Earlier this summer, when Black Lives Matter protests began to take place across the country in the wake of George Floyd's murder which occurred in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Braunwyn Windham-Burke knew now was the time for her to step up as an ally.
"I think, for me, with our family it was the first time in our lives we've all been together. And I've been with my older children and younger children, and we had the time to watch it as a family and talk about it," she said in the Race in America: A Movement Not a Moment special about how self-quarantining with her family made her take notice of the injustices going on around her. "And we're so busy most of the time rushing around our own lives, that's it's been easy to tune things out that didn't affect us. And we couldn't tune this out, and we were forced to take a moment and say, 'What just happened? Why didn't I notice this before?'"
The Real Housewives of Orange County cast member was among the 10 outspoken Bravolebrities who appeared on the Race in America: A Movement Not a Moment special, which aired on August 9, hosted by E!’s Nina Parker.
Braunwyn has also been protesting and uses her social media presence to raise awareness about the Black Lives Matter movement and related causes, including spreading the message for how others can also step up as allies.
But her activism has not gone unnoticed by those around her where she lives in Southern California.
"Oh absolutely, I have [felt backlash] in my own town. I come from a very conservative, very Republican, very antiquated area. Newport Beach is 90 percent white and I've lost friendships. I've lost three really close friends because they thought that my way of advocating and trying to be an ally wasn't correct. They thought I should be nicer and that we needed to be polite, that you can't protest, and you can't mark up buildings, and that's not the right way to do things," she said. "And my response being, we don't get to decide the right way to do anything. This isn't about us. Our job is to support and not speak over. Our job is to listen and learn right now. This isn't about us. This isn't about white people and how we feel right now. This is me saying, 'I'm sorry that it took me so long to get here, but I'm here now. What can I do?' And then just taking every step I can with me and, also, I have a lot of kids and bringing my children along on the journey with me."
She's also felt that reaction on social media. "I mean personally, I gained and lost a lot of followers on social media. I think about 30,000. I think the demographics changed. I went from being a very passive Housewife 'cause I didn't want to rock the boat. To saying, you know what? I can't be quiet anymore," she said. "This is who I am, like it or not."
As a mother to seven kids, Braunwyn knows she has lessons she needs to learn and to teach her kids. "One of the things I started with my older children is family book club. So the first book we read was Raising White Kids. And then I sat down with them and we talked it through," she said. "And I had to sort of admit some of the things that I did wrong with them when I was raising them, and what I would do different or what I am doing different now with my younger kids. I think the more we read and the more we discuss, the easier it gets cause I'm still very uncomfortable, at times, talking about it. This is not my comfort zone. And I'm hoping they can get more comfortable with it. Talking about it, getting out there, and learning from people that know more than me."
For more conversations from Race in America: a Movement Not a Moment, watch the full episode through the Bravo app.
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