Black Lives Matter. Committed to Doing Something.
The horrifying killing of George Floyd following the countless others, has surfaced the global legacy of systemic racial injustice against Black people. Although the dream for racial harmony and creating an inclusive world was originally heralded in the streets of America, it was also trampled on those same streets. As a God fearing Black man, Husband, Father, Brother, Uncle and owner of Alleynes Grooming Inc in Canada I echo “Black Lives Matter”.
Witnessing the 8min & 46sec clip via social media timelines and TV screens as Derek Chauvin brazenly stole George Floyd’ life was excruciating. At moments my soul was crushed with the weight of his suffering. My mind ached as it was bombarded with memories of racism. I was stressed thinking about the Blackmen I love and the claws of racism seeking to snatch the opportunities to realize their potential.
What we are experiencing is not a black vs white issue, and it is not a black people vs police issue. Although these factors are involved, it’s about humanity vs a weak and evil spirit called racism. Racism in any form is blind, hateful and seeks to destroy what it touches, even the people and things it works through. Racism is a systemic approach (conscious and unconscious) to devalue people through denial of simple and complex opportunities, privileges, rights and freedoms.
No matter your race, moving forward won’t be easy. None of us know the right things to say or do. However, each of us must do something, say something… True change requires our unique and collective imprints. We know how to love one another and through the pure spirit of “Love” we will find our way forward to a much brighter time.
In our store, there is a painting on the wall that reminds us that to arrive at real change we have to embark on a real journey. I am committed to ensuring that my company does its part. We have begun by rethinking how we see ourselves and our role. We are having the hard conversations to identify the gaps in our thinking, day-to-day lives, our community and some simple way Alleynes can begin moving forward. To start:
Education – (a) We will host ongoing conversations to help each of us understand the impacts of racism, the current presence of racism and actionable things we can do to move forward. (b) I will continue to educate myself to ensure each of our staff has the opportunities and experiences to be their best self in our space.
Social Mentorship – We are launching our Milestones character developing initiative. It aims to shape, identity and prepare our clients for future opportunities in all areas of life.
Partnerships – We will be collaborative, developing partnerships that better allow us to realize our vision of grooming people and opening doors for others.
Accountability – We will hold ourselves accountable by establishing a board of Directors to ensure we do our best for all, as we empower and provide others with greater access to opportunities.
Giving Back – We will give a portion of our proceeds, up to $10,000, towards developing and helping Black people within our community; and supporting programs that are doing that.
This is our starting point, as we continue to learn, our efforts will grow. You can start with small steps as well. Some suggestions are:
1. Slow down and be empathetic with yourself, the Black community and those impacted by this experience.
2. Do a self-assessment to identify the limiting assumptions you have about Black people.
3. Have frequent short 8min 46 sec conversations at home, work, worship, with friends about racism and living inclusively with all people.
4. Form personal relationships with Black people.
5. Get involved and change. Do the hard and sometimes clumsy work that results in everyone living better.
This matter is personal to me, whatever your race is… I hope it will be personal for you too.
Black Lives Matter!
Only His Best!
Brenton P. Alleyne
Alleynes Grooming Inc.