TAMPA (CW44 News At 10) – Tampa-native, Relationship Expert and Best-Selling Author, Shay Levister took a few moments to share her insights with CW44’s Andrea Alvarez about the racial tension and the protests.

Levister shared her background that brought her to this point. “I started this journey because I grew up in a very dysfunctional home. I witnessed my father abuse my mother on a regular basis. And I didn’t really have an idea of what a healthy love looked like. I found myself by myself with my daughter and we were homeless. I promised her that, ‘you are going to see mommy being loved so that you knew what it looked like to have a man that loved you the way he was supposed to.”

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Levister continues, “Racism isn’t new, it didn’t just show up on the scene. This is a reality that, as black Americans, we go through every single day, at different areas of our life. Religion, our careers, in our neighborhoods, at our kids games, we’re constantly facing it, dealing with it. However, this recent event – it’s an in-your-face reminder of the struggle. And so it’s kind of like, the anger and the sadness that we haven’t had the freedom and the permission to express for so long is there, and it’s raw and it’s real.”

“It just kind of digs up what a lot of us, especially professional African American people who have done well for themselves, it brings up what we’ve worked so hard to just kind of push down and play nice. Because you never want to be called the angry black girl, you don’t want to be the person who’s hard to work with.”

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“It’s a renewed hope when you see all of these people in the protests who are different races that are angry, they’re really like ‘I don’t know what you guys are going through but this isn’t right, I can’t stand anymore and watch this happen.”

An expert on interracial relationships, Levister stands by four fundamental tips for insight on supporting the movement spreading across America and the globe right now. “The first step is to listen. Ask them how they’re doing. The second step is to be compassionate, you can’t possibly understand what they’re feeling. Then, seek to understand. And then the last but not least is to do something about it. Actively speak out.”

“As a mother, the scary part is now our children growing up in this world. Racism is wrong. Simple as that. [We need to] condemn racism on social media and in all platforms where [we] have a voice. When somebody says something that is racist, check them. Tell them it’s not ok.”

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