RACISM & COVID-19: PANDEMICS THAT NEED TO BE ERADICATED

Dear MentorCoach® Community,

MentorCoach® is a compassionate and deeply ethical community. Time and again over the past few months, I have seen you rise
in difficult circumstances to support one another and the wider global community.  It is in this spirit of caring for one another that I write to you to share my profound sadness regarding the tragic and abhorrent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many before them.  We must work to right these wrongs because Black Lives Matter.

As the nation mourns these deaths, grapples with the unrest that tragedy has triggered, and witnesses the emergence of a powerful movement for change, the MentorCoach community shares in the anguish that we all feel—as a coaching family, as contributors and residents of our city, regions, nations and our world.

The wound goes deeper because this crisis arises in the midst of a global pandemic that, while it impacts each of us in lasting ways, has disproportionately harmed the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities.

I want to send a particular message to MentorCoach’s students, alumni, and faculty of color.  We stand with you at this difficult moment and we recognize and honor your fear and outrage.  We deeply value your participation in and contributions to the MentorCoach family.  We are committed to supporting your safety and your wellbeing.  We will continue to strengthen our own commitment to inclusion, anti-racism, and community, and we will seek new ways to live out this fundamental value.

So what are ways we can live out our values?  We can begin by having “the conversation.”  First, listen and then seek to learn and come to terms with America’s systemic racist underbelly.  We have to stop being defensive and become more reflective.  The conversation will not come easily; nothing worth fighting for ever does.

Practice these rules of engagement during the conversations you have: First, listen.  Stay engaged.  Listen some more.  Be willing to experience discomfort.  And accept and expect non-closure.  There will not be quick fixes here–we are working to unravel issues that have been tightly woven into America’s fabric for 400 years.  I encourage you to tap into your VIA character strengths of Bravery, Honesty, Hope and Kindness (Peterson & Seligman, 2004).

Let us all rally together!  We take strength from each other, knowing we will get through, we will persevere–together.  We must not keep quiet on this issue.  Rather, we all need to join the conversation if we are to make progress, and my door, though virtual at the moment, is always open.

With warm regards for each of you,

Ben

Ben Dean, PhD
Founder and President
MentorCoach®
______________________________

Peterson, C. & Seligman, M.E.P. (2004).  Character strengths and virtues: a handbook and classification.  Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

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