Celebrating More Than 50 Years of Service
June 9, 2020
Dear LeaderWise Friends,
Our hearts grieve over the tragedies of the last couple weeks, as we’ve witnessed racial injustice, police brutality, violence, and murder. These events once again lay bare the ugliness of systemic racism in our nation. Like many of you, our staff has begun to take a hard look at ourselves, and we’ve not always liked what we’ve found. For those of us who are white, racism has polluted our perspective through white privilege. Even if we know better on one level, on an unconscious level there’s still a part of us that believes the following lies - “Race doesn’t matter,” “In America, everyone’s treated equally,” “If you play by the rules, all people have a shot at the American dream.” Well, these just aren’t true. Our naive hope, “Can’t we just all get along?” just doesn’t sound right anymore. People who are Black, including those on our staff, have had to feign patience and understanding with the rest of us way too long.
Like most of the nation, it’s taken us too long to wake up to the full impact of systemic racism. It’s no secret, for instance, that most white people view racism as an issue of individual morality and actions while most people of color know it’s deeply systemic. As Dr. Okokon Udo, a LeaderWise colleague, astutely observes, “It’s a Race Pandemic” — and it extends way, way beyond COVID-19.
Rev. Karen Hutt, a vice president at United Theological Seminary and LeaderWise board member, recently delivered a moving online sermon about her experience with race, and we share it below. Toward the end of the sermon, she talks about shifting from “political hope” based in naive optimism to a “spiritual, human-oriented hope” based in “acting and organizing.” As she notes, if we embrace the second hope, we’ll find it to be a “spiritual, human, life-centered, life-giving hope.”
Rev. Hutt’s words compel us to act. At LeaderWise, we recognize that the journey towards transformation will be long — and, at times, arduous. Regardless, we must act now. To begin this journey, our staff encourages you to join us in one or more of the opportunities outlined below.
We recognize that this only a beginning point for LeaderWise, as well as for most of us, in our efforts to help dismantle white supremacy. Although we’ve taken a few steps for our own work as a staff — such as inservice workshops on cultural competence and internalized narratives about race — we know we’ve a long way to go. At LeaderWise, there will be more conversations — and more actions to take — as we examine our biases, learn new ways of being, and take steps toward individual and collective transformation. We humbly invite you to journey with us.
a 16-Hour workshop
Four Tuesdays (1pm to 5pm Central):
September 22, October 6, October 20, November 3
Come with Okokon Udo on a journey of social action and personal transformation. As he explains, we all learned to wear masks as a way to function in the world, which once served a purpose but now hold us back. These out-of-date masks include racist messages that limit our ability to be fully present with ourselves and others. You are invited to examine the masks you’ve had, to re-discover your authentic self, and to create a new way of being in the world. Okokon shares, “This workshop is about making life simpler, richer and lighter and about enhancing leadership impact in the world.”
Click here to register ($379).
Register by September 8 to save $20.
Space is limited to 30 participants.
1-Hour One-on-One Meetings
Societal and personal transformation is emotionally hard work, and, for those of us serving in leadership positions, it can stretch and test our skills, too. To help you remain resilient and impactful while you engage in this work, check in with one of our counselors for a wellness consultation or with one of our coaches for a leadership consultation. LeaderWise has reserved 10 hours per week for pro bono wellness and leadership consultations for anyone who might wish to access them. We will schedule people on a first-come basis.
Begin the process by submitting this form.
To provide an honorarium to our speakers, cover our administrative costs, and keep these events free for whomever wishes to log on, we’re asking for those who can afford to donate a gift to do so. Gifts of all sizes are appreciated. We’re grateful for your support of these important conversations!
"There's a great relief in saying 'time's up.' It means that something else is going to happen ... It means actions for something better."
—Rev. Karen Hutt