On Wednesday, we’ll celebrate Veterans Day. I’m currently in Philadelphia getting ready to do some work with Siemens Healthcare. The synchronicity of my being here at this particular time has caused me to pause, reflect, be grateful … and question!
My own father was a WWII Bombardier. We have Dad’s journals about what he experienced. What that man at age 19 went through is beyond my understanding. My Dad passed away three years ago. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him and consider the sacrifices he and so many others have made for all of us to protect our freedom. What they were willing to do is almost beyond my capacity to understand.
Today I witnessed a Veterans Day Parade in the middle of downtown Philly. How many of us are capable of witnessing the number of men and women who put their lives on the line for us without considering the sacrifice made on our behalf? We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. Do we contemplate that? Are we grateful for that? Or is it just a day where there’s no school, banks are closed and we’re provided a much needed day of vacation? The sheer willingness, wanting-ness of all of those in the military, to stand and protect, defend, put their own lives on the line…it’s almost more than I can get my brain around.
Next stop for me in Philly was the Liberty Bell. Here, I became so overwhelmed with emotion, I could hardly keep myself upright. One of the memorials states “it’s difficult to understand how men who spoke so passionately of liberty and freedom were unable to see the contradiction, the injustice…”
The cross connection from the past to this moment was overwhelming. While we no longer experience formalized slavery, when I look at the data about the workforce in corporations specific to diversity, inclusion, equity, fairness, treating all individuals equally, meritocracy … I realize is that we still have so much work to do! For women and people of color, we talk about change, but MOST organizations are taking very little action. The numbers are not changing.
I recently read about Leslie Miley, a software engineer for Twitter. Miley resigned his position because he felt that Twitter was not embracing inclusion in their organization. http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2015/11/06/454949422/a-q-a-with-lesley-miley-the-black-twitter-engineer-who-left-over-diversity-probl
I applaud the courage of Leslie Miley, and when I was in Independence Hall today, I thought about him. Each of us MUST take responsibility for increasing inclusion within our organizations. It’s not only up to HR, Talent Management, or the Executive Team. It’s up to US!
This week and most particularly on Veterans Day, use your voice. Thank a vet. Think about the freedom that they’ve fought to preserve for each of us. Then, take an action that promotes, preserves, and enhances that freedom. Determine how you can be an advocate for inclusion, increasing the number of women and people of color to the slate of candidates for opportunities in your workplace. Advocate for promotions based on merit, inclusive of all.
We do have the capacity and capability to extend the values of liberty and justice for all. It will require each and every one of us to be willing to do something!