Leaning into Crucial Conversations as Racially Motivated Hate Crimes Persist

Posted By: Beth De Santis Facing Race Together,

Another racially motivated hate crime. It is devastating. 

The May 14 shooting at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, NY, that resulted in the deliberate murder of 10 Black people is hard to handle for all of us, but especially our Black friends and colleagues. That yet another young white man planned to deliberately kill Black people remains incomprehensible.  

Our hearts go out to the survivors and the loved ones of those murdered. This tragedy is also a clear reminder we can and must take action ourselves.

We must not become desensitized.

As leaders, let us continue to take steps to bring about equity, inclusion, belonging, acceptance, love, and joy in the organizations we run and the communities we serve. 

This past January, my colleague at Fact Forward, Dr. Rena Dixon and I had the honor of presenting our journey as part of Together SC's Removing Our Blinders series. The messages we sought to impart during that call, continue to ring true.

As leaders, we should:

  • Pay attention to what's happening in the world and how it affects us and our work. Make time for open and honest conversations about events that can be devastating to colleagues.
  • Ask how our people are doing and really listen to their answers.
  • Help our people grieve, morn, feel, and heal.
  • Meet each person where they are at on this journey.
  • Listen to understand their story since each one of us has our own story.
  • Make a plan that helps all
  • Take actions that improve relations.
  • Hold ourselves accountable to the commitments we make.

Here's what happeded last week at Fact Forward. Over the weekend, one of our leaders reached out to other team members to offer support. First thing Monday morning, the Fact Forward executive team talked about the staff’s reactions to the mass murder. Then, by mid-morning, we sent a message to the staff offering support and time off if needed. Our team is committed to this work and will continue to hold ourselves accountable for being there for all our staff and partners. We hope it helped. 

So as we all mourn and try to heal, will you please join me and so many others as we all work to improve the world we live in one day at a time?

Yours in equity, inclusion and belonging,

Beth De Santis

email: Bdesantis@factforward.org

NOTE: In For Good Connections, we also shared E3's (Educate, Empower, Elevate) acknowledgment of the Buffalo tragedy. They are also offering two Safe Space gatherings for Black leaders on May 24 and 26..

BTW - Here's the link to learn more about the national CEOAction pledge to take action on diversity and inclusion. As of May 20, 2022 there were only 13 SC CEOS out of over 2000 corporate and nonprofit CEOs across the country who've signed on.  Our allies at Denny's, Michelin and Miliken are leading the way.