We are living in a time where people are leaving jobs and distancing from friends and family members because of social justice and equality. Leaders in organizations, family members and friends are posting and tweeting information about the civil unrest that continues to divide rather than unite.
The racial inequality in our country is out of balance, and if I may say so it has never been in balance. It is simply a conditioning that people have come to accept as a norm. I have devoted much of my career to serving others as a servant leader. It’s been an extreme privilege to witness countless individuals that I have developed, motivated, and served to reach their personal goals and dreams. In July 2020, I left a 15-year management career with a company that I loved to devote my life to educating on leadership, diversity and inclusion. My hope is to make an impact for current and future generations. Many people have reached the point of saying enough is enough and we need to make a change.
In order to understand the present circumstances, a historical review is necessary. Our nation has a strong history surrounding race, racism, and segregation, so it should not come as a shock that our nation is struggling to be inclusive. Race and race matters have confounded our nation since the founding fathers (Ladson–Billings & Tate IV, 1995).
I am amazed when I look at people throughout this journey we call life; knowing that we are all facing adversity in one fashion or another. Can you imagine that every single person you see today is dealing with some type of painful challenge; facing regrets, loss of loved ones, lost jobs, missed opportunities, suffering relationships, illness, or maybe loss of hope.
- We are all innately wired to have high hopes, yet there are many who have no hope.
- We live in a world where there is freedom, liberty, and justice for all, yet some have none.
- We live in a time where there is equal rights for many, yet some are experiencing tyranny.
- Where is the freedom, liberty, and justice for all?
These painful pressures for social justice and equality are being felt personally and professionally. In times like this it has afforded opportunities to do much reflection, but you don’t want to be overtaken with anxiety and worry. It’s important to keep in mind that the issues of social inequality is serious business and remind ourselves that we should not be overcome with anger.
The perspective of being told to look at the silver lining or being told that this too shall pass is simply willful blindness. To say there are people that are worse off and to be thankful is to simply sedate yourself from dealing with the actual problem we are facing, which is institutional racism.
Lets not take the stance and approach for a temporary solution. We need to change the actions, behaviors, and policies that lead to a change mindset for inclusion. Furthermore, to educate and equip ourselves with the tools and resources needed in order to make drastic changes to capitalize on the benefits of inclusion. We must allow the open honest conversations to take place with people of color.
Leadership: While we all must participate and understand the solution for inclusion, the movement towards an inclusive culture begins with leaders that are willing to set the example and change the culture. We need leaders that genuinely live the mission of inclusion in order for it to infiltrate everything that we do. It is not enough for them to talk the talk, but they must genuinely walk the walk.
Individuals: As individuals, we have the ability to continuously challenge ourselves to grow beyond our comfort zone; to push our intellectual capacity to reach new heights. If our leader’s value inclusion, we must also develop and grow as a whole. Each person possesses different awareness and expertise with social justice and equality, but it is critical for every individual to seek resources on their path from novice to expert which include self-awareness, self-efficacy, emotional intelligence, intellect, and drive.
We need to find common ground and connect with others and seek equality for all, human decency for all, we must want to make the world a better place. We are embarking on the Civil Rights movement of the 21st Century. Change is afoot, people are crying out over injustices and being mistreated; people have reached their limit. Now it is time to ban together and make a difference. We need moral leaders in this century that will make an impact for current generations to understand what it means to stand up for an ideal.
Each one of you reading this are personally being challenged to speak up for those voices that are being silenced or are not in the room to be heard. Speak up when an inappropriate joke or comment is made, speak up when a policy is being created that does not equally benefit all people or limits one group of people over another. Choose kindness and respect. Live with a curiosity to learn about your differences and embrace each other as valuable members of this world. Change the world! Grow beyond your comfort zone!
© All rights reserved Djoly Souffrant, LLC 2020