"If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love." I Corinthians 13, verses 3—7, Message Bible translation.
The blood that runs through our veins is red, and yet for more years than any of us want to know, there has been a marked difference in the value and treatment of people of color.
Colored. Black. Negro. Afro American. African American. These markers describe a people whose rights have been segregated and relegated to a lesser class citizenry.
Don't get me wrong; we had seen the advancement of our people. With first in many areas, we have accomplished much, but the playing field, the access has never been equal.
We have had to be twice as good, twice as early and twice as helpful when we have been recognized, compensated, and appreciated at less than have the rate of our white counterparts.
"We have come, oh we have come, over a way that with tears have been watered. Oh, we have come treading our paths through the blood of the slaughtered."
From Crispus Attucks to Emmitt Till, from Trayvon Martin to George Floyd and every African American in between, blood has been shed at the hands of vigilante justice that demonizes black people's presence.
Red blood on crime scenes; red blood in courtrooms all seen through jaded eyes of green ignorance and fear.
Systemic racism is real, and the unconscionable murder of George Floyd on May 25th is yet another dagger in the heart of love. The Minneapolis police brutally murdered him.
Served they did; the white police officer Derrick Chauvin kneeled on George's neck for more than 8 minutes while he cried out for his deceased mother and gasped, "I can't breathe."
How many more blows should the heart take? Before Floyd, there was Breonna and Ahmaud, who were also the victim of racial injustice in America just a few days apart.
Love is always conscious and will not stand by, so how are we going to change people's racist mindset?
Red is the color of the day; it's as plain as black and white. So let's apply red to this situation:
Can love be a cure for racism? Let's see.
Education – we all have some learning to do, and this learning instance will not be successful without open dialogue about the fears, pain, frustration, neglect, and inequity that exists. We can't just fix it; set it and forget it; we must reform the hearts of men, which must begin with ourselves. We must address the systemic racism within us.
The pursuit of capitalistic gain for the sole purpose of gain must die. The mentality of building an empire on the backs of slaves must reform to reflect consumers who want conscious capitalism where organizations supply products and services that meet consumer demand while contributing to a social construct that demands equity for all.
Here's the personal love manifesto:
Educate – Educate yourself and others about experiences of racism and commit to understanding the other perspective for learning. Discussions everywhere must occur like "How do you feel about black people?" "Do you believe that racism exists?" "What are you prepared to do about it?"
The iconic Civil Rights Leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
The light must be shone on racism until its exploitation is an epiphany to the ill heart needing a transplant.
You will not find someone who truly hates you that doesn't know you unless they fear you. Education is a way to get to know those that are different from you and maybe one of the few ways to legislate the heart.
"He that knoweth not God knoweth not love, for God is love." I John 4:7
Participate – Get involved! For some, it will be personal and professional advocacy for the rights of those whose oppression you have witnessed. For others, it will be protests, marches, and aggression demonstrations (boycotts). Still, for some others, it will be voter activation, census participation, economic sanctions, and legislators' lobbying to achieve the correct access. For all, it should be voter participation! You cannot expect to have a seat at the table if you will not vote to take your rightful position.
Activate – Ask your church or other organizations to urge banking institutions to publish their track records on minority lending and to increase it by a certain percentage.
Find out from your local NAACP what has gotten rid of cash bail requirements for people that 1) have not been proven guilty and 2) who pose no flight risk or harm to society.
Encourage your black and white counterparts to shop with you at Black-owned stores, and promote those businesses on your social media channels.
Reduce online shopping and circulate a certain percentage of your disposable income in the Black Community.
Recommend a qualified black acquaintance that is looking for work to a colleague who can make the hire happen. Help a black acquaintance who is not qualified for that position to upskill or reskill.
Build a consortium of business portfolios in every industry, leveraging the power that our collective resources would bring to every decision-making table.
The "doing" has been akin to performative allyship, and that's a big problem. We can no longer have good white liberals (or moderates) merely say that they stand with us, but take no action. If they genuinely have love for their darker brother, then it's time for them to take up the cross and fight. Pledging money to fight racism is excellent, but where is that money really going? How about cash bail reform, and while we await that, pay the cash bail of the not-fortunate-enough-to-have-daddy's-good-lawyer-get-you-out-on-bail average black man, living from paycheck to paycheck.
I want you all to think about ideas to stop this racism culture. The top 21 ideas will be featured on a LinkedIn Live series of three panels to discuss how we mobilize, strategize, take action, and optimize for results.
Start thinking, start implementing, together we can bring a change!
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." – Margaret Mead