Black Lives Matter: engaging now and in the future

Today I am showing up in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement not just as a citizen and a human, but as a business leader. The recognition and protection of Black lives is a human priority requiring our immediate collective attention. Generations of Black American lives have been shaped by systematic racism. These communities have been offered only marginal acknowledgment and even less tangible change.  The American socio-economic and political systems are custom built to reinforce racist culture and policy. It is an ideology so deeply entrenched in our culture that it is often simultaneously social, political, economic and deeply personal. Identifying and actively creating an anti-racist culture will necessarily be influenced by the profound reshaping of our personal, professional and social identities. 

There is no quick fix for injustice on this scale. I think a crucial first step is a ruthless examination of one’s own beliefs. Excavating and examining our own mental and emotional artifacts is the first threshold in right siding perception so we can properly imagine and advocate for authentic equity at every level of society. Effectively shifting the cultural paradigm will require us to continue pushing—even through discomfort, failed attempts and false starts. Showing up for this movement will require each of us to hold accountability—acknowledging our part will require humility. Regardless of how ungainly early attempts will be, I think that the willingness to actively and intentionally engage with change, amend beliefs, and redraw boundaries is the only way to keep moving forward. 

I am the President and COO of a growing company. As such, I am actively seeking innovative ideas about how we can best engage with the Black Lives Matter movement as an organization. We are currently experimenting with how we can best structure hiring to genuinely reflect an authentically diverse cultural environment. Going forward, we want  to explore how we can best facilitate the organic growth of diversity in our culture.  We will continue to analyze our own data to build and grow diverse representation at every level of our organization, but aspirationally we are driven to reimagine how we can exist as an asset in a diverse range of communities. What opportunities are there for disruption of existing systems that reinforce racist paradigms? What is the role of business in social justice? What ideas can we test for improved outcomes and social dynamics? 

Black Lives Matter.  This movement has given form to the call for recognition and accountability. It represents an opportunity to build a more equitable, inclusive society but will require us to show up and do the work. 

Heather Casey