Message from the WiPN Board of Directors: We must not be silent

June 2, 2020

The WiPN Board of Directors have watched these past week’s events unfold with sadness and horror.

We have witnessed the disproportionate impacts on our black colleagues and friends of the viruses affecting our country – both the coronavirus pandemic and the virus of bias and bigotry unfolding in their daily lives.

It’s easy to have “outrage fatigue.” It’s easy to say that I am not part of the problem.

When we, as a group of professional women begin to feel that way, remember the words of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.:

Let me say as I’ve always said, and I will always continue to say, that riots are socially destructive and self-defeating. … But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again.

Martin Luther King, Jr. ~ The Other America

These protests remind us — if we ever forgot — that we have a long way to go until equality and justice are achieved.

To all our members, we want to reaffirm our commitment to anti-racism. But it is not enough to write this letter. We want our members who have ever felt marginalized or silenced to know that WiPN stands with you. We hear you. We see you. We are committed to progress, even when it seems that we are going backward.

And if you’re looking for a way to take action, here are a few:

  • Educate yourself.  Read. Try How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.
  • Give to the Equal Justice Initiative.  www.eji.org
  • Reach out.  Don’t stand by and assume your friends and family know you’re there.
  • Be kind. To your loved ones.  To yourself.
  • Talk to your children. Have the hard conversations.
  • Replay the WiPN webcast from Lori Nishiura Mackenzie, the Co-Founder of Stanford VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab and Lead Strategist of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Stanford. Lori’s webcast is focused on bias in language that works against others unknowingly.

It is no longer the time to remain silent.