Earlier this year the senseless murder of George Floyd, combined with the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on populations of color, inspired the most powerful protests against racial inequality in the U.S. since the civil rights movement. News media was abuzz, major brands issued well-crafted statements, and civic leaders convened community conversations.
At an individual level, I heard from many white friends and colleagues who weren’t quite sure what to do beyond being vocal on social media. As more than six months have passed since Mr. Floyd’s death, I thought it might be helpful to share what I’ve done to help address inequity in my corner of the world.
This intractable issue compels each of us to act in different ways, big and small. As Teddy Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” I hope my sharing these six personal actions sparks ideas for others to find new ways to engage in this work:
- Self education. I continued my multi-year journey to better understand systemic racism and how to address it. There is no shortage of easily accessible books, podcasts, and videos we can use to learn at our own pace. Three resources I found especially compelling this year include How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, John Lewis: Good Trouble, and Slow Burn Podcast: Season 4 (on white supremacy).
- Shared learning. I convened a group of white friends eager to increase our understanding of racial injustice and white privilege. We meet bi-weekly over Zoom and discuss shared learnings from relevant content we’ve consumed together.
- Strategic volunteering. I volunteered to serve as AVP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the American Marketing Association’s Triangle chapter as we launched our to advance AMAT’s commitment to address inequity in the field of marketing.
- Grassroots volunteering. I periodically volunteered for two nonpartisan organizations focused on safe, secure, and accessible elections. What better way to empower people in a democracy than to ensure their vote (and voice) counts.
- Professional training. I’m in the process of becoming a Certified Diversity Executive (CDE). I’ve taken the course, passed the exam, and am in the process of completing a professional project.
- Career transition. My life’s work is now focused on advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. I recently joined The Diversity Movement to lead marketing and partnerships as we help organizations embed diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies into the core of their businesses.
Looking back on 2020 I’m grateful for how these events of have shaped me, humbled by how much I still have to learn, and committed to using my privilege to help bring others along on this journey.
A similar version of this blog first appeared on AMA Triangle’s blog earlier this month.