- Benjamin Franklin
Written by Lynne Wester
I’m disappointed in you.
Remember those words that when your parent said them struck at your heart and wounded you much deeper than them being mad at you? Well, I’m disappointed in us.
Did we forget that the fight for racial and social justice was going on? Was it not that interesting anymore? What happened to the conversations we all committed to? Thousands of you joined me proudly back in June at our first DEI conversation in the wake of the George Floyd murder. I was so proud of us, committing to do the hard work it took to be allies, to tackle the issues and to not let our colleagues and friends of color down. And here we are, nearly three months later and we’ve forgotten our passion it seems. Maybe some people got tired, maybe it grew monotonous, maybe people felt like it was such a big issue we couldn’t possibly fix it. But guess what? The issue is still there and its costing people their lives!
In June, we had over 5000 people join our conversation on DEI. This past month, August, we had 500 or so. What happened? After posting black squares to our social media, and banding together to say no more, we seemed to have gotten lost along the way to social justice. I get it, there’s a pandemic, and fires, and summer vacations, and back to school (or not) and TWO hurricanes and a derecho—but lives are in jeopardy! We cannot just file this away as another memory of bad things that happened in 2020. I’m ringing the bell once again and asking you to dedicate some of your time and effort to the fight. Go grab that book you meant to read, go have that tough conversation, go volunteer, listen, something, ANYthing to help you recommit to the issue at hand. Injustice doesn’t take a day off, and neither can we!
We CAN do more, we MUST do more. There is no way to just set this on the back-burner and expect it not to boil over again. Our friends and colleagues deserve better, our donors deserve better. Future generations need us to take action NOW and stand up and do something. So I’m a hopeful person, I know we can do better. And I want to believe in hope, and maybe I’m missing the work going on in the background to make our environments safer spaces for BIPOC colleagues. So now I’m going to turn this blog on a dime and ask you and your organization—what changes have you made? Tell me and others about the positive steps you’re making on their behalf. Even if it is you reading a book, attending a discussion, changing your organization from the inside out, SHOW me what you’ve been doing that you’re proud of. Leave it in the comments below and let’s support each other while at the same time recognizing we have a lot of work still left to do.
If you're reading this and thinking, "I haven't done enough," or "I don't know where to start," check out our free DEI resource page for ideas on how to educate yourself and samples that will inspire your work. And please set aside an hour, from 4pm-5pm ET on September 23 to join me and Dhiraj Chand, Sr. Director of Leadership & Principal Giving at the University of Utah as we continue our free, monthly conversations about how each of us can enact positive change at our organizations.