I know that I have been silent, and I understand that I have a responsibility to speak out – for my teachers, therapists and staff team and for our students and community. And if my silence has felt ill judged, I apologise. I pressed pause. I wanted to sit with my myriad of thoughts and feelings from what I was watching and reading. I wanted to be clear with what my true feelings are, question my own actions and beliefs, and what I can say and do – it was a space to listen and reflect. Time will reveal more but now it’s time to speak – and I’m aware that whatever my genuine intentions I am bound to get some of this wrong.
I have no idea what it feels like to be a person of colour. No idea. Though I am Jewish and have endured discrimination at times, no one sees me as Jewish when I walk down the street. I am white, and I recognise and am grateful for the many privileges that I have, and have had throughout my life because of the colour of my skin. I feel safe. At this time, I do not have to be fearful, cautious or wary wherever I go. Nor are my life opportunities limited.
Even as I watch videos on social media, and see and hear people of colour’s pain and anguish, I cannot know it as they do because it is not my lived experience. As I write this I feel a deep sadness and anger about this horrible, embedded injustice.
When we started triyoga my intention was to make yoga accessible to everyone. It wasn’t a marketing line – it was genuine. But as one of our teachers said to me today, kindly but seriously, if you open in Primrose Hill and Chelsea and Soho – how accessible are you? I feel like I’ve been a bit unconscious or blinkered. The reality looking now after twenty years is we’ve made some progress, but clearly not enough and I apologise for not having done more. It’s all very well having policies in place – but it’s not enough. We need more action both internally and we are taking professional advice externally and agreeing actions from people who can tell us what will really make a difference – this is what I’m committing to.
I am ready to do the work to make the change for myself and my company including training to actively eliminate discrimination where we can. When I look at what’s happening in the world now, it feels like the cracks are showing. The ones we’ve papered over with blindness and well meaning laws like those that prohibit discrimination in the workplace but do not address the underlying issues beneath it. Stopping discrimination through law is a sad reflection of our broken society and its desperate need for change. I want to make things better and to do so, I have to be better – which I commit to.