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What's Love Got Do Do With It? Black History Month Blog Post.

Throughout some of my most challenging experiences in the workplace, it was the loving bonds that I developed with colleagues and other mentors that saved me. This Valentine’s Day reminds me of my gratitude for all the forms of love I have in my life and the crucial role that love plays in a field like DEI. 

In a space that can be dominated by data, strategy, and intellect, I challenge us not to forget the true heart of why this field exists in the first place: to ensure that people from all paths of life feel valued, heard, respected, and included in their place of work. And for organizations that are intentional about uprooting anti-Blackness from their working culture, a love for Blackness and the wellbeing of all Black people has to be your primary motivation for wanting change. 

In her classic book “All About Love: New Visions,” the late, great bell hooks writes, “To love well is the task in all meaningful relationships, not just romantic bonds.” If we’ll spend the majority of our lifetime on the job, it is crucial, then, that those bonds be cultivated with care, respect, and above all, love. 

Two women pose together smiling

For as strongly as I believe that racism and anti-Blackness are structural, systemic issues, I also fervently believe in the responsibility that individuals hold in undoing said systems. Using DEI as a means for change begins with allowing love to be the lens through which we see our colleagues and the strength that grants us the moral courage to be vocal about and insistent about justice. 

You can demonstrate your love and care for the Black folks at your organization by: 

  1. Holding space for the challenges they may currently be experiencing on the job and the ways that prior racially aggressive experiences in the workplace may still be deeply impacting them. 

  2. Being intentional about honoring their worth and recognizing how equitable pay and professional development opportunities will expand the ways that Black people can spread that love to themselves and their communities. 

  3. Taking accountability for the ways you have been an active participant in, witness to, or complicit with the mistreatment of Black people at your organization. 

3 women pose together smiling

In a world where workplace abuse and mistreatment are sadly commonplace, to show and give love through the DEI work we do is a form of resistance. To resist the forces of social structures (in the U.S. in particular) that tell us that Black people can only exist at the outskirts of power and it’s permissible to mistreat us, holds the key to our liberation. Biases, anti-Black racism, and racial aggressions negate the work that this field is intended to carry on. To this, bell hooks leaves us with critical words to reflect on: “Abuse and neglect negate love. Care and affirmation, the opposite of abuse and humiliation, are the foundation of love. No one can rightfully claim to be loving when behaving abusively.” 

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