On Friday, June 24th, 2022, the United States Supreme Court released a groundbreaking decision that fundamentally changed the course of lives and left a wake of raw emotions and uncertainty regarding what hard-won human rights might be challenged next. The focus of this message is not about the specific decision, but about the impact that the decision has on inclusiveness and equity absent choice and in light of the imbalance the burden places on women.
The power of choice allows for conversations to be had, debates to take place, information to be learned, and decisions to be made; decisions that are the best for the individuals involved. Choice allows for change of mind, affirmation of beliefs, and the co-existence of differing perspectives. Choice can provide space for two paradoxical truths to live together, and for respect to be present, even if we agree to disagree.
When a choice is taken away, varying perspectives are not sought, and the ability to learn and grow ceases to exist. We cease to co-exist harmoniously, exercise tolerance in our culture, and instead widen our divide. Regardless of where one stands on the specific decision that was issued on Friday, June 24th, 2022, we should all be deeply concerned that people’s ability to choose what is best for themselves has been legally altered by a minority opinion, and that opinion falls with greater adversity inequitably on one gender. If choice matters to you, then this decision can be seen as a call to action. Elections matter. Your vote matters. And as demonstrated over recent years, local elections, and the choices we make as to whom will best represent our interests and rights, has a tremendous impact on policy at the local, state, and national levels. We encourage you to take time to understand those representing you, and those candidates who aspire to represent you. Please don’t take for granted mid-term or off-cycle elections. Consider being civically involved, educate others on the power of the choice they have with their vote, and seek ways to eliminate hurdles that exist for disadvantaged and historically marginalized communities.
The decision from the Supreme Court does not reflect the views of the majority in this country, and damaged any remaining cohesion upon which we hope to build. Instead, it widened our divide, cast doubt upon the Court’s representation of all peoples’ interests and its own legitimacy, and sent a clear message that equity, inclusion, and alternative perspectives to those of the privileged, don’t carry equal weight. Choice matters. And on this particular topic, a woman’s right to make her own decisions about what is right for her, given all of the circumstances only she can understand, is the choice we support.
Finally, we find ourselves reflecting on the future of this country if we don’t stand up for tolerance, compassion, empathy, inclusiveness, true equity and choice; real respect. Only by continuing to move society forward, throwing off antiquated, privileged power-structures, and culturally-damaging philosophies, dogma, and inappropriate interventions in others’ private matters can we continue to move toward true equity and inclusion.
As we move forward from this moment, may we navigate what lies ahead with curiosity, grace and determination.
About the Authors:
Mike Humphries is President & CEO of Waldron, a Seattle-headquartered, multi-market Leadership Development, Board Governance Consulting, and Career Management Firm. The Firm helps attract, engage, inspire, support, and develop effective leaders and Boards. Pursuant to Waldron’s Social Good mission and B-Corp impact, Mike actively supports many organizations with missions aligned with social justice, housing, health, poverty alleviation, development, conservation, the environment, and education.
Kim Bohr is COO and Head of the Effective Organizations practice at Waldron. In her role, Kim focuses on working with Waldron’s exceptional leadership, consulting, coaching, and project management teams, as well as its staff members across all offices. Kim’s professional mission is to make organizations better from the inside out by helping leaders create alignment between people, processes, and an organization’s guiding principles.