A Wise Wrap-Up

We knew that when Canopy started the 27 Days of Learning, there would be so much to learn from community leaders, activists, and experts. Here are our favorite quotes and learnings on how the business community can move forward on this anti-racist journey. 

Where are we now?

  • The chronic history in our country is really rooted in a systemic and structural racism.- Rashaad Abdur-Rahman
  • Racism is not a black and brown folks’ problem. The reality is that racism, systemic and structural diminishes us all. There are a myriad of ways in which it not only diminishes our shared humanity, but it has real economic impacts that impact life and the ability of communities, broadly, to thrive.- Rashaad Abdur-Rahman
  • We’re in a deficit right now in terms of food justice, and our main goal is to make sure people have healthy sustainable options… like there are all these issues that it’s not just about food, but if you have food, if you have a nutritious option, then you’re less likely to be too fatigued to take care of the other things- Shauntrice Martin
  • We want to support them especially our black trans and LGBTQ community because those are folks who get ignored and get discriminated against, and often it’s not talked about.- Shauntrice Martin
  • COVID brought up the disparities and the inequities, and then Black Lives Matter brought up the racism and the police torture.- Marta Miranda
  • There was an imaginary line between Ninth Street that people weren’t crossing, and there were a lot of things happening on the west of Ninth Street that the community would or should be interested in and should be connected. The west part of Louisville was a potential for growth development and to be a positive asset for the city- Shawn Summerville

You should know:

  • Riding the fence is no longer safe, in fact you know folks can ride the fence until they are impaled by the fence… you’ve got to be really clear about what side of history you’re going to be on and about what your company is about.- Rashaad Abdur-Rahman 
  • The community has answers, the community has solutions. We, being society, just haven’t listened.- Rashaad Abdur-Rahman
  • We’re cramming for a test that we needed to be better prepared for. – Deon Stokes
  • Really look at inequity, disparities, and kind of racist and white supremacist practices that we have institutionalized as best practice- Marta Miranda
  • Are you willing to invest in this long term? This is not a short term.- Marta Miranda
  • For-profit and nonprofit have very few leaders of color at the helm- Marta Miranda
  • You need to be in the space. If you don’t want to change, that’s fine, but get out of the way so that 80% of us actually lead.- Marta Miranda
  • Really coordinate intersectionality. There is no movement that is being packed together, so realize that this is not about leaving anybody behind.- Marta Miranda
  • Not only the acknowledgment of the injustice is but the acknowledgment that we are going to create a very inclusive and intentional culture.- Lettie Johnson
  • You can’t say that you’re inclusive when you’re not really listening.- Lettie Johnson
  • Nonprofits don’t have all the support and some of the things that most organizations and for-profit organizations take for granted.- Shawn Summerville

What must we do?

Culture

  • Making a statement is important, and when you’re saying something it should be explicit, clear,  and it should also be about the values and commitments that you are making or going to make in terms of the work that you are doing. The statement is the beginning, it’s an important thing, but it is the beginning- Rashaad Abdur-Rahman
  • Do a cultural competency assessment, help us to understand where we are and how we move forward. Once we can do that, we can acknowledge and begin the repair work of putting strategies and supports in place- Lettie Johnson

Leadership

  • We need that one black person at the table, we need a few black people- Deon Stokes
  • I think that’s the job of a leader: to inspire, motivate, really help educate and advocate on behalf of people who may not know how to advocate on their own behalf- Lettie Johnson
  • You have to be intentional about building relationships and not make assumptions about people’s experiences.- Lettie Johnson
  • I need to sit down and have a conversation with an individual in regards to understanding their perspective and how to respond to that. That’s how you build empathy, and we need empathy not sympathy- Lettie Johnson
  • Our district manager was inducted onto the board (of LCCC), my division manager supports it 100% and he’s been on-site to help participate in actual hands-on volunteer work – Shawn Summerville

Governance

  • We’re very transparent. We let folks know exactly how much money has come in, how we’re spending the money, and we encourage bigger nonprofits to do the same thing- Shauntrice Martin
  • Do an audit or all of your practices and policies- Marta Miranda
  • It’s not enough to say that you’re diverse, you need to really look at the deep pockets of protocol processes policies and hold them accountable to what that looks like- Lettie Johnson

External Impact

  • This is a time to partner with community leaders and activists. It is time to get really familiar with what black lives matter is doing in your city. We’ve been on the ground for decades and can say here’s exactly what’s going on, here’s exactly where your help has been needed AND where it’s needed now. It’s not the time to be insular, this is no time to close ranks- Rashaad Abdur-Rahman
  • “(Referring to the Merryweather) Really great partner, they collect donations for us and provide our volunteers with food and drinks while they volunteer- Shauntrice Martin
  • We need volunteers who have technical skills, whether that’s software development, marketing, and advertising folks, plumbing, electricians, those sorts of things because we don’t have that skill set and it’s a valuable skill set… not only giving us space but giving us the expertise and just being a bright face- Shauntrice Martin
  • Plug in. We have volunteer opportunities every single day- Shauntrice Martin
  • Reach out to your employer. You might not have $200,000 to give, but you may work for a company that has that sort of money, you may work for a company that has a special incentive, or that does employee matching on donations- Shauntrice Martin
  • Invest in areas and organizations who are led by leaders of color, offer more pro bono work to mitigate the legal battles that are going on, invest in the lived experience and experience of those living with poverty and racism- Marta Miranda
  • Sometimes companies don’t have people who like to work in the yards or they can’t pick and move X amount of pounds, but sometimes you need that intellectual labor and that intellectual capacity.- Shawn Summerville

Where are we heading?

  • What type of goals are my company setting, and how are they aligned with my values that reflect an anti-racism paradigm?- Rashaad Abdur-Rahman
  • Good business means that you are part of solving complex problems rather than contributing to them or tacitly allowing them to continue occurring – Rashaad Abdur-Rahman
  • This isn’t something that will be solved in a month. Companies have to be building capacity so that they’re more responsive, they’re more proactive and be intentional about being anti-racist.- Rashaad Abdur-Rahman
  • Help my next generation be better prepared for business…I have found that I’ve it’s been the highlight of my career honestly just watching young people come into a position and grow and learn- Deon Stokes
  • I have hope that these conversations- one-off conversations, coffees, teas… all of those things, just sitting with their co-workers or your neighbor… and learning, talking, discussing, and asking questions is the way that we actually learn. We don’t know each other because we don’t talk to each other, and what’s interesting is black people live in a white America. – Deon Stokes
  • Eventually, we want to teach folks in the community who don’t already know those skills (business skills like advertising, marketing, software development) or if they are a plumber or landscapers, to help them with the marketing in their business- Shauntrice Martin
  • Support black businesses in Louisville, because oftentimes we’re ignored.- Shauntrice Martin
  • They didn’t wait to be told what to do, they just jumped in and said, “there’s a need let’s fill it.”- Shauntrice Martin
  • You’ll see a lot of our residents who we’ve delivered to, and we ask them at the door, “Do you have a business? How can we support you?”- Shauntrice
  • We need to look at our practices, we need to have trusted voices that are black and of color in leadership advising white leaders, and what is needed are organizations led by leaders of color, who are usually low capacity and really have to jump through a hundred hoops to even get in the door. We need to take all the bureaucracy off, trust people let them do what they need to do, and then evaluate whether it was successful- Marta Miranda
  • Its humanity versus racism and when it comes to businesses, what I feel like is essential is once you make that acknowledgment, it is time for you to repair.- Lettie Johnson

Words of Hope

  • What do you stand for? What are your values? What kind of impact do you want to have in the community that you serve? With your customers, but also with your employees, with your colleagues? What’s legacy, what’s your value?- Rashaad Abdur-Rahman
  • We’re going to be learning, making mistakes…but we also can’t wait. We can’t pause the breaks; we can’t slow down- Rashaad Abdur-Rahman
  • We’ve been in the position for a long time, but we are in a position where you’ve got to make a choice and that those choices are really meaningful in this broader fight for justice- Rashaad Abdur-Rahman
  • The resilience and in the self-sufficiency of Kentuckians… I get tearful right now, this is an amazing state- Marta Miranda
  • I am excited to deconstruct and rebuild. I think people, for the first time, have a small window where that work can actually happen and happen quickly.- Marta Miranda 
  • We know too much to go back and I’m excited about what’s coming about.- Marta Miranda
  • It’s not about being guilty. We may not have been the ones that created what we’re dealing with today, but it’s on us to clean it…to create new structures, to create new models of leadership.- Marta Miranda.
  • It’s a very important opportunity to rethink systems to create new ways of educating- Marta Miranda
  • It starts in your heart and your home and your kitchen table.- Marta Miranda