Take Notice: Amplifying Black Stories

Dr. Lydia

April 27, 2021 Dr. Lydia Hughes-Evans Season 1 Episode 13
Take Notice: Amplifying Black Stories
Dr. Lydia
Show Notes Transcript

We are pleased to release our conversation with Dr. Lydia Hughes-Evans, in which Dr. Lydia talks about her experiences navigating a variety of dichotomies throughout her life, her educational experience, and inspirations. We also discuss a bit about her work as an entrepreneurial and love coach.

Social Media/Web:
Pure Momentum Consulting
Boss Ladies In Love
Career Pivot Coaching
Instagram: @LaylaBlooming
Facebook: Lydia Hughes
LinkedIn: Dr. Lydia Hughes- Evans

Mentioned:
Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance
Start Small Think Big
Body Love Cafe
Ad:
Black Mammas Matter

Bio: 
I love to help Organizations & Individuals build their Dreams, while focusing on measurable results! I'm a Nonprofit Consultant, Executive/ Career/ Entrepreneurial Coach, Poet, & Boss Ladies in Love Coach!


Take Notice w Dr. Lydia



[00:01 – 05:30]

Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Welcome to Take Notice: Amplifying Black Stories. I am your host Allison Preisinger-Heggins. The mission of this project is to Take Notice, to listen, to hold space by amplifying Black stories, experiences and voices, conversations on family life, finding joy, and interests of folks in our country who encounter racism on a daily basis. A portion of these discussions will be dedicated to holding space for guests, who are comfortable sharing their personal experiences with racism. Stories help us all learn and connect; we are here to listen to Take Notice. Thank you for being with us. Let us take a moment to recognize, to Take Notice of the voices that are so often unheard. Land acknowledgement statements are an important part of honoring those whose land we now live and work on. I have chosen to begin each episode this way to spark ideas and keep these conversations in the front of our minds, so that we may learn how to do better. 

I would like to acknowledge the land on which this episode was created. I would like to show gratitude to the traditional ancestral land of the Shoalwater Bay and Chinook Tribes, recognizing that these names are not the original names of the people of these areas. As I continue to learn how to better acknowledge native people of these lands, I will adjust the wording of the beginning of each episode. I encourage listeners to research the land on which you live and are listening right now, recognizing this is just the beginning. Welcome to another episode of Take Notice, and thank you for being here with us. I am really pleased to share my conversation with Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans with you all. I had such a wonderful time connecting with Dr. Lydia and experienced that familiar frustration with having so many questions and not enough time to ask them all. So, among the many topics we discussed, you will hear about her experience in education, her inspirations and a bit about her work as an entrepreneurial and love coach. 

There is a portion of the discussion that due to time constraints I had to cut but I look forward to sharing that section in a future special episode, this June. So, be sure to check that out and subscribe if you have not yet hint-hint. Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans loves to help organizations and individuals build their dreams while focusing on measurable results. She is a non-profit consultant, executive career and entrepreneurial coach, a poet, and boss ladies and love coach. Thanks again for being here and please enjoy my conversation with Dr. Lydia. Take Notice would like to take the time to acknowledge Black owned businesses, organizations and artists. If you have a suggestion of who should highlight during our episodes, please find us on social media or visit our website. Black mama's matter alliance is a Black women-led cross-sectorial alliance. They center Black mamas to advocate, drive research, build power and shift culture for Black maternal health, rights and justice. 

Their goals include changes in policy, cultivating research, advanced care for Black mamas and to shift culture by redirecting and reframing the conversation on Black maternal health and amplifying the voices of Black mothers. To learn more and support, please visit Blackmamasmatter.org. Alright, welcome Dr. Lydia, thank you for joining me on Take Notice. How are you today? 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

I am good, Allison. How are you? 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

I am good. It looks like it might be sunny there as well, it is sunny here. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

It is beautiful! Yeah. There is like not even a cloud in the sky. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

You are in the bay area, right? 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

That is right. The small city, probably about 20 minutes away from Oakland, 20 minutes away from San Francisco. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Well, I am just up the coast from you about a few hundred miles on the long beach peninsula of Washington, so we are looking at the same coast at least. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

I know.


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

So that is cool. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

I know it is so cool! 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. Well, let us see. Let us start with where you grew up and who you were surrounded by? 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Well, that is a good question. We are getting to the meat and bones at the beginning. So, I was actually born and raised in St Louis Missouri, in the north side of the city, which was very impoverished and kind of very racially segregated. So, there was mostly, only African-American people that lived in that area and kind of still that live in that area today and there are some mixed, we call them mixed areas or mixed neighborhoods, like in St Louis but most of them are either kind of like predominantly African-American, and predominantly white and then there is a few that are a mixture of other, as it were there. So that is kind of where I was born and raised and I grew up in the 90s; I was born in the 80s, so I was like coming of age in the 90s. My parents separated when I was three, and my dad died when I was 16, and I am an only child. So, it is just me and my mom, for like most of my existence. 

So, thinking about growing up in the 90s, it was tough. Like any inner city area, the bloods and Crips were like a thing and there was lots of gang warfare and drugs and violence and all kinds of other stuff, that was just a regular part of the community or the neighborhood of where we grew up, so where I grew up. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah.


[05:31 – 10:36]

Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

And because that neighborhood, I guess I was mostly African-American, I ended up going to like all Black schools, and pretty much K through 12. So what that meant was that the student populations were all Black but we had like white teachers and things like that. But, the students at the school were mostly Black because they were pulling from… it was like the neighborhood school, right? So, this is the neighborhood but mostly Black then the students mostly Black and I graduated high school in like 1999, so this was not like that long ago, but this was the experience then and even kind of like thinking about it because the school was in… probably my high school, because the school was in such a kind of dangerous or impoverished area. I was like, we used to go through metal detectors, and just to get in and out of school, like every day, like that was like normal. It was not like some sort of event that took place, that happened, and all of a sudden that was just a normal thing. 

We had to get wandered and pat it down, going in and out to school, and actually the school was like across the street from like a really big park and the park was also kind of where a lot of the gang stuff went on too, so that was quite an experience, being there and kind of growing up in that era, and then that neighborhood and so, for me, education was kind of the way out, that is what everybody told us, it was like if you wanted to like have a different life or a better life, you want it to be able to get educated, right? And so, I kind of like really took that part seriously. I am an auditory learner, so there are different kinds of learning styles, right? And so, I am an auditory learner, and so that is how most teachers teach, so that is what most teachers teach, so school was really easy for me. Because I kind of naturally learned how most teachers teach, so that is the only reason why I think it was relatively easy for me. 

And I was pretty active like in school because I got a lot of praise in school for my academic stuff, but also I was involved in a lot of different things in middle school and high school, particularly in high school. So, I ran college, I was in college prep, actually, for high school and what that meant was that I had the same teachers for like all four years. So, I had like the same history teacher for all four years and the same science teacher for all four years and it was a really incredible experience. You would not have thought that the Ghetto High School that I went to actually was funny because I actually got accepted into the Gifted High School. My grandmother, on my mother's side said, that it would be better for me to be… what did she say? A big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond, so instead of going to the Gifted High School where I probably actually would have been average, because I did not go to like Gifted schools up to High School. 

I probably would have been an average student there. I went to the Ghetto High School where I was like pretty high up, like in academics. So, actually that turned out to be really well and the St. Louis Public School district, they gave me a really good education. I mean, I really have to say, even at that impoverished school, so I had, I was in college prep and I ran like varsity track, I ran the 200 meters, the 400 meters, the open end the relay. I was usually the anchor on the relays. I was like senior class president. I was in the national honor society, concert choir. So, I had a really kind of well-rounded, very busy. I think, high school, alright, high school experience but a lot of that was because it was supposed to be about education, right? And like in order to get into college you have to have extracurricular, right? So, I took all that seriously, and kind of did all of those different kinds of things. 

But, I think that that is a general background of myself is that, I grew up in an area where people did not expect very much of you from coming from that area. And, I think I fought that and wanted to fight that like from the moment that I realized that that was a thing. So, I think that that kind of like has motivated me… 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Along the way and definitely was a lot of the formation of my basic core values and beliefs were coming from, you know, living and being and growing up in that area. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. Wow! Yeah that seems like… such a… I do not know what the word I am looking for is, but it is such a, like a split dynamic of being surrounded and like having to go into an environment, where you are going to be learning and growing and learning about yourself. But having to go through metal detectors and being questioned and wanted and then having that kind of that danger influence outside across the street too. But still being able to be so productive and focused on school and everything. Yeah, it seems like that would be a very different experience, maybe not, different is the wrong word but difficult, imagine. 


[10:37 – 15:09]

Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Right. There was definitely a dichotomy there, and you absolutely picked up on it. Actually I think that that I am going to talk about that more, I think as we talk that dichotomy has existed my entire life but it really started in that particular spot and framework. Yeah. Because we used to have, like when we got out of school, the police would like block off the street, so we had like, maybe every day, maybe like four or five police cars of cops that were like there, just to ensure that like when we got out and we are like going across the street to the park. Because a lot of us had to walk through the park to get home, so just to make sure that there was like safety for us that what happened to us. Yeah. But that was that was every day… 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Wow!


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

That was just life. It was… 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

See how it was. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Yeah. I never even knew until I visited like kind of like other schools and like suburban areas or heard about it from like other people. I did not know that anybody had any different experience and then I thought that was just, everybody's high school experience… 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Right, this makes sense… Yeah. Why would not think otherwise. Yeah. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Right. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah, that is interesting, what you say also about the auditory learning, I had not thought about it in that way, like I know that there is the different styles, like I am pretty visual, I can picture something in my head and be like oh, yeah that is what it was. But, I did not think about that, that is very… high school is very auditory, it is all talking or a lot of reading the text but a lot of it is auditory, so… 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

That is right. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

That is right. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. That is a good point. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

It plays a huge role in how people experience schooling because that is how the traditional school system is set up, really to talk at you and to lecture to you, even when you go to college, right? 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Right.


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

We elected you for like four hours, right? You take notes, right? So like but if that is not your learning style, then yeah school is going to be pretty tough. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. That is so interesting! Yeah, I am thinking now, like science and math, yes that was hard for me, I wonder why. Yes, such a good point. Wow! So from there did you… I have so many questions for you, but my next one is, do you ended up going to college obviously because you are a doctor… 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Yeah. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

So where did you end up after high school? 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

So that is kind of funny, that is like a whole story of where I ended up after high school, so… 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Oh, yeah. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Actually, so I told you, well the area where I lived it was mostly all Black, and then I went to college about 30 minutes away, and it was all white, completely different neighborhood, very affluent neighborhood where there were the campuses. Yeah, that was different. There were some things that prepared me to be able to do that and some relationships that prepared me to be able to kind of make that transition and I will share one of those with you to help bridge the gap of how I got to the all-way that was an all-way college and like did not die. So funny! 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

One of the things, I think of like coming out of, you know, this environment that I grew up in, I did really kind of struggle with like relationships, and particularly having kind of my relationship with myself. Like I did have… like even though I was like good at stuff, and I did receive a lot of praise and stuff. I was still, I think my self-confidence and self-esteem was still pretty low. I definitely had the scarcity mindset because of poverty, like it was just we did not have enough, there was never enough like food, there was never enough money, like little mom did not have a car, like there was just like all these different things that like we did not have and you did not really know how much you did not have until you went somewhere else and saw the juxtaposition. So, with me being involved in all those other curricular activities, like track I would go to end up at a track meet at a different school, and we would walk through their school, and see like their computer lab and stuff like we do not have a computer lab. 

Or you know what I am saying, like stuff like that or even just the grounds of like the track was like wow! Like they have tennis courts and this and that and we just have this dirt track, you know. So, like all those kind of things, I think added to the kind of scarcity mindset, which can make you feel like you are inferior, right? Because you do not have what other people have and you start to grow up and you notice those things. 

[15:10 – 20:05]

Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

And like I said, especially since I had like these kind of multiple kind of gifts or whatever, but I really did not have too many mentors or people that could really help me to figure out what to do with all this stuff that I knew how to do, right? And I was kind of walking a different path from many of like the people in my family and friends and stuff like that. So, it is kind of kind of lonely on some level and then of course! I was dealing with the trauma piece, right? It was just traumatic, just living in the neighborhood, like period. Even if you did not have like a mental health issue, or drug issue, or an alcohol issue, or nobody in your family did, just living in that place on that block, was like traumatic, right? Like you did not know, you hear a sound; you did not know if that was like a car back firing or it is usually a gunshot and that probably meant that somebody got shot and if there was just so much, that were kind of going on, that was traumatic. 

So, all those things were kind of really tough for my own kind of like relationship with me, and things like that. But, in high school, I had a teacher and she was my history teacher. So, I told you I was in college prep and had her for four years and this woman like really changed my life, and talking about relationships in the transformation that we have the experience to have when we are in a relationship with people. She is married and actually we still talk and texts like till today. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

So that is awesome! 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

I know. Yeah that is we are like tight for life. But, she was married or is married and that was one of the first things they got to see was like a healthy relationship, like her husband would come up to the school and like bring her lunch or like bring her flowers or things like that. I was like, yeah, wow! Like she would call him on from the classroom on the phone for different things, we got to call him too, like we would call like if we did not want to test, like we are prepared, we would be like can you tell her not to give it today. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

That is pretty good. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

We need an extra day to study. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Help us out. That is great. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

But, we have to like call them like mom and dad. I mean that is kind of the relationship that we had and she taught a double curriculum, so basically what that meant was… and as I actually grew up and got older and got my own like teaching credential and taught if taught in school, I do not know how she did this because I was struggling with just teaching one curriculum, but she actually taught too. So, she would teach the standard text to whatever the school district, the school district adopted texts and textbooks and everything like that, right? For the benchmark tests and all these kind of things, but she also would teach us, what Africans or African Americans were doing during that same time period. So, let us say that we were looking at the renaissance. So, we would study the renaissance because we had to study the renaissance, but we would also end up studying what was happening in Africa at that same time, or what was happening in the African-American community at that same time. 

And so what that meant was we had two sets of tests, two sets of essays, two sets of like everything, for like four years, like… 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Wow! 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

But what it also really did was it gave us some real grounding in our history, and what the achievements that we have done, just everything and so, it really kind of balanced out, so we did not just get the one paragraph or the few sentences that were mentioned about Africans or African-Americans inside of the traditional textbook because that is what it kind of looks like. But, we have got this whole other world that was kind of open to us and yet was double the work but by the time I got to college, college was easy because I had to double to work for four years, since high school. So, college was simple. So, she did that for us but the other thing I think that she did for us. I think that was probably the biggest was to really expose us to new environments. So, she would take us on field trips to like the art museum, or I remember once she took us, we had to dress up; she was a big proponent of us dressing up when we would go out places. 

And so, we would, what they usually meant like a white shirt and a Black top, like quiet, it was funny, it was like that is the fire outfit but we were going on field trips for history. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

That is great! 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Yeah. But we had to dress up, but we had to look nice and one time she took us to a restaurant and with all the place settings and so we ordered food and we got to use like the difference between the salad fork and the regular dinner fork and like all these things. We would have that, I would have never been exposed to any other time nor would not we have the money to be able to be exposed to. So, there were all these different things that she did for us that really helped us to. Number one, not feel inferior but to also gain some of the knowledge that would be required to interact in a world that may be different than your world that you say every day. Yeah. 

[20:06 – 25:15]

Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

So, to have being exposed to it but also be able to have some tools and strategies, to be able to operate in it, so that when you are in it, you do not feel weird and awkward and out of place, so… 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

So, she really kind of helped me to make sense, just like the first kind of dichotomy that you were talking about. Yeah, focusing on school and doing all these things but then like right outside the door, there is like imminent danger, right? Like on an ongoing basis. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Right. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

She kind of really helped me to start to make sense of all the kind of contradictions that I saw between like our school and somebody else's school or our neighborhood, in somebody else's neighborhood and then even the kind of the contradictions that I had inside of myself, like yeah, you are smart but are you that smart, were you really smart enough to be able to get into the gift of school, you probably would not have made it to get to school, stuff like that. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

So that relationship was really big with helping me to kind of get the confidence and everything, to be able to eventually make some of these different transitions and so, I feel like some of the things that she taught me was that I learned that, because I have always lived in three worlds simultaneously, and she helped us put words to these three worlds and she taught us how to navigate them successfully. So, world A was Black and white, and it is Black and white only because that in St Louis, it actually is Black and white, it is not like there are not as many other racism groups of people as there are in other parts of the country. So, it is predominantly Black and white there, and like I said kind of racially segregated amongst neighborhoods and kind of everything else and also part of the reason why that was a thing is because Missouri was also a slave state. So, it was right on the… it was like the first state, I guess coming up or it is right on the border anyway, it is the difference between the north and the south as it were. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Okay. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

So, Missouri had slaves, so there were, if you go down to like city hall or like down to the arch and stuff like that, you can see like the… what do you call it? Those change and stuff that are still kind of like in the ground for like where the auction blocks were down, you know, downtown for historical purposes. So, there was always kind of this level of… I do not want to say, oppression, that you kind of feel but I think that things are kind of different there, if there was slavery present in the state. So that was world A, that kind of Black and white world. World B was poverty and affluence, or somewhere along that spectrum, you know, because that also plays a role, right? Sometimes it may be, let me play more of a role than race does, in some situations. But, if you do not have anything versus people who do have suffering, you do not have access to resources versus people who do have access to resources that is different, right? 

So, you have to learn how to be able to kind of like to navigate that and that is more of the case of… that world is more prevalent here in California. So, in California, it is less Black and white, but it is more have and have not, right? So, here it is like, I am going to live next to white people, Black people, purple people, whatever, who are the same socioeconomic status as I am, right? And then people who are more affluent are going to live next to those people but so it is not separated as much as white Black and white. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Right. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

But poverty and affluence and then world C is kind of like within race, right? Because there is this thing that takes place there too, right? And within race, you get both the Black and white variation, and you also get the poverty and affluence, right? So, within race, part of what we would talk about and what she would help us to understand, was like you will have some people who identify more closely with being African-American and some people who identify less with being African-American. You will get people who are saying; oh, you are an Oreo because you speak proper English, or you want to be white because your hair is straight, and you get your hair pressed or you have a relaxer versus letting it be natural, things like that. That is going to take place and you have to be able to figure out to be okay with that for yourself and then also there is poverty and affluence within race as well. So, there is going to be African-Americans, who have less and those who have more and their experiences are not necessarily going to be the same. 

And their values may not necessarily be the same or things like that. So, kind of learning and understanding that there were these three kinds of worlds that are kind of always interfacing, and you are kind of interacting at different levels, was super helpful to help me to kind of understand that, so that kind of helped to make sense of some of those dichotomies. So, yeah living growing up and living in all Black neighborhoods and then I, oh I forgot to tell you. I lived in an all-Black neighborhood but I grew up in an all-white church. 


[25:16 – 30:29]

Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Oh, okay. Yeah, right, another dichotomy. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Another dichotomy! Right and so that church is about 20 to 30 minutes away from where I grew up, and that church is in Ferguson Fluorescent, which used to be predominantly white, but is now not predominantly white, predominantly it is more African-American than it was when I was growing up, right? And then that also kind of segues into going to schools that are probably Black but then going to an all-white college. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Right. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

So, I will stop there to see if you have anything to say then we will talk about college. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Right. Oh, man! Yeah, that is so interesting! It sounds like she gave you just such a great foundation of knowledge of the world. Like what you are describing that reminds me of what I have been reading about even just recently about intersectionality and I am just kind of grasping that concept. I do not even make sense. I think I have absorbed it but I have not known the words for it… 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Yeah. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

For until recently. So, to have that foundation at such a young age before you go off to college and sounds like an amazing influence and mentor and well of course! Because you are still connected, but that is really wonderful, yeah, and to just be so real about it and be able to bring in, not just what she is supposed to quote unquote teach you in history that is really great. Yeah. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

It was huge and she really told us what… she taught us how to essentially what that is called of being able to kind of learn to navigate those different worlds simultaneously. It is code switching and that is what you taught us how to do. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Right. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Right?


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah.


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Because when you are in, well so if you are in the hood, and you are talking to people in the hood, you are not going to speak to them the same way you are speaking at a job interview, right? If you do, you are probably going to get beat up, so, you know. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Right. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

So, you have to change your language, you have to drop your R's, and there is like certain things that you have to be able to do, you have to be able to be in a relationship within that particular community, and then when you go to the job interview, you have to speak a different kind of language, otherwise they are going to think that you are not educated and not hire you for the job, right? And so being able to learn how to code switch but not to lose who you are authentically… 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Right. That was my next thing of like how do you find you in all that? You know that would be…


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

That is the key. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Right. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

That is the key. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

And I think that I feel like that is been kind of my journey to date is in the midst of the intersection, I love that word, right? In the midst of the intersectionality of all of these worlds and experiences, who are you? 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

So, I think that it really, it forces you to… but at least begs the question for you to start to think about that and I think that some of us have been blessed enough to be able to have, to be able to move out of the traumatic experience, in order to get to a place where we can start to think about those kind of things. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Because that in itself is a thing but it brings a few things, a few things up, like how do you do that and you are not still staying true to whom you are. Yeah. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Right. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

And then who are you to stay true too. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Right. Yeah. A whole circle of just looping back around to itself… Yeah. Oh, man! Yeah, it makes me think of something that someone I know has mentioned of realizing that their voice gets higher around certain people, to like kind of portray themselves as not a threat, you know. But, it is like an unconscious thing and then afterwards they are thinking back on it and going. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Whoa! 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

I do not like that, I do not want to do that, but that sounds like, it fits into that code switching a bit and I did not think of it in that way but that is interesting. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

It is exactly what you have to do and yeah, you have to be cognizant kind of it, after a while it just becomes normal to you, but you do have to be able to learn enough of the codes, in enough of those worlds, to be able to navigate them and that does mean pivoting because they are not the same, they are just not. So, you do have to be able to kind of make those pivots and those adjustments. Kind of on an ongoing basis, but having those conversations and kind of like knowing that was really helpful, to be able to kind of understand that. 


[30:30 – 35:19]

Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. What a powerful bunch of tools that she offered to you all, it sounds like. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Right. I feel bad because college prep was only a portion of the school, right? That was in college prep. So, it was like one of those, like they have different academies inside of a school. So, there was like college prep, and then there was like general aid, and there was like some other, maybe like tech kind of grouping of like. So, the students who went through college prep, we were like kind of like a cohort, right? And so all of us kind of went through our classes together and everything like that. But, I do not know… I guess I wish more people would have had exposure to that kind of experience. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Sure. Yeah, absolutely! 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Because it was definitely helpful, and I definitely got to see when I went into college, I was interacting with other African-American people who had went to mixed schools, their experience was much different of kind of growing up, and everything like that and it seemed, like they did not quite have as much of the tools that I had had… that you would not have thought you would have gotten to Ghetto school. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Sure. Yeah. It makes me wonder, so I will ask you this question real quick, and you can decide to not answer it, if you would like. But and then I would love to hear about your college experience. But, it makes me wonder, ideally would we be working, I am imagining, we would be working towards a world where we do not have to think so hard about how we are in certain situations we could just be, and focus on the part where we are learning about ourselves and then whatever that is, like if you are in the interview, trying to get the interview, and if you are just you, and you are a good fit, then that is great, no matter how you are dressed or sounding or anything. It is just makes me think about. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

That is right. That would take I think a lot of the stress off of whoever the minority is I guess. If you did not have to… because I think that this experience is something that is unique to minority groups, of having to navigate it, from this end I think that it is a different experience of navigating it from the majority group. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

But, yeah, if it was just about how great you were… 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. Right. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

I mean that is all those other things if you were not being judged on so many different types of criteria simultaneously. I think that would open up a lot of doors. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah, absolutely! 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

For more people… 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah and you know, I mean, just thinking about it, I mean if you are going to wanting to go be a lawyer, I mean, there is sure, there is some set things that you need to know and do and all those things but in general if you are aligned with your culture and who you are and bring that to the table then. Yeah. Unless you have something else to say about it, I would love to hear your college experience that you are leaning towards? 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Oh my god! So, actually it was really great, so I cannot… but it was a very much of a pivotal kind of experience in my life. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Sure. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

So, yeah, so I go to the ALA College, and so there was probably about, maybe twenty five hundred, it is a small school, so maybe twenty five hundred, thirty thousand students and there were 35 Black students, like total, from like freshman to senior. So, it was very much… that now I will say, it was I want to, I say it is all white but it is not quite true, there was a fair amount of international students, so I will say that, there were for like from other countries and stuff. But, as far as like Americans, it was mostly white. I feel like all the other experiences I have had to date kind of help me to be able to navigate, once again another dichotomy, right? And so we had two kinds of maybe pivotal experiences during college. So, the first one was like my orientation experience, we had orientation for a week, we first come, I was living on campus, so this was like a new thing for me. 

And I am very kind of like introverted and it was tough for me to, like that transition was kind of hard just because I said it was like the neighborhood was completely different, it was so quiet, Allison. It took me like weeks to be able to fall asleep because it was so different than like the sounds, the lack of sound, was so different. This is the sound in my neighborhood very weird. 


[35:20 – 40:16]

Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah, right. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

But it was so funny. So, those first, maybe one or two days were really tough, but they had us in orientation groups and so we had a group leader and then there was like people in our group, maybe like 10 or 15 people in a group, and we kind of did these activities and stuff together and I think part of that was to help us to build relationships because all of us were new, right? We are all fresh. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Sure. Yeah. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Day three… by day three, I am starting to kind of get used to the other people who are in my group and kind of feel like I could open up a little bit more and I kind of liking the group leader that we had and this lady comes around and she like starts like picking out all like the Black people out of each group and so she gets to my group, and she is like oh like I need you to come with me, and I did not know this lady was, like I never met her before and it was kind of funny because like why is she only picking, why is it like a trail of Black people following her and it is like, probably one of us in each one of these groups, right? And so I was like okay, so what is this. So, we follow her to like this, this room and basically there was like this kind of welcome dinner for African-American, new African-American students with the president of the university and so, I was like living, I was so bad, I was not because I was just like, first of all I do not know, just because they are Black, I do not know any of these other people. I was just getting used to. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Right. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

This orientation group and you could get me and take me to something where I think that you are trying to honor me because I am supposed to be happy that there is this thing. But, I feel even more out of place than I did before, you know. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

So, they give you that list of all the like contact people and stuff in the school. So, I immediately was like okay, which do I talk to about this, and it was like the dean of students, right? Like okay, I am leaving that person a message, so like called a message about this experience being pulled out of my group and even the group leader was, like well where she is going like… 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

No prep or anything. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Right. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Wow! 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

So, I have a meeting with like two days later, after meeting with the dean of students, who happens to be African-American, which was kind of even funnier and she was one of the few African-American faculties that were on campus. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Okay. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

And so, I was like blah… and I did not like this at all, and I think I get the intent of what you were trying to do but that was horribly done, you know, all of this and she was able to like hear me, and she took what I said, and she gave me a work study in admissions and so, my job, the rest of the time I was there, was to help them to find ways to create inclusive culture within the school, because the intent really was good. They really wanted to be able to embrace diversity, that was part of the reason why I was even there was because they gave me pretty much a school scholarship, right? They were trying to bring in more diverse people, but they did not really know how to go about that without making people… the diverse people feel uncomfortable and so, I was able to really kind of help with that and that was huge for me and for my experience there. Like one of the things that were kind of funny but one of the things I was like was, it was almost, like one time they took this picture, and it had a lot of African-American people in it. 

And it was kind of like, looked at this picture, you would have thought there was a lot of Black people that go to this school. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Oh, boy! 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Pretty much everybody that goes here in this picture totally crazy… But, they were trying to show that, they had diversity and to embrace other people, encourage other people to want to come. So, we got to talk about these things, and I got to be a part of these conversations, and it was amazing, and it was like the best like kind of college experience ever, along with kind of the academics, there was great too, that was huge. So, I had a great education there, I was able to stay there, a lot of some of the other Black people transferred out because it just the environment was not quite what they wanted or needed. But, I stayed there and I graduated from there, had a letter of recommendation from the university president at the time and it was great. But, it was definitely a different culture, different… 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Sure. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Another… 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Sounds like. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

One another dichotomy… 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. Can you describe because I probably should have asked you this at the beginning, can you describe what it is that you do now? Like you have built up through, you have your degrees, at least you got your degree in psychology and English, and then you got your doctorate. Where would you get your doctorate in? 


[40:17 – 45:06]

Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

I got my master's in education in the teaching credential and so, I have always been this, like I said I know how to do a whole bunch of stuff and I am really good at it. But, like never knew exactly what to do, it would try all these different things and people were like oh, you should do this, you should be a therapist, you should be a social worker, you should be teacher blah… and so, actually now I do consulting and coaching, something for non-profit agencies, which I coaching for career pivoters, obviously and women that are kind of trying to achieve their big relationship dream because I have been through quite a few things on the romantic relationship side. As you can imagine coming from the background that I came from, when I am coming…. what I, you know, have kind of had to grow through. So, yeah so that is the kind of stuff that I do now, but it really uses all of those experiences. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Oh, sure. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

All the personal experiences, all the academic experiences, all the cultural experiences, it is quite… it is yeah nothing was... I think my theme for my life is, nothing was wasted, and you know, everything. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Everything kind of came into play and it comes to the plate I use it every day. So, my doctorate is in organizational leadership. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Oh, great. Wonderful! Oh, that is interesting. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

It is a lot of fun. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. It sounds like. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

It is all about systems and process and people. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

There you go. Okay. Yeah, there you go. Yeah that definitely all joins up, it sounds like for what you have gone through and know and are expressing relationships, and things like that. Wow! Awesome! Very cool! So, we discussed this question and you actually helped me come up with an even better version of it. So I am appreciative of that and your time with that and appreciative of what you have shared so far, and the story that you have shared and just being here with me. So, thank you for that. So, given the fact that our culture and systems do not treat those in the Black community with equality and equity, what would make you feel most valued and appreciated in our current society? 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

What would make me feel most valued and appreciated in our society, I would say, is that people are not afraid to be able to build an honest and transparent relationship with me, because we probably have way more in common than you think. So, I try to be very approachable. It is okay if like, I would not freak out if you say; oh, can I touch your hair? That actually happens, actually it does not have this much anymore but it is happened a lot. I do not know what kind of hairstyle I had that was very attractive, where people were like oh my god! I want to touch it, but like I am open to having those kinds of conversations. I am open to talking about like absolutely anything about my experience or your experience and I do not want people to be able… I do not want people to look at me and say; oh she is she is a Black woman, so maybe she is angry, so she does not want to talk or I cannot approach her or things like that. 

If I am angry I have not something to do with you. I mean like it is not like I am angry at the world but I want people to be able to… I think I would feel most valued if people feel that they can have a build a relationship with me and want to and do not do not assume anything about me, just if you are curious just ask because what you think is probably not even close to the reality of whatever it may be is. I think we are such complex creatures, and we have such varied and deep stories, but, a lot of times we are like, look at people and we kind of size them up real quick, from what we think and it is like nine times out of ten, you have no real idea. So, it is like doing not assume anything, I am always telling my clients, you know that, just about like employees, right? Just give them the job description, assume they know how to go do their job, you better survive. Otherwise both of you going to be in a world of hurt. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

That is true.  


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

And that people value me enough to take a chance on me and I feel like that has happened, that is probably one of the things that is really been a blessing in my life is that I have had people, take a chance. I have had jobs that I was not qualified for, but the person who I was interviewed, you know, integrating with felt that I could see my potential, even if it was not all the way there, and was like let us give her a try. I have been in been promoted to positions or allowed to do opportunities that may not even have been something that I would have thought of but somebody else saw something in me and said; hey, let us do this or do you want to do this. I am like, yeah, sure, it turned out to be something that was really great or that I was really good at. I really enjoyed doing. So, I think those are the three things, being willing to build a relationship with me, do not assume and take a chance on me. 


[45:07 – 50:19]

Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah.


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

That would make me feel valued and appreciated. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. Thanks for sharing that. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Yes. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Great answer! What do you feel most grateful for? 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

I feel most grateful for… I think number one, just being exposed to so many different things, and being pushed out of my comfort zone, so many different times, and having to kind of like reacclimatize, and kind of like find my footing and I feel like that has been such a huge advantage to have built that muscle, and to know that I could walk into any place, be it completely different, different people, different cultures, different whatever and I can acclimate and I can not only acclimate but I can like thrive, not just like barely make it there, or like be there wishing that I could go back. But, I could actually make a world for myself, a life for myself in this new place and space and that really occurred to me while I was prepping for this podcast and I was like wow! And I use that so much as a business owner because as a business owner you always have to grow and evolve and try new things and step outside of your comfort zone and things like that. 

And it is like I think that is why that kind of comes naturally to me to be able to do. But, I take it for granted that it was all those experiences, all those dichotomies that help me to be able to do that. So, I am actually really grateful for that and I am definitely grateful for the transformational relationships that I have had, me in my high school, history teacher was one of them. But, I have been blessed to have a lot of people, both African-American, and non-African-American, who have stepped into my life, and spoken into my life, and helped me to get to a new level, who have seen my potential and given me a chance and so, I think the next thing I am grateful for is, just like kind of what you alluded to earlier, Allison, of kind of being taught how to play the game at an early age and knowing that it was a game and that there were rules to this thing and if you could figure out the rules, then you can play the game, right? 

If you do not know what the rules are, then you are going to always struggle, and you are going to always kind of run into these barriers, and you may not even know why you are constantly running into these barriers. But, it is probably because you do not know what the rules are here for this particular game and then each one of those worlds, the rules are different, so you have to be able to kind of like learn the rules there, and to be able to kind of navigate that. But, learning that and being taught that, early on was huge and definitely it is kind of like played a big role in where I am today, and what I have been able to do and accomplish in relationships and things like that. So that was huge and then the last thing I think is, from my whole experience, the knowledge that I have gained of like who I am and what I bring to the table, and my ability to bounce back and resilience, right? 

That I think is something that I am really grateful for, but it really came through all of those experiences that some of them were not so great, some of them were very uncomfortable, some of them were stretching, you know sometimes beyond what I thought I was capable of being able to do or to navigate. But, from that, I got closer to what you were alluding to earlier, which is how do you navigate the different worlds, but still hold true to who you are and knowing who you are and still maintaining that authenticity and so, having to I think, somewhat an indirect answer to that is having to navigate all those different worlds, if you are doing it reflectively, helps you to get closer to who you are, and what pieces of those different worlds you want to keep and to integrate and which ones you do not want to internalize and to have as part of who you are. So, it gives you that exposure I think. 

So, those would be the things I am grateful, for exposure transformational relationships, learning how to play the game, and the knowledge of who I am. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. Oh, those are wonderful answers. Yeah, that is great. Is there anyone or any organization or anything that you would like to highlight? 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

So, one is the tri-valley non-profit alliance, they are amazing, they started out of Livermore, they are based out of Livermore California, which is a relatively kind of not, I want to say, more affluent, maybe than other parts of the of the bay area. They have this amazing group of nonprofits, who are working together and getting support and things like that and the people who run it, it is really amazing and they have been one of those organizations that is given me a chance in my business and really I have kind of partnered with developing my business, and helping to grow my business, and helping me to get out there, and things like that and I have really enjoyed working with them and partnering with them, when they do such great programming every month that is free for non-profit agencies. So, I definitely wanted to be able to give a shout out to them because they are awesome and now with zoom, you can tap into their programming from anywhere. So you do not have to just in… 


[50:20 – 55:08]

Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Oh, nice!


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Yeah. You do not have to just be in California, anymore, so Tri-valley nonprofit alliance and then ‘start small, think big’, it is a non-profit in itself, but it is a nonprofit that helps small business owners, so they particularly kind of work with disenfranchised business owners, like myself, so like people who do not have a lot of money or your business has to make under a certain amount, in order to qualify for their services, and it is a pretty low threshold, and because they want to be able to provide support to everyone and so they provide finance management support, marketing support and legal support, which are huge, yeah. So, like I was able to get my business, like incorporated as an LLC, and like all these different kinds of things because there is like lawyers, who are doing for bono work through this agency, that you can get access to, for just about any issue that you may have, an employee issue or anything like that. 

So, they also do stuff in California but also outside of California as well. So, I wanted to highlight them because they are amazing, if you are thinking about starting a business or being in business. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

The third one is ‘The Body Love Café’, so they are in Walnut Creek, California and they do pretty much holistic healing, and mind, body, and spirit kinds of things. I wanted to highlight them particularly because they actually were giving out micro grants to Black women business owners and so, I actually applied and actually was funded with one of their micro grants for a thousand dollars. But, it is just like a regular company, it is not like, you know, Chevron or Bank of America or something, it is a small company, very similar to my company. But, I thought that was so amazing that they would offer a micro grant, like a thousand dollars can go a long way for a small business owner. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

And so I was like and it inspired me because I part of what I want to be a philanthropist when I grow up. But, it inspired me to even think about how can I give money back from my own business, right? Something like that, I think that is probably something that I want to do, maybe even this year or maybe even, definitely next year, for sure, is to be able to, so that we can give micro brands, right?


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

To small business owners, well I just thought that was so brilliant, and I was just so honored to be…


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

It is a great concept. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Yeah. Just the regular everyday business but trying to find ways to help other businesses, and I thought that was huge and then of course! I had to amplify myself, so… 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Definitely! 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

My business, pure momentum consulting, PMC and we do nonprofit support, particularly management operations and then I also do career coaching for people who are looking to pivot careers or make any changes or even thinking that you want to move careers and possibly open up your own business, come talk to me before you do it and then I have my online group coaching course of boss ladies and love. So, those are women who are like winning in most areas of their life and also wanting to win in love as well. So that is what I do and it is like the best life ever, Allison. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Awesome! 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

So much fun! 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

That is the goal to be able to do your own thing. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Right. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

That is Awesome.


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

And actually be able to also eat too, excuse me. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Oh, yeah, right, I forgot that part, that is important. Yes. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

That will be little cute. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah and we will put all that information in our show notes, and on our website, so people can find you after they listen to your great stories. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Right. That would be awesome. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah, that is so cool. Yeah. I am happy for you that you get to do the thing that you love, that is awesome, sounds like anyway. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

It is amazing! 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

It is awesome. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

It is amazing. Every day of it is amazing and I get to do stuff like this, you know. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Which is just really awesome, and I am so impressed by the platform that you created here for people to share their stories, and your approach that makes it, so that we can just open up, and be ourselves. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Yeah. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

That is like everything. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Oh, I am glad, I am glad. Yes. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Yeah. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

I appreciate that a lot. Yeah, I have been, that is what I am working towards anyway. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Yeah. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Wonderful! Well, I am so glad to have been able to spend this time with you, thank you so much Dr. Lydia for joining me on Take Notice and I hope that we can stay connected, and maybe connect again for a future episode of this project. 


Dr. Lydia Hughes Evans 

Absolutely, it would be my pleasure, I would love that. 


Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Wonderful! Thank you so much Dr. Lydia. 

[55:09 – 56:55]

Allison Preisinger-Heggins 

Thank you for joining us for Take Notice: Amplifying Black Stories. Please subscribe, and follow us on social media, we are at Take Notice podcast. It would really help us out if you could take a couple of minutes to review our podcast. Thank you for your support. Take Notice: Amplifying Black Stories is produced, hosted and edited by Allison Preisinger-Heggins, co-produced by Amanda Rae, music by Version Big Fi featuring Darius Heggins, thank you for being with us and thank you for taking notice.