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Leading Through Change: A Discussion on COVID-19 and Race in America

What it is: On this week’s episode of Leading Through Change, Salesforce Chief Philanthropy Officer Ebony Beckwith hosted a courageous conversation about how and why COVID-19 is affecting communities of color with family physician, epidemiologist, and visiting fellow at Harvard University Dr. Camara Jones, CNN political contributor Van Jones, and Fortune Magazine senior editor Ellen McGirt. The hour ended with an exclusive performance by Jennifer Hudson.

Why it matters: The impact of #COVID19 on communities of color is devastating. We don’t have all the answers, but we can start by elevating these voices, having the tough conversations, and practicing empathy. Now, more than ever, it’s important to show up as allies for one another as we get through this, together.

What we learned:

· On urgency: “At first, a lot of black people thought, ‘This isn’t our problem.’ But it’s time to sound the alarm: black people are in grave danger – because COVID-19 is a pandemic jumping on top of several epidemics already ravaging the Black community.” – Van Jones, CEO of Reform Alliance and CNN Contributor

· On naming racism: “Racism structures a dual reality. It is difficult to recognize a system of inequity that privileges us.” – Dr. Camara Jones, Family Physician and Epidemiologist

· On early rumors: “Rumors and misinformation are terrible for absolutely everyone. If we truly indulge the idea of misinformation or rumors as the despairing impact on communities of color, we’ll miss what others have highlighted. We will breeze by the issue of systemic racism. – Ellen McGirt, Senior Editor, Fortune, and author of raceAhead, a newsletter focused on race and diversity

· On hope: “It’s important for people to know what they are not helpless and they are not hopeless. Even the smallest change can make a big impact.“ – Ebony Beckwith, Chief Philanthropy Officer, Salesforce

Learn more: To get involved, you can help communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 by going to or texting BETGives to 51555. See the full video here, and stay tuned until the end to watch a performance by musical guest, Grammy and Academy Award-winning artist Jennifer Hudson.