Equality and Justice – Galvanize Change Through Your Spheres of Influence
The Compelling Why is part of the chorus of indignant and exasperated voices who condemn the individuals, actions and beliefs that led to the death of George Floyd, Ahmaud Abery, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and the long list of black and brown people who met similar unjust fates. We are tired, disgusted, angry, and fearful like many of you.
One of the questions that keep the Compelling Why team up at night is what to tell our teens of color about the injustice, intolerance, and violence they see perpetrated in our communities? What can we do as an organization and as individuals who care deeply about the next generation to help guide, inform, protect, and inspire in such daunting times?
There is no single public statement, opinion piece, sermon or Zoom meeting that will solve systemic racism in one fell swoop. We need organizations and people with the guts to continue to chip away at hate’s foundation. Individuals willing to work within their wheelhouse and spheres of influence to change the existing culture. It is often not what is said, but who says it that give words and deeds gravity. People lean in more when they are listening to someone they trust. That is why I was heartened by the rainbow of peaceful protesters across the country who galvanized with a greater sense of urgency around issues of equality, justice, decency, and respect.
But back to the question. What do we tell our Compelling Why students, who are primarily African American and Latino? How do we inspire and equip students, whose families are struggling through the economic and health care disparities of a global pandemic, with the tools to persevere? How do we instill hope in the face of police misconduct? How do we partner with schools to support youth social and emotional wellbeing when returning to an educational experience likely filled with uncertainty?
The Compelling Why exists to ignite the passion of young people to create their best reality. We have doubled down on our commitment to operate within our sphere of influence. We will continue to model the behavior and actions that will guide students through this period and beyond. We will continue to deliver our success and leadership pillars – the importance of education, purpose, personal responsibility, active engagement, integrity, commitment, emotional intelligence – through the voices and experiences of business and community leaders who speak with authenticity and cultural credibility. Leaders in whom our students can trust and relate.
Now, more than ever, our young people need to be heard. They need to be engaged in meaningful conversations with caring adults and institutions that will listen and engage them without judgment yet maintain unwaveringly high expectations and hold them accountable with love and respect.
They need advocates who will direct them to resources and opportunities not typically available to them because of the zip code in which they happen to reside. The Compelling Why pledges to continue our work on behalf of the students of promise throughout North Texas during and after these turbulent times.
Torrence H. Robinson
The Compelling Why