The Power of Community

The Key Point
Article July 2016 – Number 2

In this week’s edition of The Key Point, I thought it was appropriate to take a break from our usual tips and techniques for small business to address a topic that is ever so vital to our success…the all-out assault on our shared sense of community. Given the recent developments in Baton Rouge, outside Minneapolis, Dallas and other American cities, it is clear that our communities are in distress. We have watched far too many smartphone videos of violent incidents in our streets and on the roadside, incidents that have shaken us to our core. It is important for us to allow reason to prevail in these emotional times, so that we can find our way back to the common ground that binds us together, instead of being focused on how we might be different. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of every person who has been affected by these recent events.

As an organization that advocates on behalf of minority small businesses, the GMSDC is keenly aware of the issues that minority communities have with trust and empathy where law enforcement is concerned. All of our constituents have personal experience with the attitudes and the biases that exist in our world. It is imperative that we collaborate on standards and practices that will simultaneously keep all of us safe and insure equitable treatment of everyone. We often preach to our MBEs the importance of a willingness to collaborate in order to solve complex problems and win the business; likewise, our elected officials, business leaders, law enforcement community and community members must seek out one another in a genuine spirit of collaboration and engage one another in a dialogue where all views are heard. It is only through fully understanding our various differences, acknowledging our strongly held biases and aggressively pursuing the common ground that binds us together that we will emerge from this challenging time a stronger and more empathetic society.

I’ve often been asked what is the GMSDC’s ‘position’ on matters of politics, race, violence and other polarizing topics. The simple answer is that the GMSDC was founded on and continues to embrace the concept of inclusion, which says that there should be a seat at the table and an opportunity to prosper for everyone. We support any and all outcomes that create a level playing field for all of our citizens and give every American a clear path to his or her American Dream. We reject anything that seeks to divide, belittle, discriminate or do harm to our brothers and sisters, regardless of who they are. Let us initiate a return to compassion and renaissance of reason in our words and in our deeds. A shared sense of community, understanding that what affects one of us impacts us all, is the only way for us to win. It really is time for us to ‘be the change we want to see in the world…’