For me, a white male of privilege, yesterday was a tipping point when a subconscious perception became an obvious truth: career development is a human rights issue.
Please allow me to elaborate.
My life is dedicated to helping others gain the awareness, resources, and guidance needed to unleash their fullest potential. And I would be naive if I failed to acknowledge that, on this circuitous road to “fullest potential,” there are significant hindrances that some people face. Here’s just a sampling:
* Draconian prison sentences, unconstitutional arrests, and unconscionable criminal justice system fees that disproportionately impact people of color, and prolong cycles of poverty
* Unspoken discrimination toward the advancement of women to executive and C-suite positions, with salaries commensurate with their qualifications; and bold moves on the part of some political leaders to restrict the reproductive rights of all women
* Outright resistance toward acknowledging and protecting the rights of LGBTQ persons
* Outright resistance toward acknowledging and protecting the rights of persons belonging to a faith community that is not in our nation’s majority
* A failure to give immigrants and Dreamers the benefit of the doubt, despite the vast majority presenting a long-established work ethic and character, and thus ripping apart families and undermining futures
* A vicious cowardice in the face of what must be done to protect innocent people from mass murder, in both public and private places
These are human rights matters. They are hindrances of injustice that stand in the way of my career development ambitions for others. I’ll never fully understand what it’s like to be them, but I’ll spend the rest of my life moving as close to understanding as possible.
These others are my friends. Therefore, like any true friend would be, I am offended. I am angry. I am sad, and I cry when they hurt.
And I am, and will continue to be, a resilient ally and advocate for my friends who face these hurdles. I will not rest, because I cannot rest.
Sustainable justice will only come to pass when white people of privilege, with full authenticity and actions consistent with their words, stand arm-in-arm with those who are oppressed.
This isn’t just a profession for me. It’s personal.
Are you with me?