Every year we celebrate Martin Luther King Day as a reminder of the power of collective leadership to transform inequity.
Today it feels more important than ever that we move the dial on racial equity in our country. There is no blueprint for how we will change the systems and structures that perpetuate inequity, but we can find lessons in our history. The Civil Rights Movement brought Americans together toward a common vision of humanity and justice. Today’s #BlackLivesMatter movement has brought systemic racism in our justice system into the public conversation. We’ve seen brave educators bring these conversations into their staff meetings and classrooms.
We know that we can make progress on racial equity in our schools and communities. But it will unfold through complex and unpredictable dynamics. Dr. King said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.” We must have the faith to take risks, have tough conversations, build new relationships and take the steps that will lead to an equitable future.
The Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change has a publication called ” 10 Lessons for Taking Leadership on Racial Equity.” We share this as a solid framework for taking action on racial equity in your context. To honor Reverend King here is an excerpt from Lesson 5: “Start by preaching to the choir.”
“Motivating a core group of allies—the choir—to take action requires a persuasive framework and language, as well as tools to help identify the most effective routes to progress on this longstanding societal challenge. Starting with the choir builds a critical mass of those who are willing and able to make progress on racial equity and to bring others into the fold along the way.”
In faith and action – Happy Martin Luther King Day.