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ELGL events & activities: week of June 29, 2020

It’s Time for a New Playbook

Posted on June 17, 2020


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Right Now with Rafael Baptista. You can connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.  

  • What I’m Listening to – Top Hits on Amazon Music
  • What I’m Reading – A lot of news articles
  • What I’m Watching ­– How I Met Your Mother
  • What I’m Doing – Eating Waffles

It’s Time for a New Playbook 

Like for most people, the 23 days since George Floyd was killed by a police officer have been an emotional roller coaster for me. I have felt shocked, heartbroken, angry and inspired at different times and sometimes at the same time. Despite all the challenging emotions of the last 23 days, I have been inspired by communities across the world telling their stories and saying what needs to change. It’s imperative that as local government leaders we truly listen to our communities and work with them to address the issues being raised. 

All too often in local government, we hear complaints that something isn’t working and create a committee or task force to review best practices, make recommendations and maybe implement some of them. In this historic time of racial justice movements and a pandemic, we need to throw out the old playbook since that playbook is partially why we are where we are in regards to race. We need to understand that many times the core issue with our playbook is that we don’t have the unique perspectives and experiences of the communities that we serve so we can’t anticipate all the challenges they face and the potential unintended consequences of our actions. As a light-skinned Latino straight male, I will never be able to fully understand the challenges of our black, LGBTQ+ and female communities (among many others) so if I try to solve their unique challenges, I will undoubtedly short and potentially do more harm than good. This doesn’t mean that I am disqualified from working on these issues but rather that when working on these issues, I need to make sure that I am part of an inclusive team that represents the communities that we are serving. 

To address these challenges, we need to have the courage and awareness to work alongside the community (the whole community) to identify the root cause of the problems we are seeking to solve and co-create solutions alongside them. I encourage readers to check the tools and resources provided by the Government Alliance on Racial Equity to learn more about how to move towards racial equity in partnership with your community. 

I will admit that I don’t know what the playbook should look like and what the best ways to co-create solutions for racial justice with the community looks like, I just know that the old playbook won’t work and that it’s time to reinvent a new one. 

What actions will you take this week to work with your community to move towards racial equity? I hope you take a moment to share your planned actions with others so we can inspire each other. 

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