Growing Racial Equity Team Conversation

Hello and welcome to the KnolShare with Dr. Dave podcast.  I am Dr. Dave Cornelius, your host.  

Sometimes you are afforded the opportunity to have conversations with passionate people that are relevant in the moment and into the future. These men and women are willing to give of themselves to create a space to hear and gather stories of voices ignored for a long time.  The agile community is not perfect but is anchored on values that make individuals important.  The first sentence of the first value is individuals and interactions, which gives an opportunity to intentionally acknowledge our common global humanity to give grace toward each other.

Let’s begin and listen to the stories shared by April, Jessica, Angie, Anthony, and Trisha.

 

Dr. Dave:                      So hello and welcome to Knolshare with Dr. Dave podcast. I'm Dr. Dave Cornelius, your host. Sometimes you are forwarded the opportunity to have conversations with passionate people that are relevant in the moment and into the future. These men and women are willing to give of themselves, to create a space to hear, and gather stories of voices ignored for a long time. The agile community is not perfect but is anchored in values that make individuals important. The first sentence of the first value is individuals and interactions, which gives an opportunity to intentionally acknowledge our common global humanity, to give grace toward each other. Let's begin and listen to the story shared by April, Jessica, Angie, Antony, and Tricia.

Tricia Broderic...:           Hi, my name is  Tricia Broderick. I know we're all going to be like super  everybody. My name is Tricia Broderick, I am tired some because I'm not sleeping, but mostly because I get my energy from really large groups of people and I don't have that right now. So I am here. I'm in.

Dr. Dave:                      Welcome.

Antony Marcano:          Welcome.

Angie Doyle:                 Welcome.

Jessica Small:                Welcome.

April Jefferson:             Welcome.

Jessica Small:                I will go next. I am Jessica Small and I am so glad to be here to talk about and to have been part of such an important conversation. I'm in.

Dr. Dave:                      Welcome.

April Jefferson:             Welcome.

Angie Doyle:                 SO my name is Angie Doyle and I am spirited because this is a topic I'm really passionate and excited to speak about, and I'm in.

Dr. Dave:                      Welcome.

Antony Marcano:          Welcome.

April Jefferson:             Welcome. I'm April Jefferson. I feel passionate so it's sort of a, "Yes and," on Angie. I'm passionate because hey, what we're talking about today, I am one of the ones in that group. Not only if I wasn't, I would care as well for all people that struggle from just walking in this world. So I'm in.

Jessica Small:                Welcome.

Antony Marcano:          Welcome.

Angie Doyle:                 Welcome.

Antony Marcano:          I guess it's my turn.

Dr. Dave:                      Yeah.

Antony Marcano:          Hi, I'm Antony Marcano. I'm feeling hopeful because there are lots of things that we couldn't talk about before for fear of being told we'd be playing the race card. But now being taken seriously and being heard. Not by everyone, but by more people than before. Therefore, I'm hopeful that we can grow the number of people willing to hear so that we can start the process of reach an understanding, and I'm in.

Angie Doyle:                 Welcome.

Dr. Dave:                      Welcome.

April Jefferson:             Welcome.

Dr. Dave:                      My name is Dr. Dave Cornelius. I am super excited to be here today. Just having the opportunity to speak with such great minds and such great spirits, really lift my spirit to talk about this topic. Because I'm also affected by it if you didn't notice. So I'm in.

Jessica Small:                Welcome!

April Jefferson:             Welcome. I'm glad you told us Dave, I didn't know. I wasn't quite sure.

Dr. Dave:                      She wasn't sure right? Right, right.

Tricia Broderic...:           You don't want to make assumptions anymore man.

Dr. Dave:                      I'm telling you. So let's talk about the purpose of the growing racial equity in the agile community and that. What was the purpose of it?

Antony Marcano:          I'll defer to April on this one.

Dr. Dave:                      Oh, okay.

Tricia Broderic...:           If this was a better post, then all of us giving each other space to go, we can just volun-tell people. That's-

Dr. Dave:                      There you go.

Angie Doyle:                 I like it.

Dr. Dave:                      Yeah.

April Jefferson:             So I thought sure she was going to go because for me I always say that this kind of began with a love letter, the Agile Alliance sent to all its members and subscribers. It was thoughtful and caring but I wanted to know like, how are... That it was at a point where me and everyone else in our community was like, "Well we don't want just words. We wanted to really know that it was actually behind it." Their letter desire to have a conversation. So I called Tricia up and say, "Okay, tell me more about this conversation." What was wonderful is that she's said that, We just knew we needed to do it." Not that they had a plan, there was no big plan up front. They just knew they needed to do it and maybe it would be an open space. We talked at length about what really needs to happen to make it real and not just a pat on the back. Like, "Oh, we feel good about ourselves. We had a conversation that we wanted."

April Jefferson:             The desire was for me personally, what I felt that our community needed especially the community of Black Agileists, hitting and seeing what we really needed was something that leads to action. It was like a, "Yes, and." Of course this all spurred from looking at the social unrest that has happened globally around the death George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so on and so forth. That it really brought home that, "What else are we missing?" Because for the first time people saw it live on TV, the brutality. They wanted, you know what else are we missing? Of course, you look at what's in my realm of control and that's in the communities that we're in. The Agile Alliance decided to take up that mantle and start the conversation to bring about actual change.

Tricia Broderic...:           Yeah. We have a Slack group on the board and things were coming out. I had a personal like earlier in 2019 kind of level of, no more compartmentalizing, no more I'll address these topics here, but not here. I pretty much put an end to that the summer of 2019. So there was an element of reaching out on the Slack and the board having this discussion of, "If we say we're global, if we say we want an inclusive community, if we say all of these things about individuals and interactions over processes and tools." The spirit of what agile in our community is about, then we can't be silent.

Tricia Broderic...:           Not just can't be silent but we have to create a space where our members can heal in some ways in our community because there have been things, but also moving forward too to that. So that's what was driving up from our perspective. But no, we had no plan. We were already working with people, but we had no actual like, "Here's exactly what this event will look like." Nope. Which actually worked out because then we were able to have April and Antony really help us design that.

Jessica Small:                That's where I come in for the plan. I mean, you're laughing now. It was good because as soon as we got the email, we were like, as a logistics person being like, "Yes, absolutely. We can do this." Obviously we have a pandemic going on so it kind of gave us the opportunity to pause and come up with something that probably would have been virtual anyways. But to come up with something to put out there to say, "This is what we're doing, we're supporting it, and come and join us in a virtual setting." It was a little bit crazy because it was all unfolding from a logistics perspective. But I think we got it then, and I'm really proud.

Angie Doyle:                 So I think from my perspective, the key thing once Tricia kind of fired off that initial conversation with the board, I think the key thing that all of us agreed on was we needed to create the safe space. That whole concept of safety went to be in all of the events, all of the subsequent events that actually happened. It was about creating a space where people could feel comfortable to have a really hard conversation because these are not easy conversations. So I mean, I bring a little bit of a different perspective to the board. I'm from South Africa, I've grown up with apartheid, with having really difficult conversations. In a way I almost feel it's easier for me to have them because it's been such a big part of our history. We don't shy away from the conversations.

Angie Doyle:                 But definitely that feeling of creating that safe space was really important. Sweet Jess was so great with helping us kind of figure out how to do it from a virtual perspective. Because I think in a face to face situation it's a little bit easier to create that safety. Virtually there were some things we had to consider that we wouldn't have had in an in-person.

Jessica Small:                Yeah. Like, the fact that you could be in two places at the same time, technically. Whereas physically you can't.

Antony Marcano:          Right. And-

Angie Doyle:                 Go ahead.

Antony Marcano:          To that question of what was it all about? I think what was it about generally has been covered. For me personally, it was about creating a safe space to have conversations that I've wanted to have for a long time, but never felt that I could. Partly because when I've tried to have those conversations in the past it was dismissed, or shut down. Or the messaging I received was "Yeah, but you're a man, so you're privileged. So stop talking about all this race stuff." These are the kinds of things that I've heard and that shut down the conversation for me. This was a great time to just remove any of those issues, constraints, concerns.

Antony Marcano:          While I didn't feel like I could be in the conversation because I was helping to facilitate some of the sessions and helping to flesh out the design with April. I wanted other people to have the opportunity to have that conversation. Something I didn't anticipate, but was a benefit was the conversations that April and I had every day. They were very, very healing. There was a lot of things that before we could even start... Because it was just so much happening before we could even start working on certain things, we had to share where we were at each morning. Whether it was just to get off our chest how we were feeling about today's news about the ongoing case with George Floyd. Or today's news about another black person that had been killed. Or today's news to make it global, where in the UK, they were sending police into aggressively shut down protest. We had right wing activists telling people to go back to Africa if they don't like living in this country, and things like that.

Antony Marcano:          Just to get that out and then kind of heal a little bit and just enough for us to then be in, to move forward what we were trying to achieve. That on its own was quite cathartic and healing for me. So from a personal point of view, I found it empowering because there wasn't anyone to shut down my... Tell me that I wasn't allowed to talk about this because of a privilege I might have a one side that ignores a disadvantage I have on the other. To be able to talk about it without someone saying, "Oh yeah, but there's not really any racism." That it was an opportunity to both be heard in the conversations I had with April and create an environment where people were really focused on listening as a stepping stone towards empathy, as a stepping stone towards action.

Dr. Dave:                      So there were five events? As I counted, five events? What did you learn after going through those five events, individually or we've been collectively? What was the learning that came out of that?

Angie Doyle:                 Well, I was fortunate enough to jump into a lot of the discussions that were happening in the events. So I think the thing that was almost really powerful for me, that I really learned as part of going through that process was how powerful stories are. So the first event was very much dedicated to creating empathy, and telling stories, and listening to stories. That trend continued so every conversation I was in, people continued to share stories. For me it was just incredible because that's where I think most people learnt the most about themselves and about maybe things that they weren't aware of.

Jessica Small:                I learned that the community that attended the event, how passionate and dedicated they were to this because you saw the same faces every event. It was like, "Hey. Saw you two weeks ago, how you doing?" Kind of building that community as well. But that was really inspiring because I didn't get to participate in any of the events, but just seeing everyone and hearing their stories and their takeaways and whatnot was great.

April Jefferson:             Yes and you, Jess, is that authentic relationships formed. With that we had people attend who may have never had a relationship with a person of color. I say personal color, cause literally like of anyone that they didn't look like them, that was just not a part of who they are. They developed relationships coming week after week. They knew that they were clueless about stuff. We did learn I would say as a Black community is that people didn't know what we were going through. That we didn't feel safety to share. It was a lot to give up and be vulnerable in that. We're not regretting, there's a regret that we did because from that positive things have emerged where empathy has grown. Active accomplices have formed to help make a positive change. So that was a big thing to do. So a very unfortunate event helped spur that, but that's quite positive. There's a lot of things in the work for active change.

Tricia Broderic...:           I'd say yes to all of that, but I'm also going to highlight something in that, I don't know if I learned it from just these five events, but I could see it, is

Tricia:                           Is because there's almost a level of, especially as white people, we become aware. We want the quick fix. We want it to be done. We want to make it better. And I think that there's a really concerted effort to make sure momentum continues and that people understand that it is a journey. It is not a quick fix. And the level of, well but didn't we already talk about that? Isn't this done now? And I think that's still for a lot of people awareness, but not necessarily awareness of the long road ahead in terms of truly making it equitable and the work that they have to continue to do. And so we even saw it a little bit in the five events, sometimes it's just by chance, but some faces were returning. Some came once and then didn't come again. And so there's an element of me acknowledging just how much intentional effort has to continue and be there in the momentum and not just what is the latest news story.

Antony:                        I think some of those things, I guess I would add including my list of things I learned. And some of them, I will add to my list now having heard them from what you've all just said. And I think for me, I think something that was confirmed for me is that I believe that the Agile community is very much a sort of human centric culture in terms of how we work, why we work. And you see that throughout the values of numerous frameworks and the like, as well as in one of the core values of valuing individuals and interactions over processes and tools. So I think what was confirmed for me is how, in many ways, blessed we are to be in a group of people who are passionate about our way of working and our way of being at work, not just working but a way of being at work.

Antony:                        It confirmed to me the human side of it and how invested in the humanity of it everyone genuinely is. And how many people stepped up because of that in the sense that had they known, it was unfortunate that the way that people had to have some of the issues that we did get to talk about, it was unfortunate and tragic that people had to be woken up by what happened to George Floyd. But as soon as people were aware, there was hundreds of people from all over the world wanting to get involved straight away. And that was, I think that confirmed something that I believed, but in a way that kind of deepened it, I think. It deepened my appreciation for that because there are other areas where I've seen activity.

Antony:                        I'm also involved in another group focusing initially on racial equity, but more broadly on diversity in another sector. And there's a lot of talk from certain industries, but not a great deal of action. And I think the action that was taken here was really powerful. And the response we got to that action was really powerful. So I think I learned that my belief that Agile community is very much about the human aspect of being at work in the way that we do things, not necessarily whether that's tech or any other area, just the way that we are at work is very human centric. And I was really touched by seeing that.

Dr. Dave:                      Let's talk about what surprised you. Because there's tons of feedback, lots of participation. What was really surprising? iF each one of you have to grab one thing that said, "Man, that really surprised me," what would that be?

April:                            For me, the biggest surprise was that for people who had no idea they had an unconscious bias and that about the experience for people of color in our community and in all the ways that it manifests in that in ways we think that there's some notice of it. But so many people were clueless to the experience of versus being completely ambivalent, so that was surprising. Which again goes to being open and sharing and doing that, even though we shared in other ways in the professional community. As professionals, we kind of hold ourself differently and we separated the two. So it's surprising that so many people opened up to since culturally, that has not been a thing no matter where you go, because it is global. And having people having a greater understanding how global it is, is not as simply an American experience and all the different manifestations of it globally.

Jessica:                         Go ahead, Antony.

Antony:                        I know it's spoke recently, but I'd like to throw in something kind of almost related. I was really pleasantly surprised by two things. One with how quickly everybody involved in organizing and facilitating this, how quickly everyone really bonded. There was a couple of things that were going on for me at the time. I lost a friend who passed away, sadly, and I felt like I could share that with this group as if you were all my close friends that I'd known for years. And all of the positive messages that I got back were so supportive. It was like, "Wow, this is like family levels of support." So I was really pleasantly surprised by how quickly everyone bonded, people I'd never met before, never spoken to before, how we all connected.

Antony:                        And the other thing I was pleasantly surprised about, that we had no code of conduct issues. I'll tell you why. Because whilst all of this stuff was going on some of my engagements on Twitter, which frankly I had to stop because I don't have the energy for a lot of it at the moment. I've just kind of withdrawn a bit from social media. But some of the feedback I'd been getting on Twitter and various other places was just unbelievable, where people were so quick to, and there were one or two people in our community, people who are quite happy to give this kind of feedback. "Well if black people weren't so criminal, then maybe they wouldn't be beaten up so much and shot by the police." I've had people say these things to me.

Antony:                        I shared some statistics about, so basically in the UK, lots of people were dismissing it and saying, "Oh, well, why are you getting upset about something that happened in America?" I was like, "Well one, it's a human being." They said, "Yeah, but it's not a problem here." I was like, "Are you sure about that? Let's look at our government's own data." And our government was suppressing it. And I shared that, things like, it's not quite as bad here because fortunately our police don't routinely carry guns. But the fact that we're twice as likely to be killed, six times as likely to be handcuffed, 43 times more likely to be randomly stopped and searched. These kinds of numbers I was sharing and people were coming back and saying, "Well, what are they doing to cause that?" Like, "What?"

Antony:                        And this is what we were getting sort of publicly. And I was kind of bracing myself for somebody to show up to start trying to make points, and we had nobody show up to try and bring this down. You'd expect with hundreds of people, you'd expect maybe one troll to show up, just one. And we have zero code of conducts issues. And that was another pleasant surprise for me. In the context of some of the other interactions I was having, I was bracing myself the whole way through and we got right to the end and I was like, "Oh, something's going to happen. It has to." And nothing did. It was amazing.

April:                            I would say a fair amount of, even with the social media comments, with us sharing what has happened post or sharing that we're doing the event, I only got a couple of things and I just react with kindness and invitation and inviting them to come experience it and come learn. There's no reason to go in that cycle, into a negative cycle, but encourage. The only way they're going to learn is by taking a moment and having a conversation with someone.

Antony:                        And who knows, maybe there were people that did come along with the intention of trolling, with the intention of making a point, but maybe they listened and we actually broke down some of their biases and maybe opened them up to the possibility that maybe they do need to listen a little more and maybe soften their opinions and flex their opinions based on connecting as human beings with others who have stories to share. So for all we know, maybe there were people that came with that intent, but the environment that was created just washed it all away, for all we know. It was a great outcome either way.

Jessica:                         Yeah, and Antony I was going to say something similar to the two things that you just said, but as an event professional, there is always something. And I've been doing this for 14 almost 15 years now. And this is one of the first where it was like nothing. There's always something and this was nothing. And we had all the processes in place should that happen, but it didn't. That was great. Surprising, for sure.

April:                            Yeah, you were really great.

Dr. Dave:                      So if we wanted to look at tangible outcomes and how do we measure those, what do you see coming out of this? I mean, it's great conversation, lots of stuff on the board. I'm into the so what, now what, kind of mindset in some ways. And so why don't we share how is this initiative going to bring about some really tangible, measurable change in the Agile community itself and where does that begin?

Angie:                           So I've got something that I actually found it was quite interesting as something that kind of spun out of this event. There were a number of South Africans that attended and kind of what April said, you definitely had different perspectives from different parts of the world. And a lot of the conversations I was in, people were kind of saying, "Well, what can I do in my area, in my direct field of influence, what's the small thing that I could possibly do?" And in South Africa, a number of people that came to the events have actually spun off a side initiative that they're running with and there's two different focus areas. So the one is on new speakers of color and the other one is on a mentoring relationship. And the mentoring relationship one has now actually evolved into kind of re-looking, there was a book many years ago about people collect the faces and voices of Agile. And there was a chapter written about South Africa and they're re-looking at that because everybody in there was white. And they're now kind of looking into the community and saying, "How do we actually give Agile role models that are people of color?" And we've got them, but you know, that whole initiative kind of fizzled out and they're kick starting it again.

Angie:                           And then from a new speaker perspective, I've got quite involved in that particular one. And we're looking for people that are looking to mentor speakers of color. But those conversations were all triggered out of this event. So it's not an Agile Alliance thing. It's just something that the South Africans that were on the call kind of brought back to the country and said, "Well, what can we do here? Because we'd love to do something globally, but what's the smallest thing we can do that we have direct influence on?"

Angie:                           And then there are a lot of the people that I spoke about at the event that were all doing something similar. So within their home towns, they were like, "What's the one thing I can do here?" So they're not making, not everybody's made a big initiative or whatever. Some of them have actually just said, "I'm going to go and volunteer with this type of group to coach people on an Agile way of working." One of the conversations was an employee truck driver, so how do we help them kind of get exposed to Agile as a concept? So, I found that's the kind of conversations that I almost didn't expect to see, but it was the smaller, little side pockets that would kind of spin off and do something on their own, which was amazing to see, actually.

Tricia:                           I think there's an element of, it's weird, I'm almost thinking of how I want to phrase it because in a lot of ways, like let's take the board and the staff of Agile Alliance specifically in terms of, we were doing trainings already. We were working with a diversity expert. But these events, the stories gave the, not that it was check marks before, by any means, but it also increases the, there is no line. This is not politics. Humans are not politics. And that we need to be incorporating and being proactive in terms of representation and in terms of actively considering further inclusiveness and what that really means. And so I think a lot of little things are going to spur from it as well as the big initiatives. But I just in some ways, and this is slightly a weird tangible outcome, but it's almost like permission, permission to have the conversations, permission to consider them, permission to start exploring how to have the conversations better and what they mean that is so important in my view of continuing the conversation and what that means.

Tricia:                           My personal thing that spurred out of this was actually, I mean technically after the event counts as the event, right? So after each one of these events, there'd always be a kind of a core, most people were kind of, the core was kind of the same, but then there would always be different people. And sometimes this after would go hours and we'd have conversations and do things. And one of the things that I heard and I was just listening and I was trying to just listen. And one of the things that I heard was the hard part about virtual scenarios is the organizers can go, "Hey, I can get so, and so, and so, and so, and so," which gives to Angie's point, kind of a part of new voices and diverse forces being heard. So I'm taking a page from Lisa Crispin, so I can't own this idea by any means, but taking a page from her book in terms of after listening after that after event, there were a number of people that went, "I wish I could speak more, but I don't know how to get in touch with the organizers."

Tricia:                           So I get requests often. I now don't go on the program unless I can name one other person and trying to open that field up and stuff. So that's the hard part is you want to fix everything, but sometimes it's just finding some little tiny, tangible thing that you can do to help. And so for me, that was one of many, but that was one of the ways that I felt like I could actually help and have an outcome and give more space.

Antony:                        I think there will be outcomes, there have been. We've heard some of the stories already. But I think we also have to be realistic about what could be achieved from a series over,

Antony Marcano:          ... was approximately 10 weeks. We can't, in 10 weeks, change the world. What I think we can do, is we can plant some seeds, show some people how to care for the soil, make people comfortable to try and keep watering the plants that we all help plant together. How they then grow from there, we might not know. There might be many things that come from this, ideas that were inspired later on because of people participating in this experience, that we'll never be able to necessarily trace back because the serendipity element of this is that a conversation that someone had during these events, an idea that they saw on a sticky note, a bunch of other experiences they have over the next year. Then they'll have an idea, and they might not even know how it started exactly.

Antony Marcano:          So I think it would be hard to measure some of these things directly, but I think we should also not underestimate the importance of the personal intentions that were shared by many of the groups, that like Angie said, they can't change the wider sphere but there is an area that they can control, and that's what they do personally, and what they say personally, and what they take back to their companies personally. There are a lot of intentions there, and I think with those things, they'll grow and they'll spread in ways that won't be measurable in any concrete way, but I think we'll feel the difference.

Antony Marcano:          I feel the difference. I feel I can talk about these things with colleagues. I feel I can ask someone, where I couldn't before, I feel I can ask someone, "So, can you articulate exactly why you felt Candidate A was stronger than Candidate B? Because to me, they were similar." I feel I can have that conversation and say, "Have you considered there might be some bias at play here?" Whereas before, I didn't feel I could say that. Not comfortably, not without, again, that person's defenses coming up and maybe going on the attack. "Oh, why do you always want to make it about race?" That kind of response. Whereas now I feel like I can say it and the person might actually stop and think, "Hmm, that's a good point. Is there bias involved here?" The fact that they've stopped and thought about it for a second, to me, is progress. The fact that I feel comfortable now to raise that question, because I believe that person will stop and ask that question, for me, is a measurable change within my personal space.

Tricia Broderic...:           That made me think of, there were a bunch of people on a Zoom call, and a microaggression was delivered, a racial microaggression was put out there, and a number of people actually all chatted the person, and he's like, "Okay, I'm overwhelmed!" But the fact that we recognize, the fact that we're actually addressing it, you mentioning that made me even think of that scenario where it's not even ... all that weight doesn't have to be on the person. The, I don't want to say ...

Dr. Dave:                      The target?

Tricia Broderic...:           The target, thank you, that's the word. That's a good word. So that's hard to measure, but a cool thing that I've already started seeing.

April Jefferson:             And Tricia, when people share seeds they've already planted, that's the common thing. Yes, people are starting up initiatives through the Agile Alliance, but one of the biggest things, takeaways, is how people are doing it within their own professional space at their organizations. Talking about how they're hiring, and how they're having a conversation, joining, creating spaces to have those conversations in their organization, actually making decisions where they try to infuse diversity and inclusion, understanding what those things mean and how they manifest. A lot of people shared what they're doing personally in those areas, and that's how we got here today, is by people making those personal intentions to change, so that's really exciting.

April Jefferson:             We didn't move from places of slavery to people not enslaved, and working, and in the workforce, and all the strides we've made, by inaction. It's by those individuals, and it's exciting to hear and see the people who are making those active changes to infuse diversity and inclusion, and also understand why it's important. Because we had a lot of the conversations of why, and not to do it just because. Because they understand the value of it, and they understand that sharing with others the why behind it, and open up that opportunity to move beyond those biases. So that's really exciting.

Antony Marcano:          Can I just draw out one thing that you said there, actually? I think this is going on the point of, pragmatically, what could we expect? As much as we'd all love that, from tomorrow, there would be no prejudice of any form, the only thing we could hope for from this was progress, progress at least in the space that we have an influence over. I felt progress happening throughout the experience, and I perceive progress in the stories that I'm hearing after the fact as well. I think that's a reasonable expectation, to see some progress. I don't think we could predict how much there will or won't be, and I also don't think that we'll necessarily ever be able to measure how far that spreads or is amplified from this point forward, but I definitely know that we've made a difference.

Dr. Dave:                      Well, I think you have as a group, and I like the word progress. We're actually standing on the shoulders of giants like John Lewis, looking at Nelson Mandela, different people, and there's many others, I'm just naming the two more famous names that I could think of at this moment that is helping to propel things forward.

Dr. Dave:                      Let's talk about the people who maybe did not attend, who didn't participate in the Growing Racial Equity events. Is there a message that we want to send and share with them to enable momentum? I think that all of this, you go through an event and then the event ends, and then ... silence. So what would you, us, we as a group, like to share to make sure that there's still momentum after this, going forward? I mean actively, and I'm talking about this group specifically, not other people. It's a bit more personal in terms of your personal contribution to the momentum itself, for those who weren't here.

April Jefferson:             For me, who's ever there are the right people. I live in that Open Space principle world. The reason why I say that is because the people who are here, they basically have become champions, change agents, going out into the world, going out into our communities, going out into their families, going out into their neighborhoods, and that's what we need. That's the catalyst, that's how it becomes more viral in a way that Antony has described just now. If that is true, if we have a army of change agents who have attended from maybe 50 plus countries to these events, that's quite powerful in itself. These are people who are now sharing opportunity, they're creating a space for a shared voice, they're calling out bias in a way that's with empathy, that people can consume. People have learned how to connect with people in a different way, to spur thought, the possibility that, hey, maybe the way I've been thinking about it, I need to tilt and open those doors. Those are my thoughts.

Jessica Small:                I feel like as an event specialist, again, I have a responsibility, in all of the events that the Agile Alliance does in the future, to make sure that I create those spaces to have open conversations, to take what we learnt from this series and all of the work that we're doing in the DEI space, and make sure that we apply that to all of our events, whether that be in speaker selection, dedicated tracks, registration and marketing to different markets around the world. That's my personal way that I'm going to make sure that the momentum continues.

April Jefferson:             Right, right, Jess. I'm on another board, and we made a point, by a little birdie's suggestion, that if we're going to sponsor other events, that they have a plan for diversity and inclusion. We've made that intention. Without it, we're not going to support events that don't encourage that. So I'm saying it's like being that person on the ground doing that is very powerful to give access and opportunity to everyone. Having it built in is what you're talking about, and that's what we need.

Antony Marcano:          I think the point of momentum is key. I think we'll get as much momentum as we can. I think we do need to keep the conversation going and I am still trying to keep the conversation going within my sphere of influence. I know April is. I know we all are still talking about this. We're here today on this podcast. This is helping to maintain momentum, because this is another opportunity for people to engage with the topic.

Antony Marcano:          I think there's opportunities for this to maybe be incorporated, not specifically necessarily about diversity and inclusion, and racial equity for Black lives, but for diversity and inclusion at large, for that to be an integral part of future conferences. I think that's something that the Agile Alliance can do to help where it holds events that have multiple tracks, that diversity and inclusion is integral to it. And I think all of us can keep having the conversation where we can, when we can, and most importantly, I think when we're having those conversations, start as we started this series, just focusing on listening, and from both sides, whether those conversations are one person listening to another, explaining why the statement Black Lives Matter is necessary, but we also need to listen to those people who hear that phrase and hear something different to what it means. We have to hear those people and understand where they're coming from, because when we're listening to the other person, we create the opportunity and we set the example for them to listen to us.

Antony Marcano:          I think this is going to be one of those things that, it may be a slow burn. It may be a slow burn. It may need to be. April and I talked daily about how exhausted we were from the topic. Yeah? You hear me, Dave. We were exhausted from the topic. We knew we had to keep going, but we were exhausted from it. So it may need to be a slow burn because we may only have, as a community, a certain amount of daily energy, or weekly energy, or monthly energy. But if that's what we need to do, again, it goes back to the point that we'll be making progress, and as we all know, little and often usually works better than big bang.

Angie Doyle:                 And I think, Antony, just to kind of build on what you said, so this series may have ended, it doesn't mean the conversation's ended, and I think it's really important, I think all of us aren't ready for it to end, if that makes sense. I think there's energy in this group to keep the conversations going, and I think the people that weren't able to attend or participate, maybe there's an invitation to reach out and see how you can get involved. These things, they don't just happen. It does require a lot of passion and time. But I think all of us, like I said, we're not ready for the conversation to end, and the intention is that it hasn't, it's just kind of the start. The initial series ended but we're going to keep going. What the future looks like, kind of bleeding back to what Tricia said at the beginning, we haven't planned this out for five years. We don't have an immediate plan in the future. We just know that there will be one.

Tricia Broderic...:           It made me think of our meeting this morning where Ellen Grove, the Interim Managing Director for Agile Alliance, was like, "Initial! Put initial sequence, initial series!" And really wanted that to be highlighted because we understood from the beginning that this was the journey and the conversation.

Tricia Broderic...:           I'm going to take your question a little bit into two parts of the people who weren't present. Maybe just bad timing, but I think that there's sometimes a lot of people that believe that this doesn't involve them, doesn't impact them, doesn't apply to them, and this is our community. I love this community, the Agile community, in terms of, as Antony put, being able to feel like family fairly quickly and the support. It's funny, in many ways some of the people I'm missing the most are people I see once a year at a conference, and yet that's the dynamic that we create, and we can't fully have that if we don't see the full person and how people are able to show up, how people feel included. How matters, and it matters to us as a whole.

Tricia Broderic...:           I put it out there as an invitation, whether it's me or somebody else, as Angie put, reach out. I know it's scary to ask that question, and maybe not on Twitter. Maybe it is the right medium, maybe not. But to go ahead and reach out. And you can disclaim the question, that, "This might be bad, or this might not be okay, but this is my question," because if we don't have those conversations, that bias doesn't change.

Tricia Broderic...:           So for myself personally, with this and keeping the momentum going, and even Dr. Dave, your response of like, "Oh, exhaustion," is also self-care. Doing what you need to do to say, "It's okay if I don't want to have this conversation today and I'm not letting down everybody, I'm not letting myself down, I actually,

 

Dr. Dave:                      Thank you for listening to the KnolShare with Dr. Dave podcast.  I hope you enjoyed the stories shared by April, Jessica, Angie, Anthony, and Trisha.  I would like you to think about what you can do to create an equitable space for your fellow human beings to work, play, and live.  When we combine our hearts and minds to create change for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) lives, it is a benefit for everyone.

 

You will find the Agile for Humanity Social Justice and Impact series on the “KnolShare with Dr. Dave” podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify.  The Agile for Humanity Social Justice and Impact series is also on the following websites:  AgileAlliance.org, KnolShareWithDrDave.com, GrokShare.com, KnolShare.org, and also AgileforHumanity.org.

Look for the Sharing Blacks, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) stories on the Agile Alliance website under the webcast

 

Music by: Kayanna Brow-Hendrikson

 

Copyright 2020 KnolShare and Dr. Dave Cornelius

 

Until next time, Be well, stay safe, and connect soon.

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