Change begins with us: a powerful message from partner Konata Lake
At Torys we are dedicated to the social values of respect, tolerance and inclusion. These values are important not only within our firm, but in the communities in which we live. Over the past several weeks, we have seen the expression of these values as people around the world protest against racism and injustice. These events have brought home the disparity in circumstances, treatment and opportunity that many people in our communities suffer every day.
As a firm we are proud of partner Konata Lake, whose message today in the Globe and Mail underscores how crucial it is that each of us takes ownership for the role we as individuals play in ending the underlying racism that gives rise to social injustice. In his editorial, he makes the following statements:
Two of the rallying cries in the various press releases, tweets and other social-media posts that have followed Mr. Floyd’s killing have been “silent no more” and “we must do better.” I leave broad policy proposals to those who are experts, but as for a step that each of us can take as part of being “silent no more” and “doing better,” I implore all Canadians to be thoughtfully and thoroughly honest about what we see, experience and do. This includes being mindful of overlooked jokes, feelings of fear when teenage Black males approach you, assumptions about education and intellect because of someone’s name or how someone speaks, etc.
Work done internally in one’s own thoughts will naturally flow to external actions. Small, purposeful and persistent incremental steps, not grand gestures that fade when the spotlight fades, are what will make a difference.
It is important that we not just have these core values in mind, but that we give effect to them in our interactions with one another every single day. It is the collective hope of the firm that we all take Konata’s words to heart with the goal of creating a society in which everyone can feel safe and flourish.