Being a “purpose-driven” entrepreneur can sometimes be a lonely place. While the world is holding on to sensationalism, scandals, and trendy topics you’re busy trying to figure out how to bring people together and find solutions to things that are often swept under the rug. People tend to mentally check out after a while. If it’s not sexy or controversial, they don’t want it. This past week we had a bowl full of controversy, mixed with headlines that created questions about where we are and how much we’ve grown since the horrendous year that just passed. The irony of it, is that these headlines covered some of the major issues we’ll discuss during The Lens Refocused. It was almost as if someone were looking at our spreadsheet and picking out stories to share on mainstream media.
We thought it was essential to have a panel on community policing through the eyes of Women in Law Enforcement. We wanted to hear their views on the state of our communities, and how we can develop policies that will directly address some of our most pressing social ills. We were sadly reminded of this depressing state of affairs when we heard of not one, but two horrible mass shootings in our country. One of which was very much a targeted attack on a specific ethnic group. If we think we are far removed from the injustice and chaos that occurred last year, then we are certainly out of touch with our very harsh American reality.
Any time we hear and see of incidents like this, it immediately presents us with yet another uncomfortable state of being where we have to process things emotionally. For years, mental health and wellness have been placed on the back burner. But last year with the lockdown, massive deaths, police brutality, and demonstrations the state of our mental health as a whole declined dramatically. People were all of a sudden faced with feelings that they’d never experienced. And for many of us, because those things had been placed on the back burner, we didn’t necessarily know how to process it. The gift and the curse of social media and reality tv is that we get to see people’s lives from a voyeuristic lens. It is sometimes laden with judgement, sometimes misinterpreted, or other times a call for us to act on the behalf of others. We see women suffer in what appear to be mentally unstable circumstances. We see the men in their lives totally out of touch with how their women feel. It’s an unhealthy cycle that unfortunately does nothing but lead to more social ills that the rest of us are left to deal with.
The icing on the cake is the constant battle for women of color to achieve equal footing in business and economic growth. This year on Women’s Equal Pay Day social media was flooded with factoids about the state of equal pay as it pertains to black women. Needless to say, the numbers were less than desirable. We also saw that for many of us, we are very much misunderstood in the workplace, leaving a stronger case for the need for diversity and inclusion reform and sensitivity training in the workplace.
Sounds daunting right? So many negative issues in one fell swoop. Shootings in Atlanta and Colorado, a popular YouTube star by the name of Derrick Jxson who is being scrutinized for infidelity during his marriage, and Sharon Osbourne essentially yelling at her co-star on live television because she disagreed with people calling her friend a racist. It is absolutely daunting, and enough to make you lose hope.
But the other side of the coin is filled with promise. When we created The Lens Refocused and were met with such a warm response from our audience and our panelists, it was a sign that hope should not be lost. The lineup of powerful women on our forum shows us that we have more than enough to pick up the pieces and start fresh. Being able to have Natalie Williams from the Women’s Business Center of Charlotte, Jackie Ferguson from The Diversity Movement, Sheriff Paula Dance of the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office, Chief Gina Hawkins of the Fayetteville Police Department, Diane Taylor of Uplift Comprehensive Services, Chief Patrice Andrews of the Morrisville Police Department, Denisha Harris of the MWBE Coordinators’ Network, and host of other phenomenal thought leaders shows that we absolutely have the hope, fire, and drive we need to move towards reviving our community.
We have more than enough to do something bigger and better, and make a positive impact on the world. We may go through tough circumstances. We may suffer emotionally or economically, but we still have a mountain of hope that can lift us up from our current state. The Lens Refocused is right on time. It’s the virtual conversation with your smartest, sweetest, most spiritual, and most innovative friends. It’s also the table that has room for you to pull up a chair, even if you don’t look like us. It’s a place where healing begins and empowerment lives. We’ll be walking away from The Lens Refocused full of strategic purpose and a new understanding of how to approach the mission ahead of us.
You can register for this ground-breaking event at www.ourlensrefocused.comCan’t wait to see you all there.