As told to WRAL TechWire and outlined in this piece they published sharing my thoughts, I am encouraging courageous acts far beyond lip service.
Here are the answers I provided to the questions posed:
- What is your view on the ground here in the Triangle?
My view is the same no matter where I am in America. It does not change. I have friends and family all over the country who are watching protests in their area as well as participating in them and we all want change. I understand the outrage. I am outraged.
People are fed up with mistreatment, watching black men and women murdered, wondering if they or their loved ones will be next and murderers walking away unscathed or never being brought to justice.
There is something palpable though about this moment. I see an awakening like never before, which I am hoping translates to equality and real systemic change that does not devalue people based on race and acknowledges and supports what is true – that no life outweighs another.
- Where do we go from here?
There are many lanes to get where we need to go. People just need to pick one and start moving. The truth is, different people must do different things and some know where they should start. Others do not.
So we have to talk and most importantly LISTEN to the people most affected.
We should commit to being a catalyst for change where we can, whether it’s our workplace, school, community or even right in our own homes. Leaders have to lead, and seek truth within their organizations to understand what needs to change, and then embrace that truth even if it hurts.
We have to open our ears, our mouths, our minds and our hearts to one another. Tackling bias, confronting bigotry, speaking up when it feels safer not to – are the courageous acts needed no, required to make everything we are feeling today count. We cannot lose the momentum.
- What can be done on a local level to affect change?
There is a lot of change to be made. We cannot see this as simply a switch we can flick on or off. But we do have to start.
A lot of this is rooted in the way people think, the way they are raised, the way they experience life, the lens through which they live their lives, raise their families, talk to their friends and neighbors and build their communities – and how they take all of that with them and apply it wherever they go. We can’t talk about change if we don’t acknowledge those facts and raise consciousness levels to new heights. It’s critical to understand who we are electing into office at all levels, particularly those with authority over law enforcement. We have to hold the people who make laws accountable, learn how to get involved in that process and exercise the right to vote at every opportunity.
It’s also critical that Corporate America puts action behind all of the statements we’ve been seeing issued and shared all over social media. I have strong feelings about that of which I shared yesterday on my personal blog along with actionable tips that can and should be implemented. It’s one thing to post a bold statement but have a population of employees who know you don’t live that truth and have experiences that make them feel less than on a regular basis, from microaggressions to blatant acts of racism.
I could go on and on about this, but I’ll stop here. The answer is to start somewhere and practice what you preach. Equality doesn’t happen on it’s own.
- Does this feel like a watershed moment?
I have a deep appreciation for the fact that the murder of George Floyd and the systemic roots of such actions is getting so much attention, even globally. It feels different than any reaction we’ve seen in the past, which gives me great hope that real change could be on the horizon. I am also hopeful this isn’t just a one-time series of events that will be remembered as a moment we did not seize, and by we, I mean everyone – the human race.
We all have a role to play and much of it starts from within. I’ll tell you what has been different for me personally is the level of outreach from friends and former colleagues – all white – who seem genuinely concerned and want to act. I have never once in my life received these types of communications after any racial issue or event that ascended to a national level. Not once. Never. And there have been plenty.
I’ve been completely heartbroken dozens of times about similar atrocities and never received this kind of empathetic outpouring. This is striking a chord in a new way.