In 2005, my family adopted an orphan baby boy from Ethiopia. His older brother, Wade, could not wait for Henry to arrive at Boston Logan airport. He waited with anticipation staring at the screen wanting so badly for his brother to arrive so that “he could teach him to fish.” Wade didn’t care that Henry was arriving on a plane from another continent. He was looking forward to loving him as any older sibling does.
When Henry arrived, Wade started to cry with joy and was the first to hold his new baby brother. Wade didn’t mention that Henry looked different from himself or his younger sister. He was happy that his brother had finally arrived and overwhelmed with great excitement about their future together. Wade was only six years old. We were a family and that is all that mattered.
For the past 15 years, my children were raised with support and love, but this has not occurred without the occasional insult or racially-driven remark or joke by people in our community, at school, on sports teams, or even while standing in line for checkout at the pharmacy. We know it’s difficult for Henry to grow up in a predominantly white community, and we constantly discuss these issues to approach it with the belief that knowledge is power.
We must take advantage of this time that is fueled with our outrage to listen to our kids and drive true systemic societal change so that our kids will be able to live more equally than the generations before us and will not face the same issues that exist today. Black citizens deserve to live a life of dignity, free of fear and full of hope. We have not done enough. We must commit to do more.
Immediately, Qlik.org is increasing efforts to support organizations with free software and services driving real, demonstrable change for young people around the world deserving of every chance for education, health, economic opportunity, safety, support and love. The future we want will only come with lots and lots of work, especially with children.
Two organizations that Qlik.org proudly supports that work directly in the black community are New Leaders and The Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF), both in New York City. We are proud of the work accomplished by these organizations and will work to support many more.
In a world of uncertainty, the fact that racism is learned is certain. Also certain is our ability to join together and drive a future of love to replace the fear and hate some may harbor.
Let’s learn from our kids. Let’s take care of our planet. Let’s correct our education and health programs. Let’s create opportunities for young people to grow and thrive. Let’s fix every system, law and process that exists to keep people down instead of lifting them up.
In other words, let us all learn to “teach one another to fish.”
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.” – Nelson Mandela