I interviewed Tori Rogers, founder of Ebony Expats, who shared her story and some inspirational advice to those who are seeking to settle down here in Bangkok.
Bangkok expatriates are growing in numbers. Ambitious, skilled foreigners are re-locating to Thailand in their thousands, lured by its unmistakable charm and Bangkok definitely has an x-factor, that’s why we’re all here, right?
A myriad of thriving communities exists here, many of which are growing in strength. The strength of these communities is contributing to a dynamic ex-pat scene full of opportunities. An abundance of hard-working, professional foreigners live here now.
What do communities provide us? On a very basic level they help us settle-down. For me, I joined a football team in my first year in Thailand and quickly made some friends that I still have to this day. That team, made up of ex-pats from around the globe, made me feel part of something. When we got together, we were able to share our stories, our successes and struggles in a foreign land. We enjoyed each others company and supported each other like brothers.
Although I stopped playing, the team continues to welcome in new players today and it warms my heart to know that.
Tori Rogers, a Texan who moved to Bangkok in the summer of 2017 as an English teacher, planned to stay for six months. Two years on, she runs Ebony Expats, a burgeoning community here in Bangkok. She recounted her early days to me:
“Initially, when I moved to Bangkok, I was only looking for a few black friends. Being an ex-pat was new to me and I wanted a community I could connect with.”
“In my mind, it made me feel a little safer to know that I had a few black friends who looked like me, understood my perspective and whom I could rely on for advice and resources.”Tori Rogers
Tori has the drive to make things happen. Her ability to connect with people, across all cultures, landed her opportunities in Marketing and PR, where she now works full-time for a local marketing company, utilizing her background skills and strengths.
This Texas woman’s story is a powerful one to share with her community and it’s no wonder she was able to bring people together and inspire the birth of Ebony Expats in Bangkok.
When you bring together positive, like-minded people, and have a force of energy like Tori at the center, remarkable growth can be achieved in a short space of time. Ebony Expats are currently 300-strong and counting.
“It has evolved naturally and that’s the beauty of the community. As humans, we want connection and we want information. That’s what I’m providing.”
“I want to continue to connect expats and provide resources so that we’re empowering each other and continuing to prove that whatever we want is possible.”Tori Rogers
The growth of Ebony Expats culminated recently in a landmark event for the community, the Welcome & Farewell All-White Party (see photo above), held at Them Bar on March 31st 2019. We can see from the amazing images a strong, proud, community who are thriving, in their element and reveling in the connections they are making.
“The white party blew my expectations! I didn’t realize how much support I had built locally. More people showed up than I expected and they looked super good, too!”
“There were a lot of new people coming in and I wanted to welcome them to the community. I also wanted to thank all of the supporters who have been rocking with me & connected since 2017! What it ended up symbolizing was COMMUNITY and CONNECTION. It was beautiful.”Tori Rogers
Ebony Expats continues to gather momentum. More events are in the pipeline (see below for details) and the wheels are in motion for some collaborations with other like-minded communities in the city.
“We’re uniting with a few local community orgs in Bangkok like Wonder Women of Bangkok, OUT BKK, etc. to network and meet other like-minded Bangkok locals”
“I’m also planning a two-year anniversary event (time flies) for this summer which will be super exciting!”Tori Rogers
Watch out for Tori’s upcoming podcast series (coming soon) and in the meantime, check out the Ebony Expats Instagram account (details below), where you can be inspired by the stories of others and discover more about their upcoming events, which continue to empower members of the community.
Tori had one final message to anyone of her fellow people of black origin, who may be curious about making the big leap of faith.
“Often, as black people, we get stares, questions, etc because people aren’t used to seeing black people. So, it’s an opportunity for us to educate as well. If you’re thinking about traveling or relocating, just do it. Go for it. You can do and have anything you want. Conceive, believe and achieve.”Tori Rogers
Upcoming Ebony Expats Events:
June 8th 2019: “BLACK AND GOLD” Two Year Anniversary Party @ Chow Bar
How to connect with Ebony Expats:
- Contact: email@example.com
- Instagram: @ToriTalks @EbonyExpats