This is not okay. We are not okay.
I believed the entire orientation of my work, my life and my soul was to make the world a better place. And yet, now – with our nation in racial turmoil and pain all around me – I find myself sitting silent for longer than I ever wanted to because, as a business owner, I don’t want to offend anyone. I don’t want any negative consequences for my business or my employees, given the tumultuous nature of the economy. I don’t want to lose friends or clients, or offend colleagues if our political views differ.
Inaction is no longer an option. It has become clear, financial safety for me shouldn’t be afforded until very basic safety can be achieved for us all.
America, for some reason, prides itself on winners and losers – people who are more successful or just 'better' than others. America has always had a ranking system. However, it is those with ‘more’ – more power, more money, more influence – who largely determine exactly who the winners and losers are. And those picked winners have built a system that allocates power and hoards wealth.
I don’t get it. Because I believe in abundance -- that there is room for us all. We have room to live in peace. Room to love. Room to thrive. All of us.
The current state of the world, and more specifically the state of America, is amplifying all of our dirtiest underlying conditions. Because our society is fueled by fear and not abundance – “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is relative, based on race and socioeconomic status. HIS Life and Liberty is more important than OUR Life and Liberty…how has this remained the status quo?
I have screamed to some of you in private. I have cried during zoom meetings. I have spent sleepless nights trying to avoid the news and social media, trying to ignore the fact that this IS my responsibility.
Our Ventura County farmworkers have been deemed ‘Essential Workers’ without being given a path to citizenship. Our grocery store clerks are deemed ‘Essential Workers’ without earning a living wage.
Building on this inequality of work and pay is system that perpetuates racism and is endemic to the very foundation of our great nation.
It took FOUR DAYS and nation-wide riots to arrest the police officer who murdered George Floyd, and the 3 officers who acted as his accomplices still walk free. It took 74 DAYS to arrest the murderers of Ahmaud Arbery. And on and on and on and on.
During my work in disaster recovery, I always say that ‘Everyone has a place in the recovery – find yours.’ I write this without any answers. Except, perhaps this:
Everyone has a place in the reshaping our country’s current trajectory – FIND YOURS.
I won’t ‘go back to normal’ because normal wasn’t working. ‘Normal’ led us to this moment of pain and brutality.
My responsibilities here are twofold. As a business owner, I will continue to prioritize the health, safety and wellbeing of my team. I will continue to pay them equitably, treat them with respect, persistently push their growth and be their strongest advocate. And I will continue to show my colleagues that it’s both possible, and in the best interest of their companies.
As an advocate, my pledge is to reflect and to amplify the voices of those we need to listen to right now, and should have been a part of the conversation all along. I will examine my own underlying implicit biases. I will make micro acts of aggression uncomfortable for those who do them. I will continue to use my space to fight for equality.
I stand for universal and unalienable Rights: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness... for all.