I can’t breathe…
George Floyd asked for help and he was ignored. The Black Lives Matter movement cried their indignation since the death of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of his killer in 2013. For the last 7 years, their voices have been heard but not well listened to.
Today, we can’t ignore the voice of George Floyd, amplified so convincingly by the many who are protesting for justice and equality. How controversial is it to demand justice for all? How controversial is it to demand equal opportunity for all? It’s not. These are universal principles on which our country was built and that we at Pacific Workplaces embrace, as we care deeply about our diverse communities.
But then, how truly diverse are these communities? I don’t need to run statistics to know that people of color are grossly under-represented in our centers. Our members tend to be successful, highly educated people. Their diversity, or lack thereof, reflects the socio-economic profile of the communities in which we operate. Not less, not more. That’s no reason to be satisfied.
It is important for all of us to listen to the soul of this movement, discard the peripheral noises, such as inflammatory comments or outright lies on social media, and then to act.
In our democratic society, our vote is an important way to affect change, and we will have our opportunity to do so come November. But that is not enough. Each and every one of us needs to think about what we can do to change our culture around these issues.
I am certain that Pacific Workplaces can do a lot in that respect. What exactly? I am not entirely sure quite yet. We need to be thoughtful to durably affect cultural change. Reacting by announcing new policies and programs designed to reduce inequalities in our business world may not be a bad idea, but maybe we can do better than a superficial emotional reaction. We need to work on changing our mindset, our culture, our sensitivity to these issues, and engage our members and Pac-mates in that process. The many peaceful protesters are showing us the way.
I would like to ask our members and our Pac-mates to please send your thoughts and suggestions on what we can do to improve our world at Div[email protected]
CEO of Pacific Workplaces
Here are some resources committing to change and starting conversations, courtesy of Rebuild Today: a master list of anti-racism resources such as books, videos, and organizations to follow on social media, a team check-in/safe space conversation guide, a personal playbook for anti-racism, and a directory of black-owned businesses and brands.