What has happened for too long is an abomination that cannot be ignored. George Floyd’s murder was like a strong gust of wind that fueled our country’s already smoldering issues of control, humiliation, oppression, abuse, and murder. There are so many parallels between domestic violence and #BlackLivesMatter – they are both about oppressor’s control and both about a lack of human rights. What happened to Ahmad Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and countless others speak to the lack of addressing the systemic and implicit biases that affect this country. We all should be focused on fixing the root cause.

As Sheri Kurdakul, it is my responsibility to recognize that I come from a position of white privilege (not requested or fought for, but an unearned birthright that is my lived experience) and continue to bring to light the wrongs I witness and experience for people of color as I do for victims of abuse. A year ago the NJ Conference for Women had a workshop on unconscious bias – we all have it – and it opened my eyes to the assumptions I make, innocent or not. Working toward being a better person is a lifetime commitment that should continuously be challenged and measured, and I welcome it even if it means finding out things about myself I do not like – there’s no improvement without honesty.

As a mother, it is my responsibility to include my daughter in the discussion. A young teenager is NOT too young to have these tough conversations and invite her ideas around how we can be better humans. We have talked about our own privilege of being white and the responsibility that comes with that – speaking out and standing up against injustice and inequality, even when our peers ridicule us for it (and they have). She knows it won’t be easy, but she feels the alternative is not an option. The next generation needs activists like her.

As CEO of VictimsVoice, I commit to ensuring that our workplace is one of respect, dignity, fairness, open dialogue, and equality. We work hard to empower victims of abuse to have a voice, but we need to make sure our workforce is represented by all types of people from all walks of life. If you are a user of our product and feel we can do better, please let us know. We learn so much from others.

My hope is that we can work to fix what has been broken for centuries. Racism has no place in society. It serves no positive purpose.

Challenge your own bias (I know I will) – look deep within and be honest about what’s there so we can address it. If we don’t know how, find someone who can help. Asking for help goes a long way in building bridges.

Have those tough conversations and be prepared to be really uncomfortable. Listen. Acknowledge the pain and injustice. Then take what’s learned and take action to make it right and make it better. Not better for one side, but for everyone equally.

Let’s get started.

Sheri


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