“Our only chance at dismantling racial injustice is being more curious about its origins than we are worried about our comfort. It’s not comfortable conversation for any of us. It is risky and messy. It is haunting work to recall the sings of our past. But is this not the work we have been called to anyway?”

Austin Channing Brown, I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

In the new year, we sit and contemplate the job we each felt called to do—the arduous, tough, but vital and fulfilling work of diversity, equity, and inclusion in a time and setting where one step forward is met with three steps back, where the support is strong but resources are limited, and where each incremental work feels like small dents into a large, unmoving mountain.

It can all feel very overwhelming at times. Each of us in the DEAR Council chooses to show up to do DEI work while we balance a million other things at work and at home. We know how tough it is. But we also know that if not us, then who? Because the moment we begin to shuffle the responsibility to others—is the moment we will lose this fight to make our institutions, our communities, and our societies anti-racist.

Many are probably familiar with the bystander effect, which occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation. If we step aside in the belief that others will step in to continue the work, we may find ourselves in emptier and emptier DEAR Council meetings, until the group loses steam altogether to be able to continue our impactful work.

So, today and everyday we ask that you keep the fight going—that you continue to reflect on the reasons why DEI work is important to you and those around you. Look back and think why you decided to attend your first DEAR Council meeting. Hopefully, that will give you the fuel you may need to join us again and again each month.

We want you all to feel energized, powerful, and ready to continue to tackle racism. We must continue to expand our collective understanding and empathy for transformative, healing change. We are grateful that each of you has chosen to participate.

If you feel so inclined, please share with us what energizes you in the Comments section. We would love to hear from you!

DEAR Council