Exclusive interview with author "Aundrea DeMille"
Aundrea DeMille is the author of Is It Racism, How to Heal the Human Divide and Bunny Seeds. She is an International keynote speaker, trainer, podcast host of The Wake Up Stories and she appears on Good Things Utah, Utah’s #1 morning show.
She is a business owner with years of study in diversity and inclusion as well as a degree in community health and human services. She has been appointed by Utah Governor Cox and Lt. Governor Henderson to serve on Project Gateway: Equity & Opportunity Commission.
Aundrea is a maker of men (she has five boys), lover of peanut butter and hater of chocolate. She feels most like herself when she is barefoot and connected to nature.
Here she shares with us some more about herself, the inspiration behind her new book, Is It Racism, and gives us a look into her personal life.
Talk to us about your journey as a writer.
A: My journey to becoming a writer was a surprise for me. I set out to share stories to help folks understand how to show more empathy for folks who look differently from them so that we can create a better world for our children. I never thought that I would compile all of the stories and give folks a useful tool to implement it. Becoming a writer was an internal calling. I could not ignore the call to serve.
Tell us about your new book, Is it Racism: How to Heal the Human Divide.
A: Have you ever looked at someone of a different race, gender or ethnicity from you and felt uncomfortable for no apparent reason? We all have. What we feel and how we initially react towards folks directly comes from our subconscious minds and is where we intentionally or unintentionally seed and grow racial bias for others. That is where all the input from the outside world gets planted into our minds.
In this exciting and riveting book, I explore the potential to change the way people think and feel about racial stereotypes. Readers will explore personal stories backed by a historical perspective, and current events to learn how to use a tool that we created called The Mind Model. The Mind Model, universal laws of attraction backed by science with the help of neuroplasticity, (the ability to change how we feel) will teach readers how to Wake Up and react with more empathy toward folks. Together, we can reseed our subconscious minds to become self-aware of our bias to help heal the human divide.
Why did you decide to write this book?
A: After the murder of George Floyd, my 12-year-old at the time was coming to me and crying every day for a week straight. This was the first time that the racial injustice of America was gravely impacting my boys because they were finally old enough to comprehend what was happening. So, I set out to make a video about what it is like to raise Black boys in America. That video led to me meeting Governor Cox and Lt Governor Henderson of Utah. They came to my home and genuinely listened as I shared what it was like for my Black experience in Utah in addition to what it is like raising minority boys in a predominantly White state. We shed tears together that day in my living room and created a bond that would never be broken between us. I later learned how my personal stories of racial bias impacted Governor Cox, his wife Abby and their administration. I thought to myself, if my stories can have a positive impact on the Governor and the great state of Utah, then what will it do for the world? So, I wrote this book to help heal the human divide.
Some of the questions presented in your book - "Does racial decimation not exist anymore," Is racial bias a thing of the past?" - are very important, especially in our current society. Will we ever have an answer to these?
A: Throughout the book I'll answer those questions and more through personal stories, historical perspective, and current events. The answers will shock and astound you. However, with help of the Mind Model, readers can learn how to individually and collectively navigate and heal the racial divide.
The stories in your book are very personal, did you find it hard to be so vulnerable with your readers?
A: Yes, I have been sharing some of the stories from the book with others for years so initially, it was not very difficult. However, as the stories developed and some of the pain resurfaced, it became more and more difficult. to be vulnerable. I have lost friends and business from clients due to the content of this book. A few of the stories involve me kids, so that was difficult. But, because writing this book was a call to serve and help folks heal, I found strength in being vulnerable; I know that my vulnerability will aid in healing for others so it is worth it.
Tell us about your podcast.
A: Have you ever felt uncomfortable, felt fear, or didn't know "what to say" and "how to say" certain things during a conversation about race?
We know that it can be hard to have uncomfortable conversations about race, women rights or the LGBTQ community. On our podcast show, The Wake Up Stories we explore personal, firsthand accounts of how people have felt someone else's bias because of how they look, their gender, their race and more.
Through the power of storytelling we help people Wake Up to unconscious bias one thought at a time, teach folks how to have hard, uncomfortable conversations and create equity & unity to help heal the human divide.
What would be the one message you want your readers to take away from reading your book?
A. I want folks to learn that we each have a responsibility to always stand up for what is right, to always give everyone the benefit of the doubt before making snap judgments, and to implement one tool from the Mind Model. Doing those things means we can help heal the human divide, and thereby make the world a better place for us and upcoming generations.
Are there any upcoming projects you’d like to share with us?
A: Yes! I'm excited to share that I'm working on a children's book called Bunny Seeds: All Bunnies Are Created Equal.
Bunny Seeds is a sweet story about four baby bunnies. One day they discover a beautiful garden full of treats. After the white bunny Willow declares she should enter the garden first, the other bunnies don’t understand why. They set off on a journey to learn the answer only to discover something truly magical. Bunny Seeds will be on Presale on 1 November 2021.
For more information, please visit: https://wakeupstories.com/