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Thoughts about Growing Racial Equity

I met my friend April Jefferson at Agile Coach Camp in St Louis and we both learned from Jessie Shternhus that harnessing the power of Improv by accepting what is brought to the conversation and expanding on that line of thinking will uncover the best ideas. April and I have come together many times since that day, and I was honored to help her, Brielle Maxwell, and Linda Cook “Yes, And“ our way to the Inaugural Women in Agile Open.

But April’s not just MY friend. She’s everybody who meets her’s friend. April really invests in people. She wants to get to know you. She cares what you think and feel. April encourages people to be more than they think they could be.

So when she said she would be facilitating “Growing Racial Equity”, I immediately signed up. I waited with anticipation that day, trying to keep my brain idle. I had just learned something I never wanted to know, so I entered the room ready for change.

And then the magic started.

April and Antony invited us into the conversation with a poll. Then another. Allowing our words to create the organizational system of the day. Evolving as we thought about the prompts.

Then the question: Would you be okay if we don’t find solutions today? Yes. Nothing I can imagine is enough for this problem.

This problem has never been solved before. It is so ingrained it’s mentioned in the Bible. And many bible-believers still believe the answer is Jesus. That’s it. They all need JEsus. But is that the real Jesus? Or whitewashed Jesus?

Because like so many great things, we appropriated Him too. Real Jesus was a good Jewish boy, and was more likely to look like the images in this google search,

than in this one. The Archbishop agrees enough to start the conversation.

I’ve been furloughed for 4 weeks now. What have I used my time to do? Help another coach, and learn more about racism.

What did I learn?

Americans have created a system where white preferences are accommodated and communicated loudly. Sometimes on the Internet. Even Artificial Intelligence is affected by racial profiling, as in, white folks are automatically given a pass.

Except gingers. Apparently my mother’s heritage comes with its own story, but what you read on Facebook is not the full history. Either way, I was educated as much as this Irish-English-German redneck southerner could be.

All that made me RIPE for conversation. But I mostly listened. I watched. I walked away with even more of an understanding of what it’s like to want a seat at the table, and have to scratch and scrape to have it. And to sit in the middle of a bunch of folks who are pretty well thought of, and consider myself part of the crew. Who cares if they don’t want me there? I’m here. Deal with it.

Many people have speculated that Black Lives Matter is about power. They say it’s going to start a cultural war. And it might be both. But what if it’s more?

What if it’s all just about a seat at the table for those who want it, a bench on the side for those who don’t, and a few Yes, And’s to make the best idea find its way into our hearts and minds?

I’m not sure, but I can’t WAIT to continue the conversation.

#BlackLivesMatter. Because this country has not shown evidence of that yet. Will you join us to uncover #WhatWeCanBecome?

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