It’s been hard to place the emotions, the words and energy accurately throughout the week.
If you are black, you understand what we saw this week is not unlike anything we’ve seen for at least the last nine years, thanks to cell phone video footage. I want to be clear that Black Lives Matter, Black Culture Matter and Black Opportunity Matter.
This week as I spoke to black friends around this country, many voiced a shared sentiment. Most felt unsupported in places we slave at, endure biases and give our secret sauce. Many felt like they were are their breaking point. We felt left out, negated, invisible, undervalued and insignificant despite the MANY contributions we have made. I do not know if it’s intentional; I know it probably was not, but I will say that it does not excuse it.
Far too many people carried on acting as if watching a person get murdered a regular day at the office and maybe it was for non-blacks but for black people we KNOW we could be shot at Walmart, in our homes, while out for a run, our kids can be fired at the park. The cops who kill them won’t see a minute of jail time.
Not acknowledging the damage that watching a real-life human being has their life taken for a possible crime that would have yielded 90 days to five years in prison, max stings in unimaginable ways. You may ask, “what do the two have to do with one another?” Here’s how they’re connected, in companies where there is little to no black leadership or limited diversity; specifically black people, you aren’t engaging in thoughtful conversation of what is going on outside of YOUR circles. I’d say how dare you, but I don’t even think MOST people also consider what happens outside of THEIR box.
I’d like to challenge the non-black people who follow me on my timeline to be INTENTIONAL. Be intentional about advocating for black people (straight and LGBTQIA+) to be considered, interviewed, hired and somewhat developed within your companies, as elected officials and in your organizations. You cannot just hire us as placeholders and try to drain us of the sauce. This country is far too diverse and black people have impacted culture so much that there is no entity that does not have our imprint on it.
If you make a choice to ignore black people, you will find yourself with a situation that has played out in the streets of over 30+ cities in the US and countless international towns. The sauce you want will explode from the unyielding and rarely rewarded pressure and the mess from that bottled up sauce will be on your hands.
Show up to make sure we live, show up to make sure OUR culture is supported and actuality connected with, not hijacked and make sure you have more than one black person in the rooms you sit in.
Make sure there are black people in your C-Suite. Make sure there are black people considered and hired. Make sure black people are on the ballots and supported and make sure you hear what black people are saying.