I trust that if you’re one of my fans, you are heartbroken about the events of the past week. I know that I certainly am not only heartbroken for what has happened this week, but also for what my friends and colleagues have been enduring for a lifetime due to the racism in our country, in our communities, in our hearts, and even in their own lives.
While the murder of George Floyd and so many others before him is a horrendous act, we can now see that it isn’t an outlier.
It’s a horrifying example of a reality that has been normalized. It’s become a normalized experience for so many in our country and it wasn’t that this was just some crazy event that happened that we can all see is clearly wrong.
The fact that this event was caught on tape and it’s been played so many times that those of us that don’t live it daily can no longer ignore the reality of what we have built, what we’ve supported by our silence and by our neutrality.
I valued equality for most of my life, but that’s just not enough for me right now. I need to live my values out loud.
As a woman who identifies as white, I see this as a mandatory next step in my own evolution. This egregious act is a result of a system that we’ve allowed – that I’ve allowed – and benefited from in ways I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t completely see until now. I valued equality for most of my life, but that’s just not enough for me right now. I need to live my values out loud.
Until this past week, I was working to bring you the most relevant support I could to help you thrive during a world health crisis. I pivoted from traditional leadership topics to how to lead in unprecedented and uncertain times. I was preaching that I want people to be impacted in a good way, to be evolved by this impact, but not traumatized by the pandemic. But then, a true trauma happened. And I’ve been watching. We’re all so traumatized because we’re all getting in touch with this reality.
Some are saying this is a larger virus. One that’s certainly more pervasive.
I am committing to bring you resources (find them at the bottom of this post) that I hope will help as you self-reflect on your part in this current situation. It’s also time that we make amends for what we are discovering about ourselves, and for the mistakes that you and I have made the past in that we, no doubt, will be making on the daily as we learn and grow and get vulnerable. This stuff is messy.
Neutrality kills. We can’t just be neutral. We need to stand firmly in a position of anti-racism.
I want us to be great. I want us to all evolve and I want to give you resources for ways that you can move beyond neutrality. Neutrality kills. We can’t just be neutral. We need to stand firmly in a position of anti-racism.
I’m not here to change your politics. I’m here to call you to humanity. I committed long ago never to use my platform for politics. That’s not a contract you signed up for. When you signed up to follow me, you signed up for help in leadership and help in living a more evolved life.
But this is so far beyond politics. It’s no time to intellectualize. It’s time to get really simple about the fact that killing black people is wrong, and we need to find our part in this.
I commit to moving beyond the fear that I’ll say, or do, the wrong thing. I commit to owning the harm regardless of my intentions. And I welcome the feedback.
So to that end, I feel it’s important that I do what I can to bring my own learning to you. I personally commit to listen, to learn, to self-reflect, to make amends, to pass the microphone, to be vulnerable, to speak up and to use my platform in part to help all of us build the world that I dream about. I’m confident in the world that exists. It’s a world beyond judgment and racism and all that is ego. I commit to moving beyond the fear that I’ll say, or do, the wrong thing. I commit to owning the harm regardless of my intentions. And I welcome the feedback. I welcome the additional perspectives that will help me do better next time and refine my way in the world. I welcome all of us coming together and sharing the most helpful things.
It’s going to be messy, and I’m game.
To begin, I’m sharing those people and resources I treasure personally, and who helped me on the journey to own my part and to move through the world more skillfully in my pursuit to build a better place. One of the people you will see a lot in my resources below is Sarah Morgan of The Buzz on HR. Sarah is a dear friend, and a brilliant HR colleague. I’m so grateful for her and her willingness to teach me, even though it is not her responsibility to do so. My evolution and education is my responsibility. She is kind and lovely and willing, and for that, I appreciate her. I hope that you really take in what she has to say and put it into practice.
She posted a new blog this week on making amends so that we can learn to heal relationships and past mistakes. I want us all to learn to make good amends because if we can’t stop and acknowledge what is, we can’t move forward to what’s next.
Please don’t check out of this work. Stay in. It’s hard.
Before I close I want to say: Please don’t check out of this work. Stay in. It’s hard. As Glennon Doyle says in her book, Untamed, “We can do hard things.” If you identify as white, this work isn’t up to people who identify as black to do all the heavy lifting. This is for us to do our own work. So know that my heart is open. I will keep asking, “How can I help?”
As you do your work, remember my two mantras: Love Wins and Evolve Yourself. People are hurting right now big time. This isn’t about last week. This is about what we’re seeing right in front of us about the lived experiences of a lot of our teammates, colleagues, friends, and family. Respond with big love, stay out of judgment and asserting your own opinions, and commit to evolving yourself. You’ll need to go deep. It will take a while.
An Assignment for Self-Reflection
I like to end with an assignment for self-reflection. So, here is the assignment for all of us:
How can I move from heartbreak about recent events to become an ally and an advocate for what has been going on for centuries?
Be well and I hope you enjoy these resources from Sarah and others. I will commit to bringing you more.
Resources that I have found helpful as I evolve:
- No Ego Podcast: How to be an Ally with Sarah Morgan
- Blog: What’s in an Ally? by Sarah Morgan
- Blog: The Buzz: Addressing Non-Inclusive Behaviors from Your Past — A Lesson from Tyra Banks by Sarah Morgan
- Follow Sarah Morgan on social @thebuzzonhr, visit her website, The Buzz on HR and subscribe to her podcast, Leading in Color
- Book: We Can’t Talk About That at Work!: How to Talk about Race, Religion, Politics, and Other Polarizing Topics by Mary-Frances Winters
- Book: Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad