Statement on Civic Engagement: Ethical Leadership
In this time of national crisis, Rotarians must meet this moment by activating Rotary’s network and influence to seek racial justice through civic engagement.
The killing of George Floyd was inhumane. This inhumanity has triggered lingering resentment of violence perpetrated against African Americans. This inhumanity has opened fresh wounds in our collective conscience. Ironically, this same inhumanity has ignited an urgency among people of goodwill to seek justice fueled by courage and persistence. There are many choices to be made now, but the choice for justice is the most enduring. It is for this choice that I ask you, my fellow Rotarians, to join me in civic engagement for lasting change. “Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change-across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.”
This is an opportunity for local, national and international leaders to demonstrate ethical leadership and do the work of uprooting systemic racism. Rotarians are People of Action who are led by ethical principles delineated in the Four-Way Test. “The Four-Way Test: Of the Things, We Think, Say, or Do:
- First, Is it the Truth,
- Second, Is it fair to all concerned,
- Third, Will it build goodwill and better friendships, and
- Fourth, Will it be beneficial to all concerned.”
Think about the historical underpinnings of the current societal unrest within the framework of these pointed questions. While it guides us to answers, it also raises a host of questions. Use those questions and answers to inform your understanding of civic engagement.
In recent days, we have seen renewed hope sustain its march through our streets and resonate across borders in solidarity because for too long, too many of us have experienced and witnessed a basic disregard for human life. We acknowledge the overwhelming majority of law enforcement officers who serve and protect with a commitment to uphold the public trust.
Rotary is not a political organization, so this is not about politics. This is a call for civic engagement which offers many options to engage people, all people, in the service of justice. What can People of Action do?
- Read, Listen, Learn
- Facilitate Community Conversation
- Identify and Elevate Actions
- Engage Rotary on all levels
Some may be inclined to think that civic engagement during such a volatile time involving volatile issues is too much for a small Rotary club to undertake. It is not. We must be thoughtful, respectful and earnest in developing efforts of impact. In the words of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
I invite you to join me in this moral moment of healing action as we bend the arc toward justice.
Sharna Davis Hatcher, Esq.
Rotary Club of Auburn Hills
June 9, 2020