Black Men Speak: A Conversation for Humanity

Posted on Jun 24, 2020

When George Floyd was killed, people began hitting the streets in protest. And I started to stir from a long slumber – the sleepy comfort of not knowing what I did not know. 

Perhaps like you, I started making phone calls, asking questions, having deep and sometimes difficult conversations with black friends around the world. Some of them challenged my good intentions: “The time for listening is over, Katherine. What are you going to do?” I started to study and learn. And I started to listen… to that deep knowing we all have inside of the next right action to take.

This conversation is the result of what I heard.

The three men who speak here – all dear friends of mine – come from three differnet countries (USA, UK and South Africa). So they share three different experiences of what it means to be a black man in this world. They have generously agreed to let us learn from them as they learn from each other, finding their differences and their commonalities in conversation.

I hope you learn something here that shifts your perception and moves you to action. Because it should go without saying, #blacklivesmatter.

“What can I do?”

That slightly rhetorical question many of us have been holding in our hearts needs an answer now. And it’s not an easy one to answer.

Leonard Bernstein’s response to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963 was:

“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”

Each of you will have to decide what that looks like for you, but I believe it includes three elements:

  1. Keep showing up in your own life for what matters to you.
  2. Do what you know how to do, do it well and do it with love.
  3. Keep engaging in conversations like this one.

Pay it forward.

If this conversation speaks to you in some way, leave a comment. If it moves you, please share it with someone you know. And if you want me to let you know about future conversations – including group discussions with our panelists – please let me know.

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