Cowe on Current Events
Cowe Consulting stands with the Black community. This is true for us collectively as a company and it is true for us individually as team members. We do not tolerate discrimination or hate of any kind. Ever.
Each of us at Cowe took the time to research and reflect individually on recent events before coming together for our weekly team discussion. We then openly shared with each other our thoughts, mistakes, fears, beliefs, learnings, resources, and ideas for action. One of the first actions we pledged to take was to share this experience with all of you. We hope you’ll join us in this learning process with open minds & hearts.
When I heard George Floyd call for his Mama, something in me broke. Maybe it was my heart, or my spirit or my belief in the greater good, but when George Floyd called for his Mama with his dying breaths, all I heard were my own daughters crying out for me.
I am lucky to be raising two kids. It is my job, my responsibility, and my great privilege to teach them the ways of the world and to ensure that they grow up to be honorable humans. It is my firm belief that the only way to achieve this is through open, honest and at times, deeply uncomfortable conversation. We are white. We are middle class. We are afforded opportunities that we take for granted. We are privileged and to pretend we aren’t so is incredibly insulting to those that are not. For the last few weeks, our family has talked a lot about what it means to be a racist, what white privilege looks like and where we can find trustworthy resources to educate us impartially and accurately. These discussions have many times led to questions around violence, bigotry, and hate. What I have found most interesting is that my kids keep asking the same questions that I find myself asking as well; “Where are the leaders?”
The Cowe team is an extraordinary team. When we come together, whether for a project or a party, the energy, excitement, and impassioned personalities presented always makes for a magnificent experience. When we sat down to talk about current events however, the tone was much darker. There was a clear sense of heartbreak, confusion, and anger. We are helpers and we all felt a bit helpless. In the end, we felt that we needed to find ways to take action and though each of us may have devised different approaches, in the end we had one goal: to be active antiracists and positive role models for change.
We need to talk. We need to listen. We need to vote. We need to pay attention. By actively doing these things with your home, work, and friend families, then we can finally change the history books, especially for the year 2020. The global pandemic will fade into the background and instead humanity will come to the forefront. They will talk about how this was the year that everyone “woke up” and realized that hate had absolutely no place in this world. That we, as a people, would see each other as only human. Humans who are flawed, scared, ambitious, driven, excited, curious, and everything in between. 2020 is the year that we are FINISHED with hate. DONE.
White privilege: Inherent advantages possessed by a white person on the basis of their race in a society characterized by racial inequality and injustice.
Until this last couple of weeks, I did not truly understand the meaning of ‘white privilege’.
Growing up in one of the most ethnically diverse Cities in the UK and going to a fully inclusive school I don’t *think* I experienced racism. But if I really challenge myself, and think back (quite a few years) how inclusive was I?
I never really thought the term white-privilege applied to me! I had a wonderful childhood, but our family wasn’t the most affluent and because I attended a mixed-race school I really didn’t think it applied to me.
I have challenged myself with reading, watching and listening to various points of view, opinions and discussions that have made me feel very uncomfortable and I realize I am the very definition of ‘white privilege’! I now realize I have been totally uninformed and oblivious to the plight of Black people in America and around the world.
I am so proud of the young, strong, and powerful voices we have in our team. I learn from every single one of them every day, and I could not have been prouder of this challenging but engaging discussion we had as a team.
Community, business, and political leaders along with teachers, parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles need to enable and empower the people who look up to them! Talk about what is going on, encourage uncomfortable discussion. This will not be solved overnight; we have to educate and encourage the generation that follows us to continue this fight and ensure the Black Lives Matter conversation grows into consistent action.
Over the last couple weeks, I’ve actually experienced a rollercoaster of emotions regarding the death of George Floyd and the current Black Lives Matter movement.
I honestly had no idea it would create the multitude of reactions from our society. Systemic racism has occurred on a regular basis within every aspect of our system. But there was something about this particular situation that was the last straw for many people. I believe there’s an array of things happening in our world right now that contributed to the outrage we are seeing across social media outlets and within our communities – but that’s an entirely separate topic.
What I see is conversation. Conversation that has been swept under the rug for years. Conversation that is purely emotional. The conversation that needs to happen to create change. People are banding together to voice their struggles and stand up for their rights. On the flip side, many people are expressing their opinions to challenge the actions of those who support Black Lives Matter. Either way, the conversation is happening. While some people may never change their mind, there are many people who are in the process of understanding, acceptance, and a change of perspective. I believe that if the conversation can stay at the forefront of our communities and the fight for equality continues, change will happen from the bottom up.
Diversity is consistently highlighted in all aspects of the professional world. Companies will say they value it and strive to make their space one that encompasses people from all walks of life. That concept gets challenged in times like these. As people, we are holding those companies accountable to their word and mission and we as individuals are being held at higher standards to preserve it. While it is easy to have opinions on what is happening and whether we like it or not, it is not the voice of non-Black people that matters in this present moment. We can do our part by learning and more importantly unlearning, but we have to remember that our purpose should be to make sure Black voices are heard because for far too long they haven’t been.
It is important to hold the people in your circle accountable, even if it is uncomfortable because this is meant to be uncomfortable for everyone. Oppression and dissent are uncomfortable, wrestling with our own biases is uncomfortable, admitting we are wrong and changing our opinions is uncomfortable, but it is necessary. Comfort is a privilege and so is choosing not to take a stand. None of this has to mean protesting, but it does mean doing something. Signing petitions, donating money, and reading the works of Black authors.
We had a difficult and heavy conversation within Cowe and the mere fact of being able to have that conversation was a privilege. We get to talk, discuss, argue and then move on with the rest of our day because none of us have to carry the burdens that Black people do every day and acknowledging that is only half the battle. The other half is action.
As a collective and a community, it is our responsibility to make sure that we all follow through on our promises and on that second half. Black Lives Matter isn’t and shouldn’t be a temporary trend. Black lives matter all the time, even when taking a stand for Black lives might not be the popular choice. Hold us accountable, we will do the same for you.
I am among those who have felt rage, sadness and helplessness over the death of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and too many others. Watching in awe as parts of our world have come together to demand change and call out those resistant to change has made one thing clear- we all have a responsibility to use our voices in support of what is right. After seeing the events of the Black Lives Matter Movement unfold, I have committed to actively be a better ally by working to educate myself, have challenging conversations with those around me, and be an advocate for change.
Being a new addition to the Cowe team, all I can say is I am grateful to be a part of a strong group of women welcoming the first of what I’m sure will be many meaningful conversations. We’ve discussed this movement not only to help better educate one another, but share different points of view on what exactly we can do as a company moving forward. As our company actively supports inclusivity, I’m excited to see how we can better make a difference in our community and amplify voices that need to be heard.
I grew up in a predominantly white setting yet I learned from a very young age the importance of loving all people equally. My grandfather, Salvatore, would say he could tell a person’s character by their handshake and that’s how he would greet everyone, from the long-time CEO to the entry level newbie.
I believe I have followed in his footsteps and joined a community of people with good handshakes, regardless of their skin color. That being said, I have clearly been living in ignorance of the struggles of my Black peers. I recognize the injustices of our world and I strive to help effect the change we need.
When this movement began, the most valuable way I believed I could contribute was to 1) shut up and 2) start educating myself. I have and I will continue to do so. The next step for me was to talk with my circles – my family, friends, work, & community. The Cowegirl team is a truly unique & beautiful group of individuals. No matter the topic, our team consistently gathers, shares points of view, listens without judgement, and takes real action on the things we discuss. This conversation was no different. I am honored to be a part of such a progressive group of individuals and I can’t wait to share with you what we’re working on!
Although discussion can be uncomfortable at times, we believe it is one of the best ways to begin to effect change. Now that you have some resources and an example of action, we are calling on each of YOU to do the same. #TalkToYourTeam about their views on current events, company policies, and community initiatives. If we all get more involved locally, we can make a difference all around the world!