So for the next five minutes, I ask that you open your hearts and your minds to a possibility of a new and better you and if you're like me, you're probably thinking “Oh I got this. I'm pretty good, right?” Or more so as it relates to moving beyond and disrupting risk, racism, and sexism in the workplace, then we may have a little work to do.
Do you know that 17 million people participated in the ice bucket challenge? Do you remember that? Amazing, right?
I have my bucket today but I have a new challenge for you and this one may be the hardest one yet. This one will require you to self-reflect. To truly look deep within.
Yes, even with the election of the first black president, we still have a problem. That election did not change that. Until we are ready to move forward then we have to exist. That we still yet have a problem.
According to Jim Wallace in race relations, there are several truths that we must face in order to move diversity forward together. Truths that would allow us to be more honest, to be more free, to be more responsible, better neighbors, better people - allies- all better because of that truth.
And exclusion hurts. We've all felt it at some point of our lives. Think back to your childhood. Maybe in the gym and being the last person picked. Imagine that hurt you felt as a child. Now imagine how that feels as an adult simply because of the color of your skin. Many times there are tears that you can't see. Tears that we can't stop from falling.
If we're going to bring about disruption then we have to get real about race relations and progress. We have to understand that we're all in this together because in the end none of us are better than any of us. So when I say it hurts, it's real. A study shows a woman of color first face an emotional tax that truly harms their health and their mental well-being. Constantly being dismissed, overlooking impact even amongst the most skilled workers.
Statistics show the number of women of color who feel the need to outperform their peers.
Asian women 51 percent, Black women 58 percent, Latina women 56%, and multiracial women 52 percent.
So when I say this is real, it hurts.
When I walk up and you disperse, it hurts.
When you never speak to me unless I speak to you or when you choose to look through me and not at me maybe because I don't exist in your world, it hurts. We have to understand we all see the world through a different lens. Our life experiences, good or bad, can shape how we think and feel about others in the workplace. That can bleed into the workplace. So we may have to question why why we do what we do and whom we do it to. Whom do we choose to promote and whom do we choose to leave behind.
So, what is an ally?
In it’s simplest form, an ally is a person who speaks up and speaks out for someone who was targeted or discriminated against.
They truly care about equity, equality, and inclusion. For 21 days, I ask you to take this challenge. Statistics show that if you can commit to something for 21 days it becomes a habit.
So, for 21 days I ask you to focus on her - H. Be humble with your heart and with your mind, For 21 days, I ask you to wake up your hearts and your minds to no longer disengage in issues that don't impact you personally. I dare you
E - elevates and engage. Be willing to get to know someone different from you. Be willing to elevate and celebrate someone different from you, even when they're not in the room. Even when they don't have a seat at the table. I dare you to change.
R -keep it real. Be genuine and be authentic. True inclusion is about acceptance not mere tolerance.
H.E.R. Be humble. Elevate and engage. Keep it real.
So men, if you haven't heard this today, we need you to be our allies!
Men can be instrumental in moving organizations beyond both racism and sexism but women have to be an example. We have to show them how it's done. It is time for us to move beyond competition to collaboration in the workplace.
When I say we need allies, that means no woman left behind. Compared to white men, women of color make even less than white women. So, we still have work to do. I challenge you to unlearn the negative things that you've been taught.
Be willing to lean in and have these courageous conversations. Make it personal. Meet the people. See their face and see their tears and hear their stories that show you that yes, something is wrong and we have work to do.
Here is a few tips to become better allies.
- Be humble.
- Replace the judgement with wonder.
- Support and coach each other. Make space for diverse voices at the table and understand that we are still fighting for the dream.
I encourage you to be “color-brave” and not “color-blind”. Seeing race is not the problem. Refusing to see the people IS the problem. That was Martin Luther King's dream. To live in a society where we see each other as they are - with love.
That is a goal worth fighting for #allychallenge #Idareyoutochange.