by Jennifer Tolle Whiteside
Last week I spent two days participating in a racial equity workshop.
It was a powerful, eye opening, guilt ridden, painful, emotional, learning, feeling time. The history of racism runs deep in our country. The workshop presented a historical, cultural, structural and institutional analysis of racism, and provided an opportunity to explore our own biases.
I spent the weekend reflecting and talking with friends and family about some of the things that I learned, and a bit about the emotions it brought up.
To then be confronted with the terrorism in Charlottesville, the hatred and the fear, amid my own reflection, I found myself almost unable to articulate a clear thought, only deep sadness and a belief that this is just not right.
This is not the community that I want us to live in.
Often, as a white woman of privilege, I second guess my response, or at least work to make sure I am not being offensive to others. I often struggle with what it is I can do, and want to do more.
Sometimes, that means I do nothing. Sometimes, I find myself listening to my friends of color on what it is I should and could do to support them.
What I know now is that is not enough. It is not enough to be a kind and loving person and work for good in my community. It had been my hope and belief that my friends, colleagues and neighbors know me well enough to say that I stand against racism, hatred and discrimination. What I know now is that it is not enough to assume. I have to speak it out loud. I have to act.
It is up to us to speak up.
Our team is actively engaged in this conversation. Our entire statewide staff will participate in a workshop and training on racial equity in early September.
We know the pivotal importance of ensuring our staff leads through racial equity, now more than ever.
We’re committed to examining our practices, our sector and ourselves as we work to build bridges in communities across North Carolina.
This is North Carolina’s community foundation. We’re here to do just that, build a foundation for community – for everyone – across our state.