After speaking with the Broker Buddha team yesterday about their reactions to the George Floyd murder, the ensuring protests and riots, and the social injustice that has been so pervasive in our country, I felt the need to share some things with you.
As people began speaking out about the death of George Floyd and the systemic racism in this country, I originally sat back and said nothing. I didn’t think it was my place.
I’m not an activist and I felt like speaking out because everyone else was doing it would be fake. I watched as public figures made statements that sometimes backfired on them. What if I say the wrong thing?
“Better if I don’t say anything,” is what I told myself.
All that time, I was listening. To the news, to friends and to colleagues. To people with different racial identities. “Word is out,” I thought. “The message is being delivered.” “People will listen.” “This movement can’t be stopped.”
It all felt inevitable.
Racism, something I’ve rarely experienced personally since I left New Orleans in 1995, is finally coming to an end. The rest of the world is finally catching up to something I left behind 25 years ago.
Then I kept listening...and read stories about people fighting the movement. Entitled white people continuing their racist actions and words. I was shocked...I guess I shouldn’t have been. More importantly, I was sad. Some people still don’t get it.
One of the hardest things to do is change people’s behavior. Especially things that have deep roots. Change is hard, and it doesn't happen fast either.
What I learned from talking with my team today is that the easiest thing that you can do is simply take a moment to think about what's happening...what's been happening...and decide how you feel about it. There is no right or wrong way to feel. What you feel is just that...a feeling...and nobody can deny you that or tell you that it's right or wrong.
What's important about that feeling is that it puts you in the position to have a conversation. To respond to a question and to engage...actively when you have the opportunity. If everyone simply engaged on the topic instead of hiding their heads in the sand, things would dramatically improve.
I'll admit I'd never heard of Juneteenth before last week, but I've now learned that it's a day to commemorate the emancipation of slaves in the US. Why haven't we been celebrating this more!? Why wasn't I talking about it before last week?
Going forward, I'm going to put in the work. Stay engaged. And do whatever I can to help make things right.