I recently said to Robyn that we should make Audre Lorde our patron saint. I have yet to find a quote from her that I don’t love. And need.
The quote that is resonating most these days, that I wrote about last week on my personal blog, is “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” It’s resonating because, while this quote may have been intended for those whose identity is challenged and assailed every day, at this time, perhaps we all need to hear it.
There is so much more that each of us can and need to do – as a human being who cares about other human beings. There are centuries of racism and social injustice that need to be addressed.
And, at the same time, as we address these issues, we need to take care of ourselves, so that we have our all to give. Too many activists give until they’re empty. That is not living the life they’re fighting for. Audre Lorde gave us powerful truth in this quote. Do all you can to make a difference, and take care of yourself so that you can give (and live) more.
At the same time, there is so much to do as a leader. Figuring out how to support people, while also figuring out how to get the work done.
How do we support people and lead people now? That is a serious question.
We’ve found some resources for you, from this powerful post on Medium by Shenequa Golding – Maintaining Professionalism In The Age of Black Death Is…A Lot – to this one from the Management Center – How to Manage When Things Are Not Okay (And Haven’t Been For Centuries) – and this post on LinkedIn from Bryce Celotto – Supporting Black Staff In Times of Crisis: What Managers and Organizational Leaders Can Do To Support Black Lives.
As a leader, now is the time to build compassion into your work culture and to break down old ways of doing things to allow for needed change. To allow space for your impacted staff – your staff members of color. To loosen deadlines where possible and to ask people what they need and want from you. To address your commitment to racial justice. To have hard conversations and to listen. And listen more.
Audre Lorde also said, “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” As a leader, now is the time when you can lead your organization (and yourself) to recognize, accept, and celebrate differences.
And we will all move forward together.
How are you making more space for more voices and change?
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