This year has been an interesting one, and Jasmine Brett Stringer means that in the most Minnesotan of ways. But out of the despair from COVID-enforced quarantine to the killing of George Floyd, Stringer is taking it as a call to action.
Stringer, a writer, speaker, and lifestyle personality, founded #ShareTheMicMN late last month as a way to help amplify the voices and reach of black and brown women living in the state of Minnesota. Stringer pairs an ally who is giving their social media account to a woman of color, who will then post on it. The sharing happens on Wednesdays; the next one is July 29, and then every other Wednesday after that.”
“We’ve had the pandemic and then we had this murder in Minneapolis and I feel the country and the world has risen to the call of action from to do better and be better,” said Stringer. “I’m normally a very happy person, a very optimistic person. But it was very emotional hearing people’s stories and the pain. Always, in the back of my mind, was how do I help move this forward? And how can I be a part of the solution?”
Stringer said she woke up with a divine assignment, and in less than two weeks, she completed it.
“I texted Amy Zaroff and we spoke right away, Stringer said. “Same with Ali Kaplan. Same with Jayne Haugen Olson. Amy has been a God-send, just helping me source things and get a logo.”
Zaroff said saying yes to Stringer was easy.
“She asked; it’s as simple as that,” Zaroff said. “She surrounds herself with people who make things happen. This was the right time, and it felt like something very positive and pretty easy to accomplish in a short period of time.”
Stringer pairs the “ally” who turns over their Instagram or Twitter account to a “partner” who has the opportunity to reach a different group of followers that they may not otherwise get in front of on social media.
“Our social media is a very curated experience, whether we want to acknowledge it or not,” Stringer said. “It’s our friends, and our families, or people we like. Another reason why I wanted to do this campaign on social media is to bring new voices into the dialogue. Because if you’re only listening to people that are like you or people that you like, you’re getting only one side of the story or one perspective.”
“But to truly be well-rounded and have a broader understanding from a broad breadth and depth to the issue at hand, you need to hear from other people and people that have experiences of it first-hand.”
Said Zaroff: “The whole point is becoming visible to new and expanding audiences. For me, that was the most important part.”
The partnering up of people is a time-consuming job for Stringer, but unlike a national share the mic initiative that took place in June that only paired women together, she will pair men that want to support the work, mission, and call to action of the women with the women of color.
“Black and brown women can bring context, but we have to bring our allies along on the journey because our allies have to reach their network to get them inspired and motivated and eager to take action,” she said. “We can’t put the onus on one party alone.”