This past week has been unsettling at the very least and deeply depressing at its core. We have a problem and Erica and I want to be part of the solution. But we really don’t know what to say and certainly don’t know what to do. It’s hard to admit that – we’ve come to view lack of knowledge, ability or understanding as a weakness. We want to find strength in the courage it takes to admit we don’t know what to do. Let’s face it, nobody does. We need to collectively come to terms with that fact. We need to find strength in the acknowledgement that we have a problem that has no easy answer. We need to learn and grow together; we need to explore, push hard, try new things, change and fail and then do it all over again. And again. And again.
It’s been nearly three years since Medaria Arradondo, the city’s first black police chief, took over the Minneapolis police department. And despite the reforms he put in place, one of his own officers pressed his knee into the neck of unarmed George Floyd, killing him while 3 other officers watched. It’s been close to six years since Michael Brown was shot and killed by officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO sparking protests, riots and demands for change. It has been nearly seven years since #BlackLivesMatter was founded in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. And there have been countless others. People shot and killed in their own homes, black people terrorized because they look like someone, fit the profile or seem out of place in a certain neighborhood, black men hunted in killed for no other reason than the color of their skin. It’s disheartening, depressing and depleting to find ourselves here again and again.
Over the years we’ve attempted to create content, discussion guides and exercises to respond and be part of the solution. And we have to admit it’s hard not to feel discouraged and ineffectual. We don’t have the answers. We don’t know what to do. But what we know for sure is we have to keep talking, we have to keep trying, we have to build bridges and deepen understanding. We’re updating some of the tools we’ve created in the past and are adding to the collection. We are happy to share the tools to help organizations host meaningful, difficult conversations. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the facilitator guides. Also, please share what you do know, tell us how you’ve been part of the solution and above all find the strength to admit you don’t have all the answers and we need each other now more than ever.