This was not the 2020, I believe that most of us envisioned. This was the year of a 2020 vision for success. But over the last few months, covid-19 and the death of over 100,000 American citizens has changed our lives. When I reflect to the beginning of the year, I never saw the pandemic or the protests, the loss of life, high unemployment, or the closure of thousands of businesses. We were sheltering in place, and now we have people all over the world calling for justice.
As we continue to wrestle with these events, we all must ask ourselves this question. Where do we go from here? This may sound like a loaded question, but it is not. If you are a business owner, what will you do to restart your business? If you are an advocate for justice what must you do to bring about reform? If you work in law enforcement, what must you do to gain public trust? If you are an elected official, what must you do to ensure the safety and well-being of your constituents? If you are a Faith Leader, what must you do to restore hope and faith? If you are a parent, what must you do to educate and prepare your children for the current world events?
The point that I am trying to make, is that we all have a role to play in handling the pandemic, the restart of businesses, rebuilding communities, and addressing injustice. Therefore, I want you to think about your platform, your reach, your knowledge, your skills, and your ability to help? Today, I am going to share my thoughts on what I think we must do.
- First, we must remind everyone, that change takes time, and it is not easy to change systems that have operated ineffectively for years.
- We must continue our community conversations regarding poverty, inequality, voting, and all types of discrimination. As we can see, many of these issues have been pushed to the back, but they continue to hurt ordinary people.
- We must review workplace policies, laws, and demand change.
- We must educate citizens about the process, and as citizens we must now pay attention and become involved.
As a leadership expert, professor, and coach, I talk about influence, understanding the needs of people, and leading change, all the time. Today, I am asking that all of us dig deep and ask ourselves, what can I do to help bring healing, understanding, and acceptance to my community. Remember, now is the moment, where we must examine our leadership and determine our influence. We must examine if we are using our platforms effectively, willing to have tough conversations, or do we remain absent from the conversation?
On Saturday, a student reminded me of a poem entitled: The Dash, written by Linda Ellis. In this poem, the writer shares a story about a person’s birth and death, and how the dash represented their time on earth. As we think about where we are today, the poem is relevant. When our time is finished, how will we be remembered. As I close, I would like to remind you, that to bring about real change, it is going to take all of us to become involved in the process. When we do, we can affect, our homes, schools, churches, businesses, civic offices, and our communities. We all can become the change we need. It is up to each of us to answer the question, “Where do we go from here”?
Dr. Regina Banks-Hall