When Silence Meets Complicity
The year 2020 has certainly been a year to remember and we still have 4 months to go. This year will forever be a year stamped on making a dent in the quest towards social equality. The great civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. coined the phrase “Our lives begin and end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
During this chaotic 2020 and some 60 years later, you may have heard similar phrases making the battle cry of not being silent around equality and if you are being silent, that equals a measure of complicity. I would argue the spirit of this is hard to argue; however, the interpretation and execution of acting on such a concept is full of complication, judgement and potential misinterpretation.
As a Villanova University graduate (from more years ago than I care to admit), I follow various happenings associated with the University along with the highly successful basketball program. One of the many aspects I love about Jay Wright and what he has done with this team (aside from the 2 championships in the last 5 years), is the teamwork and valuing of his players to develop as people and Jay Wright himself understanding he isn’t above anyone of them as people.
I recently read a tweet discussing how Randy Foye, who is a Black Villanova alumnus and former NBA player, spoke with Jay Wright, who is a White college basketball coach, about exactly one of the intersections of when silence and complicity potentially meet. Standing up for what is right is not always about standing up; it is also about standing up when it is appropriate to do so despite the potential consequences.
Villanova is a very conservative, Catholic based university that has some alumni who may not agree with Jay’s (I don’t personally know him but everyone seems to call him “Jay”) willingness to step up and speak on this issue or, for that matter, agree with Jay’s perspective causing some backlash. Kudos to Jay Wright for learning and living this. Kudos to Randy Foye for understanding their relationship and how to not be silent in a productive and meaningful way. Kudos to both men for understanding leadership is not a one-way street and both have to listen, be willing to be challenged and open to change.
As a leader, are you open to challenge and change? Contact me today to enhance your own leadership strategy.