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Gabrielle Wyatt and The Highland Project

Gabrielle Wyatt and The Highland Project

For the latest episode of our From Idea to Impact podcast, Arabella President Rick Cruz spoke to Gabrielle Wyatt, social entrepreneur, educator, activist, and Founder of The Highland Project. Their conversation covered Black leadership and the power of education and activism. Here is some of what Gabrielle shared: 

  • “I had an educator who believed in me and said, ‘you know, you should run for school board’. And that is exactly what I did. I ran for Baltimore County school board and earned a full voting seat at age 17; and I, frankly, never looked back. I figured out that I loved what I now will call structural change.” 
  • “I will forever have educational justice in my DNA, but I think in the last five years I really grappled with ‘are we really creating multi-generational opportunity?’” 
  • “I came to The Highland Project out of 1) believing that we really need to reset the conversation and redefine the conversation around what does it mean to create multi-generational wealth. And 2) how do we do that with Black women at the center of those solutions.” 
  • “[At The Highland Project], we are listening to and centering Black Women in everything we do […]. We quite literally invest in their brilliance.” 
  • “Highland was birthed out of rest, and I share that because much of our work with leaders is about their own sustainability. […] Understanding what it means to be in a moment of pause and how can that tap into, not only self-preservation, but creativity.”  
  • “I think a [Highland] leader would say to you, ‘I’m looking for my soul to be fed and I’m looking to meet people that I might not otherwise meet; but are doing similar work to what I am, pursuing structural change, whether that’s changing policy, resource flows, power dynamics. And [people that] are bringing a different lens or perspective on the work.’” 
  • “Something that really pushed me off the ledge to launch Highland was this notion of getting to action and that we don’t have to wait for others. It can be by us and for us and we can invest in ourselves.”  
  • “I think that at the heart of some of the lack of movement, is still a scarcity mindset that exists. […] I think it is past time for us to look at the abundance of Black led solutions that exist. It is past time that we don’t truly invest in them like our peers have been invested in.” 
  • “For a funder who’s listening and questioning ‘how can I move more quickly?’, my advice would be to find [Highland], find a 1954, find a Camelback. We have the infrastructure in place, we have the networks in place, and we are investing in real structural change that will be here to last.” 

To hear more from Gabrielle about economic empowerment, rest, community infrastructure and more, listen to the full conversation between her and Rick here. 

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