From a leadership perspective we have to stand up for what we believe in. For me that is equality for all and one particular group is suffering we stand up to support them and right now that is the African American population in this country. My heart was shattered hearing of the news of George Floyd and many others before him. I ran down to the White House one morning this week and saw all of the signs the protesters hung up. It was profound. Change is necessary and has been for a long time.
What can we as allies and leaders do to support this change?
- We must speak our voice - the African American community as well as those who support them must speak up at this time. That could be in the forum of holding dialogues with your employees to see how this feels for them. It could be putting out audios, videos, emails or newsletter blasts letting your organization know where it stands on this topic. It could be holding discussions with members of your African American community to see what is going on for them and what can be done about it. But most importantly we have to let people be heard, respect their voices and speak our truth back to them to show our support and/or learn about their experiences.
- Stand up for those who may be facing injustice and/or bias - as allies we can speak up for and show our support for members of the African American community. This could include mentoring them, sponsoring them, giving them opportunities for leadership and/or opportunities to learn, grow, and develop. Giving a hand, providing support, and offering help to the community can be a great way to shift things in society.
- Look at our own thoughts and feelings around this topic - so much bias is unconscious. In fact the data shows that 90%of what we do on a bias level is unconscious. Therefore having discussions with those we trust to enlighten ourselves on our perspectives, doing some self-reflection (whether that is thinking about it or journaling) and opening up thinking about actions we have done in the past and how that might have impacted others is important. Change starts from within, but we need to know what our baseline is.