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  • Tracy Hooper

Encourage Each Other

Sometimes, when I’m writing the monthly video, I’ll be headed in one direction, then I’ll read something or I’ll be talking with somebody and think, “This topic is way more relevant.”

That’s what happened this month. The plan was to focus on inclusion. We know that, recently, many companies are using the word inclusion as they update their company policies. But the big question to answer is, “How will they turn words into action?” Finally.

So, I was looking through my notebooks for examples of ways that inclusion is already being practiced by influential business leaders. Then, I found this.

A clipping from a 2018 column in the Sunday “New York Times” called, “Table for 3.” In the column, Philip Galanes would interview a pair of fascinating people on a variety of topics. This interview was called, “Passing the Torch” with Denzel Washington and the Black Panther’s, Michael B. Jordan. The last part of the interview was so compelling, that I cut it out and taped it into my notebook. Here’s what moved me.

During this conversion about their lives as actors, Michael B. Jordan said, “People like us, actors of color, we don’t get a lot of second chances. It’s a different type of scrutiny. Knowing it’s not all fair and equal, you’ve got to make smart decisions in the moment.”

Denzel Washington said, “The way I see it, I’m in the “service” business now. I’m here to serve God, my family and young people-of-color in our business. Now, Mike knows more about what it’s like for younger folks, today. There were no black superheroes when I was growing up.”

Then Philip Galanes asked, “How about opportunities for people of color?”

Denzel said, “That’s why I’m here! That’s why I’m still in the race. And I’m passing the baton. What a lot of people don’t know is, when you pass the baton, you keep running behind the other runner. You don’t just stop. I’m like, ‘Make the turn, bring it home!’ I like helping people. I want to see them do well.”

Michael added, “That’s why I want to produce so much. I like creating opportunities for people.”

Philip Galanes highlighted Michael B. Jordan’s company called, Outlier Society Productions. He said, “Mike, you were right-out-of-the-gate on ‘Inclusion Riders.’ You were the first to say, ‘My company guarantees that casts and crews will be diverse.’”

Michael agreed, “That’s super important to me. No matter what community we’re talking about. Everybody should be in a position where they can win.”

Denzel added, “I’m just wired that way.”

And Michael said, “My path is my path. I’m running my race. But we can still encourage each other.”

Denzel finishes: “What’s the harm in that? You’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse.”

Given the times we are living in, there is an irony that I found this newspaper clipping when I did. Let’s all be observant of the signs that we see, in our readings, in our conversations, and in the lives we lead. May diversity and inclusion finally become the rule, not the exception.

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