What is the origin story of the brand?
The “CT” stands for Cecily’s initials, and the “empire” was inspired by Cecily’s constant discussions around their work to build themselves “an empire” of success and work. Through this philosophy, they began expanding their brand and ideals in 2019 where they solidified the name of their brand, the CT Empire. The inherent goal of the “empire” as both an acrostic and an idea that each individual has a word that they’re encouraged to build; and Cecily’s work revolves around helping individuals build a network of empires that work towards systemic change and justice. Cecily’s work focuses on equal parts personal empowerment, call in, and calling out.
What is the EMPIRE acrostic?
The acrostic are the words each individual should hold true to them when building themselves, and working towards justice in society. The letters stand for: Educate, Mobilize, Plant, Infiltrate, Reclaim, and Evaluate. These are progressive steps in the fight for justice, and stand for the ways we need to move through and progress our society by deconstructing and understanding the past.
What’s their philosophy and goal with their activism?
Cecily’s tagline, Comprehend yesterday, Deconstruct Today, Rebuild Tomorrow, are the three stages they go through with their lectures, powerpoints, and workshops in order to deliver a comprehensive and effective presentation. They believe that each part is part of a key role in progress, and that no matter who you are; you can be part of the change, big or small. Activism isn’t always about being on the front lines; but understanding when you need to be in the front lines, your stregnths and weaknesses, and where you fit in the fight for justice. The people on the back lines, taking care of the folks in the front lines are just as important.
Comprehend Yesterday. Their resources site, unapologetic, as well as their lectures and talks help folks comprehend the ways that historically, the system we live in is flawed. From research, to historical discovery and uncovering; Cecily attempts to reclaim the past through education. Their philosophy is to aim for call in culture, just as much as call out culture; because we cannot turn away those who want to learn in order to progress. This is the past; understanding why the systems that are in place today are so sturdy (or fragile) and truly comprehending why society functions the way it does.
Deconstruct Today. In various lectures, Cecily also breaks down the ways our system is not only flawed; but works against the benefit of minorities. The system that was built on our backs was not blueprinted by us. Through workshops, trainings, and keynotes; Cecily’s programs aim to uncover the intricacies of our systems and institutional violence through the research they’ve uncovered. Once the history and base of our systems have been established, Cecily aims to uncover the ways that we can start to deconstruct their harmful ways. This means discussing the various forms of activism and the problematic nature of various forms of allyship and well-meaning folks (read this article where they discuss being a token activist); and how we can improve. This part of Cecily’s lectures often involve calling out.
Rebuild Tomorrow. This is the final stage of Cecily’s lectures, where they often call folks in, in order to build a better tomorrow. They believe this part is key; as calling out (pointing out the problem) is often useless without pointing a solution or a better path. In order to improve and progress, Cecily believes that we must go through these stages in order to truly build a better tomorrow. This stage can mean various things; like becoming better allies, what resources you can seek to become a better activist, or small policy changes to big policy changes that can make a difference.
They truly believe progress is not just important; it is crucial for minorities. And, in order to truly progress, we must be willing to go through each stage to progress. The beauty of society is that everyone is at different stages at different times; and we can all be part of the solution; but only if we’re willing to accept the problem; because we’re part of it.
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