Every month, I have a phone date with two other men—Vincent & Joey—that I met while living in New York City. All three of us moved to different parts of the country, but the first Friday of every month, we still call one another to catch up and to pray for each other. Vincent is black. Joey is Hispanic. I’m Caucasian. Until June 5, the first Friday of June, I don’t think the differences in the color of our skin even crossed our minds. But during that call, for the first time, we talked about it. We talked about what it was like to grow up black, Hispanic and white. And even though we’ve been there for each other through many difficulties in our lives, the conversation wasn’t necessarily an easy one.
I called Vincent again later in the week to ask him more about some of the thoughts he expressed during our conversation. He shared many personal stories about racism. Since that conversation I’ve met with many friends in the black community who are part of our ATD Dallas family to talk about inclusion, equity and racism. I’m grateful to each one of you who shared your stories with me. I know it wasn’t comfortable for you. It’s awkward. It’s emotional. It’s not something we’re used to talking about. But I’m hopeful that as more of us engage in these conversations, we’ll all have a greater understanding and respect for one another. Thank you. Because of your openness, I understand how ATD Dallas can support greater inclusion and equip members with the tools to overcome ingrained biases. And more importantly, I know why it’s so crucial.
ACCESS. RECOGNITION. EXPERTISE. This is who we A.R.E.
ATD Dallas does, and always will, offer every member #ACCESS to our vibrant community. For members of our chapter who are black, please keep coming to our events and being yourselves. Your presence, your friendship, your perspectives keep us thriving. Stay connected and keep sharing your stories with those you trust and who are willing to listen.
We care about you and we #RECOGNIZE that, with the help of our active volunteer base, we can do more to support thoughtful, sustainable programming that gives our members, and the organizations our members belong to, skills that help us see our own biases and overcome them. We’ll start with our July chapter meeting, when Korn Ferry will guide us through the talent management cycle through the lens of inclusion.
I encourage all of our members to build the #EXPERTISE of engaging in healthy conversations that build understanding. To get started, I’ve shared two pathways on Degreed with all of our members on Unconscious Bias and Diversity and Inclusion. Please check out all of Degreed’s curated content on related topics, such as empathy, and approach your conversations well-equipped.
If you are a Power Member, you also have access to National’s diversity and inclusion curated resources, which you can find here:
Our best resource to understanding and leading the way to equity at every level is one another. It begins with listening. Start there.
With love and respect,