By: Daniel | Founder
In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, something shifted.
It felt as though America was collectively jolted from its colorblind slumber, into a racial reckoning that was long overdue. To be clear, racism isn’t new — it’s been alive and well since the founding of our country — but following the experiences that captured the nation including the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Elijah McClain, Jacob Blake, and countless others, ignoring the reality of racism and police brutality proved no longer a viable option. The silent were publicly asked to use their voices, and the “woke ones” were challenged to be even more educated, engaged, and evolved.
From Blackout Tuesday, to the public statements and commitments made by companies at both a national and global level, from manic social media posting, to books about race flying to the top of “best seller” lists, from nationwide protests, to players from professional sports teams advocating for justice and refusing to play in light of the current climate, race now existed as top of mind rather than a distant afterthought.
It’s interesting to me because I’ve been Black since birth… (obviously)… but never in my life have I seen as many people want to talk about their relationship with Blackness, Whiteness and everything in between, as I experienced earlier this year.
On a personal note, it felt somewhere in between great and terrible. Yes, I was grateful to see consistent dialogue about the Black experience happening all around me, but at the same time, the debates about the validity of said experience, coupled with the frequent fumbles that came along with people engaging said conversation for the first time, were often hard to swallow. It was almost as if the collective trauma of the Black experience was being played on repeat, and while living it wasn’t unfamiliar, being surrounded and having others consumed by it was.
Some days I felt invigorated, others I felt exhausted, but every day, I felt engaged, because I knew we were in the midst of a meaningful moment; one I most certainly wanted to meet wholeheartedly.
When I observed the collective conversation about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, I felt like something was missing. Yes, some conversations were happening, but the kinds of conversations that I wanted to see were not. People were still getting body-slammed in the comments section and worrying about “saying the wrong thing”, all while missing the human experience and necessary internal work required to see true connectedness and transformation.
For me, I wanted to have conversations that centered on courage, empathy, increased awareness, personal responsibility, and individual + collective action. I wanted to have conversations about the conscious and subconscious ways we’ve all contributed to our shared reality. I wanted to have conversations that humanized Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), and moved it from transactional and on trend, to transformational and transcendent. I wanted to have conversations that moved people, and ultimately, that moved the world.
And so I started Courage Collective to do exactly that.
Thankfully, my incredible friends and Co-Founders Lauren & Nani were deeply passionate about this work, and willing to dive in and bring the vision of Courage Collective to life. In their own way, they’ve both been meaningfully invested in DEI conversations for over a decade, and were eager to lean in, and guide others through this often challenging, dimensional, and intentional work.
This dream team is making meaningful conversations happen and putting empathy and education into action. I couldn’t be more proud and thankful to work with such exceptional people.
And why The Courage Collective? Well, I believe in Courage. I believe it’s a transcendent idea. I believe that anyone who has ever moved or impacted the world in a significant way had to embody courage and become the dream they believed in.
And if we’re going to see meaningful change and transformation in my lifetime, I’m convinced it will require courage as well. Above all, though, the thing I love most about courage is that it’s always relevant — whether you’re young or old, whether that moment is simple or heroic, courage is always an option.
So I’ll leave you with this: when courageous people meet courageous moments, it moves and impacts the world. We’re ready and willing to meet this moment, and hopefully you are, too.