“I have the personal faith that mankind will somehow rise up to the occasion and give new directions to an age drifting rapidly to its doom. In spite of the tensions and uncertainties of this period something profoundly meaningful is taking place. Old systems of exploitation and oppression are passing away, and out of the womb of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. Doors of opportunity are gradually being opened to those at the bottom of society. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are developing a new sense of “some-bodiness” and carving a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of despair.”Martin Luther King Jr. | Nobel Peace Prize Lecture, 1964
On June 30th, 2020 I will start my #21DayRacialEquityChallenge where I will for 21 days, “further my understanding of power, privilege, supremacy, oppression and equity” by following the structure outlined here: https://www.eddiemoorejr.com/21daychallenge
TAKEAWAY: There are many items on this list that I am guilty of saying over the years. Here are a few examples of what I have said that now I know was most likely very hurtful to the receiving party:
- “I don’t know why he acts that way now, he did not act that way when he was younger. Why did he change himself once he was surrounded by other Black Students? He seems to be putting on an act.”
- “Where is your family from?”
- “What are you?”
- “You don’t speak Spanish?”
- “Can you translate this for me?”
- “He/She seems very white-washed.”
Looking back at some of these moments now, I feel very ashamed; as I should. This is supposed to be uncomfortable and messy; significant and meaningful change usually is.
HOW I WILL BE BETTER: Moving forward I need to pause more before I speak. I need to ask myself, am I being biased? Is this comment racist even if that is not my intent? And I need to find another way to ask my question that isn’t offensive, or more than likely, realize there may be no need to ask it at all.
TAKEAWAY: Black People are being told and shown by our actions as a society that their “existence is being interpreted as crime.”
We (White People) need to change our thoughts and our actions to be more inclusive and less biased/racist.
“Changing that action, changes the story, which changes the system.”
HOW I WILL BE BETTER: Moving forward I need to speak up if I am ever in or witnessing a situation where a White Person is calling the cops on a Black Person or any Person of Color. Ask the people involved, “do we really need armed men to show up and resolve this situation?” Because “when they show up for (Black People/People of Color) it’s different.” We must acknowledge that.
I also need to continue to share this message, so hopefully less White People will think of calling the cops on People of Color in the first place.
WATCH: “When They See Us” on Netflix
You can find out more about the story behind the film here: https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-48609693
TAKEAWAY: “What did I learn about the justice system? Is that it’s the wrong name for it.” -Joshua Jackson
HOW I WILL BE BETTER: I will do my best to support the current Exonerated Five and also help spread their message.
WATCH: Nike Town Hall Zoom Meeting with Trevor Noah (not available to the general public)
TAKEAWAY: “We are not learning when we are speaking . . . The key is to ask yourself: are you willing to listen? And be willing to acknowledge the prejudice you may hold.” Big thank you to the Nike Black Employee Network for hosting this amazing opportunity for me to Listen, Learn and Acknowledge.
HOW I WILL BE BETTER: I need to take a hard look at how I interact with employees of color and make sure I am listening and acknowledging any prejudice I may hold. I also will reach out to my Black coworkers weekly to make sure they are okay and offer support wherever applicable during this incredibly turbulent time.