In January, SmallGood chose a word of the year. That word was ANTIRACISM.
We chose that word to inspire us every day, to motivate us to do better work for our clients, and become more conscious, kind, just, and whole people. We committed to making that core to who we are and how we behave, and we committed to making that one of the values of our company.
We have started the work but we have been jolted by the reality that we have So. Much. Further. To. Go.
So much so, that while we watch the injustices of the past days, we’ve been feeling almost paralyzed. Frozen. Taking it in vs. taking action. No longer sure what to do.
Which, thankfully, reminded us of Wendell Barry’s poem, The Real Work. Which gave us hope, made us realize, we have come to the “real work.”
So, we took inspiration and courage from something a friend of Lenora's, Clifton Johnson, posted on Facebook and started asking ourselves some questions.
・ Since January, how many times have we genuinely engaged with someone who has a different identity and perspective than us?
・ Since January, how have we elevated the voices of black communities vs. elevating our own?
・ Have we been guilty of passively supporting change through shares and likes vs. rolling our sleeves up and joining organizations doing the real work to create systemic change?
・ What more can we do to further our understanding of the reason for this division, anger, and hurt, and why it’s not just going to stop?
・ Can we rethink the conversations we’re having with our co-workers, clients, and our children in such a way that helps create antiracist leaders for change?
・ Are the charitable groups we support and/or partner with are being led by people of color?
We are asking ourselves these hard questions so we can break our patterns. And to fuel and inspire new work. Real work that creates real change. Our hope is that our white friends and family will join us in asking themselves these or similar hard questions as well. Otherwise, this moment in time will pass, as surely as it has in the past.
So, SmallGood is taking the challenge from Kofi Amoo Gottfried, a fellow Leo Burnett alumni, and renewing our commitment to check our egos, bias, fragility, and privilege. Renewing our commitment to listen and learn when people with lived experience are speaking. Renewing our commitment to speak up because silence is consent. Renewing our commitment to being actively anti-racist - moving past conversation to take action for systemic change. To do so we are:
・ Joining SURJ, Chicago , attending their virtual introduction this Thursday and joining their ongoing work for racial justice.
・ Joining an accountability group led by Shari Weber, a friend, and former colleague, one of the bravest and most honest people we know, whose true purpose is to bring other white women along with her.
・ Sharing the Activism & Allyship Guide prepared by the Black@Airbnb Employee Resource group, the Scaffolded Anti-Racist Resources created by Anna Stamborski, Nikki Zimmermann, and Bailie Gregory, and a compilation of resources that we have picked up along the way – work, references, and creative content from artists, activists, and experts in antiracism. If you have resources you’d like to share, please let us know here. We share these resources as a way for us all to work together to become better and more active allies.
And most importantly, we are asking for you to hold us accountable.
Tell us where you think we could be doing more. Remind us not to remain silent, call us out when we get so caught up in our own stuff (which we can do because of the privilege of our skin color) that we stop making this a priority. We will drop our defenses and really listen, especially when a POC tells us we've messed up. (Thank you Claudine Moreno Lormé.)
We will not do this perfectly.
But never let us forget we have to keep doing the real work.
#Antiracism #GeorgeFloyd #BlackLivesMatter #TakeCareOfEachOther #DoTheWork