Mayor’s Leadership Council: Beyond Diversity

Good morning, everybody. I wanted to tell you that I’m doing something really exciting today. I am at the Austin Mayor’s Leadership Council. It’s a two-day conference called: Beyond Diversity. And it’s headed up by the executive director Glenn Singleton. By the end of this two-day session, he says that I’m going to be bilingual. I think that that means that how I look at the world, and how I communicate to the world, about race. We’re talking about all kinds of things such as do you come from the race from a compass of feeling, believing, informational or thinking. I think that I come to it from an emotional stage because just saying the word race, I know how hurtful the world can be. And even though I don’t feel it individually, I feel that for others, but I don’t want to diminish what they feel and what they’ve gone through. The subtitle this Leadership Council is Courageous Conversations. I think that Angela Shaw even talks about that just to have the courage to start the conversation with people, and to ask questions from a heartfelt thoughtful place, to begin to explore what that means to everybody and the struggles they go through. One game I always play in my workshops is about names. It’s a way to get to know everybody. But I’m approaching that differently today. Because oftentimes, we’ve heard about these people that have come to America, and their names were changed, were changed because it was too complicated of a name and had too many letters or it was hard to pronounce and that we changed their name to make it easier on us. And we’re still doing that every day. If a name is difficult for us to pronounce, we might shorten it, we might abbreviate it. We might even put it into initials. I’m sorry, LB. LB, you know who you are. I abbreviated it, to make it easier for all of us and especially me. I took that grounding of her name and what it meant for her. I took that away and I apologize. So I’m just two hours into this program and I’m feeling like I’m already starting to change. One of the reasons I decided to attend was to start to recognize where my own judgments lie. I’m just extremely excited to be here. It’s going to be amazing, transformational two days. I will leave you with that on this beautiful sunny day in Austin, Texas.