A Message from ITC President, Mike Camarota
In early June, I reaffirmed ITC’s commitment to diversity and inclusion as well as our aspirations for an environment in which every individual is shown respect and dignity. Bigotry should not be tolerated in any form or place. Each person needs to feel safe and secure. People need to believe that they will have fair opportunities to succeed and that their freedoms will be protected. We sympathize with the many that do not yet feel they are respected, afforded dignity, or are safe at this time. The events in the last week related to the shooting of Jacob Blake and the reactions of members of his community and the nation at large indicate that we still have a long way to go toward achieving a society in which all people, regardless of the color of their skin, the faith they follow or gender, feel that their rights will be respected equally. Nobody expected that we would resolve race relations issues in a couple of months. Still, the recent events are a sad reminder of how far we need to go to eliminate racism and bigotry as well as limit violence in our communities.
As I watch Fortune 500 companies issue statements on diversity commitments and pro athletes use their platforms to push for change, I am left wondering what we can do to improve the situation. How can we support the pledge that I made earlier to listen to all perspectives and to support positive interactions and more constructive relations among all races and people? We do not have the resources or the platform of Microsoft or Lebron James to reach millions of people. As everyday citizens, we seemingly do not have the power to bring about police reform, end racism, or to stop protests from turning into destructive riots.
The answer came to me from one of my favorite Ted videos by Drew Dudley called Everyday Leadership. The central premise of this video is that leadership for most of us does not originate with a speech or tweet recorded by national media. Instead, it comes from everyday interactions. Even if we do not recognize the impact of these interactions, each interaction has the potential to be positive or negative. We do know that there are billions of interactions every day and that if even a few more of them could be positive, there would be a substantial change for the good. So, in our quest to improve race and culture relations within the United States, we can start by reflecting on our interactions with those around us. Each of us can consider how our speech and conversations with others tacitly accept or support the morals we espouse as individuals and leaders at ITC. Opportunities to indicate that comments or actions could be considered inflammatory, derogatory, or racist should be taken. It should be our goal to be not just a passive supporter but rather an ally for race relations improvements. To be an ally, we must be willing to actively reflect and take affirmative actions that support our commitments.
I hope you will join me in my journey to be an ally for improved experiences of equality and safety for all races and cultures, one interaction at a time.