Lift Every Voice: Why Now Is Not The Time To Be Quiet

Image courtesy of Flickr.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

Many years ago, my parents enrolled me in a camp near my childhood home. The children that attended the camp were mostly black with a sprinkling of Latinos. Besides the usual water gun fights, outdoor sports and movies – I learned something that summer. It was the goal of the camp organizers that every one of us campers learned the black national anthem. If you are African-American and you grew up in the states, you have probably heard or know by heart the black national anthem: Lift Every Voice. ┬áThe camp counselors said it was important that we knew it because we come from greatness and should be proud of who we are.

All I knew back then was it was a beautiful song and it made me proud of my heritage. What I didn’t know is this song I hold dear is really a poem by James Weldon Johnson that was set to music by his brother, John Rosamond Johnson in 1899. I, also learned that the very first performance was on Lincoln’s Birthday in 1900 sung by 500 children who attended the segregated Stanton School where James Weldon Johnson was Principal.

I found myself thinking of this song recently – as I took stock of the massacres of black men and cops that have marred almost every shred of optimism and hope I have for the people of the U.S. at the moment. It got me to thinking that while it is the official black national anthem; it is a song that every citizen of this country needs to hear and embrace.

The lyrics of the anthem goes as follows (note: this is the short version):

Lift ev’ry voice and sing,
‘Til earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the list’ning skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on ’til victory is won.

I won’t rehash what has gone on in this country in past two weeks, because I am not yet in an emotional place where it would be received well. Instead, I will draw everyone’s attention to the importance of speaking up when things have gone terribly wrong in the world. For as vocal as we have all become about everything from why the baristas at Starbucks can’t get your name right to the terrible service you’ve received at a restaurant – we are incredibly quiet and inconsistent on standing up for one another when injustice is plaguing one of our fellow citizens.

We raise hell if we sit on the tarmac for longer than five minutes during a flight takeoff. In some cases we take to airing our dirty, frivolous laundry out in hopes that onlookers will take pity and support us in our narcissistic moments of needing to be right in the court of “Facebook Friends” ( I really witnessed this recently). Insert hashtags, creative graphics and filters for an extra show of support for some of the world’s tragedies and you have in me a woman who is thoroughly fed up with the phenomenon of “social media activism”.

What is “Social Media Activism”?

It is when you meander from tragedy to tragedy (which often conveniently excludes tragic events that affect people of color) online with no real purpose. You will throw up a Facebook filter in support of a recent tragedy, because everyone else in your timeline did – yet you say nothing of value about the subject. It is creating a hashtag in outrage of a world event or tragedy, but the movement lives and dies on social media and never gets traction in real life. Moreover, it is when you lurk looking for opportunities online to force your political agenda, views and/or hatred for others, but you stand for nothing in real life.

None of this helps anyone if you don’t say something or even better do something when tragedy faces us as a society. I was asked in a recent interview if I worry about tackling controversial topics and whether or not it will impact business. I replied with a smile and said the following: “I am at a point in my business where I am happy to work with businesses with whom I have synergy. I don’t say anything that isn’t rooted in fact, so if they aren’t pleased with my approach they can always hire the next gal.”

While I have no desire to live in the pits of controversy day in and day out, I know that I have a following and influence. I also know that having influence puts you in a unique space to educate people and raise awareness. To be in that unique space, you need to have the courage to speak up for those who cannot or who would be otherwise ignored.

There are plenty other instances when we can laugh at absurd videos, marvel at babies and kittens and have fun while being social beings. 2016 is calling us to be more than the latest viral video or business tip we are discussing for the thousandth time. Speak up, add value, educate, collaborate with a social organization to raise awareness. Do something, but do not be silent.

Some more perspective…

I have two Caucasian friends who have been in communication with me since the killing ensued in early July and if I’m honest every killing of a black person prior to as well. Their words were kind, loving and supportive. When I say “lift every voice”, say something or do something, it doesn’t have to be a huge endeavor. It can be a simple text, email or phone call to show support or merely to listen and better understand why many of us are fed up. Just don’t be silent.

My way of doing something is to educate and speak out. I will be doing just that when I return to my Periscope.tv show Ask Czarina Live this Thursday night. I will be hosting “The Black Out” Show. It will be a show to educate and to have a civil conversation about what’s going on in this country. If you are up at 11pm EST and want to join in follow the instructions in my promo graphic. Let’s be better than what I see playing out online, in real life and in the news.

Ask Czarina Live- The Black Out Show

 

 

31 Days, 32 Revelations: What Checks and Balances?

Image courtesy of Flickr.com

Series Introduction

Every year, I like to find a different way of celebrating my favorite day: my birthday. Since I am turning 32 next month (I know…awww…), I’ve decided to share 32 revelations I have had during the course of my life about everything from life in general to business. Think of it as daily inspiration for you and therapy for me. It is a challenge for me, because I don’t think I have ever published a post everyday in the entire existence of The Aristocracy of HR. Plus, I recognize that while I am fairly generous in sharing on social media and here, I have only just scraped the surface on sharing who I am when I’m not pontificating how HR and Business can do better. Let’s use the month of March to get to know one another better. I hope at the end of the month, you walk away with something you can use in your own life or business.

Day 12 of 31- What Checks and Balances?

I’m sure many of you have either been following or heard about the Hillary Clinton email debacle. According to a recent CNN Poll, the public seems to be divided on whether or not this is a serious issue or not. In my opinion, the public is right. On one hand, it isn’t terribly damaging at least as far as her run for presidency is concerned. Conversely, it is quite serious and not something that surprised me when I heard about it. I have often found our so- called “checks and balances” to be severely lacking. This email situation is evidence of our inability to dot our “i’s” and cross our “t’s”.

Having previously worked for a government contractor, I witnessed a system that was severely broken and quite antiquated. When I started working in this arena, it was made very clear what my responsibility was for safeguarding company information whether electronic or paper. For all of the red tape and safeguards they put in place there are twice as many bottlenecks and gaps in procedure. In the case of Hillary Clinton, you have to ask how it is that the Secretary of State of the United States of America could think that conducting business on private e-mail out of convenience was in the best interest of the country. Furthermore, when email wasn’t coming from a .gov e-mail no one else in the administration was alarmed enough to insist she had a secure email account?

According to the Global State of Information Security Survey 2015, the most frequent source of data breaches come from inside the organization. If our heads of state seem unconcerned about how information is being transmitted in a time when cyber incidents among employees are up 10% from the previous year- we have a problem. We have only perceived checks and balances. It appears that breaches and other government hot topics of the moment are only serious when they become a threat or media fodder that has to be dealt with.

I’m not vying for a position in government in this lifetime, but it does seem like our leaders could use better discretion, some focus and due diligence as they tend to safeguarding us and this country. If I made decisions based on convenience, I only impact my family and myself. When you are in a position of power, (such as Secretary of State) your “convenient” decisions have larger ramifications. Ultimately, the issue is bigger than Hillary Clinton, but for now let us all sip tea and watch her be berated for an ongoing government problem. I sincerely hope we do better going forward.

 

Czarina’s Lesson: The convenient option sometimes leads to an inconvenient result.

Translate ┬╗
Font Resize