“I’M GLAD YOU SHOWED UP TODAY, BUT WHERE WILL YOU BE TOMORROW?”
JOSH LEVINE, JUN 15, 2020: This was the challenge Phelicia Jones, Founder of Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community presented to the crowd of Bay Area protestors in front of San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza.
George Floyd. Nina Pop. Tony McDade. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery.
While these are just some of the most recent examples of tragic murders of Black people in the US, they have inspired our collective action. But Phelicia implored the crowd — and the country — to continue showing up for justice or nothing would change. Just as it hasn’t after centuries of brutal oppression of and violence against Black people at the hands of American law enforcement and white supremacists.
Where will *I* be tomorrow? I donated. I tweeted. I’m reading, listening, and learning. But really, what can I do to answer Phelicia and help make a systemic change stick? This is the question that I continue to ask myself. This is the question we need to ask each other. And this is the question I’m asking of you, the Culture LabX community.
As a straight white cisgender man, I now realize how profoundly unaware I have been of the different reality in which Black people in this country live. A radically different, and dangerous reality. The stories of parents fearing constantly for their young Black children has hit particularly hard.
But where will I be tomorrow when urgent emails and dirty dishes pile up?
For me, giving money is easy; tweeting from my couch is safe. If we are going to make real change, what comes next will be neither. I’m asking you to hold me, your peers, our community, and yourself accountable for doing what is uncomfortable to create sustained change in your home, your workplace, and across the country.
How will I use the position of influence and privilege I’ve been granted because I happened to be born white and upper-middle-class? I don’t have an answer today, but I will know I’m moving in the right direction when I take action that feels uncomfortable.
CULTURE LABx MOVING FORWARD
Businesses have always had the power to shape society for good and ill, that is why Culture LabX has the responsibility to be a lever that nudges companies in the right direction.
We are a global community of founders, designers, and practitioners, who curate conversations, connect communities, and experiment with the future of work. We provide a space for activities and conversations that empower people to make decisions, test out ideas, and take action. This is our founding mission, and today it is as relevant as when we started eight years ago.
Culture LabX is led by many communities across North America. That diversity has been a strength, sharing practices and learnings with one another; shaping, educating, and evolving together. But we need to do more to elevate and listen to the Black voices in our community.
Black CLxers, please know we mourn with you, we stand with you, and we will fight for you. Please get some rest, if you can.
This year, our organization is in a good position to evolve because we were already on our way. Throughout the rest of 2020, I will be working with members from across our labs to replace my singular role of Executive Director with a national board of directors. This transition is still in progress, but I hope to empower them to make the commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion that will fit, and perhaps stretch their vision of the organization.
What can you do as an individual? Where should you start? If you haven’t already, start by saying their names, Googling their cases, and commit to learning and doing more because Black Lives Matter.
Josh Levine Executive Director, Culture LabX