Will this time be different? Have we reached the tipping point? Can we have hope for change?
As leaders, positive change is our responsibility.
We see shocking news stories. We share our shock on social media, in letters, and in op-eds.
But each time, things return to the way they were, with no measurable change.
Making a difference this time will take commitment, action and
leadership, not just words, by individuals and institutions.
senseless killing of George Floyd and so many others - and the systemic racism and injustices those deaths represent -
we've all read statements issued by many organizations pledging renewed commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. While laudable, it cannot be enough if commitment is not followed up with action and leadership.
Empathy is a powerful act of leadership. It does not erase the impacts of racism, nor fix the future. But empathy is accepting and understanding the pain and fear
of others who have lived experiences unlike our own.
Leadership MetroWest stands with colleagues, friends and communities who have been so painfully impacted by the tragic actions of racism, past and present.
We stand with you in the fight for racial and social justice.
However, while we stand with you against racism,
we know it is only lip-service without action.
Leadership MetroWest commits to action within our own organization and to listening and learning.
The key will be our engagement with anti-racism practices over the long term and working for sustainable progress.
As a community leadership organization, with a mission to build and inspire a network of engaged, collaborative leaders who move the region forward, it is up to all of us as alumni to create positive change and propel knowledge and action in MetroWest.
We will move from just talking about diversity and inclusion to embracing strategies that dismantle inequities in the communities we serve. We will do the hard work and have the difficult conversations, with humility, even when they're outside our comfort zone.
We commit to these immediate actions:
- Anti-racism will become a core value, along with the current values - respect, inclusion, diversity, optimism
- An updated anti-discrimination statement on the Academy application will include our core values
- A new addition to the Academy curriculum developed by professionals in the field of diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism
- Creating forums for alumni, board and staff for ongoing education, awareness around actions and advocacy for structural change
- Partnering with you and the communities and organizations you represent, to take actions addressing the root causes, and not only the symptoms of racism, injustice and inequity
These are only a starting point for Leadership MetroWest as an organization.
There are actions each of us individually can take right now to support
racial equity and social justice.
- Challenge assumptions and call out racism and bias when we see it
- Listen with empathy to comprehend the anguish which led to this tipping point
- Use your platform, networks, and access to engage more people in anti-racism work and provide more visibility to organizations dedicated to social justice
- Advocate for change in your workplace to increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism
- Join a board or commission or committee to influence policy change in your town or city
Leadership MetroWest will be
relentless in the months and years ahead in our own organization and in the community to ensure anti-racism and social justice are more than words.
Leadership requires continuous learning and listening.
We are learning.
We are listening.
This is every leader's responsibility.
We can't lead if we don't understand.
We have compiled a list of resources (below) and ask that you help us continually add to it.
We are grateful to you for your leadership in MetroWest.
We have hope and optimism for the future.
Ultimately, our actions will speak louder than our words.
With sincerity and gratitude,
Chair, on behalf of the Board of Directors
How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
Kendi's concept of antiracism re-energizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America--but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism
by Robin DiAngelo
DiAngelo demonstrates an all-too-rare ability to enter the racial conversation with complexity, nuance, and deep respect. Her writing establishes her mastery in accessing the imaginal, metaphoric mind where the possibility for transformation resides. With an unwavering conviction that change is possible, her message is clear: the incentive for white engagement in racial justice work is ultimately self-liberation."
So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Oluo guides readers with language to engage in clear, constructive, and confident dialogue with each other about how to deal with racial prejudices and biases. It's for anyone who wants to be smarter and more empathetic about matters of race and engage in more productive anti-racist action.
This special report explores America's deep systemic racial disparities in education, the criminal justice system, the economy and health care, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program also includes grassroots voices from around the country and roundtable conversations with thought leaders, newsmakers and experts.
by Beverly Daniel Tatum
A classic text on the psychology of racism re-released with new content in 2017, 20 years after its original publication. By providing straight talk on self-segregation and inequality in schools, Tatum shows the importance, and possibility, of cross-racial dialogues starting young.