As I write this, I am still working through my emotions about the awful violence of this past week. I am full of words and yet at a loss as to how to articulate my feelings. I am angry, disgusted, afraid, helpless, frustrated, bewildered, and unspeakably sad. All three of the events that have brought so many of us, including me, to our knees, were acts that were so…despicable, it hardly seems possible that this is the country that just days before had celebrated an independence that was hard-fought and hard-won by more than just those long-ago colonists. It is an independence that was fought for and won by many groups over the years—women, black, Native American, Hispanic, Asian, LGBT.
And yet, it seems we, in the minority community, are fighting all over again for the right to be viewed as equals. The Black Lives Matter movement has sprung up from this fight. There are those who counter with “All Lives Matter” but knowing this was the wrong response, I was unsure how best to counter it—until now. There is an article that was shared with me on my personal Facebook page that sums up the problem of any counter to Black Lives Matter. It was published by Fusion.net and titled “The next time someone says ‘all lives matter,’ show them these 5 paragraphs.” It might be required reading for all who say they don’t understand. Bottom line: We shouldn’t have to say Black Lives Matter too for everyone to “get it.”
Regardless, it is clear that the fight for equality and justice for all is not over and we need leaders from Gen X and Y to teach our Millennials and Gen Zs why it is important to remain vigilant. Just because you gain victory from one small step, doesn’t mean there aren’t more obstacles to step over. It is a fact of life. And, because it is, we must continue to point out to everyone who will listen when we see injustices and a sliding back to the old way of thinking.
I recently had a conversation with one supplier diversity professional who expressed concern for the current state of affairs within corporations when it comes to support for their department. He is not alone in his concern. I have heard this sentiment many more times than I care to count. Supplier diversity has long been considered an expense item on the books of many corporations. It is woefully under-funded and ill prepared to serve its purpose to connect with qualified diverse suppliers. But, how expensive will it be when the growing minority constituents and end-users begin to question the corporate commitment to their communities? This is the point of Jennifer Brown’s article on Page 12 about Employee Resource Groups.
I am still deeply saddened by all that has transpired around the world these last few months. I pray for all in the wake of these tragedies. But for all of the despair, there is also hope. I heard it in the voices of many as they called as one for peace. And, I know peace is possible if we speak as one. I hope you will continue your support of us as diverse suppliers because we are the future that will lead to peace.
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