This classic title from the 1992 Ice Cube song, hasn’t been something I’ve been able to say for a while. And yet, even with the backdrop of so much sadness and turmoil, for me, June 3, 2020, was a good day.
- After having to completely scrap my initial proposal due to COVID in March, that morning, I was able to present to my company CEO and other members of our leadership team my new initiative for supporting and retaining our mid-level people of color to help get more diversity in leadership. It received overwhelmingly positive feedback and 100% support on the spot.
- Having been encouraged by what I had seen, I decided to also use my voice and e-mail our global CEO regarding a socially insensitive e-mail he had written. He responded immediately and personally invited me to work alongside the global leadership team in U.K. I’ll have an opportunity to help inform and provide perspective on our D&I framework and reform across the globe.
- I finally had a chance to connect with the other black colleagues just in my office for an “unsafe space” meeting: just to cry, share, vent, encourage, support, and be reminded that I’m not in this alone.
- While in that meeting, the news broke that the other 3 cops had finally been arrested in George Floyd’s murder, and that the primary officer had his charges upgraded to 2nd-degree murder.
- In the afternoon, our CEO had invited our Black and LatinX employee resource group to speak at our weekly all-agency townhall to present our purpose, vision and goals. I had the opportunity to represent and convey my passion with my colleagues in offices all around the country, and so many chimed in how thankful they were that we were having this discussion at an agency level.
- After work, I had my first volunteer “office hours” session with Upkey, a student incubator that created a virtual internship program to help diverse college students who had had their internship offers rescinded due to COVID-19. I met 43 amazing college students, eager to learn, and making the most of their current situations.
- Later, I read highlights from President Obama’s address, and left encouraged and inspired by a message from a leader with an amazing vision and gift for words.
- Then yesterday evening, after hours, when she could have been catching up on projects or spending more time with her own family, my director took the time to write a heartfelt e-mail to our global CEO endorsing me for the global D&I taskforce team, and recognizing my contributions to the company over the past 3 years.
I know that hard days will be back. I know COVID will continue to impact my friends and family at a greater rate than my non-black friends. I know there will be more moments where I feel overwhelmed at the destruction and injustices globally and here in Chicago. I know I will be frustrated with progress (and lack thereof) as we attempt to shift the culture at my workplace. . .
But Today, June, 3, 2020, was a good day.
By Shalane Walker