June in 2020 has been a challenging month, to say the least. In fact, it’s been downright mind-boggling. Instead of the early celebrations of long summer days to come, in the US where I am, we are still in the midst of COVID-19 and economic distress. The recent spate of inexcusable racial injustices against black Americans only adds more fuel to the fire to what has already been a difficult season, and more significantly, reminds us (again) of the systemic inequalities we face in society. In this ‘human’ crisis, the most vulnerable and underserved members will suffer the most.
Like many, I have been doing a lot of reflecting and learning and connecting to try to process it all and to help make an impact as an ally. As a person, I am distressed and saddened. As an Asian-American woman, I am concerned about the disproportionate impact the crises have on people of color and women. As a non-black person, I know I can’t fully understand the unique sufferings of black Americans throughout our history and certainly in the context of the recent racial incidents. And as the global chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Schneider Electric, I know that companies, along with governments and non-profits, play a key role in driving change, building equity, and eliminating racism.
Be an Ally
Let’s start here in the fight for greater equity and inclusion. Allyship is about being an informed advocate for a marginalized group of people (women or black or LGBT+ or disabled, for example). It starts by listening and learning and evolves to active support. June is Pride Month and a time to celebrate the contributions and champion the rights of the LGBT+ community. At Schneider, embracing each person’s difference and uniqueness is core to our DNA.
Companies can do more to advance equity in society
We see the shift towards greater commitment and focus on purpose beyond shareholder interests. Even in the most capitalistic markets, there is growing agreement that “the rising tide lifts all boats” and that corporations need to address social, economic, and civic challenges more actively. At Schneider Electric, our commitment to energy access to all starts with the reality that over 1 billion people live in energy poverty. Our CEO and Chairman, Jean-Pascal Tricoire, is on the Board of the U.N. Global Impact for responsible business action especially in the areas of sustainability and diversity and inclusion. Our Diversity and Inclusion mission has evolved from ensuring equal opportunity for all our employees to ensuring equity for all, especially the most vulnerable and underserved in society.
Make an impact in the way that works for you
We need to start by respecting that each of us will process and take action in our own unique way. For some, this means peacefully protesting or exercising our right to vote. For others, it means donating time and money. For still others, it is an opportunity to start dialogues and educate friends and children. It is all of value. No judgment. Every action counts.
I hope we can look back at 2020 and cherish that it was not canceled. I hope we acknowledge and reflect on the suffering and loss, but also on the advancements we make to build a more equitable and inclusive and kinder society.
#SEgreatpeople #EmbraceDifferent #LifeisOn #BlackLivesMatter #Pride2020