You’ve seen the pictures of the Black man who died under the knee of a police officer with his hands in his pockets.

In your house, your place of worship, in your company, on your board…

Are Your Hands In Your Pockets… and Where Are Your Knees?

There are Black people that live with you, worship with you, work with you and for you.

Are Your Hands In Your Pockets… and Where Are Your Knees?

Many, some who are Black, and others who are not, want to hear your voice.

They want to know that you have a thought, an idea, a feeling about current events.

They want to know that you care; that your family, your faith, your leadership principles and values exist, and drive your behavior.

But… Are Your hands In Your Pockets… and Where Are Your Knees?

Are you unsure how you feel?  Are you trying to figure out the facts?  Are you experiencing fear of the unknown and anxiety about what is next?

The same can be said of all the people looking to you to lead, but YOU ARE THE LEADER so I ask again…

Are Your Hands In Your Pockets… and Where Are Your Knees?

In the face of the unknown, Leaders can still speak. They can speak to principles. Leaders can still act. They can console.  Leaders can express their concern.  They can say, “I don’t know what we will do but we can and must do something.”  Leaders can initiate conversations.  They can spark change.  Leaders can call the meeting.  They can ask for help.  Leaders can say, “I don’t understand.”  They can express their vulnerability.

Leaders can lead.

Are you leading?

Or are Your Hands In Your Pockets and Where Are Your Knees?

When you choose to remain silent you have kept your hands in your pockets and figuratively have added your weight to the knees on the necks of people who are trying to breath, to be heard, to live.

And in the future, if your team looks at you on a Zoom call or on a stage and gives you lukewarm support and perfunctory smiles for your diversity initiatives…consider that limited applause as likely a function of them reflecting your leadership. They are choosing to keep their hands in their pockets.