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No more looking away

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

I can’t watch violent movies. I leave the room, close my eyes or look away when the

violent parts come on.

When my aunt told me about the book about Canada’s history with the Indigenous

people, “An Inconvenient Indian”, my first reaction was I didn’t want to read it because I

thought it would be violent and (now that I look back on it), I knew I would be

uncomfortable. It was easier to close my eyes and avoid it.

And then there was the video of George Floyd. I couldn’t look away. I had to face the

fact that these callous and uncaring people, who are supposed to be protectors of the

most vulnerable, can be cruel and heartless murderers. I had to face the fact that I had

been complicit by looking away. My silence was part of the problem.

I didn’t want to post an empty social media post with a catchy hashtag. That felt

meaningless and self-promoting. I felt strongly about the need for equity and was

motivated to be the change, although I had no idea what that looked like or how to go

about it. So, I stayed silent. I did some research, attended webinars, read some

powerful books, watched some eye-opening movies and talked to some trusted friends

and colleagues.

Out of this introspection comes a gathering I am calling “More than a #Hashtag”. This

will be a place where people sincerely interested in learning more about racism, equity,

inclusion can come together. We can share resources, have open and honest

conversations and talk about what more we can do than just talk. We can learn together

about what we don’t yet know, we can learn from our history and white privilege, we can

make commitments, we can take action, and we can change.

Let’s be clear, I am not an expert in diversity, equity and inclusion. I am coming to the

table and offering to lead because I believe it is my responsibility to step up and create

the world I want to live in. If you are an expert and you want to join us, I would be happy

to have you. If you are like me and just learning, I invite you to attend also. We need

everyone in on this conversation. I expect that some of these conversations will be hard

to have and that many of them will challenge things we have held near and dear. I am

ready. I am ready to challenge myself and those around me to do better, to be better, to

stop looking away and start taking action. There has never been a better time.

I am thrilled that Jan Campbell, CEO of Strategisense Consulting and Founder of the

Black Women’s Leadership Network and Catherine Meade, VP, Social & Community

Responsibility at Ontario Lottery & Gaming and long time diversity, equity and inclusion advocate have agreed to share their experiences to kick off our inaugural event on September 29 at 12 noon. Go here to sign up. Spots are limited to ensure the interactive and intimate nature of the event. I am ready - are you?

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