Today I ran into a friend, who happens to be African American, and who also happens to have recently received a promotion to senior vice president and treasurer in a Fortune 1000 company. We ran into each other in an airport lounge in Munich, Germany; me on my way home to Los Angeles, him home to San Francisco. We began to talk about his new promotion, and he beamed with pride at how when he received his promotion, high level African-Americans in his field reached out to him, offering help, support, guidance and most of all friendship.
This story reminded me of what I often say about the new movement in the 21st century. That civil rights played itself out in the streets – it was visible, and people of good will took sides. But the silver rights movement will not be so visible, nor obvious. It will be marked by indifference, as much as anyone taking sides. And as civil rights played out in the streets, silver rights will play out in the suites – if we are lucky, that mean the classrooms where our children learn about capitalism and free enterprise, and how to make it work for them. If we are unlucky, it will mean in the corporate suites, where decisions will be made about us, with or without us.
Civil rights was about rights, civil liberties and justice. Silver rights will be about choices. Mostly our own.
We can indeed, all of us – black, white, brown, yellow – be the difference we want to see in the world.
Onward, with HOPE
John Hope Bryant