How do we end racism?

What would you do if you were given the responsibility of finding a solution to this longstanding, now systemic problem?

That was the exact task given to a group of 30 young leaders in Winnipeg: figure out how to eradicate racism.

Joseph Ranseth said eradicating racism is a goal we may never realize. He pointed to Martin Luther King Jr., who was successful in getting a civil rights bill passed in the United States, but never realized the full reality of the dream he had talked about in his most famous speech.

I actually don’t believe that “eradicating racism is a goal we may never realize” but I did point to the references of Gandhi & Dr. King to emphasize that while we may achieve the political victories we seek, we aren’t truly successful until we achieve the inner & cultural changes as well.

Dr. King was successful in getting the Civil Rights bill passed, and Gandhi was successful in getting the British Empire out of India, but both died before they could see their full vision of equality realized. In both cases, eradicating poverty was part of the next step, as well as achieving a culture of mutual respect and appreciation between races, religions and social status.

Here in Winnipeg, we have work to do in the systemic side (both political and cultural) as well as on the individual level. But we are making progress.

Here’s a quick video of some of the highlights of our discussion:

This was a very powerful day and I’m grateful to have been included. Any dialogue that’s honest – no matter how messy it gets – is constructive and will create, if nothing more, empathy, which is the root of meaningful relationships.

To continue the work of eradicating racism, we need to raise our voices for the political issues, but also learn to exercise our empathy and look at ourselves – and others – as equals.

(For more on this topic, check out my TEDx talk: Who Moved My Unicorn?)