My journey in learning, listening, and making changes
Back in June, I wrote about the tragic death of George Floyd and the subsequently renewed focus on social injustice in our country. Since June and what I have observed happening in my company and community, I have reflected on my actions and adjusted from running a sprint to pacing for the marathon.
While we have seen so much outpouring of support and Allyship for our brothers and sisters of color, it simply isn’t enough. We have seen more deaths, continued protests, more unrest, lack of action by our elected leaders, and continued deafness to centuries of history that make up the lives of our African American citizens.
When George Floyd died, and I witnessed the anger and frustration of my own community, I felt paralyzed. I realized that I didn’t know enough about the history of systemic racism in our country. I reflected on my circle of friends, and everyone looked like me and came from similar backgrounds. I looked at buying habits, entertainment choices, and reading and realized I had little to no exposure to African American business owners, writers, or artists. I decided to make some changes, most of which were small.
The first was to write about my perspective on George Floyd. The second was to start reading — articles, blogs, and books. The third was to change my news and social media sources, adding Black voices to my daily content consumption. The fourth was to find minority-owned businesses to buy products and services from. First, I switched from my wife’s hair salon to an African American barbershop. As we looked at the services we used or needed to use, we started searching for African American owned businesses. At the time, we were trying to find a service to clean our HVAC ducts in the house. We found a great business owned by an African American gentleman. His company did an outstanding job. As we need to consume products or services, I continue to look for minority-owned businesses to patronage.
As I looked at my social group, I realized that I don’t have a very diverse set of friends. From a work colleague perspective, my network is diversified but still predominantly white. My network has a healthy mix of women and men, but a much lower mix of People of Color. I started to participate more actively in groups where…