On behalf of the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®), I want to express our deep sadness and concern over the killing of George Floyd. His death is horrific – and it is the latest in a series of tragedies involving law enforcement and black Americans. As we have yet again been reminded, our black neighbors live in fear that they or their loved ones will be the next victim we mourn as a nation.
As a white male who has never experienced discrimination based on the color of my skin, I can only imagine the deep and distinct pain that must be endured by black Americans every day. As an American who loves my country and has been privileged to serve it, I know that we can and must do better.
Systemic and institutional racism and bias continues to be a real problem in our society, impacting people based on skin color, sexual orientation, faith and other factors. As a result, we are now experiencing a crisis that requires more effective leadership and swift, well-considered action by all of us.
As the CEO of CCL, last year I joined the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion Coalition to take part in this absolutely critical conversation and to help accelerate my organization’s journey toward advancing diversity and inclusion. In doing so, I’ve learned a great deal about the importance of checking my own biases, speaking up for others, and showing up for all.
On behalf of CCL, I want to publicly affirm our own commitment to stand against racism and bias and to continue working to create the most equitable, diverse, and inclusive culture possible within our organization. In this very challenging moment, which has been worsened even more by racial disparities in COVID-19-related deaths, we want all people of color inside and outside of CCL to know that we see you, value you, and are committed to building a better world with you. We urge all leadership at every institution across every sector of society to do the same.
Among the actions we can all take to stand against racism:
- Become educated by learning more about racism in American history and its legacy. Here is a resource to get you started.
- Challenge individual biases and institutional racism by engaging with your friends, family members, and co-workers in candid, civil ways.
- Join us in bringing about fundamental leadership shifts in the systems that have failed a significant portion of our populations. Now, more than ever, is the time to commit to equity and inclusivity, to prioritize trust and relationships, and to recognize that leadership is the product of processes that involve everyone working together.
In the meantime, we are grateful to everyone working for justice – for what they have done, are doing, and will do to help us achieve a world of greater and enduring equity. And we believe this is possible and completely necessary, for in the words of Martin Luther King Jr.: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
John R. Ryan
President and CEO
Center for Creative Leadership