“There will never be a wall tall enough to prevent a parent from looking for a future for their children.” – Joanne Liu, President Doctors Without Borders
My mom called me yesterday to read me the above quote and tell me about the article. Thanks Mom! I thought it would be a great way to start the blog year. Joanne Liu is speaking about humanitarian aid, and her work with Doctors Without Borders, but a lot of what she says can be applied more broadly.
Here are a few thoughts on that broader application, and you can read the interview in the Toronto Star here.
Not in My Backyard
You’ve likely heard this saying and it’s likely universal. Joanne is talking about Ebola and the way it was only taken seriously when it showed up in the USA. But we can apply this to almost anything – gun violence, migration, discrimination, harassment… it’s easy to ignore something when it’s happening elsewhere or to someone else.
Imagine what could happen if we started considering the whole globe as our backyard, and considered the interconnection of human beings? How would our responses change then?
Proactive vs. reactive
Why it is so much easier to be reactive than proactive? Even when we know that being prepared can reduce risk, make our response time faster and our responses better, we drag our heels. In D&I work this means creating workplace cultures that are inclusive, getting good at dialogue and being willing to talk about “difficult” issues, and cultivating leadership that “gets it” – before something bad happens. Imagine what we could do if we were prepared for hard conversations and issues of discrimination because we built a strong sense of belonging and community? To find out more about this and my new program, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
How do we see each other?
Joanne talks about seeing those who are migrating through a lens of security, and the negative impact that has. We are making choices based on fear. And it’s undermining our humanity. One of the most powerful things in a workshop is to break down assumptions so people really see each other. What if we used a lens of humanity instead?
Maybe in 2019 we can all shift our lens – even just a little – and work on seeing each other more.