Black Lives Matter… Diversity, Inclusion and Equality

Aloha to my ACF Ohana,

A few weeks ago, there was pressure from a number of individuals, early on to make an initial, single statement, in support of “Black Lives Matter” and to address the national and global protests. I made a tough choice, an executive decision, not to do so. I felt that you deserved better from me. I knew that a single statement, would be only be seen for what it was, a series of words, that most of you may have already heard from other organizations and companies. Every major retail brand is taking a stand with eloquent writing and words. I wanted to provide you all with more than a series of empty words, that look good when they go to press or are posted, but have little effect on the future. I didn’t want any communication from me to be tone deaf. 

I made that choice to wait, until I was able to self-reflect on my own personal experiences, as a Hawaiian… historical oppression, overt racism, class distinctions, prejudice and more. From then, I immediately began conversations with leaders, both internal and external to the black community. I understand that there are personal and professional inequities that intersect, both of which I am engaging in discussions, but more so, I’m listening. I’m listening to their words, their thoughts, their hopes and their fears, listening to the voices of the black community and people of color. 

Therefore, beginning today, the messages you will be receiving from me will have a striking similarity to the Fireside Chat series. However, my new messaging will encompass topics and a theme in direct correlation with “Black Lives Matter… diversity, inclusion and equality.”

With that said, let me introduce to you, my first in a series of messaging. During this first piece, a video, Episode 1 – Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, it is important to remember to “listen and hear.” The video also provides closed captions of the script, so “reading” might also assist you in “listening and hearing.” And it may take watching the video more than once. A profound monologue from Emmanual Acho, a former NFL Linebacker.

Words Matter, Actions Matter, Outcomes Matter.”

With Warm Regards & Aloha,

Stafford T. DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC
National President
American Culinary Federation