Leadership Values Wellness

Black lives matter – Take risks, take action

Written by Allison Wolf

(First posted June 2, updated June 11)

“Every time we do not take a risk we prop up this racist system.”  Rachel Rodgers

I was introduced to Rachel this morning in a email newsletter from coach Michael Bungay Stanier (MSB).    Rachel is a coach, entrepreneur, lawyer, and the founder of her own intellectual property law firm.

Rachel generously posted a 20 minute teaching on Instagram Live that gave me a much-needed metaphorical bucket of ice water wake up call to stop wringing my hands and take action.  You can check out her post here.

Here’s what’s true.

I have a lot to learn and unlearn. And there is no time to waste.

And… now on June 11 I have learned “there is not time to waste” is not entirely true.  I attended an excellent  webinar by the Adaway Group #whitenessatwork and was introduced to the four phases of liberatory consciousness – Dr. Barbara J. Love’s work.  Phase one is awareness – which is all about noticing.  Phase two is analysis, time for listening, learning, and reflection.  Phase three is taking action – aiming for high impact and low risk.  And phase four is accountability.  Being held accountable for our actions, remembering that we only hold accountable those people that we care about.

It is tempting to move into action swiftly when we identify that something is wrong and as instructors Desiree Adaway and Jessica Fish pointed out, when we move too swiftly into action we run the risk of doing further harm to the very people, objectives, and values we wish to support. 

To my fellow white women and men we need to listen deeply, learn fast (see above caveat), and take action (initially, by spending time on learning and analysis and encouraging this in our organizations as we prepare for further action)  now and on an ongoing basis for racial equity.

There have been excellent resources circulating on how to get started. Here are some helpful links from MSBs newsletter and the New Happy newsletter (follow links to subscribe):

AND I am a big supporter of West Coast Leaf for their multi-pronged approach to advocating for equality.  If you aren’t familiar with their work, do check them out!

And MSB adds:

I’d also like to introduce to you a teacher, Desiree Adaway. Desiree is informed, skilled and fearless, and an incredible resource for making anti-racist shifts individually or at an organizational level. She is offering a free online training on June 11th on Whiteness at Work. Details here.

I highly recommend you head over to the Adaway Group site to obtain a copy of the webinar recording and to sign up for the continuing series this summer.  

Bottom line:  Listen. Learn. Read. Write. Share. Protest. Speak up. Make Change.

(Photo credit to Julian Wan – Unsplash)






About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at allison@shiftworks.ca or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.

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