Getting ready for delivery of “The Journey to Allyship,” on May 20th. The last course in our Building Cultures of Belonging Leadership Development Series. I checked our cohort messaging app on Telegram and this comment came in from one of our participants.
"Met up with friends after over a year today and one of them said. Why don't BLM sort out black on black violence before saying we're the problem.
I called them out, then called them in, and we've had such a productive conversation about it. It was uncomfortable, but feel like I've started them thinking about other opinions/ideas and opened their curiosity.
I don’t think I'd have been able to do this before this course and meeting you all."
My heart sang reading this, because this is heart work. This is why this work was created. To equip participants with the confidence, courage and skills to speak up, call in, and engage in productive dialogue that proactively promotes inclusion and anti-racism. This is at the heart of Creating Cultures of Belonging.
Racism, sexism, gender bias, ableism, biases against religions, ethnicity, we inherited all of it and while we are here, it belongs to us. It isn’t our fault. It wasn’t caused by something we did or didn’t do, but now its all of ours. It’s up to us to decide how we are going to deal with it.
You will probably never know what specific act of exclusion could be offensive for every social group and culture, however doing this work will increase your ability to recognize that the conversation, comment, or outcomes you see are not right. That the action is proliferating the painful message that a person or persons are less competent, less worthy, less intelligent, or other/foreign.
Organizations that get why valuing diversity matters, why practicing inclusion is a fundamental 21st century leadership skill are no longer just checking the D&I box. They are doing the work of change. Building organizational cultures that actively supports Allyship, equity, anti-racism and opportunity for all of their employees.
This work excludes no one, nor does it gloss over systemic racism, sexism, ableism, and other ism’s that devalue human potential and uniqueness. Disparate outcomes don’t just happen. But we are changing. One courageous conversation at a time, followed with action(s) to build Cultures of Belonging.