Wise words on Diversity & Inclusion from 3 wise people

Three gifts of wisdom from two wise men and a wise woman, inspired by the events and personal experiences of 2020.

Following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25th protests took place in over 60 countries and on all seven continents on the globe.

One protester hit the headlines with his heartfelt plea as a Father, to a young 16 year old caught up in the confusion, chaos, and anger of the crowd. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvuxr5xlBEs  Curtis Hayes delivered a powerful message to all of us about the best way to stand up to racism, telling the young man “you’ve got to come up with a better way, better than the ways of my generation because how we doing it ain’t working!”  When later interviewed by the world’s media he said, “it’s the job of white Americans to challenge each other to help society grow.”

57 years earlier from a prison cell in Birmingham, Alabama the Reverend Martin Luther King wrote:

I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is in the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;” who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom and who constantly advises to wait until a more convenient season.” 

In a pre-Christmas zoom with a black businesswoman I have known for some years; I had an A-Ha moment. Nothing to do with the Norwegian pop group but a moment when things seemed to get much clearer… the A-Ha I get it moment.  

We were chatting all things Covid, Vaccines, Lockdown, Unemployment, Diversity, Inclusion, Brexit, Christmas plans – all the 2020 new normal stuff of conversations. When she context (for my benefit) her frustrations with the lack of real change within the business communities she knew, towards racism, with The Equal Pay Act of 1970.

The act was introduced to prohibit any less favourable treatment between men and women in terms of pay and conditions of employment, making it illegal in the UK to pay men and women a different wage for the same job or a job of equal value.  And yet, 50 years on the gender pay gap in the UK still exists for 15.5% of those in employment. (ONS)

To paraphrase the words and sentiments of those above, we can all make a difference by simply calling out, checking attitudes, and challenging behaviours on these issues, to help our organisations, communities and relationships grow. 

Since 2013 I have been helping ambitious SMEs with their Strategic and Leadership challenges.

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Posted in Company Culture, leadership, The Boardroom
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