A Way Forward with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
By: Terri Hoffler
Less than 2 years ago, all eyes were on Minneapolis, MN where we were all witnesses to the murder of George Floyd. We were aghast, appalled, and agonized by the brutality. Individually and collectively, we decided that something had to change. We had conversations with those who didn’t look like us in an attempt to understand their experiences, apologized for things we may have done or said to offend, and vowed to be different.
Influential companies put out statements disavowing the behavior and drawing lines in the sand to divide their values from those who believed differently. Employees were sent to anti-racism training and encouraged to report any deviance’s from the newly scripted pledge. We all felt good about ourselves.
Twenty months later, has anything really changed? The promises, pledges, and platitudes were all nice gestures to get us on our way, but what sustainable actions have we taken to move ourselves, our companies, and our country forward? Lasting change requires significant action. Here are a few things that can help get us started:
- Don’t just talk about it, BE about it- Conversations are good to get the ball rolling. Share your experiences, learn about others’, and then do something. Attend events and venues owned and frequented by people of color. Immerse yourself in cultures and experiences different from your own. Seek the input of others, not like you, to help shape your perspectives.
- Ain’t no half-stepping – Increasing your awareness and incorporating activities that broaden your perspective are critical to change. Once you’ve done that, the hard work of influencing others starts. Do you speak up when you hear biased statements? When women’s ideas are passed over or attributed to others do you correct the offender? What can you do differently here to show up more powerfully in allyship and support?
- Put your money where your mouth is- Alter your charitable giving to support organizations whose mission is to close the racial wealth gap, focus on racial parity, and generally advance equity across the board. Where these organizations thrive with promise and drive, they sometimes lack finances. Your monetary support ensures that even if you lose focus, the mission continues.
These are few ideas to help you get started, but in no way reflect the varied and voluminous options available to you. This year make a promise to yourself to do some things you have never done to help keep up the momentum in our efforts to advance equity.