Sharing All Stories - A Reflection on DE&I by William Lindsay
Over the past few years, I had the honor of meeting and becoming friends with Mr. Roy Richardson. Roy was a Tuskegee Airman during WWII and an amazing person. As I talked with Roy over the years, we would talk about his love of our country, and the segregation he dealt with during World War II. He told me about how he couldn’t laugh and smile then but was so grateful he could now.
Seeing America through Roy’s eyes, and seeing America how it was 80 years ago compared to today, reminds me that each of us has to work hard to break down barriers that prevent us from supporting each other regardless of skin color, ethical background, gender, or any other difference.
All journeys begin with a single step. We can only move forward one step at a time. Roy moved us one step forward. Now it is my turn to help move society another step forward. If I can open one person’s eyes and challenge them to look for our likenesses as opposed to our differences, then I will have positively helped move us forward to create an atmosphere of trust and offer a safe place for all.
I believe everyone should have a safe place to make mistakes, ask questions, learn, and above all, be seen. Everyone deserves to be seen for who they are and what they have to offer. We all deserve to be seen as equals and contributing members of our organization. Unless we recognize where we can make improvements and work together, we run the risk of having team members coming to work not feeling whole.
We need to work hard to ensure every individual feels valued and appreciated for who they are.
In December 2019 Roy and I were to be keynote speakers for a National Pearl Harbor Day event. That morning Roy Got dressed in his military uniform, and silently passed away. I couldn’t help but think how fitting it was that Roy was in uniform, ready to speak about his service to our country. He was a true American Hero. As I reflect on my friendship with Roy, I am grateful for the opportunity to have shared our similarities and learn from our diversity. I am reminded of Galatians 3:28: "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus".
Why do I believe in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion? Because everyone should feel safe and have the same opportunities. Everyone should be seen and heard.
My wish is that everyone has an opportunity to walk like Roy did in his later years without enduring the inequalities and struggles of his early ones.