Monday, February 29, 2016

A Conversation On Reconciling Racial Tensions…James T. Meeks

“The only way out of the tensions that our country face is that black and white are going to have to sit down and find the solution together. The only reason that you (Bill Hybels) and I (James Meeks) are able to talk about race is because we trust each other. And we trust each other because in our heart we believe that the other person is just not out to get something or making up some story… We believe that we are decent people at heart. The first thing that you really have to do, black and white people, is to get to know each other…get to know each other. And then find a solution together. And so it’s going to take us all working together and it’s going to take us trusting each other to even want to figure it out." --Rev. Dr. James Meeks, Founder and Pastor, Salem Baptist Church; Former Illinois State Senator

During the 2016 Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Weekend, Bill Hybels, who is Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois and also founder of the Willow Creek Association and Global Leadership Summit, invited Rev. James Meeks to Willow Creek Community Church to have a discussion about the racial problems and tensions that are plaguing Chicago, Illinois. Tensions in Chicago were recently exacerbated the by release of a video that captured the police shooting of an unarmed black youth. Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times by a police officer as he was walking away from a confrontation with police on October 20, 2014. Following the release of the video 13 months later, protests erupted in Chicago and major cities across the U.S. decrying this shooting as well as the recent police shootings and brutality of other unarmed people of color while interacting with police.

The quote above, while meant for the audience that was present during Bill Hybels and James Meeks’ conversation, is being shared because it is applicable to a wider audience. We must learn to live together or we will perish together.

To hear the conversation between Bill Hybels and James Meeks, click the link below:

Monday, February 15, 2016

A More Perfect Union...@vnona

History has taught us that consistent action on timeless principles brings lasting change. I believe the Constitution commands us to create and secure a more perfect Union for ourselves, our children and generations to come.

Are you apart of the solution or the problem? You are either one or the other. There is no neutrality in this issue.

--Nona O., Founder, WOMEN AT LIBERTY and Women Making History

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Bodacious, Audacious and Courageous!...Vashti M. McKenzie

"...courage is not always needed for big and dramatic events and experiences. Courage is needed for those every day events in our lives. It takes courage to say "I’m sorry” when you’ve wronged someone. It takes courage to step outside your comfort zone to try that something new. It takes courage to go in a different direction. It takes courage to be excellent in a mediocre world. It takes courage to think honestly about yourself. It takes courage to join a protest or a cause you believe in. It takes courage to take what you have set aside for yourself and give it to someone else with no strings attached.

God didn’t give us a spirit of fear. We’re given a spirit of power, love and self-discipline."*

--Rev. Dr. Vashti M. McKenzie, Preacher, Spiritual Leader, African Methodist Episcopal Church Leader, and Author

*From the devotional, Bodacious, Audacious and Courageous! To read more, click here.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Why I Do What I Do...Taraji Henson

"I love awards, don’t get me wrong, I like being nominated, but for me, it just means that that’s how many people I’ve touched. That award or that recognition is just, that’s how many people you’ve influenced through your work. Sharing a little bit of Cookie’s (Empire) pain or Yvette’s (Baby Boy) pain might be a little window into my pain or my joy. But the only way you’re going to make it live is if you at least are familiar with it."

--Taraji P. Henson, Golden Globe winning and Academy Award nominated Actress

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Leadership Tuesdays: The Truth About Color Blindness...Mellody Hobson

“Researchers have coined this term “color blindness” to describe a learned behavior where we pretend that we don’t notice race. If you happen to be surrounded by a bunch of people who look like you, that’s purely accidental. 

Now, color blindness, in my view, doesn’t mean that there’s no racial discrimination, and there’s fairness. It doesn’t mean that at all. It doesn’t ensure it. In my view, color blindness is very dangerous because it means we’re ignoring the problem… this subject matter can be hard, awkward, uncomfortable — but that’s kind of the point… 

If we can learn to deal with our discomfort, and just relax into it, we’ll have a better life."

--Mellody Hobson, President, Ariel Investments & Chairperson of the Board, DreamWorks Animation

Every other Tuesday, WOMEN AT LIBERTY provides Leadership Tuesdays, a platform for a variety of voices and resources to develop, encourage and strengthen women leaders. In March 2014, Mellody Hobson gave a courageous talk on race. A quote from her TED talk was featured on this very blog. Starting with "The Numbers Do Not Lie", Ms. Hobson spoke eloquently and frankly about the lack of diversity in leadership positions in U.S. corporations.

I believe that she nailed it when she stated that talking about race is like stepping on the third rail in a subway station. If it doesn't kill you, you will surely live with the aftershocks of the conversation for a long time. Rosalind Brewer, CEO of Sam's Club, a division of Walmart, experienced this in December 2015 when she stated in an interview that she encourages and expects diversity within her organization. And she said that she also expects it in the organizations of the suppliers that do business with Sam's Club. In a national television interview, she talked about an incident where a supplier brought a team to make a presentation to her senior management team and the supplier's whole team consisted of only white males. She said that she thought that that was "interesting" and she made a point to have a conversation with the supplier's leadership about it to determine their position on diversity. We'll talk more about this situation later this month, but suffice it to say she was roasted by certain groups in the press and those groups threatened to boycott Walmart because she dared talk about the lack of diversity that she still sees and experiences.

Today, womenatliberty is featuring a FastCompany article on its timeline that discusses how you can tell if your company really is serious when it comes to diversity and supporting women of color. Women of color are some of the most under-represented and underpaid groups when it comes to presence and visibility in senior leadership positions in corporate America.

Check out: Three Ways To Tell If Your Company Supports Women Of Color by By Sava Berhané. To read some of Mellody Hobson's other quotes that were featured on this blog, click here. For more information on Leadership Tuesdays and WOMEN AT LIBERTY, click here.

Monday, February 1, 2016

In Times Like These, We Need Fire....Frederick Douglass

In a speech on July 4, 1852 about the hypocrisy and irony of the United States celebrating Independence Day while black people were suffering the ills of slavery and racism, Frederick Douglass said:

"At a time like this... For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be denounced."

Frederick Douglass, Author, Editor, Abolitionist, Suffragist, and Diplomat (Speech, 4th of July, Rochester, New York, 1852)