I must confess something. When thinking about this month’s blog, a conflict brewed inside me. I wanted to write more about inclusion, but I also wanted to explore how creativity contributes to our well being in the pandemic.
Then I thought, “Wait a minute, this is my blog! Why not do both?” And lo and behold, they are connected.
Let’s start with inclusion. With more people waking up recently to longstanding inequalities, organizations want to create more inclusive work environments, especially for people of color. Many of them don’t know where to start and end up abandoning the effort too soon.
The key is to start. Just start. Even small steps forward at a consistent pace will still result in progress.
How do you start? That’s where creativity comes in.
We need creativity to solve these inequities. We also need courage, commitment, and a host of other things. The way we’ve approach racism in the past does not work and has not worked. We need something new. What can we imagine? Where can we go from here?
I would like to offer three creative ideas for inclusion from Black practitioners and scholars:
- Author La’Wana Harris suggests that in addition to a “Bring Your Child to Work” day, companies have a “Bring Your Authentic Self to Work” day where employees can arrive to work as their authentic selves without the filter of assimilation.
- Author Mary Frances Winters advises us to ask people of color and other marginalized groups to participate in the design of Diversity and Inclusion programs. This prevents programs being created and imposed by majority groups, particularly white leaders.
- Scholar Dr. Ibram X. Kendi suggests we redefine the word “racist.” His definition: One who is supporting a racist policy through their actions or inaction or expressing a racist idea. An anti-racist is one who supports anti-racist policies or expresses anti-racist ideas. Share these definitions in your organization to provide a more objective use of the word “racism.” People can then measure their words and actions against that common definition. Read more here: https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/2020/june/ibram-x-kendi-definition-of-antiracist.html
Creativity is also tied to our well being. As many of you know, I sing in a Rush tribute band called The Spirit of Rush. In the initial months of the pandemic, I was not able to see or play with my bandmates. Venues (rightfully) canceled our shows, and frankly my soul started to wilt.
Then we got creative. A couple of weeks ago, we did a livestream from our driveway to our fans online. I thought that a few fans would tune in and that it would be fun, but no substitute for playing live.
We had 8000 viewers from around the world streaming comments, tips, and love to us! Folks tuned in from New Zealand, Costa Rica, Italy, the US, and more.
You can watch the show here: https://www.facebook.com/spiritofrushatlanta/videos/1719259081562127/
The joy I received from this creative adaptation of live music gave me the energy to solve problems in other areas of work and life.
I hope that wherever you are, you stay safe and well, and that you find creative ways to do what uplifts you.
All the best,