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  • Writer's pictureReeshemah Davis

A Heavy Load

The pandemic, the insurrection at The Capitol on Jan 6th, politicians sowing strife and divisive rhetoric, police brutality against a nine-year-old Black child.

Watching these horrifying parts of our society brought to light is overwhelming, disturbing, yet unsurprising. Have you been feeling it too?

It is a heavy load to carry and unpack, even for a diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) and systems change expert.

As a Black woman and DEI leader, over the course of my career, I have witnessed systemic inequities play out, again and again. I've felt the relentless pressure to prove myself, again and again. I've watched mostly white professionals and executives make well-meaning, tone- deaf decisions for struggling communities of color, again and again.

Racial, gender and class biases are so pervasive, they are invisible. They don't need to be baldly stated. As one of my colleagues said, you won’t find an actual HR policy that is discriminatory. The discrimination comes from the biased people who apply it, turn a blind eye or don't recognize it in the first place.

Like so many people of color, I often chose to remain silent when injustice presented itself. It wasn't an easy choice. I spent countless hours and immense emotional and mental energy deciding when to speak out. I know the rules are different for me. I know the burden of proof rests on me. I know the very real, career-ending risk of standing up for what's right.

Now as a Founder and Principal Consultant for EMBOLDEN Action, I can express my opinion freely. In fact, my willingness to speak out and stand up helps my clients uncover the bias

and injustice that lurks in their systems. My voice brings BOLD solutions to complex organizational issues. My work builds equitable, inclusive, and diverse organizational culture.

Knowing my life's work has chipped away at systemic racism and workplace discrimination gives me strength. Knowing my colleagues, clients, friends and family are carrying the heavy load and unpacking the unsavory contents with me gives me hope.

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