June 2nd, 2020
Unlike most of my other posts, this week I was truly struggling with what to share, what to write, in light of recent events. What could I offer that would land and be received in the way I hope it would. As I brainstormed and reflected on a few different topics my audience and others would find value in, I put them aside and decided to write an open letter.
It’s what felt right. Not because I felt like I ‘had to’ but because I wanted to. To share from the heart. To offer perspective. To learn and be open to learning and to contribute and be a part of the solution, however that looks like.
My hope is that others can reflect amongst themselves to understand how they can also contribute to being a part of the solution. First as individuals, then as a business.
No, I’m not a Diversity and Inclusion expert. I don’t proclaim to be nor do I have all the answers despite having posted about how to be more inclusive in our corporate environments in the past. By now you may have come to learn that I’m a lover of people, compassionate leadership and dedicated to shaping our corporations and businesses of all sizes to be more harmonious, anchored in love, trust and is people-centric.
I speak to leadership about leadership for these reasons and others.
This will be less about tips and recommendations on what you can do for your business and as a leader but perhaps allow you to relate to what you might be thinking/feeling and open a discussion if you feel called to be a part of one.
As I’ve often said in the past, being a leader means also being a ‘director’ or ‘leader’ of our own lives. We change the world by changing ourselves first which is not the easiest order to take on.
The events following the death of George Floyd have been devastating to watch on the news and social media from Toronto, Canada. To see the chaos erupt in various cities across the U.S. and around the globe is devasting. His death along with so many before him has been tragic and heartbreaking, to say the least. It’s been difficult to witness the eruption of so many people masking their pain with anger, while others have allowed tears to flow out of grief, despair, suffering and sadness.
I may not understand the complexities that surround racial injustice, the corruption that is in our systems and institutions that are meant to serve and protect, yet I do understand inequity when I see it. The unfairness, the discrimination, the biases and so on that so many people of colour have experienced.
It’s no wonder that what’s been buried for many, many years has reached a breaking point where people are tired and simply want change to occur. It happened at the death of yet another soul whose life was taken unjustly and unfairly.
Unfortunately, we often think our calls for help, justice and change will be heard if we’re louder, more disruptive, more violent or angrier. It distracts from any solution that can begin to be created if we’re busy destroying the cities we live in, leading with violent behaviour where innocent people are getting hurt and turning on one another.
Those real emotions are valid. You can be angry and still create positive change. You can be enraged and be a voice of good. It’s how we choose to respond and channel those emotions that will determine how far we can go.
We all have work to do. There is tremendous learning, education and training that we can afford to do to make the collective better. Part of that is being willing to take that learning inwards. It starts at the individual level. Looking within our own hearts, understanding our shadows, our misconceptions, limited beliefs or perceptions that don’t support us or bring us together.
From there, we can build outwards, creating new frameworks, structures and institutions that are based on love, equality and in the best interest of all. “Yes, but governments and the justice system are in a position of power and should know better…” “Yes, but this has been happening for decades, we need more than just a change in policy and new laws.” There’s a lot of “yes, but…” statements that I can come up with.
Until we are willing to witness our own barriers to love, our own masks that prevent us from connecting with one another and translate that into long-lasting, effective and sustainable change we will continue to look at external circumstances, systems and institutions as the blame and reason for injustice in our world.
I’m not a person of colour. I don’t know what it feels like to fear for my life because of the colour of my skin. I know what it’s like to be discriminated against for being a woman. Mostly in the workplace. No, it’s not the same thing as what a person of colour may experience in that environment or any other for that matter.
My heart is the same as yours. We both bleed red. I see you. I honour you. I stand beside you and by you.
So, now what?
If you’re wondering what to do, where to start or simply want to explore how you can be part of a solution moving forward, start with yourself. No act, role or title is any less or more important. We each have a unique voice and role to play and every contribution matters.
Even if that means taking a magnifying glass to your own thoughts, feelings, ideas and exploring what they mean to you. Take it a step further and choose how you will respond with them. We always have a choice, let your emotions guide you into inspired and constructive action.
Open the conversation up with family and friends.
Observe what’s going on around you and decide your own truth in these matters.
Vet out sources on racial injustice, diversity and inclusion and racism. All important and deep topics and so much to learn and educate ourselves.
Do your research, decide how and what you will educate yourself on. There are multiple ways and an endless amount of information, far too many for me to include in a blog post. This link will lead you to several ways you can learn and explore what ways you can contribute.
If you made it this far, thank you for staying with me and taking an interest and an ear to what’s been on my heart.
Thank you for being a part of my community, for sharing a love of people and for allowing me space to speak on a deep topic that I’m learning more about.
What are some other resources you have found to be helpful to learn more about racism and racial injustice? Please share them in the comments below.
Together is better. With enormous love,