All Mothers Were Summoned
when George Floyd died, calling out for his Mama. I can’t write those words without crying. I am a proud White Mama of Black sons. Biracial sons, to be specific. And every day for the past 31 years, I have prayed that they be safe from violence.

We All Have a Story To Tell
I am a communicator and I help others tell their stories, usually businesspeople in the corridors of power and on the stages of commerce. Today I have a different kind of story to share.

When I Was 22 Years Old
I met an African American man. Five years later we were in love, married and eventually had two amazing and fabulous sons. There was a lot this White, Jewish, Canadian woman didn’t know, but I was open to learning. I also didn’t know what I didn’t know.

Cultural Contexts and Cues
have a way of ambushing us, even when we have the best of intentions. They are unspoken, often unknown, but as part of us, they need to be looked square in the eye. When my older son proudly went with his Daddy to the Black Barbershop, for his first official haircut, I knew it was a special Black male bonding event. I may have cut off a lock of my son’s soft curls before they left.

When they returned, his Daddy held the front door open as my son ran towards me, his arms open and his sweet face beaming with excitement. I looked at him and two thoughts rushed into my heart and my head, unbidden: Auschwitz. Leukemia. I looked at his close-cut, shaved head, and what was my association? Death and dying.

Yet in the context of the barbershop, he was a prized young man joining his community, clean and respectful to his elders. How easy it is to see the same event from completely different viewpoints!

Almost Every Book At The Top
of this week’s New York Times’ nonfiction best-seller list (and back-ordered on Amazon) is about white privilege, racism in America, or racial violence. Including the 20th anniversary edition of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? which was written by Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD in 1997. That’s 23 years ago! Can we look honestly at what has, and hasn’t, changed?

Silence Is Violence
This isn’t the time to be quiet. Yes, reading books is important. Let’s learn as much as we can from different perspectives. And now let’s talk, listen and have the conversations, even and especially the awkward and uncertain ones. We’re all in this together.

You, too, are a communicator. Please stand up and be counted. Thank you for using your voice against racism.

Be the happy recipient of more great tips and techniques, along with intelligent musings on the state of communications, by signing up for Diane Ripstein’s regular NewsNotes right here.