Recently I had a business meeting with a national Conference Chair for a women’s trade association during which she shared disturbing news about a few women leaders within the conference committee who fear their keynote speaker (a women’s rights advocate) would be too controversial.
On one hand, I get it. Even in 2015 the topic is taboo, uncomfortable. On the other hand, the association’s stakeholders are primarily women, and talking about women’s rights to women is a great idea. But what really put fire in my belly was learning a male supplier planted the fear by voicing his objections to booking the speaker. He said the speaker might kick-up negative emotions about domestic violence and race.
Sadly one committee leader quivered and bowed to his opinion, and now she is trying to get the speaker kicked off the agenda.
Are we living in 1965? If they succeed it would undermine the progress we made to freely gather, share and create solutions on these timely topics, which are the headlines of every major media outlet. Additionally they are being discussed among every U.S. university, in every police precinct, within each military branch, and in the front office and on the playing field of every pro-sports team.
Still … sadly we live in a time where some business leaders (men and women alike) are ignorant towards the needs of stakeholders.
Still … pillars in our society – universities, business, police, church and trade associations – try to quell responsibilities to hinder violence, racism and equality.
Still … there is hope for the speaker to speak for as of today she has not been taken off the agenda.
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. This topic matters to me, and I will not be silent anymore. Help break the silence. Take a stand. Eliminate fear.
Always tri. Never stop.