My vow re: racism and systematic oppression

My vow re: racism and systematic oppression

It is with a heavy heart that I write this note to you today.

I have been deeply moved by all that I have been witnessing these last few weeks as the protests in support of protecting black lives and eradicating police brutality have been rising.

I’ve been heartsick reading the details of the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, and so many others who have died senselessly in a system of unjust oppression and condemnation.

I’ve not responded immediately because I’ve had so much thinking and pondering to do.  There is so much that I, a white woman, “didn’t know I didn’t know” – something I’ve been discussing with friends and colleagues.  The more blogs I read, the more videos I watch, and the more I seek to put myself in black shoes (which I can never do, but listening to first-hand accounts helps), the more I am both sickened and saddened.

If you are in my community, you know that I am committed to the belief that we are all connected, that truth must be defended, and that love MUST prevail.

We are all being called to deeper work at this time. 

For me, this means diving into learning about white fragility.  Implicit bias. And the presence of unconscious and insidious racism and entitlement that is built into the fiber of our cells, an effect of the bodies, places, and time we were born into.

To this end, I am committed to being in a place of humbly learning and listening.

To the people of color in my world, I offer a deep and heartfelt apology for my role in supporting the systems that have kept you oppressed.

I vow to do better.

As a start, I have asked a long-time client and dear friend, Elizabeth Madison of — who is a powerful and inspiring woman of color — to lead us in a group discussion and exploration of these issues via Zoom.  Details are being arranged and will be sent to you shortly.

In addition, I recommend you google the “Pyramid of White Supremacy” and read any associated documentation.  It has been very eye-opening for me.

And… there is also an inspiring Facebook Group called “White People. DOING Something” that I have recently joined and found invaluable (just use FB’s search, you’ll find it).

Here’s the thing.  I won’t get this all “right.”  I won’t say the perfectly correct things.  I won’t know how to handle every situation as this all unfolds.  And I’ll be confronted by my own guilt and shame, I’m sure.

But I will try.  I will seek knowledge.  I will offer understanding.  I won’t sit on the sidelines with indifference, or just walk away (as my light skin would allow).

In the meantime, I am open and receptive to your feedback, input, and contribution to my journey as a leader.

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