Yesterday we suspended our social media activity to join the nation as we stepped back from our normal course of business and daily lives to reflect on recent events and acknowledge the need for accountability and systemic change. Today, I’m compelled to join the conversation. As a country we need to be discussing this issue. We’ve been talking about it in our office and with our families; I’m now opening it up to you, our investors.
As I’m sure many of you have noticed from my videos, I’m white. I’ve been that way my entire life. I say that not to be funny, but to make a point. Like many other white Americans, as much as I try and understand and empathize with what people of color are feeling at this moment, I cannot. As a human being, I watched in horror as George Floyd died while pleading for a breath. As a father, a husband, a son, and a brother, I can relate to the grief and sorrow his family must be feeling at this moment. But as a white man, I cannot begin to fully understand the oppressive weight of racial injustice. I can see, I just can’t feel it.
In a recent heartfelt email to me from investor Robert Codling, he said, “My deep prayer is that WE all will listen and work diligently to be a part of the solution. I think when we as companies, individuals and as a nation can truly live into this ideal, things can shift towards a heart centered culture whose systems and practices sing with the sweet song of compassion.”
Systemic change, by definition, must originate from the core, and fundamentally bring change to the entire system. For me that points to all of us as individuals. As Robert noted, it begins with listening to others and working to be part of the solution. As parents, it means raising your children to respect all life and follow a path guided by compassion and equality. As a business owner, it means creating an environment of inclusion that recognizes and rewards attitudes, efforts, and results equally regardless of race, religion, or sex. And as a member of our society, it means we must work together to create a nation that is truly built on equality and one that lives up to it’s pledge of liberty and justice for all.
And finally, at times like these, it’s important that we stay focused on the real issues and avoid the same stereotyping that is at the root of all prejudices. We cannot let the imagery of the looters and rioters distract us from the important message being delivered by the peaceful protesters. Those individuals are not representative of the peaceful groups that are exercising their constitutional rights. And likewise, the police officers involved in this tragedy are not representative of all police officers. Most are caring and compassionate “peace officers” that truly embrace the principle role of their job… to serve and protect.
Please feel free to respond in the comment section below, sharing your feelings in a respectful, thoughtful manner.
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