Last year, I became a father of two and celebrated the event by writing an article for Thrive Global. A year later, and my outlook is decidedly less optimistic. You see, my son, Oliver, is white. My daughter, Dominica, is black.
I know that my daughter will have to work many times harder and develop a thicker skin just to stay at social parity with her brother’s white privilege. I also know that I will, one day, have to sit her down and have “THAT” conversation about how she responds to police authority, something I won’t have to do with her brother. Two American children born into the same household are set to have two very different experiences simply due to the color of their skin.
This cannot be the world we accept for each other. This must not be the world we create for our children.
As a black man living in the States, I am exhausted. As the father of an African American girl, I am exhausted. As a business leader that champions diversity and inclusion, I am exhausted. As a human being, I am exhausted.
That said, I cannot let my exhaustion and fear lead to inactivity or empty words. Not this time. If I am to believe in the future of America, I have to use my voice to encourage each and every one of us to step up and lead. Here are four actions we can all take:
1 — Educate yourself.
Take the time to get properly informed about the systemic issues that propagate racial injustice. These links are a starting point: Amelie Lamont’s guide to being an ally, Baratunde Thurston’s “Books to Save the World,” and for parents, The Conscious Kid and their Patreon book club can help you build racial literacy with your kids.
2 — Donate.
If you have the means, consider donating to a worthy cause. My company, 21CB, is donating $10,000 to organizations such as the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and to College Track, a brilliant organization committed to helping young students from some of the most underserved communities in America get into and graduate from college. Education is the most impactful way to democratize the potential of all Americans. You can also directly support your local community, using this city-by-city list of bail funds.
3 — Use your influence.
Sign the Change.org and Colorofchange petitions and use this Obama Foundation resource to find other ways you can take concrete actions to push for reform and accountability. Also check out this comprehensive list of 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice.
4 — Vote.
You and I have the power to initiate change. It all starts at the ballot box. Make your voice heard! Support candidates who value justice for all and initiatives that will truly effect institutional reforms. We must move forward, for once and for ALL, and that will only happen under public servants who truly understand how to build a society that is just and prosperous for everyone.
Together we can and must act so that we can change the narrative and change the system. It’s the only way we can be confident in giving all children a fighting chance for equality.