By now, you may recall me saying the triggering events for clients to engage with us are due to something that was there all along, them changing or the world changing.
It seems to me that the summer of 2020 highlights how some things were there all along and how those things can cause us to change and perhaps the world to change.
We are experiencing a global pandemic, 25% unemployment and confronting the ugly reality yet again that racial biases and inequality are real. A pandemic is always there, waiting for a host and a vector. 25% unemployment happened over a short 2.5 months as the world changed. Bias and racism have been there all along, yet we have not seen lasting change.
I’ve struggled all weekend with whether, as well as how, to address George Floyd’s senseless murder. Some people believe that saying nothing makes us complicit. Others believe that saying something has no place in the workplace. I don’t know what is right.
What I do know is that a black man, named George Floyd, in Minneapolis was killed because someone put a knee on his throat for 8 minutes while he pleaded “I can’t breathe.” I do know that Ahmuad Arbery was killed after walking through a house under construction. What I do not, and cannot know, is what it feels like to be a person of color in America. I am a white male. I walk through homes under construction all the time without fear. I am not afraid when a police siren comes on behind me. I cannot truly empathize with people of color, women and immigrants because I have never directly shared their experiences. All I can do, is listen, try to understand and commit to being a better person tomorrow than I am today.
At Celerity, we believe diversity is essential to making us a better company and better people. We will never tolerate racism, gender or LGBTQ discrimination, anti-semitism, religious intolerance or any act that infringes on the dignity of another human. We expect that when someone sees such an act, they say something. And we expect our company to take swift and appropriate action.
For me, I believe that we must have the discussions that are necessary to progress our mutual humanity and society towards the ideal of equality for all. I believe that everyone has a right to their views so long as those views don’t cause others harm. I believe that we are all better when we care for one another. I believe that business does play a role in driving change.
Martin Luther King Jr. said a “riot is the language of the unheard”. I promise to hear, listen and seek to understand as best I can. I cannot know what experiences you may have gone through, but I can listen to how those experiences have caused you to feel and think. I can seek to understand. I can recognize my biases and try to overcome them.
The heartbreak of inequality has been there all along. It is time that we change the way we deal with it. Perhaps then we can also change the world. Three conditions to help improve the human condition. I see it, I will change, we all must change.