People & Perspectives

One year later: From the serious to the celebratory

WBA’s chief diversity officer reflects on the many observances in May – Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage, mental health awareness, one year after George Floyd’s killing and more.

By Carlos Cubia, Senior Vice President, Global Chief Diversity Officer
Carlos Cubia
Carlos Cubia

Remember road trips as a kid when you would spot cars with license plates from far-off states?

Remember how you used to wonder where they were going, who they were going to see, how long the trip had taken?

Remember the curiosity of seeing something different and wanting to know more?

We need to get back to that.

As we wrap up May and all of the milestones that it brings – Mental Health Awareness Month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Eid Al-Fitr, World Day for Cultural Diversity and, sadly, the one-year anniversary of the George Floyd killing – it hits me that people may have lost that sense of wonder. They’re tired.

Some people might be tired of having to explain why their voices matter. Why their presence matters. Why their lives matter.

And I say to them: Keep going. Every new day is a day to make a difference.

Some might be tired of hearing us talk about diversity, equity and inclusion.

And I say to them: Keep listening. Don’t deny yourself the joy of learning something new.

No doubt about it, the past 12 months have been a roller coaster. Emotions have gone from fear of a deadly virus to rage at racial injustice to sadness at a siege on Capitol Hill.

Yet here we are, ready to celebrate Pride Month in June with neighbors, team members, family members and more.

Here we are, preparing to elevate Juneteenth to new heights.

Over the past year, in the midst of our sorrow and anger, we did something remarkable. We listened. We learned. We took action. We were propelled by the moment and buoyed by the movement.

As we pass the one-year mark, let’s take it a step further and keep the momentum. Let’s keep moving forward. Let’s be proactive. Let’s rediscover our innate curiosity and celebrate every awareness month, week and day with new eyes.

At Walgreens Boots Alliance, we marked World Day for Cultural Diversity on May 21 with a series of events that shone a spotlight on the array of cultures within our global organization. Even our senior executives got in on the fun. And guess what? With all of our advanced degrees and corporate experience, we learned something new about each other, about our cultures and our backgrounds. And we loved it.

As part of our Mental Health Awareness Month activities, we learned about anxiety and depression and also took a collective “wellness walk” outdoors while sharing the sights and sounds of our neighborhoods.

For Pride Month in June, we plan to continue the learning with a series of global events surrounding parenthood, professional development, intersectionality and more. I’ve been in the DE&I space for 17 years, and I recognize that I can always learn something new.

You can, too.

Let’s recapture the wonder, the coolness of seeing something – someone – that’s unfamiliar. Because the more we learn, the more we listen, the more we can do to make our society, our workplace, our neighborhood ... all together different.

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