I was a chief diversity officer for 25 years. Right now, being silent is supporting violence — use boldness to fight racism in the workplace instead.

GettyImages 1132122136 (1)

  • Jackie Glenn is the founder ofGlenn
     and HR Solutions. She is the former chief diversity
    officer for Dell EMC.
  • The recent spate of killings involving Black people and White
    police officers has forced many companies to reexamine their
    diversity efforts. Workplaces are also starting to take
    accountability for their role in upholding systemic racism. 
  • If white and non-black people of color do not challenge racial
    stereotypes in their day-to-day lives — Glenn said Black
    colleagues will continue to face racial injustice in the workplace
    and beyond. 
  • Glenn recommends workers employ boldness to call out racial
    bias, and other microaggressions that largely burden Black
    colleagues in corporate America. 
  • Visit Business
    Insider’s homepage for more stories

Over the past month we have witnessed a series of unjust murders
in the Black community: Ahmad Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George
Floyd, just to name a few. These are not tragedies that have
befallen us out of nowhere — they are the result of a long
history of systemic racism. Every life has value, but senseless
attacks continue to rain down upon the Black community without
consequence as if our lives have no worth — that is why it’s
important to stand up and say Black Lives

Jackie Glenn

In my last piece for
Business Insider
, I shared one of the ten “gems” from my book
As I Climb: An Immigrant Girl’s Journey Through Corporate
.” Each gem is a value that has guided me in my life. I
recounted how the boldness gem can be used to take charge in your

As the world continues to be inundated with stories of
injustice, we are all obligated to look outside of ourselves and
focus on lifting those in need instead. In my 25-year tenure as a
chief diversity officer in corporate America, no one was eager to
discuss matters of race. People are finally starting to listen. The
time is now, and I am compelled to take this moment to share how my
boldness and resilience gems can be channeled to benefit those
around us who need it most.

While we can all see the events playing out, it has become clear
that the reaction to these events varies greatly from person to
person. Every single person in this country should be outraged. If
you have turned a blind eye, ignored the cries for justice, and
kept on with your normal life, you are part of the problem. Let me
be clear — silence is supporting the violence. 

I describe boldness as the willingness to do the right thing at
the right time, regardless of the barriers we may encounter. This
statement couldn’t be more relevant today. This is not a time to
shrink up and hold your tongue. 

Call out microaggressions that are thrown your way. Call out
bias as you see it occur. The responsibility falls upon each of us
to speak out against the injustices we see. Barriers may
materialize in tense moments with the Amy Coopers of the world who
use their whiteness as a weapon. In those cases, it’s even more
important to be heard. 

Whether you have a platform that reaches millions or you’re
having a conversation with one friend, using the boldness gem will
hold people accountable and shine a much-needed light on the issues
at hand. Have you witnessed your colleagues, family members, or
friends engaging in racist behavior or downplaying the severity of
recent events? Call them out! Educate them on the realities that
minorities face and speak on important truths that are often swept
under the rug. 

Boldness is not only a necessity for people of color: White
people have just as much responsibility, if not more, to use their
privilege to help enact real change. Allyship across communities is
critical during these times. Look in the mirror and be honest about
how you have contributed to systems of racism, and how you can do

I acknowledge that being bold is not easy. In fact, it can be
downright draining. To keep up the good fight, we must draw upon
another gem —
. In “Lift As I Climb,” I describe resilience as the
ability to bounce back, pick yourself up when you fall, and never
give up when faced with challenges. 

The litany of egregious wrongdoings against minorities in this
country stretches back across centuries. The issues have only
become further amplified during the last few months. For every
person reading this with a heavy heart and weary soul — do not
give up. Margaret Thatcher said, “You may have to fight a battle
more than once to win it.” Each injustice is its own battle. The
wave of a movement is nothing without each advocate; each drop of
water. We are depending on you. 

Understanding the concept of resilience is simple enough, but
how can this gem be put to use? Encourage yourself and others to
stick it out. Foster companionship and lean on each other. Take
time to care for yourself before jumping back into the battle.
Black people in particular may have to dig deep for the resilience
gem. Just when we begin to process one tragedy, another comes
along. It may seem futile, but we must not allow our spirits to be

Look back at the accomplishments of our forefathers as
inspiration. Our ancestors were tired, but they fought to get us to
this point and it’s up to us to continue on. We have made it
through horrors like slavery and the Jim Crow era — a brighter
future for our children is within reach. We cannot stop now.

Progress is possible. I call upon every person reading this
message to take a stand for what’s right through boldness and keep
moving forward through resilience. We have made it this far and
change is ahead.

my first boardroom meeting, there wasn’t a seat for me at the table
full of white men, so I asked the CEO to move over

York Times columnist David Brooks shares his candid advice for
ignoring your ego, overcoming loneliness, and saying ‘yes’ to

Join the conversation about this story »

Here’s what it’s like to travel during the coronavirus

Source: FS – All – Interesting – Lifestyle
I was a chief diversity officer for 25 years. Right now,
being silent is supporting violence — use boldness to fight racism
in the workplace instead.