Melvin J. Gravely, II: Dear White Friends

July 14, 2021

My friend, I do not believe you are a racist.

My friend, I realize you do not need to care. You do not need to learn the cultural norms of Black people as a prerequisite for your career advancement and access to opportunity. You do not need to understand my fears and perceptions to keep yourself safe or to have social mobility. You do not need to consider my journey or think critically about how the construct of our nation was built nor how it’s supporting your success while it constrains mine. Your future is not predicated on me, how I feel, or what I think of you. You sit in a different position than I do. Yet, when you ask me what you can do as a first step, I emphatically say: just care enough to ask the question.

These are the words of Melvin J. Gravely, II from his forthcoming book about the racial divide in America, Dear White Friend: The Realities of Race, the Power of Relationships and Our Path to Equity. As a CEO and civic leader, Melvin speaks to his white colleagues, many of whom are uncomfortable talking about race, without judgement to offer a different perspective on race relations and equity.

In this episode Melvin joins us to share how we can engage in race issues and become empowered to be a part of the conversation and the solution.