Shut up and listen

In light. New season. Last time I wrote here 2015. Wondering as I wander. Wandering as I wonder. PhD–check. New job as Chief Diversity Officer at University of Amsterdam–check. After four years of working with incredible people, finished that job yesterday–check. Loving teaching peacebuilding and human rights and human security–check. My world expanding even as my focus narrows: Social justice.

“Shut up and listen,” I tell people who want advice about equity, diversity and inclusion. Black Lives Matter reminds us that we all bear the responsibility for cultural change. So within our circles of influence, circles of friends and family, circles of life we speak out, step up, stand alongside. Learn what it means to be an active bystander, an ally. And shut up and listen.

Pay attention to the stories being told. Make understanding the goal, rather than trying to convince. Identify the single stories we might have and enrich, enhance, be enlightened by, for example….

Have been reading Wole Soyinka, Jean-Paul Kimonyo, Louise Erdrich, Thich Nhat Hanh, Jonathan Jansen, Marlon James, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Colson Whitehead, Zora Neale Hurston, W. E. B. Du Bois, James Baldwin, Marcus Rediker, Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu, Bryan Stevenson and Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Their voices resonate through the decades, sound around the world, beat a path to my heart.

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