Related Article: Discussing Racism in the Workplace
It’s been a tumultuous year, with violence that for some is forever embedded in our minds. Relieved our justice system efficiently and effectively brought forth a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial. Some may say justice has been served. Judicially yes. In the context of social justice, this never would have happened, and George Floyd would still be alive.
We’re not here to debate the verdict, the character of George Floyd or Derek Chauvin. We want to use this historical moment as a turning point, to look ahead at what comes next. Where do we go from here? How best to use this information from this chapter of life to move forward and create new chapters that have meaning, to build harmony and momentum that bring us all together and prevents this from happening again.
As a company with a mission that embraces diversity, equity and inclusion, empowering organizations to attract, retain and cultivate a diverse workforce to transform business, we take a moment to reflect and understand what may be learned from this historical event.
- Racism is hurtful and, in any form wrong. Racism incites violence, misunderstanding, inequity.
- Speaking up appropriately and peacefully for yours’ and others’ rights stimulates change. Numerous Minneapolis police officers testified against one of their own, proving the “blue wall of silence” could be cracked. They stood together as colleagues to demonstrate that laws must be upheld, and no one, not even a police officer, is above the law. Change occurs when we stand up for what’s right as a collected organization.
- We are better when we work together. This event brought people of all races and colors to the streets or they gathered via zoom to make action plans. People had had enough and listened to each other in ways never before. They didn’t want to repeat history, they wanted to change history. Courage happened.
Where do we go from here?
- Realize this is just a starting point. There are other court cases ahead, such as Daunte Wright’s. Focus on each step forward toward bringing unity amongst people of color. Be patient, every now and then remember to look in the mirror at how far you’ve come. Let that progress be your motivation to keep driving forward to affect change.
- Get involved. Does your workplace have a Diversity Advisory Council, employee resource groups (ERG), diversity committees or volunteer activities that you can participate in? Each step forward starts with you and those around you. Don’t do this alone, bring along a friend or colleague.
- Share your experiences and differences with your colleagues. Expand your circle of influence. If you’re back in the office, sit somewhere different during the lunch hour to meet someone you normally wouldn’t. Still working remotely? Scheduled 15 minutes to get to know a co-worker better. Investing the time in others not only spurs growth in your perceptions, it shows others you care.
Battles are won when people come together peacefully. Eliminating preconceived notions and assumptions. Taking time to listen to each other’s stories, to find common ground in shared experiences and build new ways, paths, methods, create ideas never before seen. This is where change interconnects and diversity thrives.
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Vice President, Marketing