What it means to be a loving disruptor

Interrupting degenerative pathways within and without is fierce, courageous love-work. For a whole world.

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Emily Johnsson
Emily Johnsson
Nurturing changemakers for a whole world.

I am here to be a loving disruptor, and that means I speak into that which may feel uncomfortable and unpopular.

Only when we are fiercely committed to what we stand for and rooted in our values, we will risk being rejected, in the name of spelling out and standing up for what we believe is right.

That’s the ESSENCE of what being an agent for change is all about. Anything else simply perpetuates the status quo.

Living my values in practise, on the ground – in real time – translate into brave conversations, loving accountability, and leaning into places that feel contracted.

As Brené Brown says: integrity is choosing courage over comfort.

And committment to what matters to us deeply will help us do that, every day of the week.

Our values don’t feel good when they are just written on a piece of paper in our journal.

Our values, when they are committed to, are ready for the world. To be lived in action. To activate. To move. From heart to heart. That’s how we loving disruptors roll.

When we speak and hold space from our hearts we activate and move.

Activation is the first step on our journeys home to wholeness. Activation can lead to life-giving action in
those who are ready.

And that means that LOVING DISRUPTION, is a form of INTERRUPTION.

The interruption of harmful, unproductive
Thoughts
Behaviours
Conversations
Language
Action
Choices
Policies
Practises
Structures
Systems
Spaces

That are not for the greater good of all, or the Earth. Those that extract instead of make whole. Those that are about power over, instead of power with.

Effective interruption happens when we:

STOP
PAUSE
BREATHE
SAY NO
BREATHE AGAIN
OFFER AND CHOOSE A DIFFERENT PATHWAY OR SOLUTION

Right now, there is a great deal of INTERRUPTION happening in our world. Literally everywhere. Every part of our existence is being INTERRUPTED right now.

It’s happening in our personal lives and family systems. It’s happening at work.
Where we shop and how. Where we live and how.
How we travel. Grow food. Eat. Relate.
Lead. Heal. Communicate. Learn and educate.

Things will not be the same again. And that’s because they can’t.

Because the way we have been doing things was not working.
Not for everyone. Not for planet Earth. Not for life.

The driver for INTERRUPTION can have many flavours, from justice and dignity to equality and sustainability. But if we really boil it down, it’s about LOVE. The love that is life.

There is nothing fluffy, airy fairy, idealistic or lofty about the real, raw LOVE that drives the power of interruption. There can be no peace without justice, no love without everyone belonging to our human family.

And when we say YES to it, we have the opportunity to become LOVING DISRUPTORS.

In our personal lives, and in our professional lives too. As parents. Employees. Employers. Business owners. Siblings. Friends. Lovers. Leaders. Space holders. Caregivers. Inventors. Creators.

Changemakers.

Prepared to INTERRUPT the pathways that lead to harm. Changemakers prepared to create and offer something life-giving in their place.

For our future. For the future of the people who will walk this Earth long after we are gone.

Not through violent actions, but loving contributions. In small ways and in big.

Each in our own unique ways.

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About Emily & White Supremacy

Emily is a space holder and self-leadership coach to changemakers. She has over 20 years experience in the field of human development, learning and growth, and leads the coaching and consultancy company Wish Tree since 2011. Her work centres around wholeness – whole humans, whole communities, whole organisations, whole ecosystems. A whole world. Her changemakership is therefore dedicated to clearing distortions and fragmentations that relate to our perceptions of separation.

Emily has been exposed to and ‘sat with’ systemic issues around race, racism, privilege and injustice her whole life. She was born in Camden, London, in the late 1970s to a Swedish immigrant single mum and spent her first formative years in a highly culturally and ethnically diverse setting. As a baby, Emily and her mum lived in a bedsit in a shared house with a Black British family. Her first memory of Father Christmas was of him as a Bangladeshi man. Emily’s mum worked with refugee families and in Children’s Homes in inner city London, and since she had no access to child care opportunities, Emily joined her at work. For a while, Emily had an older Black British foster sister called Debbie. She was very often the only white child in the community of children of which she was a part.

Emily moved to Sweden with her mum as a child and as a teenager became involved with, and led, antiracism youth work in her local town through her school and council-initiated networks in the 1990s.

Her mum, who was active in the peace-and- environmental movement and who had been involved as an ally in the civil rights movement in the US on her travels there, introduced her to Black feminist and activist writers such as Alice Walker, Toni Morrison and Audre Lord, and actively taught her about white privilege, white supremacy and the truth of colonialism. She was also taught about the importance of learning from Indigenous wisdom keepers in order to heal and evolve as humanity, and to (in those days) stop climate change.

In contrast, on her father’s side, Emily is of British Colonial descent. Emily’s grandmother was born in Zimbabwe to Scottish sheep-farmers. Her grandfather came from a poor English background but won a scholarship to Cambridge University to study law. As many young British men of his time who sought “adventure, a good job and travel”, Emily’s grandfather joined the colonial service in the final days of the British Empire, and served in several African countries as a high-ranking colonial officer. He spoke Zulu and Emily’s father spoke Swazi and Swahili before being sent to Britain as a child to attend boarding school, thousands of miles away from his parents.

Although Emily did not grow up with her father or his family, she eventually came to know them and have a relationship with them, which involved taking responsibility for understanding and healing her own familial and ancestral relationship to colonialism and white supremacy.

In this process, she came to see, feel and understand first hand and close up, the deeper psychological workings of the system of white supremacy, the colonial mind and its intimate links with narcissism, perfectionism, patriarchy and extractive economies and behaviours.

Between 2003-2015, Emily worked as a learning researcher and Access, Diversity and Inclusion enabler in the Arts & Cultural Sector, deeply rooted in the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the Human Rights Convention. She worked across the U.K and Scandinavia contributing to a number of large scale change projects, self-evaluation initiatives, conferences and trainings such as “Access for All”, “Inspiring Learning for All”, “Belonging – the Voices of London’s Refugees”, “The West Indian Front Room”, “Kultur och Fritid för Alla”, “Vidgat Deltagande”, “In this curriculum I don’t exist”, “In between two worlds – London teenagers’ ideas about Black History, Belonging and being British” to name a few. She worked with a wide range of marginalised communities as well as with leaders and directors holding white privilege, facilitating necessary and brave conversations challenging the status quo.

Emily has worked across many cultures and languages around the world from Sri Lanka to South Africa, Costa Rica and India to Romania and Denmark, continuously reflecting on and challenging white saviour tendencies. In this process has come to observe how white supremacy and racism works differently in different countries depending on context and history.

In 2020, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Emily became a loud voice in the Wellness industry by calling in leaders bypassing white supremacy through ‘love and light’ rhetoric, exceptionalism, colourblindness and virtue signalling. She closed down several online coaching circles because white participants were unwilling to dive deeper into their own internalised white supremacy, and rendered the spaces not only additionally unsafe, but traumatising for BIPOC clients. Her platform and large facebook community for coaches and wellbeing facilitators centred BIWOC-led anti-racism conversations as a response.

Emily is a skilled and fiercely loving coach and space-holder with many years experience of creating safe spaces for accountability, healing, integration and growth to take place.

She is dedicated to her own ongoing learning, healing and unlearning of covert white supremacy. Examples of this are continuous learning from a wide range of anti-racism educators, authors and activists from around the world.

This bio has not been written with the intention of centring Emily in the context of Me & White Supremacy, but to transparently share about her background, values, skills and experience in order for you to make a conscious decision to choose her as a space-holder, or not.

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