It’s been a weekend that has highlighted some of the baser instincts present in our society, hasn’t it? While so many of us want to believe that we as a country are better than this and are achieving our ideals, events like Charlottesville provide an incredibly harsh reminder that we aren’t even close yet.
It’s easy to look and think, “I’m not in Charlottesville, and I’m not in Virginia. This isn’t about me or my neighborhood and there’s nothing I can do.”
I’m going to challenge you and tell you that this is about your city, your state, your community and that there is PLENTY that you can do. Reading the news, seeing the remarkable photos from Charlottesville, I’m using this as an opportunity to double down on my commitment to peace with justice and inclusion, and trying to not just provide lip service. We have GOT to move from words to deeds, friends. Or, as you’ve heard me say more than once in this space, we must #lovelouder.
While you need to do what works best for you, here’s what I’m doing.
- I sent yet another contribution yesterday to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC was founded in 1971 and is doing some of the most important work today on civil rights FOR ALL. I hope that you will familiarize yourself with their work and that you will consider providing them with financial support. What they are doing makes a real difference and is so critical in a time when hate crimes and racism are so prominent.
- I’m speaking up. Yes, I know, y’all are used to me saying something when people are unkind and unfair. I’m going to be even more tuned in to comments that show bias…and I’ll be letting people know that’s not acceptable.
- I’m educating myself and my community. Earlier this year I did a pretty good job sharing #TuesdayTeachings on Twitter, which were items that provided more understanding of the underpinnings of various forms of discrimination. I’m recommitting myself to learning more and to sharing what I learn with you- and I’m trying my VERY best to get that information from members of the communities experiencing discrimination.
- I’m looking at my circle of friends for diversity and inclusion. I like to believe that my circle of friends is pretty diverse- immigrants, POC, LGBT are all well represented. But I’m looking again to see how I can expand my circle, and I’m seeking guidance from those friends on how to be more inclusive both personally and professionally.
- I’m listening. While I may not agree with or understand everything that people put in front of me, I will do my best to respectfully hear them and learn from their experiences. Sometimes that is really, really challenging!
- I’m promoting minority friends and colleagues. It’s unfortunately easy for us to put names forward for awards/ panels/ leadership roles of people who look like ourselves; I refer to this as nominating the “usual suspects.” While I’ve long sought to make sure to include the not-usual suspects, again, I’m doubling down here. As an additional comment, I am carefully looking at the program we are developing for Surgery Education Week next Spring to ensure that our speakers, moderators, and panelists are diverse. I want everyone to believe #Ilooklikeasurgicaleducator
- I’m walking the walk. If you have seen me in action, you know that all of the above are more than words on a screen. One of the most important ways that we can influence those around us is role modeling the behaviors we want to see in the world. I won’t say I get it just right every single day because, as I have said before, I don’t know what it’s like to be a member of many of the targeted communities. But I can make a good faith effort, I can ask for feedback from people I trust, and I can apologize when I mess up (and not make the same mistake twice). For those of us trying to be strong allies, these are important concepts.
I’m going to challenge each of you who are part of my reader community to choose something- no matter how small you think it is- and make that your focus to #lovelouder this week. If you want to share in the comments or in social media your intention to make you more accountable, that’s great. If you want to write it down on a post-it and put it on your computer, that’s also great.
Words and deeds that diminish any of us ultimately diminish all of us. Remember that, and please act accordingly.