We had the good fortune of connecting with Rikki and Sharmeen of Gray Matters the Blog and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rikki and Sharmeen, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
We (Rikki and Sharmeen) met through the Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies graduate program at Texas Woman’s University and were inspired to create Gray Matters the Blog, a platform that bridged academia and activism. As scholars studying social justice theories and movements such as feminism and womanism, and as activists working in our communities, we found a lot of overlap and were motivated to bring the work of activists to the classroom and make complex academic theory more accessible. We chose a website based blog and podcast as the best methods to have these often uncomfortable topics and to center disenfranchised voices and experiences. As women of color, we are motivated by our own experiences and want to promote positive change and equity through addressing and educating others on systemic injustices. The website, podcast and our social media pages are accessible and aimed for a wide audience. Our business serves as an alternate educational resource and as a supplemental source of knowledge for those unable to access formal academic spaces who still want to engage in learning about the topics we highlight. In addition to our podcasts, we offer customized trainings and seminars catered to small groups and business on topics that meet our expertise such as mental health first aid, diversity and inclusion, and cultural competency among others.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
We worked on Gray Matters the Blog for well over a year before the official launch in the summer of 2020, and have learned so much about the blogging and podcasting spaces. As women of color navigating these mediated platforms, especially during the rise of popularity in podcasts, we have faced many challenges. These challenges have taught us to adapt but to never lose sight of our values. As we reside within many “gray areas” it has motivated us to continue to recognize the need for spaces that center marginalized voices and perspectives and provide accessible recourses. We are proud of our work at Gray Matters and what we have created for us and the community. We realize the need for what is often considered uncomfortable dialogue for positive growth and change-collectively and individually. Our brand is not exclusive for certain groups, rather it is an essential educational resource for all. We are part of the greater global initiative that aims for social equity and dismantles systemic oppressions and injustices.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We are based out of North Texas and we love to support local businesses in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. We love to go on one of the many local trails and outdoor areas including White Rock Lake and the Fort Worth Water Gardens. One of our favorite spots to eat is Spiral Diner – this is always a hit, even for non-vegan friends! We also love to visit the downtown area of local suburbs and surrounding small towns. The city of Denton is a great spot with many local shops and eats to explore!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people who have influenced our vision and supported our journey from academics to activists and friends, in addition to many others. We have had the pleasure of featuring some of these individuals as guests on our podcast, such as educators Dr. Tracy Everbach, Dr. Gabrielle Smith, and Texas poet laureate Emmy Perez, LGBTQIA+ activist and drag queen Adrian aka Kabrina D. Sierra and mental health advocate Yasmin Irfani. We would not be where we are without our supporters and listeners who continue to motivate us and our work. We are so grateful to the entire Gray Matters community!

Website: https://www.graymatterstheblog.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/graymatterstheblog/?hl=en

Other: https://anchor.fm/graymatters6 https://www.pinterest.com/graymatterstheblog/_created/

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