By: Jackie Warner

Make no mistake, we are still in a pandemic. Just because life and the activities we knew are coming back, doesn’t mean all is well. I was on a global call for work last week and the team mentioned the uptick in Covid-19 cases in Alabama. Yes, the numbers for Alabama are rising. At last count this week, we have 26,524 cases and 779 deaths. Be aware and stay prepared when going out. Mask and all. Yes, wear your mask!

Moving to our next topic this month - Racial Injustice. The conversation has been had repeatedly. We see it all over the news, and I cannot help but think - Here is another African-American who has lost his/her life within our culture of systemic racism. Yes, it does exist, and the recent protests are shining a light on those who uphold it and weaponize their privileges.

If you haven’t joined the conversation, then it’s time to open your eyes and really look at where we are as a nation. Below are some tips for starting real dialogue with individuals who do not look like you.

Conversation roadblocks -- assumptions, attitudes, or experiences that keep us from talking about our differences -- can prevent us from connecting, collaborating, and countering stereotypes and exclusionary practices.

Do you worry that conversations about social issues and current events will do more harm than good? Or maybe you think when you speak, you will sound insensitive or hurtful? You have to start. No excuses.

Do you feel things are “not so bad” in your organization or community, and, candidly, struggle to fully grasp your neighbors’ and colleagues’ experiences? Wake up! It is bad and there is work to be done.

Remove the roadblock -- “Talking about our differences can only further divide us.”
Ignoring our differences holds us back from doing our best work. We must openly discuss and value what makes us different from one another to create an inclusive culture where people feel like they belong and are valued for their unique perspectives.

Acknowledging and then addressing these roadblocks can help you better understand deep-rooted issues and overcome challenges that would otherwise remain unresolved, buried, or unspoken. Set goals each day to hold yourself accountable and start a conversation. You may be uncomfortable or make missteps but keep going. You are human and don’t need to have all the answers to make a real impact. REMEMBER: DIALOGUE IS ACTION. Learn more at https://www.catalyst.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Conversation-Roadblocks-Infographic-Print.pdf

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