I have no words. Perhaps a funny thing to say, coming from a writer. I have no words…I don’t know what to say. Even now I struggle to find the words.
Our nation, in the midst of perhaps the biggest crisis in the last 100 years, certainly in the last 50, has exploded. When news of George Floyd’s murder came across my television, just weeks after the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, I did what I always do. I showed my support, first by liking others’ posts on Facebook, then by sharing a post. I’ve done it for years…
The murderous attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris? Changed my profile picture to “Je suis Charlie” in support.
The confrontation at Standing Rock that escalated into violence? Joined others who checked-in at Standing Rock to show support.
I could list dozens of others. Doing my part to show support. But cautiously. Wouldn’t want to draw furor. Wouldn’t want to upset my “friends”. Afterall I have a business to run and many of those “friends” are my readers.
Doing my part. Cautiously. Rarely, if ever, on LinkedIn. That’s for business. Can’t get personal, can’t get political, can’t take a stand. Would not want to alienate anyone, they might buy my books, they might hire me for a keynote, they might…
This time was no different. Until it wasn’t.
I shared a “Black Lives Matter” gif on Facebook. A bit later a “friend” commented “All Lives Matter”. I did not know what to say in response. I use quotes around “friend” because I haven’t seen this person in 50 years and just recently reconnected on Facebook. I really didn’t know him. I was at a loss for words. On one level, yes, all lives matter. But that was not the point. The point is right now an entire race of people are hurting. Saying “all lives matter” diminishes their pain. I was frozen.
And then, my son spoke up and commented on the post. A discussion of sorts started, then someone else chimed in. His tone was decidedly sharper. This back and forth went on for a couple of days…and I remained silent.
Over the last week I have watched my son find his voice…on Facebook, and yes, on LinkedIn. I have seen countless others raise their voices. What I have seen, what I have heard, tells me there ARE words. I was just stuck waiting for the RIGHT words.
As leaders, we have to lead…even when we don’t know the RIGHT words.
To those of you who were like me…waiting. STOP. Add your voice to the conversation!
To my friends of Color. I am sorry. I have no concept of what it is like to walk in your shoes. I know you are hurting. I know you are afraid. I know you are angry. I want to learn. I am committed to learning, so that I might lend my voice and my support to make this a world that recognizes all people have been created equal!
I will speak by listening! I WILL find my voice. I WILL listen.
Other resources to read:
Masking language and “keeping it professional”
Leadership Reflections on George Floyd and the Minneapolis Riots
I am one person. What can I do?
TIME for Kids Age-Appropriate Resources
“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.” We don’t, but we can.
Women & Hi Tech’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in light of the Recent Events in Our City and Nation