The title of this post is a quote from Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician in California who was assassinated, along with Mayor George Moscone, in November 1978. The quote resonates deeply with me and came into even sharper focus as I thought about the protests surrounding the death of George Floyd and wondered if it was time for me to speak up.
I rarely talk publicly about politics, race, sports, or religion. Sports is easy, since I don’t follow anything except basketball and, even there, I don’t know enough to carry on an intelligent conversation. Religion is a private matter for me, which I discuss with close friends and family. Politics and race are the tricky ones.
I’ve generally shied away from sharing my views on those hot-button topics with business clients, colleagues, or prospects. Why get into it if it might cause me to lose the business? And when I keynote at a conference or summit (now virtually), the leaders and event planners typically require that I stay away from those subjects, which has always been fine. Until now.
I can’t stand by without adding my voice to those who neither can nor should tolerate the injustice of institutional racism where people of color are targeted by—and dying at the hands of— those in power. And while the protests are focused on this deeply troubling issue, they’re also about a much bigger issue—hope for the future of humanity.
Where do we go from here? What do I as a white woman who drives a Lexus and lives in a nice neighborhood have to add to the conversation? I’ve never lost out on a job or been pulled over because of the color of my skin. I’ve never had a cross burned in my front yard. I’ve never had to have “the conversation” with my sons. Yet, I need to do something.
So I stand in solidarity with my friends, family, and all the people across the country who are no longer willing to watch in silence but have chosen to take action to prevent people of color being disproportionately affected by systemic racism, police brutality, mass incarceration, and lack of access to healthcare and mental health services.
I plan to donate to both the Southern California-based Bail Project and to the national Black Lives Matter campaign. It may not be a lot, but it’s what I can do today. What will you do? #blacklivesmatter
Here are some resources to help you learn more about this topic:
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
by Robin DiAngelo
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
13th documentary by Ava DuVernay- Netflix
When They See Us series by Ava DuVernay – Netflix.