RACISM: A National Priority

Time to Make Some Big Commitments

Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I have a dream” speech here in 1963. This is what it looked like today.

Is this the kind of nation we want to be part of?

MLK gave his speech at Lincoln Memorial 53 years ago. Yesterday it was occupied by the National Guard confronting peaceful protestors standing up to the same racial constructs King spoke of that day.

Is this the home of the free and the brave? Or something entirely different?

Racism has to be a national priority for as long as it takes to break its stronghold on America. We have to become united, for the first time.

We must focus our attention, for as long as it takes.

If you were driving through a desert with your family or friends and the car broke down, you would quickly deduce that the magnitude of the problem deserves all of your attention if you’re going to rectify it.

Your only hope of survival would be to focus all your attention on the problem until everyone is safe, whatever it takes.

Eliminating racism in America requires that kind of sustained attention. Anything less, and racism will continue to plague our nation.

“Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.”Martin Luther King Jr.

We can’t allow ourselves to be distracted.

If we allow the next conspiracy theory or scandal to divert our attention for even a moment, we’ll lose momentum, and momentum is everything.

If we allow our desire for safety, comfort, and familiarity to sway our resolve, the movement will stall out once again.

If we truly want to end racism in America, it means we have to be as diligent about eradicating racism as white people are (even unknowingly) about upholding white privilege.

It is not enough to simply not be overtly racist. When you truly want something to change, you get involved and don’t let up until it’s changed. And this particular problem is profoundly ingrained in American culture.

We are talking about deconstructing well over 400 years of cultural programming and a political system that upholds it.

Are you willing to be an advocate for the black community?
All the time?
In ways that push your boundaries?
In ways that seem too risky?

Do you believe anything less will work?

Ben & Jerry are doing a great job of setting the bar for the level of engagement that is needed.

This is the front page of their website, and the meme is all over social media.

This isn’t a black problem.

In America, much of the white population insists that the struggles of black people are self-inflicted and that they alone are responsible for ending racism.

White people tend to see racism as being a black problem. That has to change. It’s a human problem.

White privilege provides political, social, and economic advantage and power over the black community.

If the goal is peace, those with the advantage are going to have to do the work of deconstructing the culture of racism that allows them to sustain that advantage.

The black community has been in the throws of this mission for generations. And they will carry on. Let them guide you.

“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is tied up with mine, then let us struggle together.”
Lila Watson

This has to be our national priority.

We have to cultivate the belief that racism is public enemy number one.

This can’t be another Selma or Ferguson moment. It can’t be a moment at all. We have to start making some significant, long-term commitments to deconstructing institutionalized and cultural racism until it no longer exists.

This isn’t a revolution.
When it comes to race in America, there’s nothing we want to revolve back to. America has never been “great” when it comes to racism.

We have to commit to participating in our evolution into a culture of equal rights and social value that celebrates our uniqueness and prioritizes our unity above all else.

That’s the shift we all have to commit to facilitating.

It’s time to make some commitments.

Right now is the time to plan what you will be doing 6 months and many years down the road to uphold your commitment contributing to a society free of racism. Personally, professionally, etc.

We can’t keep passing on this tradition from generation to generation. At some point, we have to evolve beyond our own self-destruction.

We have to commit to designing a new way of being in America that carries us far beyond this moment.

What commitments will you make?

In order to play a role in this movement, you have to keep it at the forefront of your life, for the long haul, not just when it’s hot on Instagram.

This can’t be a side note or part of your Corporate Social Responsibility. It has to define who you are, to become central to your identity.

What long-term commitments will you make that will ensure that George Floyd’s death wasn’t just another tragic moment in a long line of cultural and institutionalized racism in America?

What will you do to ensure that the attention doesn’t come off of this until it’s fixed? How will you change your buying habits and business practices?

What will you do to educate yourself and empathize more deeply than you ever have before?

If you own a business or have a platform of influence, figure out what you need to do to support this movement and then publically announce your commitment to it.

Then show up that way every day. Forever.

Take some time to listen and learn from leaders in the black community. Then it’s time for some tough questions and big commitments.

That’s how we do this.

It’s time for major brands and white people to make Big Commitments (right now) about how they will be participating in the quest for racial equality this time next year, and the next, and the next. Anything less will result in more of the same.

I wrote a related article called, What to do with White Privilege.

Here is an Anti-Racism Tool Kit for white people. It’s impressive.

Here is a free eBook I wrote on the nature and opportunity of philanthropy.

There are lots of great organizations to support. Here are a few.

Black Lives Matter
Color of Change
Drug Policy Alliance
Equal Justice Initiative

Immediate Action
Sign this Petition to Defund Police & Invest in Black Communities.
Growing calls to “defund the police,” explained

Take Action Resources
These have been assembled by leaders of the black community.

Strategist & Philanthropist | Space + Environment + Indigenous Wisdom

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