Taking Our 100% Responsibility for Racist Systems

These feel like volatile, uncertain, and confusing times for leaders despite that systemic racism has existed for centuries. Now, more so than ever, we hear conflicting messages.  

Speak up.  Go quiet.

Use your voice. Use your voice only to lift up black/indigenous voices.

Give space to their voices.

Why have you been silent so long? 

Don’t centre yourself. It’s not about you! It is about you. 

You need to fix this. You can’t fix this. 

You’re very late waking up to this. Wake up! 

Be ashamed.  Your shame is just an excuse for inaction. 

Take action.  You’d better educate yourself before you act.

Don’t rationalize your inaction. Don’t take the wrong action. 

Hurry up and act. 

It’s time for leaders to find their own voice and make it heard. In looking for my voice, I have discovered some things about myself that I will reveal to you: 

  • I have been able to live my entire life without ever having to learn about racism or be affected by it directly. 
  • I had to look up the acronym BIPOC  (which means “Black, Indigneous and People of Colour”–itself is a controversial conflated term) before going on the recent protest march in Charlottetown. 
  • Roughly 80-90% of Chandler Coaches clients have been white. 

I don’t tell you this so that I can rest in guilt or shame. I am telling you because I plan to grow and change. I know I have a platform of leaders who are open to growing and changing too.  

Together, we are creating a space where we can challenge each other to confront our beliefs and patterned behaviours.  

Two cohorts of our Conscious Leader Forum just graduated.  Our Island now has 12 leaders who are far more effective than they were a year ago.  I have a deep knowing that these leaders will continue to show up more consciously. They will confront their own racism and the racism in the systems around them. They will shift. Their shifts will cause positive ripples in their teams, organizations and families. 

At Chandler Coaches, we are committed to creating a safe space for leaders to face hard things. It won’t be comfortable. True growth never is. 

I am personally committed to taking my 100% responsibility for how my actions and inaction hurt blacks, indigenous, and people of colour. This means I need to keep diving in myself. Afterall, we cannot take people to places where we are not willing to go ourselves. While the book White Fragility might not be a typical summer read, this one and others are necessary “homework” for me this summer.    

What about you? How will you take your 100% responsibility to end systemic racism on PEI?  

We have an invitation to create an Island community that serves us all. 

Let’s say YES! 

Resources you may find useful:

An indigo curated list of anti-racism reads

CBC book list for Indigenous History Month in 2019 

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