That all depends, we are living in a turbulent and challenging time. COVID19, demonstrations and racial unrest all disproportionately impact communities of color. These are also the communities we serve, work and live in. Individuals that make-up these communities are not the only individuals impacted; we all are!
The last 3 weeks we have seen a massive collective response to systemic racism and there has never been a better time to stand up and be heard. Do not be paralyzed by the fear of taking criticism. We have an unprecedented opportunity, whether a person of color or a member of the LGBTQ community, celebrating 50 years of Pride this month. Just as the gay rights movement that we celebrate today was ignited by the Stonewall riots that occurred in New York in June 1969, the murder of George Floyd may well be the spark that ignites the movement against racial injustices, “Globally”.
Since the murder of George Floyd, I have had several meetings and forums on racial equity with members of my team. Some were able to express feelings that had been silenced for way too long, others said that I don't understand and asked why? Stories were shared, emotions stirred, tears shed; all reflecting the pain of the moment. Conversations were real; yet no judgment was passed.
Being both biracial and multicultural, I have also experienced various forms of prejudice, racism and discrimination throughout my entire life. As the son of an African American father born and raised in United States and a Caucasian mother born and raised in Germany, discrimination has been something I have dealt with since early childhood. Much of my childhood was spend growing up in Germany with a single white mom, who refused to marry my black father, only to escape the racism that was prevalent in this country during the 60s and 70s and still is today. My pain, although not always having had the ability to clearly understand, define or express the injustice, was real, nevertheless. I was 11 years of age before my mother finally conceded to marry my African American father and come to this country. However, prejudice and racism did not stop there, but that is another story.
As we continue to have these discussions of healing, unlearning the stereotypical messages about our race and the race of others, there will be moments of enlightenment, awakening, discomfort, discouragement, pain and healing. Annaliese Singh states in her “Racial Healing Handbook”, there are five steps that we can all take now. Know your racial identity, learn the history of racism, catch yourself in the flow of racism, be a racial ally and engage in collective healing. I encourage you to take part in the healing process to read this or other books that are available on the subject.
My blog will be about us, events that impact us and those around us. Topics will be relevant to the work we do, the impact it has on our lives and the lives of others. It will be a discussion on self-improvement, maximizing team impact, building a better organization and maximizing our impact in the communities we live in. My goal for all of us is personal growth and development, reduced stress levels, improved health, healthier relationships, increased productivity, peace of mind and greater resiliency. Welcome, to Frankly Speaking.
SF Bay Area County Director
Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo & Elkus Ranch