Karen Boykin-Towns had a conversation with April Ryan, CNN political analyst on Instagram Live, in an hour-long program titled “Voices of Change”, sponsored by Lafayette 148.

Their topics ranged from the power of protest and ways people can listen and have conversations with their black colleagues and friends, to what next steps companies can be taking, the importance of voting, and how people can help in ways, large and small.

Below are some excerpts of their talk, and here is a short video snippet.

“While we all saw what happened with George Floyd in Minneapolis, it didn’t just start there. I think what we see is just a community that has said, ‘enough is enough.’ A community that is in trouble and in a situation of hopelessness and despair. We still have COVID-19 that we’re dealing with. If we just think it was a matter of few days, we are wrong. We saw Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia get shot…Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, then we saw Amy Cooper in New York City, and then we saw what happened in Minneapolis.”

“Problems arise when there is silence – that makes you complicit. It’s important to act. Personally, I’m exhausted. If you ask any person of color in any company right now…. we are tired because besides dealing with everything we’re dealing with, we’re also dealing with the need to explain. We’re having our friends say, ‘teach me,’ ‘help me.’ There’s a lot that we can do; when you want to learn for yourself, read the books. Join the organizations, and when you want to engage so you can learn and be better, do so because we need you. It’s not going to end unless we lock arms together and say enough is enough.”

“For those who are listening, this is a step in asking questions and saying you want to be involved. “You don’t have to be a CEO of a company, you don’t have to be a leader in a civil rights organization, you don’t have to be a reporter. All of us from where we sit, have a role to play. It might be something as simple as reposting something that’s positive on your social platform, or checking that uncle or aunt or father who might say something inappropriate…it might be where you begin to talk to your children. It’s the small things, it’s the little things. Not everyone has to be on the frontlines. We’re not all built to do that. You don’t have to be out there protesting.”

“A lot of companies are making contributions which are really important. But it’s even deeper if you’re able to bring in your customer base, your employees. The money is good and the money is important, but it’s about bringing forth understanding, and that is what this is about. This is not a moment, it’s a movement.”

Their interview was also covered in WWD magazine.

Read more from Karen.