Candid and racial equity: Testing personal and professional limits
Today marks the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police. His death sparked urgent calls for racial justice across the world. Externally, Candid responded by updating our funding for racial equality page and publishing a statement on racial justice on all of our websites. Internally, colleagues reached out to each other to share grief, anger, and emotional support. In this article from our 2020 annual report, Lisa Brooks talks about the impact Floyd’s death had on her personally and professionally.
“It is not easy for me to share that I can’t do this because—uh—it’s my job. But I actually can’t. I’m trying. I can’t.”
I posted that to Candid’s main Slack channel on Friday, June 5. George Floyd had been killed by police on May 25. I was feeling internal pressure to update Candid’s race and policing special collection in preparation for including it in our funding for racial equity page, which I’d recently begun maintaining. Delivering on this curatorial task was a professional concern; managing the curation at that particular moment in time, on this particular topic, was a deeply difficult personal undertaking.
I should fill in a blank here: I’m a bi-racial American. My father was Black and, like so many kids with Black parents, I was raised to go above and beyond to attain “good enough” in American society. Asking for help was a show of weakness; dire consequences followed.
But knowledge is power, and there’s so much knowledge, and power, in this collection. Adding the race and policing special collection would stretch the racial equity page to include more of a racial justice lens. It would be essential content that balanced the news stories being shared on the page, adding complexity to the numbers in the funding summary and texture to the terrain that the organizations featured on the page were navigating.
So I asked for help. And wow—did I get it. The emoticons flowed in, as did the content. The racial equity page was clearly seen as a critical Candid offering, particularly in the historic moment we were all living and working in together.
I’m not yet wholly comfortable with having asked for help. It was a tough moment in my professional life and went against what my father, with love and concern, taught me. But I have gained powerful new knowledge about knowing my limits and making assumptions about the limits of others.
“Thank you Lisa Brooks for everything you do and for sharing how you’re feeling and asking for help. Thanks also to everyone at Candid for showing your support for our colleague and stepping up.”
“Thank you for speaking up and letting us know how to help. Happy to pitch in and flex those librarian muscles in solidarity. Sending virtual hugs!”
Senior Director of Candid Learning