Some have called this the summer of racial reckoning…
Many organizations are taking a serious look at their stances, statements, and policies on racial equity and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Here at C3MD, our mission is about creating positive change, doing good, and elevating humanity. Part of inspiring and equipping individuals and organizations to embrace and implement conscious business principles that include stakeholder orientation (this is ALL stakeholders) and conscious culture implies that DEI is “baked in” to everything we do. However, we are also aware that not stating explicitly is an opportunity to do so.
“When it comes to things being “baked in” we have to remember that all of our societal, cultural, and historical biases are “baked in” to all of our institutions and systems. The very act of being more conscious as we build new businesses, systems, institutions, and the like means that, if we are truly practicing Conscious Capitalism, DEI is a natural informant to our work,” shares Brian Akers, co-chair of the newly established C3MD DEI Committee. Part of the committee’s charge is to help our organization take explicit action, leaving no room for confusion or doubt.
We’re excited to be hosting our first virtual Conscious Coffee on September 1, 2020, to talk about “Race, Representation, and Redlining. Our special guest is Executive Director of Challenging Racism, Alicia Jones, who has so much good information to share. “Embracing antiracist practices makes life richer for everyone,” says Jones. “It is a way to diversify your thoughts and understanding. If you listen to people who have different experiences and different backgrounds, it will bring a richness all its own. It makes you a better person (and leader) with more empathy and a greater depth of understanding. We should all strive for, not perfection, but an improvement.”
We are also delighted to see and share the work that C3MD President Wendy Moomaw is doing with her company, Conscious Collaboratory. She and Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) specialist Danielle Marshall are facilitating a six-week series called, “Building Racial Equity into Your Business,” to help businesses talk about, figure out, and develop frameworks for bringing racial equity back to their business.
“In the midst of two of the largest pandemics: COVID and racial inequity, we want to be conscious of this moment time and what this means for businesses — leaders and our employees,” says REDI Specialist Danielle Marshall, CDP. “How we are creating an inclusive and safe space for them to show up to work? And to be able to navigate this? How are we really beginning to put our eyes and actions on dismantling structural racism that has existed for over 400 years in this country? People are demanding that it be addressed. As leaders, it’s an opportunity to step up and be part of the solution.”
While this is an intensive, co-created multi-week training, they are also offering a free webinar, “Let’s Talk About Racial Equity in Your Business,” on September 2, 4-5 pm EST, to share a little bit more about it. C3MD, along with 1776, is a strategic partner for this webinar.
“This is a great opportunity for a group of leaders to step into a room and learn through one another’s experiences. How can we engage in race conversations inside organizations and expand the potential for racial equity in policies and procedures inside the company? If you aren’t sure how to get started, or how to make bigger strides in centering race equity within your organization, this is a great place to start,” says Conscious Collaboratory Founder Wendy Moomaw. “We’re inviting participants to step into the work here, in a safe space, and get some practice underneath you.”
How are fellow members of Conscious Capitalism feeling about the issues and opportunities that this important time of racial reckoning? Several of our members acknowledged that it’s important to listen, learn — and be willing to unlearn long-held biases and belief systems. Sometimes awakening to new truths and realizations feel uncomfortable. That’s okay! Stick with it.
“As a woman of faith, UNITY is one thing that comes to mind when I see people. When there is unity regardless of race, color, gender, sexuality, family, group, community, town, state, country, nation—we can move mountains,” says Leadership Team member Dr. Tinah Iboronki. About the challenges our nation faces in every sector, Tinah says, “The one thing that can help us to achieve the UNITY that we are talking about here, is called conscious LOVE. When we make the decision deep within us to truly and dedicatedly love one another irrespective of our background, image, status, political views or any other criteria, it will be easy for us to UNITE as ONE.”
“The greatest measure of our elevated humanity is our ability to accept and honor each other as equals. Balance and equity are possible, but it requires focus, dedication and willingness to accept our shadows,” shares incoming C3MD Board President Eboni Adams Monk. “Throughout my 20 plus year professional career, my very presence in spaces that have been traditionally void of BIPOC has been a radical catalyst for discussions about DEI. As a leader, the greatest action I can take is to continue to pursue greatness and guide necessary change wherever I show up.”
Where to Start
How can you address Racial Equity and DEI? Continue to participate in the conversation, for sure. If you have not yet done so, take a look at An Antiracist Reading List, from Ibram X. Kendi.
Challenging Racism ED Alicia Jones suggests, “Start with listening or reading one book. Once you finish a book, look up the author and view a TedTalk, follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or wherever you can. Lastly, do a ‘google alert’ on your author so you can get regular updates on their news coverage and interviews. This is a way to keep challenging racism on your mind every day and to get useful news and insights to grow your knowledge.”
And, Jones urges, “Donate, share and support local black and brown entrepreneurs, causes, businesses, authors, artists, etc. They need your support, and your contribution (no matter how small you think it is) can be major to them. If you can’t donate, make an appointment in your calendar to two or three times a week share a post on an article with someone who is starting their educational journey on racial equity. Even a Yelp review for a local business, author, nonprofit can significantly increase their reach. And that costs you nothing and can help immensely.”
Everyone talks about how important diversity, equity, and inclusion is —this is good— AND it is time to take action and follow through. Keep listening, learning, unlearning, and leaning in (even to possible discomfort) —that’s where we start. Taking action to change organizations and businesses will help move the needle to the center.
— Wendy Baird, president, insight180 Brand Consulting & Design
and C3MD Leadership Team member