Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2019 – We All Do Better When We All Do Better
Most know that Pocono Alliance is about community activism. We move towards the problem. We engage. We look at the community from the 5,000 foot level as well as support those in the trenches. We seek social justice over charity. Very few want to be rescued from their circumstances. But they want justice. They want fairness.
Last week, I had lunch with the director of Pocono Services for Families & Children, Tim Lee. I shared Pocono Alliance’s recent engagement in the topics of Gender Wage Gap and Racial Equity. He commented that those topics might make people uncomfortable. He also provided me with some of the most incredible encouragement, quoted from the late Dr. King. “Some say we need to slow down..we cannot slow down…we must continue to move forward…our self-respect is at stake…the love of our community is at stake…we must keep moving forward.” Paraphrased and distilled from the speech below, these words remind me that “we all do better when we all do better”.
Words matter. Equality. Equity. Fairness.
Equality means equal. Equity means freedom from bias. Fairness means without discrimination or favoritism.
When we focus on equity and fairness, the majority (whites) have a role as well. It starts with cultural humility and pursues a goal of cultural competence. In the 21st century, it is not enough to simply not be racist. We must recognize that implicit biases and systemic racism exists. The system has allowed some to benefit and some to fall behind simply because of the color of their skin. Benefitting from a broken system or having privilege does not imply racism. It just means that once you become aware, you can no longer return to a position of ignorance.
Now if you are unfamiliar with implicit bias or system racism, a good place to start is to get curious. Start asking questions. Open up that search engine and explore. If you are a reader, grab a copy of Waking Up White or So You Want to Talk about Race. If you want a more hands-on experience, message me and we can arrange for small group discussions in the workplace, at civic groups and faith-based organizations.
The best thing to do is to ask questions. Education is always part of the solution. Even if this feels foreign to your beliefs, ask questions. Invite me to coffee, I’ll buy. As a community, I want us to do better. All of us. We are in this together. We can be the change we want to see.
Let’s get started.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Now I realize that there are those all over who are telling us that we must slow up. … But we cannot afford to slow up. We have a moral obligation to press on. We have our self-respect to maintain. But even more we can’t afford to slow up because of our love for America and our love for the democratic way of life. … We must keep moving. We must keep going.”
From “The Montgomery Story,” an address to the 47th annual NAACP Convention
San Francisco, June 27, 1956