Desmond Tutu said “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
Like most people we know, the Kennedy Events team is reeling from the world’s news over the last few weeks. From the tragic shooting deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling and the sniper attack on Dallas Police, it is impossible to go about business as usual. Tragedy and loss are all around us.
We don’t pretend to have answers. The purpose of this post, and future social media outreach you will see from Kennedy Events about #BlackLivesMatter isn’t to preach, but it is to urge you to listen with us.
Here are some voices I’ve been listening to over the last few weeks and that I’ve been sharing with our team.
- Gene Demby and his colleagues at NPR’s Code Switch, which has a corresponding podcast that is causing me to have weekly and repeated “ahas!” about race and culture and my own whiteness. If you listen to podcasts, I cannot recommend it enough. And if you don’t listen to podcasts…oh dear, where do I start? That’s a blog for another time.
- The amazing duo Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon at Being Boss and their addictive, intelligent and vocal Facebook group started me thinking about our role and responsibilities as white, female, progressive business owners.
Being Boss led me to several excellent articles on thinking about race as a business owner and in the workplace, and for the roles we should consider playing (and not playing):
- An Open Letter to My Fellow White Business Owners by Maya Elious at Girl Boss Woo.
- My White Boss Talked About Race In America and This is What Happened by Mandela Schumaker-Hodge at Medium
- Black Lives Matter and Minding Your Own Business by Carly Romeo at Two Spoons Photography
- For White People Who Want to Attend Black Lives Matter Protests by Ashleigh Shackelford at Wear Your Voice
As two white women running a business with a mostly white team, Maggie Braff and I are at the edge of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, but we want to tell our friends, colleagues, vendors and clients that we stand with people of color in this terrible time.
We are having conversations as a team about how we can help the movement and what we can do — personally and professionally — to act. What I’ve heard over and over in the last two weeks is that we need to start by listening — listening to people of color who are daily and directly affected by this violence, by the militarization of our nation’s police forces, by the systemic ways our nation has ghettoized, disproportionately incarcerated, and failed communities of color for decades. We lament this especially here in the Bay Area where our black middle class has nearly disappeared.
As we listen and learn, we also want to tell our friends that we at Kennedy Events stand against all who perpetrate hate and violence in this world. Black Lives Matter.
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