Like many of you, we are saddened and disturbed by the events that have transpired over recent weeks around the world.
COVID-19 has been a hidden enemy, with many social pressures building up through social distancing and isolation. Now, not only in the U.S. but in other locations such as London, Berlin, and Sydney, acts of overt discrimination have put a match to the tension that has been building.
In the U.S., the spark has been yet another death of an unarmed Black person at the hands of police. Hong Kong’s renewed turmoil has been triggered by a crackdown on citizens’ free participation in democratic institutions.
Issues based on exclusion, injustice, and inequity are global as well as local, and every country faces its own challenges in addressing inclusion at the human, organizational, and systemic levels.
In light of all this, it is easy to despair, to feel helpless, and to feel that whatever we might do won’t matter.
But what we know from our many years of helping global organizations increase awareness and understanding of “those who are different,” is that if we work to deepen understanding rather than foment conflict, if we strive to unify rather than divide, and if we seek to learn rather than blame, we can make a difference for the better.
Part of making a difference is to look after each other and to be patient with yourself and others during this difficult time. Part of making a difference is also to lean into the discomfort of reaching out to your colleagues and having what may be uncomfortable conversations about the current state of affairs and the situations we find ourselves in.
We could be at the brink of increasing division and social strife, or at the threshold of something far better. We don’t yet know.
What we do know is that every one of our actions has a ripple effect, and what we do today and tomorrow — however modest — will make a difference.