Yes, I know this is a blog about transportation but this will be my one time outlet for social justice. I just can’t keep it in any longer and while I realize I do not have millions or thousands of followers, I still feel compelled to share my voice.
This past election sent many of us into grief for quite a few days and the outcome has many feeling it on a very personal level. I don’t know about you, but I took me several days to through the grief and I was stunned how deeply I felt it.
Secretary Clinton’s loss was not just about one woman but the hopes and dreams of so many of us. In her, we held hope for a time that diversity was not a word but the way. It was an opportunity to inspire our daughters and to teach our sons – and to correct the many wrongs that have happened over our careers. This was not the first time a well-qualified woman was passed over for a less qualified man and now, my fears are that it will not be the last but also will lengthen the fuse of the white male reign. Her candidacy represented the kind of country I want to live in and probably you do too.
But, diversity is not enough – we must strive for inclusion as it does not do us any good to have a woman or lesbian, or Muslim or anyone who looks or lives differently than we do if they do not feel included. We can appoint and hire all we want but if they still feel different, still feel like an outsider, then we have not done enough. Inclusion activates community, compassion, potential and unleashes innovation.
So that is why I believe it is time for business to step up in a much bigger way. Clearly, the new administration is not going to ‘lean in’ for women or those who look differently. It is up to business to take the courageous step. Forget waiting on legislation and policy, Corporate America has to be the one to pay equal for the same job regardless of gender.
Corporate America has to be the one who includes women in board rooms. Corporate America has to be the entity that allows and accepts those who dress differently because of religious beliefs. We don’t need another program to bring about change, we need the people who run companies to change. We don’t need gov’t to define the values of our country, we need companies with a ZERO-Tolerance for behaviors that leave anyone feeling excluded because of their race, beliefs, how they dress, and who they love.
I found it quite interesting that last week I was in Boston, with Thoreau’s Walden Pond a few miles away. I found myself thinking about civil disobedience and the Million Woman March scheduled the day after inauguration in Washington. I have heard ‘wait 4, possibly 8 years and it will change’ because the data shows that after 8 years, the pendulum swings. But, no, I don’t want to wait so, I had to ask myself and am still asking myself ‘What will I do differently to help make this country the kind of country I want to live in?’
I am thinking about a few things. What are you willing to do? Tweet me @Steph_Armistead with #StillWithHer and see what we can include.