If you’re a business leader in the U.S., no matter your ethnic or political identity, you have an opportunity to speak up and take meaningful action against racism right now. Of course, no one leader’s language can fix the deep-seated, systemic racial injustice in America. But the right words can be a salve for the widespread pain that so many are experiencing — and it can set the conditions for an action-oriented culture. If you are a leader who is not Black, don’t approach statements or conversations about racism with a defensive mindset, don’t make sweeping generalizations about people’s feelings, words, or actions, and, crucially, don’t rely on your Black and brown colleagues to educate you on the news or social justice initiatives. Acknowledge what you don’t know, commit to listening and learning, and pledge to use your position of power to effect change. Do the research to understand current events, using data from reliable sources. Give your Black and brown employees the space to be angry, afraid, disenchanted, or even disengaged from work. Seek out support and reading materials from your human resources team or office of diversity and inclusion. Create space for continued reflection, discussion, and vulnerability by making it clear that you care and are available. Finally, take meaningful action: Make a strong public statement, donate to Black-owned businesses and social justice causes in your community, form a committee on racial justice and reform — there are countless ways to help build a better future. Find a few that align with your organization, and make a commitment to them. Racism isn’t just Black people’s problem, and inaction is a tacit endorsement of the status quo.

This tip is adapted from “U.S. Businesses Must Take Meaningful Action Against Racism,” by Laura Morgan Roberts and Ella F. Washington

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