“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.
“continue firmly or obstinately in an opinion or a course of action in spite of difficulty, opposition, or failure.” Oxford Dictionary
We must be intentional, deliberate, and consistent in our persistence to meaningfully change attitudes, practices, and policies to create a more inclusive culture and anti-racist organization.
The work of building and maintaining an inclusive, racially equitable culture is a journey…not a destination.
The power of ‘many’ coupled with steadfast, proactive and ongoing activities to disrupt and dismantle racism are crucial to creating systemic change.
Adopt persistence as a mindset.
- Remember why you are on this journey.
- Start small – incremental actions matter even when the consequences are not immediate or obvious.
- Accept that you are flawed and dedicate yourself to self-improvement.
- Set goals – consider a 21 day racial equity challenge
- Get comfortable with being uncomfortable – practice courage
Reach Out & Listen
- Surround yourself with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) on social media and/or in your social networks. The more diversity you are immersed in the more you will hear stories about the lived experiences of others, particularly those different than you. This is how you can stay informed and be reminded of current issues.
- Form a habit of getting news from non-traditional sources or sources you don’t usually engage with: various publications have created series focused on DEI and there are a myriad of independent media sources.
- Set a goal to stay informed and continue to actively learn through published materials, training opportunities, leadership events. These experiences are attainable and can involve little financial investment if you take the time to look for opportunities and connect to community groups and other channels focused on DEI.
- Commit to a monthly or more frequent engagement in DEI or anti-racism professional development.
Elevate BIPOC – the following suggestions do not require raising BIPOC up in the stead of others or to do so without merit; they are based on the idea of increased mindfulness in specifically including BIPOC in ways where they are often left out or invisible (not thought of).
- Be extra intentional about giving a public shout out to BIPOC in your circles to amplify their achievements and contributions
- Nominate BIPOC for awards or other forms of formal recognition that can help boost their professional profile and careers
- Cite BIPOC in publications; deliberately seek out diversity when using resources in published works (this is not easy to do, but making the attempt is achieving a level of intentionality and awareness that can pay dividends to the cause over time)
- Recommend BIPOC for high profile/impactful projects, positions, and opportunities
- Stand with BIPOC colleagues and amplify their voices and perspectives in work settings; don’t speak for BIPOC, just make space for them to speak and heard, especially in settings where they may be in an underrepresented position (have an opposing view, being the only X trait in the setting, etc.)
- Impactful change can be achieved through even the most routine work activities: push for promoting job opportunities through more inclusive channels; question the justification for requiring degrees and certifications in job descriptions; always take notice of gender, age, racial and other kinds of diversity in working groups, leadership boards, and throughout other groups and raise the observation and recommendation to diversify
- When it comes to social change, social media is an efficient way to spread information and promote one’s cause. Social media allows individuals to spread information to greater populations at rapid rates. Social media also gives everyone a voice, and its inclusivity provides everyone with an opportunity to become involved in a movement. Collaboration is a key benefit of society’s use of social media, especially in current circumstances where face to face meeting is less likely to occur. Overall though, social media shines a light on injustices and calls attention to societal issues, which helps encourage change.
- Anti-racism work can be exhausting, discouraging, and emotionally draining. It is important to stay committed, energized, and hopeful and the only way to do that is through self-care.
- Take a break periodically; avoid burnout by giving yourself time and space to re-energize.
- Stop when you’re feeling a sustained level of overwhelm, hopelessness, or stress. It’s OK to be not OK.
- Put your health first. Focus on your health, wellness, and fitness. Your impact can only be as strong as you are (physically, emotionally, and mentally).
- Practice forgiveness. Internalizing anger, disappointment, or other negative emotions will only weigh you down. Release negative feelings through forgiveness and seek support to work through your emotions.