Learning and Growing, Together

Posted By: Forrest Alton For Good Connections,

I’m not usually one for hyperbole, but I honestly can’t remember a time like the one we are in right now. For starters, we have faced—and are facing—a global pandemic, the largest public health crisis in a generation, which dramatically changed life as we know it. Amidst the pandemic, events exemplifying long-standing racial injustices captured headlines, resulting in a widespread and necessary examination about the impact of racism and our collective responsibility to make systemic change. 

Just over a year ago, social and racial uprisings were at full throttle across the country. Sparked largely by the murder of George Floyd, this was not the beginning of work on race, equity, inclusion, and belonging for many of you; however, I do think it fair to say it was the beginning of the collective “we” or “us” taking a long hard look at these issues as a field and larger society. 

Our consulting firm, 1000 Feathers, was honored to be an early supporter and sponsor of multiple learning cohorts sponsored by Together SC and an active participant in the monthly Removing Our Blinders virtual gatherings like the one coming up on Sept. 9. Also, in the days immediately following George Floyd’s murder, I wrote a piece called “Do You See Now?”  that still has relevance today. 

No matter where you were then (or are now) in your personal journey, it is clear that each of us could be doing more… more learning; more searching for ways to constructively support our BIPOC colleagues, brothers, and sisters; and making more meaningful change in our organizations and communities. 

Now, nearly 16 months after the murder of George Floyd, it’s past time to do some honest reflection. Where are we as individuals, as leaders, as organizations, as communities? I’m fully cognizant of the fact that we have all learned a little more, at least I hope, and that’s great, but what are we really doing differently? What substantive changes have been made in our own organizations and communities? 

Dr. Heather Hackman, who has done so much teaching and leading on this topic for Together SC’s membership, long ago presented a learning and action continuum of “Wake Up, Catch Up, Show Up, Clean Up.” She defines the last phase as shifting resources in deep ways for permanent change. 

Against that metric, my gut tells me we have plenty more to do. We said a long time ago that part of our growth would be holding each other accountable, so let’s consider the upcoming Removing Our Blinders session to be a group check in of sorts. Bring your successes, challenges, and thoughts. But most importantly, bring your honest truths and reflections because that is the only way we will continue to learn and grow together.

See you there. 

Forrest Alton, 
President & CEO
1000 Feathers