Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, social justice advocate, and CEO at Promise joined AfroTech’s Will Lucas on the latest episode of Black Tech Green Money to further discuss how technology can be used to not only amplify social justice work but set our people up for success.
Through her work at Promise, Ellis-Lamkins helps people to avoid utility shut-offs, license revocations, sky-high interest fees, and incarceration with flexible, interest-free payment plans, a range of payment options and even 24/7 client support.
“Most of my preparation game is really from being broke,” she expressed. “I say that because I think your life is shaped by your own experiences and how the world sees you. So for me, [some people] I hear their amazing stories and they’re like ‘I felt triumphant,’ but unfortunately for me, I think I felt a lot of shame.”
She further explains what it was like to be a part of programs where really smart kids would come from two-parent households flooded with resources. However, her experience, on the other hand, was very different.
“I felt a lot of shame like being poor or whatever else. [And] so that made me be clear about the fact that I didn’t want that experience for other people,” Ellis-Lamkins continued. “Most of my work has really been about making sure that people don’t feel the lack of dignity or the lack of respect that comes from being poor. When I was a kid, I had free lunch and they used to make you stand in a different line versus the people who paid for lunch, and I didn’t want that experience for anyone else. My job is to create anything I can so that we build dignity for children of color and other people.”
It was an experience like this that also led Ellis-Lamkins to serve as a union organizer prior to her role as CEO. For more on her story, and even how she once served as a manager to the legendary Prince, listen to the full Black Tech Green Money episode below: