|We are in the middle of very disruptive times with the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affecting the Black community as a result of many factors, including health disparities, and the current protests against racial injustices, ignited by the brutal and senseless murder of George Floyd by four Minnesota police officers captured on video. This story happens too often and the list keeps getting longer: George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Laquan McDonald, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and so many others. These events stir up our emotions, our anger, our frustrations, our heartbreak that continues to plague the Black community.
So often, as Black mothers, or any parent of a Black child, we have The Talk with our children about how to survive a police encounter. Quite often The Talk involves the following conversation:
|“Baby, when you are stopped by the police, make sure your hands are on the steering wheel in plain sight. Before moving, make sure you say out loud that you need to get something from the glove compartment or you’re just reaching for your driver’s license. Move slowly so they don’t think you’re reaching for a weapon. Baby…please listen…it’s important, because this could save your life.“
As a parent of a Black child, The Talk, doesn’t stop when they are grown. It doesn’t stop. Black mothers and parents to Black children live in constant fear that their child will be killed by horrific violence. And when they call out for Mama, it could be the last call for help they utter. Racism is very taxing and stressful. The mental capacity we must have to manage this type of stress everyday is unthinkable. Why is high blood pressure so high in the Black community? When the Black community wants to live the American dream, America reveals openly the institutional structures preventing Black people to realize this dream.
But Hope is present. The protests around the country and globally have amplified racism and engaged not only the Black community, but people around the world, to express their frustration with racial injustice; people have started engaging in a dialogue to indicate Enough! Our youth have been leading many efforts around the country giving clear signs that change will happen. It may not come swiftly, but it will come.
CMD-IT is in a unique position to support positive social change through our programs and events that not only impact Computing, but society. We charge ourselves and continue to commit to creating opportunity through our events like the Tapia conference, the FLIP Alliance, and the Academic Careers Workshops — building relationships with companies, academic institutes and other organizations to support career development and lead the way in hard conversations to bring about change.
CMD-IT supports the Call to Action to the Computing Community from Black in Computing and Allies. The open letter provides an excellent list of actionable items for individuals, organizations, and communities.
The CMD-IT community is talented beyond measure. We welcome you to share your personal stories of racial discrimination and how you handled those situations. These are stressful times and sharing is often a great outlet for healing as well as helping others in the process.
Share your story, written or video. We welcome anonymous sharing. Our goal is to share our stories on the CMD-IT website to raise our voices about racial injustices experienced by many in the Black community. It is also a teachable moment and provides education to those that want to understand the detriment of racism in society.
CMD-IT stands against racism and supports the protests about racial injustices to bring about much needed change for criminal justice and police reform! Join us!
Rose Robinson, Executive Director, CMD-IT
Valerie Taylor, CEO and President, CMD-IT