The inequities and systemic oppression that the killing of Mr. George Floyd and the COVID-19 pandemic have spotlighted have been there for generations. But they don’t have to continue. It is up to all of us to step forward with the leadership that this moment requires and build a new reality together.
As Jen Ford Reedy said in her note last week, “We know that too many institutions and systems in our region don’t work well for everyone. We need more leaders with the skillsets and mindsets to adapt those institutions and systems — to push for and support people through creative and bold changes, to create a future where every person can thrive.”
Now is the time to act and to lead in ways that build a better, more equitable future. Leadership shows up differently in each of us, in our communities and our cultures. But no matter how it is displayed, leadership requires noticing and acting, combined with deep care for yourself and our shared community. We invite you to reflect on and explore your thoughts around each of these spaces here.
How are those around you doing? Who is getting resources? Who is being left out? How do those patterns line up with history? What can you do to shape the way we move forward to ensure equitable access to opportunity and resources? The answers to these questions may be invigorating, and they may be daunting. Whatever they bring up for you, don’t turn away. Inside those answers are steps that you can take. How do you need to prepare yourself and care for yourself in order to lead into a more equitable future?
What is in your sphere of influence today? What is one step you can take? It may be reaching out to a loved one to see how they are doing. Perhaps it is sharing how the history of racial discrimination connects to the current inequities and racism in the community today. Take that further:
- You have power: Who can you speak with or campaign for to make sure our future lives up to a promise that our past has failed?
- You have influence: What decisions can you make today to shape organizations and systems where every person in our community can thrive?
- You are connected: Who can you mobilize to act so that those who are tired can have faith that someone else has the leadership baton and is running toward justice? Where do you see a need for healing in yourself or others?
Leadership that works toward positive change is driven by deep care for our communities. What can you do to create the conditions for those around you to be healthy and whole today and into the future? What do you need to be able to sustain yourself and your leadership for decades to come? Maybe this means surrounding yourself with inspiring people, it may mean healing from trauma…it might even mean stepping into leadership roles that you have shied away from in the past.
Your daily actions and the path you set for the future make a difference. At the Bush Foundation, we are honored to support great ideas and the people who power them throughout our region. We know that each of you has the power to chart a more equitable future for our region — a place where each person can thrive. It is our commitment to keep working with you to build that future.