It felt like the ground shifted last summer.
America was reeling after a series of pivotal events including the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain. Americans took to the streets to demand justice. They demanded to be heard. Black Americans demanded for their stories—the big stories and the small stories—to be told. They asked us to listen and to believe them.
This moment came on the heels of the #MeToo movement, in which women of all ages, races and backgrounds told their stories and asked us to listen. To believe them.
These moments, among others, were fresh in our minds when planning the editorial calendar this year. We knew those in our industry had stories to tell. Stories worth listening to. We also knew that diversity, equity and inclusion had become top priorities for our companies and professionals in recent years.
So we brought diversity to the forefront.
I envisioned the special report you see in this issue as a place where those with stories to tell could tell them. I also wanted it to be a place for conversations about how an industry can and should move toward bigger, bolder goals of inclusion.
More than that, I wanted to do it correctly—with humility, thoughtfulness and proper perspective.
I also knew that our platform was valuable, and I believed that one of the best things we as writers—and you as readers—could do is listen. Our staff just had to amplify important voices.
For leaders, the instinct often is to act or speak when something feels wrong or we feel it needs fixed.
But when it comes to matters of diversity—particularly as they relate to our understanding of a race, religion or gender with which we do not identify—the key isn't speaking or reacting.
Listening matters because when we act—or react as the case may be—we make the moment about us, and in doing so we squander a precious opportunity that could have led to a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.