“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Like millions of others, I have been watching the news over the past few weeks with growing concern. I have been talking to CEOs about what they can say to their employees. The level of concern is unlike anything I have seen in my more than 25 years of working in the DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) space. The protests are different than I have seen before. The anger, frustration, and outrage is greater. Silence has never been the right option, but it is even less of an option this time.
Here’s what I’m telling corporations: You cannot remain silent. You have to go beyond your company’s DEI statements. You have to stand in solidarity with your Black employees, your employees of color, all your employees. You cannot do less. You have to condemn the loss of lives. You have to condemn the Amy Coopers of this world who weaponize their white privilege. You have to acknowledge and hear the pain and anguish of your employees. You cannot do less than this.
Your employees are in pain and they need you to lead. Silence is not an option.