June 1, 2020
This is the web version of the Broadsheet, Fortune’s daily newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women. To get it delivered daily to your in-box, sign up here.
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! America’s streets are filled with protests against police brutality, Rep. Val Demings addresses her fellow law enforcement officers, and a member of our MPW Next Gen community has something important to say. Wishing you a receptive Monday.
This morning’s guest column comes to us from Jotaka Eaddy. Eaddy, formerly VP Policy, Strategic Engagement, and Impact at LendUp, is the founder and CEO of Full Circle Strategies, and a member of our Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen community. Her words began as a post on her Facebook account last week in response to the death of George Floyd. Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis last Monday after officer Derek Chauvin drove his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes as Floyd struggled for breath. On Friday, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder; his lawyer has not responded to media requests for comment on the charges. Protests against racism and police brutality have erupted across the country and continued through the weekend.
A message for my white and non-black friends:
Maybe my Facebook algorithm is a factor, but I haven’t seen much outrage from my white and other non-black friends in this moment.
Many of you are allies—strong allies, good people with great hearts. But sadly some of you have family members and friends who have the mindset of Amy Cooper, the McMichaels, or Derek Chauvin and his fellow officers who ignored Floyd’s plea – “I can’t breathe.”
That friend or family member may not have done something as heinous as what we all saw on those videos. But if they are making racist comments in private or have a biased mindset—they are just as dangerous. Bias and misinformation coupled with perceived fear can be explosive. This is the dangerous slippery slope that can lead to situations where innocent black people end up murdered or in prison.
What’s even sadder is that when you go back and review many of these incidents, you often see that just a small bit of human compassion or understanding could have easily deescalated the situation and perhaps a precious life spared.
We have to end this violence, racism, and nonsense. You have a role to play. Here is how you can really help: talk to your friends and family members. Change the hearts and minds at your dinner tables and amongst your own circles of friends.
Start by doing an assessment of your family and friends. Be honest with yourself: you know who the closet racists or bigots are. Where there is a need, have that courageous conversation and do the long and tedious work to challenge and educate them. Arm yourself with facts. Read books, articles, gather information, and do the hard work to shift racist culture among yourselves.
It’s also helpful for you acknowledge the pain that many are feeling and to speak out and take action. Be bold and use your privilege to shed light on bias and racism.
Some of you are doing the important work to dismantle racism. Please keep doing it. Others are trying to figure out what you can do and where to start. Here’s my take:
• Acknowledge the pain
• Speak up: use your voice and platform to fight racism
• Take action: support public actions, donate and/or join organizations fighting against racism, vote for change
• Educate yourself. Here’s a sample reading list; please find more.
• Do the hard work of challenging your racist family members and friends. Imagine if friends and family had challenged and appealed to Officer Chauvin years ago—just maybe things would have ended differently for George Floyd.
I hope something I’ve written here will motivate you to do more and understand that you have a role to play.
This is simply my humble opinion and suggestion. Take or leave it. I pray that you take it.
@JotakaEaddy (Twitter and IG)
Today’s Broadsheet was curated by Emma Hinchliffe.