In June 2020 NASCAR had the courage to ban the Confederate flag from its events for both fans and participants. In areas of the deep South many communities followed that same gesture. Why? Well NASCAR so eloquently stated, “The presence of the Confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry. Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community it creates is what makes fans and sport special. The display of the Confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.”
Fast forward to July 4, 2021, to downtown Newhall in Santa Clarita. The Confederate flag is seen by hundreds of people live and via livestream in an impromptu Fourth of July celebration. Community members and representatives are present. Our beloved community is reminded of this historic symbol of racism and hate. A symbol of a civil war that claimed more than 500,000 American lives.
I often work with people in business settings as the outsourced HR lady. It’s a tough room the first day when the owner introduces me. There are usually a few who immediately let me know they are unhappy with my presence in the company. Because they’ve never had HR, they ask, “Why now? We are growing? We went from two employees to 50 employees in 15 years and I’ve been here the whole time!”
I share a simple exercise we can all visualize. I ask anyone to try to walk 50 yards quickly and straight while looking backward. It’s very hard to do.
As a community we cannot move forward while looking backward. Let’s take a cue from NASCAR and work together to create a welcoming and inclusive community.