If you hoped, like me and my Cal Wellness colleagues, that we’d turned the page on 2020 – that the New Year would quickly bring better, brighter days – yesterday was a vicious reality check. Last year was painful for many of us, particularly Black folks and people of color. We ended the year bruised, battered and mourning in the storm of the pandemic and relentless racialized violence.
But there’s something next level about seeing a President incite a mob to storm our Capitol, and watching national leaders – people we presumed were protected by power and privilege – physically cowering under attack.
Whether you saw these events unfold in real time or you’re just now piecing together what happened, here’s the question I want us all to ask ourselves: What are we going to do about it, before it’s too late?
Now is the time to use your voice. Be visible and vocal about your values, condemn violence and hate speech, and call for leaders to be accountable. Now is the time for each of us as individuals – and for our businesses and institutions – to be on the record supporting freedom, justice and democracy. Before it’s too late.
Now is the time to give more. Be bold and put more resources to the most critical issues your community and our nation are facing. Now is not the time to hoard money for future problems. Now is the time for philanthropy to step up. Before it’s too late.
Now is the time to connect and collaborate. Resist the temptation to stay quiet, withdraw or pretend that “this too shall pass” or that business as usual will suffice. It’s irresponsible. And remember, you are not alone. Reach out to friends, colleagues and people you respect to share what you’re feeling, seek counsel and explore what you might do together that would feel too hard to do alone. Before it’s too late.
The truth is, I’m an eternal optimist. The road has been rough and it may get rougher in the days and months ahead, but I’m still hopeful that if more of us act now – before it’s too late – 2021 will indeed bring better, brighter days.