INTROduction To Committing

Countering Racism Requires a Genuine Personal Commitment

A genuine commitment is required whether an individual contributor, an effective follower, or an effective leader. Our commitment comes from the vision we have of America and our place in it. It needs to be strong enough to help us get past the natural barriers to action that come as a normal part of the challenge.

Your purpose doesn’t at all have to be something BIG, either. The value of your impact on others and on the world has nothing to do with its scale. There’s a saying I learned while living in Mexico: “Hay gente para todo.”  This means “there are people for everything”, and refers to the fact that in order for our world to function, we need people living and contributing at all kinds of different levels.  If we each could find and inhabit the sphere where we’re supposed to be, and contribute what we were made to contribute, what a beautiful world it would be!

Susan Biali, M.D.


#1  Being an “Anti-Racist” 

The Question: 

Why is being an anti-racist so important?  Why can't I just be someone who who says, "I'm not a racist?"

We are either actively anti-racist or we support racism, particularly the embedded structural or systemic racism that is the heart of the issue.  An "anti-racist" is someone engaged in focused sustained action.  The commitment is the commitment to act in an intentional and sustained way.

The Challenge:

To be able to say: "I am actively countering racism through intentional action." I am making a difference and acting true to my values."  "I am off the sidelines and  part of the solution - not part of the problem."

#2  Creating a Personal Vision of the Desired Future Worth Pursuing and the Potential Benefits

The Question: 

Why Act?  Why get off the sideline?  What is it that is worth leaving our known world - our comfort zone?  What is worth the potential effort, risk, and potential sacrifice?  Why would I take attention and energy away from other priorities in my life?"

There are surprising benefits that we can create for others - and for ourselves.  To achieve those benefits, however, we need to create a personal vision of what might be as well as identify the range of benefits that we want to go after.  That is really a series of commitments - saying "this is what matters to me and what I w ant to make happen."

“Make your vision so clear that your fears become irrelevant”
- Unknown

The Challenge:

We can say, "This is my vision of what is worth my effort and sacrifice and leaving my comfort zone."  This is my commitment and these are the benefits I hope to realize - what matters enough to me to act."

#3  Understanding the Natural Journey - What to Expect

The Question: 

Why is the concept of a journey so important?  Why isn't completing tasks or projects or 'helping' enough?"

If we say “yes” to going forth to counter racism we will be leaving our current known world and comfort zone to be tested – and grow in the process.  This is a known path, but it will play out in unique ways for each person.  The path is actually the path of the classic heroic journey. That journey is not about being a "larger than life figure", but rather committing to the health of the community and becoming more mature or whole as we take on the challenges.

The Challenge:

We can say: "I know - and welcome the fact - that I will be challenged in being and anti-racist, that it will be tough, and that I will grow in the process."  "I bring the capabilities, experience, courage, perseverance, and resilience developed on other life journeys to this journey, so I'm prepared."