I'm Tired. I'm Also Motivated to Forge a Path to Equality Together

Let's keep our resolve, and make real change

What a year. It's hard to believe we're barely halfway through 2020.

This week, between leading my company Kin, watching the news, reading opinion pieces, taking in all the posts on social media, and speaking with many, many people ... black, white and other ... who are activated and looking for ways to contribute, it's been challenging to find a quiet moment to process my own thoughts and feelings.

So as I sit here at 6 a.m. on Thursday, during a week with very little sleep, I feel mostly sad and tired but also very calm and motivated.

I'm truly struck by how disturbed and inconsolable people ... specifically white people ... are about the killing of George Floyd and the ensuing reaction. Is it because of how graphic the video was? Or the fact that there were four police officers present? Maybe it's all of the above.

While I'm grateful for the peaceful protests that have helped elevate police brutality and lead to the arrest of the officers involved, I'm also sad.

I'm sad about the tragic loss of life, for George's family and for humanity, but for a lot of black people in America, last week Monday was exactly that ... last week Monday.

Another day, on any given week, when what happened to George could happen to us. And not because we're bad people or have committed a gruesome crime, but simply because of who we are and how we look.

And that makes me tired.

Many years have passed since the civil rights movement began, and yet America is still very far apart on addressing racism and bias. (#WhiteLivesMatter was trending yesterday, trolled wonderfully by kpop fans.) And as an industry, we are also far behind on increasing diversity in our leadership structures and creative output.

I'm tired of seeing more discussions, panels, tweets and posts about what's needed. Yes, they're a start, but we now need to move beyond that to create real, lasting change in how we think, hire and work. We need to provide real economic opportunities for all to participate in and shape our society moving forward.

This is a unique moment. One where all groups—white, Asian, Latinx, differently abled, LGBTQ+—are as activated as black people on this issue. One where people around the world are engaged and leaning in. One where we are all taking the time to read, talk, share, give and protest for change.

Let's not let this opportunity to transform the world pass by.

Four years ago, similar circumstances inspired the launch of SATURDAY MORNING, and since then we've been working hard to shift perceptions on racial bias and injustice. It's work we do every day, at night and on weekends. And fortunately it's work that's having an impact through great partnerships with P&G and Spotify.

I'm calm and motivated because that experience has helped me see the path forward more clearly.

Let's embrace the idea that this is a marathon and not a sprint. Let's not use up all our passion and energy in days and weeks when the problem will take decades and perhaps centuries (hope not!) to solve.

We need to keep our resolve in order to realize the tangible change we want to see. Let's keep our efforts and actions unified. Let's work in increments, a little bit every day. Let's hire more black leaders in the boardroom. Let's nurture black creatives to make the work we see out in the world. Let's attract more allies of all colors and genders and create more inclusive cultures at our companies, where all people feel inspired and empowered.

This can only happen if we work with each over. So let's make it happen, together.

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Kwame Taylor-Hayford
Kwame Taylor-Hayford is co-founder of Kin.

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