I started my two years at the Harvard Kennedy School writing about how impact was more important than intent. On orientation day, I was reminded that people cannot see your intentions, they can only see your actions. Today, black Americans in this country need us, white people, to act, our intentions are not enough. Our intentions are never enough on their own.
I haven’t known where to begin. I always feel like I don’t know enough, in every circle I am a part of – a constant discounting of any knowledge I might have. But writing about fixing the racial injustice that has existed in my country cannot wait for me to stop discounting my thoughts. I know I might not use the right terms, or I might not start from where you think I should start, but let us begin.
With great privilege comes great responsibility. I have been trying to use my privilege through my career to help disadvantaged people around the world through access to finance. There are millions disadvantaged people in my own country, and they have been disadvantaged since they arrived to this country. An America built on the backs of slaves. And I remember, in elementary school in my South Carolina history book, someone once dared to call the Civil War the “War of Northern Aggression”.
There is a history, a narrative that we need to learn. There is a lot of biases, stories, histories that we need to unlearn. There is so much work for us white people to do. It’s our turn to do the work.
I am listening. I am reading. I am donating my time and money. I don’t have much spare change right now, but remember when we used to go out to lunch?
These are some helpful resources. Read them. Do them. I am too.
Just start. There is no right place to start this journey, but it’s our work to do. We can all tell ourselves that we have the best intentions, but what do our actions say?
But no, this is not about you and me, white people. This is about black lives. Black Lives Matter.
Because black stories are my stories. Injustice is my story too.
No, not my story. Our story.
It’s time we fix our story.