Understanding Racism and Working Toward Change
The past few weeks have been traumatizing and painful. The unjustified killing of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and the blatant examples of racism have now forced many to understand what the Black community has known and experienced our entire lives. I’m no different.
I’ve been called the N-word multiple times. My family has been unjustly pulled over by cops at gunpoint. I’ve been accused of shoplifting. I’ve been asked to justify my reason for being in a place where I belonged. My son doesn’t enjoy the same privileges and freedom as his white teenage friends. For example, I won’t allow him to jog, ride his bike, or take a walk alone in our neighborhood because I fear for his life. I know that the next Black person killed could be my son, my husband or me. I am outraged, sad, scared, and tired.
I am also encouraged that so many are now trying to understand the Black experience in America. I’m hopeful that by working together we can drive the systemic changes necessary.
I’m incredibly proud to lead the efforts of Diversity and Inclusion at Johnson & Johnson. Our company continues to be committed to driving change. Today, Johnson & Johnson announced a $10 Million commitment over three years to help create a more just and equal America. Our focus will be in three key areas:
- Educating about race through an expanded partnership with the National Museum of African American History and Culture
- Supporting organizations focused on social justice
- Improving healthcare disparities
What can you do?
- Educate yourself on Black history and racism. Get comfortable with talking about race and our differences. Start with the NMAAHC Talking About Race digital platform.
- When racism or injustice happens, no matter how small, speak up and stop it. Silence is consent.
- Stop saying you “don’t see color.” When you don’t see color, you don’t see me and my experiences.
- Listen to your Black friends and understand their experiences. If you only have one Black friend, expand your circle. This will help you to better understand people different than you and enrich your life.
- Diversify your social media feeds. Follow Black voices and publications to increase your understanding of being Black in America.
- Teach your children what you learn about the Black experience and systematic racism. Make the next generation better humans.
- Donate money and time to organizations fighting racism and injustice.
Thanks for having an open heart and mind to learning about the Black experience in America and joining with us to create a more equal and just America.