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Why Standing on the Proverbial Equal ‘HR Sidelines’ Is No Longer Enough, A Personal Post

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Being in the most charged and divided experience in my adult life, I grapple with how to speak authentically from a personal and professional voice. 

“I’ve spent over three decades walking the HR line while screaming inside my head the words I really wanted to say. I realize now that my silence is part of the problem.”

Although it seems as if only today, the divide is so great, my history proves otherwise. I grew up in a small New Mexico town where I was the minority, yet I was white. It was an odd dichotomy that kept me “color blind” for many years.  

When I lived in Utah, there seemed to be an odd need to immediately know whether or not I was part of the dominant religion before engaging too far in a relationship. 

I worked in the prison system and spent years trying to become “one of the guys.” The only way to be accepted. Right or wrong, it worked.  

When I lived in Phoenix and my brother was shot in a violent home invasion, the first question nearly every upper-middle-class white person asked was, “what part of town did he live?” as if somehow that made it okay. Or perhaps they could sleep better knowing it was on the other side of town where it’s expected. 

I moved to Oregon and saw the relief when they heard I didn’t come from California.  

I choose to wear a mask in the worst pandemic of my life because I care about my family, my community, and myself. I’m jeered at in the grocery store and labeled a “radical liberal.” 

In human resources, we work hard to problem solve in a way that is fair and equitable to all. We believe in the fair treatment of every human, or we would not have chosen this career. 

We also see more inequity and injustice, forcing us to hold back the screams and tears in our careers more than you could imagine. All in the name of political correctness. 

I believe in equal rights for all. That does not mean I should continue to be afraid to do the right thing. Equal rights never meant anyone could do anything.  

“I’ve never been a traditional HR professional, and I never will. Although there are many decisions in my career, I would change, or conversation I would have had, or had differently, I’ve never been afraid of the hard ones.”  

I will challenge myself harder, moving forward to push through my internal screams and silence. I will be more present and aware of the times I can and will do better. I will look for opportunities to correct, adjust, and improve. I will always be who I am, but I will never stop adjusting my lens.

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