The word has become a staple within the vocabulary of leaders over the past few months.
The term “unprecedented” embodies the ambiguity and lack of direct control our team, customers and loved ones are experiencing as we navigate the unfamiliar territory of an ongoing health pandemic and economic crisis.
Most of the challenges we have faced thus far are unknown territory to most of us. The uncertainty that stems from that can be quite frankly, overwhelming.
We have all experienced this to some degree in recent months.
I certainly did again over the weekend when I viewed the heartbreaking and confronting footage of George Floyd’s death. I found myself again to be in an “unprecedented” headspace as I tried to make sense of the brutality I had just witnessed.
The reality is for many of our company’s employees, partners and customers, there was nothing "unprecedented" about the footage on that video or how they are feeling about it.
As the Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms made clear when she addressed the public over the weekend, this is how Black Americans live every single day of their lives.
Racism is not on the rise, it is just being recorded now and shared on social media.
I will never understand how it feels to be part of the black community in the United States.
However, I do understand racism.
I acknowledge that by comparison I have extraordinary privileges that protect me from experiencing it too.
I do not know how we eradicate racism, that is a much larger conversation.
However, I am certain of one thing. To be silent - is to be complicit.
It is not enough as leaders for us to say we don’t tolerate racism. We need to call it out when we become aware of it happening - anywhere our brands operate.
If you want to make a difference, that is the best place to start.