I, like you, didn’t expect 2020 to deliver the tragedy and chaos it has brought on our doorstep. I feel helpless all the time, and that’s a maddening feeling when you’re a “fixer”.
I can’t fix everyone. But I can make sure as I move forward as a mother, an HR Lady, a human….that I bring my best. I can carry with me the names of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain and so many more. Fixing “me” to be my best as a human has meant a lot of listening, reading, and watching. And I daresay in building a better me, I’m building a better HR pro. This is more important now than ever as we have launched a new DE&I program at my employer. It’s so exciting and has done so much to improve employee engagement and morale in what I daresay, has been the most unusual and challenging 8 months.
While it’s great to engage at your employer, it shouldn’t be the only way you learn about diversity. Self-education is coming at me on all multiple platforms, I’m sharing with you the books, podcasts and shows that have really opened my understanding of what we are facing in the world and guiding me to a path of being better in HR.
How To Be an Antiracist – Ibram Kendi
This book kicked off my education, and it was even more powerful listened to on Audible, with the author reading. It also made me aware of the AU Antiracist and Policy Center, founded by Kendi, that is in my back yard.
I’m Still Here – Austin Channing
Another powerful listen…and impactful on how we speak to each other, and treat each other. Being aware of the patriarchal impact of our society and how that combined with systemic racism is holding our humanity back.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot
It’s stunning and shameful how Henrietta Lacks was treated as a commodity by the medical community. Interestingly enough, both of my older daughters had this as a required read in college.
On deck this fall:
Stamped – Ibram Kendi
Be Antiracist – Ibram Kendi (drops October 6th)
The Leader’s Guide to Unconscious Bias (drops November 2020)
The Michelle Obama Podcast – Highlight is Episode 4 – Protests and the Pandemic with Michele Norris. I’m an NPR fan girl, so it was amazing to hear Michele Norris in this deep discussion with Michelle Obama. Chase it with this recent Opinions essay in the Washington Post.
Nice White Parents – when I heard about this podcast, I thought, well that’s NYC. It’s everywhere, I’ve seen it happen in my town.
1619 – This podcast is changing our children’s history classes, at least I hope it will. The white washed version of our founding needs to tell the full story, incorporating this podcast is key.
Next Question with Katie Couric (podcast) – Highlight was the bonus episode on September 25th, an interview with The Lincoln Project co-founder Steve Schmidt. I am a registered Democrat. But if I’m going to be a better listener, I have to hear everyone. And I do yearn for the days of bi-partisanship. I have hopes we will get back there, and this episode and learning more about The Lincoln Project makes me think it is possible.
Mrs. America – it’s a sad day when you don’t know who Shirley Chisholm is until you watch a show on Hulu. I was born in 1970…how was this information on the women’s movement not part of my education?
13th – Social justice shows, podcasts, books…are a hobby of mine. But 13th, is stunning. And sad. We have so far to go in treating each other better and creating a justice system that incorporates…justice.
Project Implicit – Eons ago I saw this profiled on 60 Minutes. My daughter is an MSW student (working in the Public Defender’s office) and recently had me run through this test. Happy to report, I had no bias. Which is good for the job I am in.
And lastly, coming later this month, the SHRM Inclusion Conference. I know, I know, SHRM has taken a lot of flack recently on all fronts. I’m curious about this conference, I want to see what they can offer over three days. And I’m really curious because last January, as I was gearing up to conquer an educational goal in my performance appraisal, I found out there was no Inclusion conference planned at all for 2020. Interesting how priorities change as the world changes.
I could write pages on how each read book, listened to podcast, show viewed…has had impact. I’m amazed at what has transpired during my lifetime, and how unaware I was because I was caught up in my very small circle of life, running at a million miles/hour, attempting to balance work and family.
More importantly, every bit of information I’ve taken in has enabled me to provide better support to our employees, and our HR team. Difficult conversations are had, and are informed, on all sides. Have you read or listened to something that really hit home? Changed your thought process on Inclusion? Let me know in the comments.
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.