

If you would like to learn more about why we started #focusfriday you can read about it here!

The Full Interview

When I introduced Jasmin I just fell in love with her lovely gentle demeanour. You could tell immediately that she would be a blast to plan with! We started with a fun word association Ice breaker and discovered that her favorite snacks were rice crispy treats and that Christmas was her FAVORITE!

Jasmin is 25, a mom to two gorgeous little humans and lives, this was her first ever interview (I foresee many more in her future too!). Jasmin is also a digital artist and uses procreate to make some stunning rainbows too!

Jasmin is originally from New Your City and grew up in Harlem, and currently lives in Virginia with her fiance and 2 little humans.

She say she started planning to give herself a bit of an identity and to meet new people, as well as organise some of the chaos that comes with having 2 kids under 3!

What makes your planning style uniquely you?

I started planning because my life was a mess, so started off with a functional with a mini happy planner. And then i got a vertical planner, and it just made way more sense after I had my second child, I just needed more space. Create with Rowie created a rainbow spread and I loved the balance of functional and rainbow, I love using all the stickers but still write down my daily to-dos.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I consume a lot of content outside of happy planner, so like art journaling videos, and then I bring those ideas back to Happy Planning. I then look as to what stickers I can use to turn it into a spread. You can think more outside the box that way!

What are some of the challenges you have faced with building your brand as a woman of color?

At the beginning I don’t really think I noticed it. But it is hard to see yourself as a black woman in the Brand. It was hard to figure out where I fit in in that space. And recently it’s also been about the balance between the happy messages from the Happy Planner and being an activist and speaking out about black lives matter. The biggest challenge has been still enjoying being on the squad and also being myself.

How has being on The Happy Planner Squad impacted you?

Every step of the way, from the application to now, has been the opposite of what I usually do, I am usually very introverted, avoiding the spotlight, and this year the application was a video, and 2 months ago I don’t think i would have done it, so it has me stepping out of my comfort zone every step of the way. Its help me find my voice a lot me and give me a voice!

When was a time you were treated differently because of your skin color?

I think as mom I have felt it the most, when you grow up in New York you are brought up knowing how to deal with the situations, living in the south now and people are a lot more bold when it comes to racism. When I had my daughter, she is lighter skinned because her father is Peurto Rican, and at one of her first appointments the lady just boldly asked me, if this was my child, and if I was sure that she was my child.

Even when I had my son, we were at a hotel and getting breakfast at the hotel and a lady came over, it was just me and the kids sitting there, and was very rude, and when my fiance came over, she calmed down, and she could identify him as a “white man” and told him to put me in my place.

What would you tell your younger self?

That the “correct path”, the “socially acceptable” path is not the only path.

As long as you are living your truth that is the most important thing.

With all the changes going on at the moment how are you navigating this?

We were kinda already prepared for covid because we didn’t have a car! The BLM movement is not new for me, but for the larger community its new, but you still need to find joy and be able to speak out but find joy in what you do and how you do it.

What are the key messages you would want someone to know about the Black Lives Matter Movement?

It’s definitely something you need to do both online and offline. You cannot always be looking for the reward in the process, you need to be an activist both online and offline to work on the systemic racism that people face. It has to be something that is embedded in your life.

Being a mom, how have you explained all the things that have been happening to your kids? What would you want to share with other parents?

In one way I am really lucky because my kids are still really young and dont really understand what is happening on the news. Being a typical 3yr old, she is watching tv and shes watching barbie and barbie is white. We try to be balanced in the toys we buy her, and usually buy toys that look like her.

I also assure her when she says “barbie is so pretty” that she knows she is pretty too. Consistantly remind her that she can find someone pretty but to remember that you are pretty too, and showing the beautiful unique qualities of different colors and races.

I would love to see other parents not having the conversation about “not seeing color” and that you need to see the color and it kinda implies that you dont see the person. Teach your kids to see other people and colors and teach them to treat people the same and treat them how they would like to be treated.

What is something you wish you could tell people to make them more aware of racism and fight racism within themselves?

Be open to criticism and messing up. My experiences have been different and I think being open to doing the research, hearing the criticism, and just learning, not always being on the defence. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, everyone is going to make mistakes. Just take the advice and grow from it!

What is the Okra Project?

The Okra Project is a collective that seeks to address the global crisis faced by Black Trans people by bringing home cooked, healthy, and culturally specific meals and resources to Black Trans People wherever we can reach them.

How does it work? It’s actually very simple! Based on individual donations, The Okra Project pays Black Trans chefs to go into the homes of Black Trans people to cook them a healthy and home-cooked meal at absolutely no cost to our Black TGNC siblings. For those Black Trans folks currently experiencing homeless or whose homes cannot support our chef’s cooking, The Okra Project has partnered with institutions like Osborne Association and other community spaces to deliver foods.

The Okra Project

Want to donate directly? Go check them out and donate today!

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