@iamDrWill shared this TED Talk on Twitter yesterday and it has really gotten me thinking, or “Vid-Learning” as it were. Since ISTE last week I have been fired up about how we bring more diversity to local, state, and national events. Especially within the technology and innovation education circles and conferences I do not see a diverse representation of gender, race, and context (think: teachers from schools with AND without tech, principals from affluent schools AND struggling schools, educators from a variety of central office departments vs just Ed Tech…). This needs to change, and I can’t stop looking around and thinking about the ways I can be part of that change within the district and local education events, meetups, conferences, and PD I am involved in.
This is a complex conversation, and I know in the past I have shied away from engaging in it publicly because I was afraid of how it might be taken, or worried that I wasn’t knowledgeable enough to be the one putting it out there for discussion. But I think what I’ve come to realize through conversations with friends and colleagues, and thoughtful presentations from people like Mellody Hobson, is that not discussing it or letting it be an issue that other people champion is something that has to change, too. My story absolutely looks different than someone else’s, and I don’t for a second presume I fully know what it is like to live their story – but that doesn’t mean I don’t have my own story that’s just as important to tell, too.
I’m throwing around an idea for how to begin telling these stories more publicly, but for now I am starting the conversation. I am reaching out to the amazing PLN I am fortunate to have and leaning on them to push my thinking, ask me great questions, share new ideas and perspectives, and provide great resources like the video below that can further my ideas and understanding. I know I will be coming back to some of these quotes and digging deeper as to why they resonated with me so strongly. Until then I will share them here and encourage you to take the time to watch this thought-provoking video and consider ways you can take Mellody’s call to action by being color-BRAVE, not color-blind.
The first step to solving any problem is to not hide from it, and the first step to any form of action is awareness.
Imagine if I walked you into a room of a major corporation..and every single person around the boardroom were black – you would think that was weird. But if I walked you into a Fortune 500 company and everyone around the table was a white male, when will it be when we think that is weird too?
There was a corporate study that said that instead of avoiding race, the really smart corporations actually deal with it head on. They actually recognize that embracing diversity means recognizing ALL races, including the majority one. But I’ll be the first one to tell you, this subject matter can be hard, awkward, uncomfortable..but that’s kind of the point.
We cannot afford to be color-blind, we have to be color-brave…We have to be willing to have proactive conversations about race, with honesty and understanding and courage. Not because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the smart thing to do.
You’re probably sitting there and you’re thinking…”but what can I do?” You can be color-brave. If you’re part of a hiring process or an admissions process, you can be color-brave. If you’re trying to solve a really hard problem, you can speak up and be color-brave.
I’m asking you to observe your environment..at work, at school, at home. I’m asking you to look at the people around you purposefully and intentionally. Invite people into your life who don’t look like you, don’t think like you, don’t act like you, don’t come from where you come from. And you might find that they will challenge your assumptions and make you grow as a person. You might get powerful new insights from these individuals.
Be brave for those kids who are dreaming those dreams today…I want them to know anything is possible…they will be welcomed in any corporate boardroom or can lead any company.